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OMEALS Backpacking Meal Review

Turkey Chili with Beans

I gave the OMEALS brand of backpacking meals a shot, because it’s always fun to try new things. I don’t know about you, but I cannot eat the same meal every night of every trip so when I see something interesting on the shelf I grab it.

Omeals Turkey Chili

Upon first glance this meal seemed pretty sweet, its precooked (not freeze dried) and is self-heating. Sounds like a win, maybe a bit better quality of food and I didn’t need to use much of my water or any fuel to make it.

Lets talk about the stats of this meal first.

  • Price – I felt this was a pretty expensive option at the $14.95 (CDN) mark.
  • Weight* – According to OMEALs website, 10oz. I forgot to weigh mine before I left.
  • Net Weight of Food – 8oz, so this makes me skeptical of the total weight, as the heat pack isn’t light.
  • Calories per serving – 220, no this isn’t a typo and there is only one serving per pouch.

The OMEALS Turkey Chili uses a heat element to heat up the meal instead of the typical rehydrating process. Inside you will find a fork, napkin and salt and pepper. This is along with the heat pack and the food pouch itself. I will admit I was disappointed when I saw the portion size in the field. (I know, pay attention in the store!!)

To reheat the pre-cooked meal you add 2-3 oz of water into the main pouch with the heat element and food pouch inside and then seal the pouch. The food will be reheated via steam as shown in the video below.

Omeals steaming

Before I dive into the comparisons and my thoughts, I do want to note that the meal was quite tasty. Not only that, it did not have the slight chewy-ness of a freeze dried or dehydrated meal. BUT I do not feel that this makes up for the price with its limited calories and weight.

Just looking at the $15 price tag for 220 calories is a tough pill to swallow. A Snickers bar boasts 250 calories at around $1.25 each (Walmart 4 pack). Weight wise, a Snickers bar sits right around 1.8oz compared to OMEALS 10oz. Not to mention the packable size is much less for a Snickers bar. I have put a side by side of the nutritional info below.

While calories aren’t the be all end all in nutrition, it is still a very important number especially when hiking, backpacking and hunting. The average adult weighing just 160lbs burns 400+ calories an hour while hiking. Thats $30 worth of Omeals or just $3 worth of Snickers bars.

Another big concern is the amount of trash left by a meal, you will have to pack it back out so it’s worth paying attention to. The Omeals system uses an outer pouch, an inner food pouch and a heating element, all that will need to be packed out. The heating element absorbs the water to create the chemical reaction when producing steam, so unless you leave the pack out to fully dry you will be packing out some extra water weight. Contrast that to a tiny wrapper from a bar or a single pouch from homemade meals, such as Our Favourite Backpacking Meal!, or another brand of freeze dried meals.

Its always fun to try new meals and get some new options for the years hunts and backpack trips, but based on the high cost, high amount of waste, and the lack of calories the Omeals Turkey Chili will not be going in my pack again.

Here are some of my current favourites: Peak ReFuel Beef Pasta Marinara and Peak ReFuel Chicken Pesto Pasta.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. These links direct you to the product where I may earn a small commission at NO COST to you. This helps keep the content coming!

Hope this information is useful as you plan your nutrition for this falls hunts!


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