I like freeze-dried meals a lot. They are simple, easy, and tasty.  I do have 4 issues with them, and I will “fix” 3 of them with this hack.

Issues with Freeze-Dried Meals

Portion Size – Most meal packs claim to be a complete dinner for 2,  I find they generally don’t have enough food for two, yet too much for one.

Weight – The packaging is generally designed to be tough and durable to protect the contents and to double as a bowl to prepare and eat your food. The packaging is bulky, heavy, and redundant if you already have a pot.


Clean Up – The packages are difficult to clean or burn.

Garbage – You have to pack out used packaging. An extra 32 grams packed in, plus excess food and water packed out.

Expense – it is what it is … this hack does nothing with the expense issue. Compared to Ramen they are expensive, but oh so much tastier, and a complete “balanced” meal.

My Hack

I created a video to demonstrate my hack which is linked below. The principle is simple.

I take 2 identical Backpacker’s Pantry (BP) meals, combine the contents and then divide it into 3 equal portions. I then place the contents into 3 lunch-size brown paper bags. The bags are only 6 grams each, they pack smaller and can be used as a fire starter when you have finished your meal.  

WATCH pointing hand rightVIDEO

BP hack51
Take two identical freeze-dried meals and divide the contents into 3 equal portions.
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4 Backpacker’s Pantry packs make 6 meal “right-sized” meal packs.

Video – Freeze-Dried Meal Hack – lighter, smaller & easier

Hot or Cold

This hack will create easy-to-carry and prepare meal packets for either hot or cold meals.


On my recent Great Divide Trail adventure, I prepared all my dinners this way in advance and then mail-dropped them to strategic locations for the 5-week trip. On the trail during my first 10 days, I prepared my meals hot as per the manufacturer’s directions, and then after my stove failed, (I lost it on the trail) I prepared the remainder of the meals cold soaking. Frankly, I enjoyed the meals just as cold as hot and it was easier and faster! Diner’s choice!

Why Cold Soak

It’s hard to convince a hardcore “Stovie” that going stove-less is a good thing. There are times when a stove is better, but stoveless has lots of advantages and has been my first choice for most of my backpacking trips in the last 5 years.

Firstly cold soaking is good for the lazy! It’s easy, and fast and there is almost no clean-up. Cold soakers will be fed, cleaned and food hung for the night, long before the average “Stovie” even starts to eat!

The second is it’s much lighter. No stove, no fuel, and no pots… the average “Stovie’s” kitchen kit will be 500-1000 grams heavier.

Finally… with no fossil fuels burnt and any recycled canisters used… means cold soaking is much friendlier on Mother Earth!

Please check out the original post >> Cold Soak 101 … it shows my favourite jars, food, recipes, and tips!  

Hack hot
Preparing hot directly in a cooking pot with an insulation bag by Gossamer Gear – Meal: “Three Sister’s Stew” by Backpacker’s Pantry with harvested wild onions.
hack cold
Cold Soaking in 500 ml Jar by LiteSmiths – Meal: “Three Sister’s Stew” by Backpacker’s Pantry, one of my favourites!

My Choice

I’ve been using Backpacker’s Pantry (BP) Freeze-Dried meals for decades and have had great success. It is my brand of choice.

It’s important to note that there are many other quality options available, however, for me,  BP is tried, tested, and true. They work, are loaded with quality calories, and taste great. When I test other brands I am often underwhelmed. It’s so very true that other brands will likely do all the same things, yet I don’t have the energy or time to test and compare all the competitors. So for now it’s BP with confidence!

coldsoaking jars3
Cold Soaking Jars L-R: Talenti & Garage Grown Gear (16 oz), Peanut Butter, CNOC, Vargo BOT, HumanGear Click, LiteSmiths.com (12 & 20oz versions)


*many borrowed from www.litesmith.com



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