Dried trekking or expedition food is a great way to reduce the weight and bulk of your pack. In effect you are saving weight by not carrying water trapped in the food, but instead relying on the available water you collect on route, from streams and Tarns and in snowy conditions the water is all around. For around a 185 grams carried weight (including packaging) you have a hot meal that when hydrated weighs 710 grams and provides 650 calories. That’s a substantial evening meal for one, or a light lunch for two people.
There are considerable further weight savings because you can prepare the meal in its re-sealable pouch, so there is no need for eating bowls. You don’t need heavy bulky pan sets either, as all you need to do is boil water to add to the pouch. It is therefore possible to have a simple stove with one small titanium or aluminium pan and nothing else (although you’ll still want a mug for your coffee). You can also carry less gas for your stove because there’s no long cooking or simmering.
After bringing the water to the boil all you need to do is poor the water in to the pouch and give it a stir, then wait for five to ten minutes depending on the recipe. This is a very quick and easy way to prepare a meal at the end of a long hard day on the hill, but it is also very convenient when you are trying to cover a lot of ground and you don’t have time for extended lunch stops.
As an added bonus there is no washing up of pans or bowls, something you’ll be glad of when you’re bushed and want to get your head down, or when it is freezing cold in the morning and you want to pack up quick and be on your way.
In addition to saving weight the packets are low bulk and stack flat. The packaging is tough and of course the food is dry so there is no chance of spills and dribbles inside your pack, or your food being crushed into something unrecognisable.
In the past dried food pouches have been fairly poor in flavour and have not hydrated as well as they were supposed to, but the new generation of Trek ‘N Eat has brought the dried food concept along in leaps and bounds. At EMS have been trying out the different recipes from various brands and chosen our favourites to show on the website. We have also made notes as to the flavours and textures and given each flavour a mark out of ten. Not everyone is going to agree which is the best flavour, but most people agree on what is reasonably tasty. Flavours we didn’t like won’t be found on the EMS website. More flavours to be added soon.