Keeping food lightweight, high energy and easy to prepare when walking and wildcamping can be a challenge. We normally take a range of simple pasta and sauces along with some hotdogs, primula cheese, wraps and noodles. This works pretty well for us, but we were wanting to find out what the dehydrated meals marketed specifically to walkers were like, and what advantages they might offer.
We were recently given the opportunity to test expedition meals from Blå Band, one of the leading manufacturers of dehydrated one packet meals by New Heights. We tested three dehydrated meals including the Carbonara, the Beef and tomato pasta and the beef Goulash. These meals each weigh around 140g including the packaging and contain around 600 calories, all in a simple ‘just add water’ format, making them ideally suited to wanting to refuel in the evening.
First off, preparing these meals is dead easy, you simply open up the packet and spread the base apart before adding the amount of water that is recommended. You can add hot or cold water, but hot water is far preferable as you get a nice hot meal at the end. Once the water is added, stir well, reseal the pouch and leave to stand for around 10 minutes, before opening, stirring again and tucking in. The pouches are insulated so the food stays piping hot despite the time needed to cook and you don’t bake your hands holding the pouch whilst you munch the food down. When you are done scraping the last bits out of the easy access corners you simply reseal the pouch, leaving no washing up to deal with and just the clean pouch as rubbish. All these features are handy, neat and clever which make this type of camping food really appealing.
However, we were not so convinced when it came to taste. We normally have very little salt in our food day-to-day, and found the Carbonara extremely salty for us, to the point that I was the only one eating it. The Beef and Tomato pasta faired a little better, with our son and Stacey sharing and finishing this, but neither of them were thrilled to have to eat it all. This is the price we pay for taking them out and testing them on a mountain top after a long walk! The Goulash was actually pretty tasty I thought and Stacey was ok eating it – too spicy according to our son… but it didn’t half give me some gas! All I can say is I’m glad we have an all-mesh-inner to our tent!
It is important to remember that everyone has individual ideas of what is tasty and what is not, and I would stress again that we are really low salt food kind of people in our everyday lives, so don’t let our comments about flavour put you off.
It is also worth mentioning price, which is typically around £6 a meal. This seems high to us, but seeing that multi-day walks are not an everyday occurrence for most people, it might not be too bad value given the ease of preparation and low hassle.
So, our final thoughts go as follows: the Blå Band dehydrated meals have many great features for multi-day walking, including easy meal preparation, no mess, light weight and low thought. These are all major plusses at the end of a long and tiring day. However for us we were not so sure about the flavours, particularly the amount of salt. If you are after low-faff camping food this is certainly a good way to go about it if you are happy with both the price and the flavours of the meals.
We were given the Blå Band expedition meals free to test by New Heights Active Brand Management. They’ve got all sorts of great outdoor gear on their website if you’re looking for something for your next adventure.
All opinions are our own.