Dehydrating homemade backpacking meals

We love to backpack, and we love to cook! We’ve used pre-made dehydrated meals for years for the convenience, but always felt they were not exactly what we wanted. Meals either weren’t something our kids liked, had a funny aftertaste, had more sodium than we wanted, or didn’t have a plant-based option. Plus we didn’t love all of the excessive, bulky packaging that they come in. We recently decided to start making our own meals using a food dehydrator and the meals have been SO DELICIOUS! Why did we wait so long?!

Selecting a food dehydrator

We did a lot of research looking at various dehydrators, and settled on the Brod and Taylor SAHARA folding Food Dehydrator. We like that the dehydrator has the option for stainless steel shelves instead of plastic, quickly folds down to save space when we aren’t using (it’s the world’s first folding dehydrator), and has a dual time and temperature setting. This feature allows us to start at a higher temperature for fast initial drying for foods like apples, then automatically switches to a lower temperature to maintain the rich flavors and nutrients. It’s very quiet when it runs too! We are very happy with this dehydrator.

The SAHARA compresses
to 1/3 it’s original size for easy storage

Dehydrating meals

Dehydrating foods is actually a lot easier than it seems. There are so many great blogs covering just about any recipe or food, so information is abundant. The neat part about dehydrating our own foods for camping is that we can make foods that we know our kids will like. We picked a few of our favorites to try first. Here are three meals we dehydrated for our recent backpacking trip to the High Sierra.

Ash rehydrating our pasta dish at 10,000 feet


Right now our kids love pasta, but the options for store bough dehydrated meals don’t hit the spot with our kids. On our recent backpacking trip, we took their favorite noodles and dehydrated their favorite pasta sauce. We used a silicone mat to hold the sauce on the tray, and set it in the SAHARA for about 7 hours at 135 degrees. It was very easy to rehydrate in the backcountry with boiling water. The sauce was savory and tasted just like it did at home. Plus, it was very easy to pack and lightweight.

Our favorite pasta sauce dehydrated and ready for backcountry pasta for the kids


We also made delicious burritos with fresh salsa. Believe it or not, salsa dehydrates SO well and adds such a rich flavor to burritos. The burritos were easy to prepare in the dehydrator. We cooked our beans and rice as we would to make the burritos at home, then once they cooled, we placed them in the dehydrator. We also poured one of our favorite local salsas on a silicone-lined tray, and dehydrated everything together in the SAHARA. Once they were done, we placed all of the ingredients in a silicone bag with some taco seasoning. When we were in camp, we just added boiling water straight to the silicone bag, and let it sit for about 5 minutes until everything was warmed up and rehydrated. We added this mixture to tortillas and topped it with fresh avocado and lime. It was heaven!

Bean burritos with dehydrated rice, beans, and salsa, topped with fresh avocado and lime

Pad Thai

We also did a rendition of pad Thai. We dehydrated mushrooms, red bell pepper, extra firm tofu, fresh ginger, broccoli, carrots, and cilantro and packed them in a stasher. We brought wheat noodles, tamari, peanut butter, and garlic for the sauce. We rehydrated the veggies with boiling water right in the silicone bag for about 10 minutes, then added the cooked noodles and sauce ingredients. We topped it with chopped peanuts. All of the veggies plumped right back up! It was the perfect way to end the day after a long hike up the mountain.

Ash enjoying pad Thai after a long hike

Now that we’ve realized how easy dehydrating our own meals can be, we are looking forward to creating more recipes for future trips. Our next mission is to work on dehydrating a plant-based latte, some of our favorite take-out meals, and upping our oatmeal and snack game with mixed dried fruits.

This article was sponsored by Brod and Taylor. All opinions remain our own.

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