Dehydrated meals. They’re a bit weird, if we’re honest about these things. Take some perfectly good and tasty food and freeze it instantly to remove all the water and make it unpalatable.
I suppose they’d be really handy if you needed to save weight (most of the weight of food is water content) or needed a meal that could keep for years before going off. But for general outdoors use they perplex me. I mean, when you get to where you’re trekking you need to source the water, filter it, boil it and then add it to the pouch. What happens if there is no water available? Or there is water but it’s dirty and you don’t have a filter? Or your stove dies? You can’t eat dehydrated meals dry or cold, so you end up carrying as much weight as you would if you packed a pouch of wet food instead.
That said, there are undoubtedly some people who will have access to clean water and a stove, and they’ll be fine with pouches of powdered grub, so on with the test…
We tried out a range of Mountain House’s single portion meals over the last few weeks and all work along the same principle. You tear off the top of the pouch, pour in the required amount of water and seal the pouch for just under 10 minutes. You then need a nice long spork to reach in and fill your gob with the delicious treats from within.
The Mediterranean Vegetable Pasta is superb. You’d never know it was from a packet.
The Scrambled Egg, Ham and Crunchy Potato was very tasty, but a tad watery and some potato bits were rock hard.
The Custard with Apple was lovely, and took me right back to sweet school dinners.
The other flavours we tried out were OK, but not quite as nice as we’d hoped they’d be.
Each pack retails for £4.99 (£3.99 for the desserts) which seems quite expensive, but the portion sizes are large and they will survive the zombie apocolypse.
One thing I did particularly like about the Mountain House packs was that there’s no washing up, and no need to carry a plate/bowl since you eat directly from the pouch. I suppose that goes some way to balancing the need to carry water and a stove.
SUMMARY: If you see the need to carry dehydrated food instead of wet food, then take a look at these. The Veggie Pasta and Apple Custard combo would be a tasty full meal after a day’s hiking. I wasn’t too fussed with the meaty meals, with the exception of the Ham breakfast, but the veggie stuff is ace. £4.99 for a pouch is on the expensive side for a meal, but they keep forever so could form the basis for an emergency meal (providing you have a stove and water to hand!).
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