The best freeze dried food is lightweight, convenient, and provides for a no-mess cleanup option on your outdoor adventures. Just heat up some water and in a few minutes you are chowing down on some downright tasty vittles! What could be better than that when you’re outdoors experiencing another adventure.
For those camping and backpacking trips, freeze dried food is perfect when your concerned about hauling all of that weight. Those pouches are easy enough to tuck away inside your pack. Most of the food pouches are waterproof for when your pack might not be. Yes, I know this from experience!
Actually, freeze dried food is an excellent low-cost option for your emergency rations or just-in-case meals. The Mountain House brand, one of my favorites, has a shelf life well over 10 years. Whichever your favorite brand, just pick up a few here and there and before you know it, you’re all set.
What follows are my top picks, the time-tested favorites, making these my best freeze dried food selections for those weekend outings.
Mountain House Beef Stroganoff with Noodles
The Mountain House Beef Stroganoff with Noodles freeze dried meal is hands down my favorite outdoor delicacy. The 2.5 servings package is just about enough as a nice lunch or dinner. This is probably one of their most popular products. After putting away many of these over the years, I can vouch for how good they are.
We all know that eating food outdoors just makes it taste that much better! Adding a few vigorous shakes of your favorite hot sauce makes it all the better. Hear that Mountain House, how about adding a hot sauce packet or two to these freeze dried food pouches!
Tip: keep a stash of those extra condiment packets you get from your favorite fast food burger bar, taco hut, or chicken palace. After all, you do pay for them.
One feature I really like about Mountain House meals are the pouches. They are made in such a way that allows you to scoop out every last bit of sauce and noodles. No corners to dig around and pry out those last tasty pieces. You might need a longer handled spoon to reach down into the depths of that food pouch to scoop up those last bits. Check out my Optimus spoon review here. Don’t tell anyone, but I have been known to cut open the pouch so I can finish off those last yummy bits.
With well over 700 customer reviews, you can be sure that this is one tasty meal! The Mountain House Beef Stroganoff with Noodles is my top pick as the best freeze dried food for outdoor adventures.
Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce
The Mountain House freeze dried lasagna with meat sauce is another best seller with good reason. Soon as you try one, you will understand why. All of that pasta, tomato, and cheesy goodness when you’re sitting around a campfire, an experience that can’t be beat!
Yes, it is kind of messy to eat, a longer handled spoon helps a lot to get all of the tasty bits and pieces from the bottom.
This 2.5 serving pouch is almost enough for a satisfying lunch or dinner. Again, I think that adding a packet or two of hot sauce would really be a big plus. Until that happens, I will continue to carry a zip top bag with a handful of condiment packets.
Tip: another tasty addition is adding a package or two of some crushed red pepper flakes. I get those from the pizza to-go places.
The Mountain House lasagna with meat sauce has well over 500 customer reviews, so like us, lots of other folks think this is one tasty meal. For a weekend adventure, this makes an excellent meal, coming in second on my best freeze dried food list.
Mountain House Biscuits and Gravy
Who doesn’t like biscuits and gravy for breakfast? I used to whip up a batch of my Mom’s Sawmill Gravy recipe before each camping trip and freeze hearty breakfast sized portions in quart sized zip top bags along with some extra fast-food biscuits. Buried safely deep inside my backpack, I had something delicious to look forward to for the next morning.
The Mountain House Biscuits and Gravy is a close second and certainly much easier than making a batch of Mom’s, — sorry Mom!
The instructions tell you to stir things up 4 minutes after adding the hot water. Be sure you do this, –so you can lick off the spoon afterwards. Sort of the camp chef privilege if you ask me!
Add a packet or two of hot sauce and you have yourself a first class meal! Actually, everything seems to go better with a bit of added hot sauce. In my opinion, the Mountain House Biscuits and Gravy makes an awesome dinner as well!
The Mountain House Biscuits and Gravy is an Amazon best seller having over 700 customer reviews. I could easily eat this all weekend. For breakfast items, the Mountain House Biscuits and Gravy easily rates as my top pick for the best freeze dried food for breakfast. Yum!
Mountain House Neapolitan Ice Cream Bar
Ice cream that doesn’t drip all over your shirt? Just how do they do this?
So now you can have a bit of ice cream desert after polishing off a pouch of your favorite freeze dried food! Actually, you can have one of these just about anywhere!
The best part of this is that rehydration is not at all necessary, nope, none! Just rip the top off the package and enjoy!
These Mountain House Neapolitan Ice Cream Bars are a bit on the fragile side. So don’t bury them at the bottom of your pack or they will turn into something I like to refer to as Mountain House Neapolitan Ice Cream granola.
Every time I open one of these things, I am amazed with how good they taste. The only complaint that I have is that the single serving pouch is just way too small!
Just how do they calculate serving sizes anyway?
The Mountain House Neapolitan Ice Cream Bar is my top pick for the best freeze dried food for desert. It would be awesome to get seconds for desert at that remote camp site, so plan ahead!
Trader Joe’s Freeze Dried Strawberries
These freeze dried strawberries are an awesome treat. They have super sweet strawberry flavor and have a respectable tartness without any added sugar. So as far as freeze dried fruit goes, this stuff is the bomb.
So, ya gotta have some fruit and veggies in your diet, this is tasty way to get some of them when out on the trail! But these little 1.2 ounce package weigh nothing and sure do disappear fast. You almost need to cut open the package to lick out the remaining bits and pieces, that is how good they are. You didn’t hear that from me!
If I was able to fork out the cash for a home freeze dryer, — the very first thing I would try my hand at is whipping up a batch of those freeze dried strawberries.
Because I don’t have a convenient Trader Joe’s to shop at, Amazon is a great option for me. Hear that Trader Joe’s! How about opening a store in my neck of the woods!
For the freeze dried fruit category, these strawberries are my top pick for the best freeze dried fruit.
Freeze Dried versus Dehydrated
I own a food dehydrator and use it all of the time to dry leftovers, make beef jerky, and dog treats. Dehydrated food is certainly an option for your outdoor adventures. However, dehydrated food takes LOT longer to rehydrate back into an edible state than freeze dried food. Before discovering freeze dried food pouches, I would dehydrate cans of beef stew and pasta for my outdoor adventures.
A food dehydrator works by moving warm air across your food to dry it, — removing most of the moisture. People have been dehydrating food since the dawn of time to store food for leaner times, and there were always leaner times. Food preservation was the way of life. Today, we just run down the neighborhood market.
Freeze drying is just as it sounds, food is frozen to well below what your home freezer can do, -40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Next, the air is removed and the food is warmed slightly. This causes the moisture in the food to evaporate. The food is then stored away and sealed in protective bags. Freeze dried food was developed during World War II as a way to keep blood products from spoiling as they were sent to Europe for the wounded.
Both dehydrated and freeze dried foods can be rehydrated in the same way. Just add water! In my own outdoor experiences, home dehydrated food takes MUCH longer to become edible. Those dehydrated cans of beef stew took FOREVER to rehydrate and usually got cold again before getting anywhere close to where I could eat it. Eventually, I got a bit smarter and made a large cozy to keep the food pouch warm.
Dehydrated foods tend to shrink, shrivel, and toughen the food. While freeze dried food looks for the most part, just like their fresh counterparts.
Most books on home food dehydration say that foods, once dehydrated, will last “several months and up to a year” when kept in a freezer. Well, the food police will probably be knocking on my door, but I have left my own home dehydrated food sit all sealed up in zip top bags in the pantry for much longer than that. I haven’t keeled over yet, — not that I know of anyhow!
Freeze dried foods can have a shelf life that exceeds 25 years. Of course, once you open that pouch or can, it will probably only last a few days as it will absorb moisture and humidity from the air.
So Now It’s Your Turn
I have shared my favorite freeze dried foods that you can bring on your own outdoor adventures. So now that you have seen our favorites and reviewed our top picks for the best freeze dried food on the market, it’s up to you to pick what meets your own needs, and overall help you gear up for your outdoor adventures.
As you know, new products are being created all the time. For that reason, this page will be updated as new favorites are discovered. If you feel like we missed a your favorite and it needs to be included on the list, let me know in the comments below!