Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s Canada

Our Favourite Backpacking Meal!

Whether you are out backpacking or hunting, having some good quality meals is a must. Sure there are a lot of store bought options available, but at $9-14 dollars per pouch feeding yourself in the woods can be very expensive. The other concern with store bought meals can be the salt content, most Mountain House meals contain your entire daily recommended salt intake in just one pouch!!!

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A simple and cost effective way to enhance your backpacking meals is to dehydrate your own. It’s not as difficult as you may think! The key is to avoid dairy products in your meals and limit the fat content (it just doesn’t dehydrate well). We usually just make a large batch of a meal we like for dinner and then dehydrate the leftovers. Its a win-win.

In this post I will share our favourite backpacking meal- Coconut Thai Chicken Curry!

Here is the basic recipe we follow (we tweak amounts of vegetables and rice depending on feel and we encourage you to experiment as well). Some notes about the directions below, we use shredded chicken in all of our backcountry meals. We find that the chicken both dehydrates quicker, and upon rehydrating is not as tough! Next up is to keep dense vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, etc as small as can be. This again helps with dehydration time. Other vegetables such as celery, most greens, onions, and peppers tend to dehydrate quite well as they are less dense.


  • 2 to 3 tablespoons coconut oil (olive oil may be substituted)
  • 2 medium or 1 large sweet yellow onion, diced small
  • 2 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, shredded
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons ground ginger or 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • Two 13-ounce can coconut milk
  • 2 cup finely chopped carrots (Carrots are dense, so the smaller the pieces the better they will dehydrate)
  • 1 cup chopped celery, this adds some colour and crunch!
  • 3-6 tablespoons Thai Red Curry Paste, or to taste (We use the by taste method, who doesn’t like a little warmth!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • Rice of choice, we use whatever we have on hand, we use about 1/2 cup per serving


  1. Boil the chicken breasts, and then shred cooked chicken.
  2. In a large skillet, add the oil, onion, and sauté over medium-high heat until the onion begins to soften about 5 minutes; stir intermittently.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant; stir frequently.
  4. Add in the shredded chicken, mix well.
  5. Add the coconut milk, carrots, celery, Thai curry paste, salt, pepper, and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium, and allow mixture to gently simmer for about 5 minutes, or until liquid volume has reduced as much as desired and thickens slightly.
  6. Add the rice and stir to combine.

Once we have the meal cooked, we will let is cool and this allows the liquid to congeal slightly locking in the flavours. Then we will scoop the meal into a standard bowl to ensure similar serving size. We recommend a rather large portion as you will burn more calories while out hiking. We also will make smaller meals for my wife and larger ones for me, which is another benefit to making your own meals – less waste, as my wife can almost never eat a full Mountain House.

Once we have our portion, we will spread the meal onto a layer of parchment paper laid out on one of our dehydrating racks. Its best to only put one portion per rack, this spreads out the meal to help with dehydration and makes the packaging easier.

dehydrated backpacking meal

We use a Cabelas 80L Commercial Dehydrator but any will work. Here is a great entry level option. Times may vary depending on fan and temperature of your unit.

dehydrating our backpacking meals

We will dehydrate meals at 160 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 hours. You can crumble the meal in your fingers and this will be a good test to see if all of the moisture is gone. Adjust time longer if need be.

Finally, we package each portion in the Cabelas vacuum seal pouches. These pouches can be used much like the Mountain House meals, the boiling water gets added directly to the bag and they are resealable to aid in the rehydrating process.

complete backpacking meal

For cost reference, based solely on the meal and packaging. We spent about $35 dollars on groceries and the bags are $0.35-0.60 depending on the size. We had 7 large servings from the groceries, we used 4 to make dehydrated meals from. So each backpacking meal cost us about $5.50, much less than the store bought versions and WAY LESS salt. Each large serving (about 5 large scoops) contains roughly 550-600 calories.

I hope this inspires you to make your own backpacking meals! Feel free to reach out with any questions, and we will be sure to share more of our meal recipes and snack ideas.


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2 Responses

  1. Heather says:

    Yummy! Bring some in August when you visit! 😋

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