Always on the lookout for new tasty food for the trail, I recently came across some news that High Mountain Seasonings had just released come new camp meals. Their primary business deals with various seasonings for cooking and preparing such items as jerky, rub, sausage, bacon and other tasty vittles we might link to the outdoors. Over the past month or so, I’ve tried out their various meals and am ready to report my findings.
I’ve tried various brands of dehydrated meals on the market. The main advantage they have is they are easy to prepare and require a minimum of cookware which helps lighten your pack load. For instance, to prepare most of the camp meals from High Mountain Seasonings, you simply boil a couple of cups of water and pour it straight into the pack and let it sit for 15 minutes. After that, you’re ready to eat. And, no dishes to wash! This is probably the main reason I like my Jetboil so much. It packs down to a very compact package that can be carried in the side pocket of my Mercworx Sniper pack. Also, because of the heat transfer design, a dehydrated meal can be prepared very quickly. It takes only two minutes to boil a couple of cups of water. The longest period of time waiting is just the 15 minutes for the meal to cool and the food to become rehydrated.
There aren’t many breakfast options on the market in the dehydrated meal niche. I can tell you right now that I do not like the scrambled egg meals on the market–even if they do have bits of “bacon” in them. So, I was very interested in trying out the new Hot Caramel Apple Crunch camp meal which can work for breakfast or for dessert. I was wondering how they were going to work the “crunch” into the equation since you’re rehydrating everything in the pack. I quickly found out that they included a foil pack of granola in the meal that you remove before pouring in the boiling water. Once the 15 minutes is done, you simply pour the granola on top of the meal and you’re good to go. I was suprised at how good this meal was. It was very filling and the granola added a bit of variety to the meal since most dehydrated meals end up having a consistency that’s less than crunchy. If I had my druthers, I’d like for this meal to be sweetened just a bit. While very good, it’s just a hair past tart for my tastes. Even so, I enjoyed it quite a bit and it’s definitely going into the breakfast and dessert rotation in the future.
Before I get into the other meals, I would like to point out one thing that I liked about the packaging. These meals pack very flat. Other brands on the market use somewhat of a pouch for their meals with and they’re a little bulky. Also, because of the awkward bulk, they don’t load well in the front pocket of my Sniper Pack. The camp meals from High Mountain Seasonings are comparatively thin and are easy to stow away in tight areas of your pack. This got me to thinking about serving sizes, so I compared the amount of food in these packs compared to others on the market. The High Mountain meals actually offered a couple of more ounces of food in a smaller footprint and at a similar price. So, they’re not shorting you on what you get as far as portions are concerned. Though, they list the meals as being approximately 3 servings. That might be the case for children, but I’d bill the packs as being closer to 2 servings for adults. Not their fault, I reckon, since all food companies do this. I mean come on, Nabisco lists a serving size for Fig Newtons as two cookies. Really? Who eats just two Fig Newtons?
Next up on the menu was Campfire Chili Macaroni. Who doesn’t like chili and macaroni? After I completed preparing this meal and tried it out, I was very full. Turns out that once it’s done, it’s a very thick and rich concoction. This is a great meal for those cooler nights when you want to warm up a bit. The spices that were used made it tasty, but not too hot for the taste buds. The one thing that I did notice in the flavor was that it seemed to be a little tomatoey, if that’s even a word. On second thought, I don’t think that quite captures it. More ketchupy than tomatoey. I know, these aren’t real words but I struggled to find the right description for quite a while and these were the best descriptions I could muster. It wasn’t too bad and probably all comes down to a matter of personal tastes, but it is a rich mixture.
Then came the Cajun Beans and Rice. I’ll go on record to say that I was expecting something a little different than what came out of the pack. I was looking for beans and rice. You get that, but you also get a similar base as to what they had in the chili and macaroni pack. The Beans and Rice meal also came out very thick and certainly very filling as well. However, I’ll admit that I didn’t care much for this meal. As mentioned, it had a similar base as the chili, but tasted even more ketchupy (or something I can’t nail down) than did the chili. Maybe it was different spices for the Cajun taste, but whatever it was, I honestly couldn’t eat more than a few spoonfuls of it. Again, it might just be a matter of taste when it comes to these kinds of dishes. You’ll have to be the judge and see what you think for yourself. On the other hand, I did like the Green Chile Casserole meal much better. It has a little zest to it, but to my tastes, it did not have the same “ketchupy” taste to it as the Cajun dish. It’s another definite must-add to my meal rotation.
When it comes down to it, you get quite a bit of food for your money when you consider that the meals offer a couple ounces more than most dehydrated trail food packs. Each serving of the various meals runs about 200-250 calories give or take with low fat calorie percentages. For instance, the Green Chile Casserole meal has 230 calories with 35 coming from fat. That’s around 15%. It also offers 8 grams of protein along with 45 grams of carbohydrates along with various other vitamins, minerals, etc.
If you’re looking for a different flavor for your dehydrated food basket for camp and you enjoy foods with zesty, Southwestern taste, you might want to try out the new camp meals from High Mountain Seasonings. While you’re at their website, you might take a look at some of their other products for making sausage, jerky and the like. Who knows? You might end making some of your own trail food and what could be more authentic than that?