Moab, Utah

Directory to the Top Backpacking Meal Brands

By Matt Mullins updated June 5, 2020

This comprehensive list of 15 freeze dried backpacking and dehydrated emergency meal brands includes some that you may not have heard of. While researching for this page I certainly discovered some new ones that I’m excited to try out.

All of these brands are made in the USA, which fits in with my buy local mentality. The following American made meal brands are organized by alphabetical order to avoid any bias. 

*Note to new backpackers: many of these meals show two servings per packet. I always eat both servings for dinner but my girlfriend usually eats half to 3/4 of each packet (then I eat her leftovers, haha)… Everyone’s appetite is unique both by taste and abundance.
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Best Backpacking Meal Brands

1. AlpineAire

The three cheese chicken pasta is one of their most popular meals. I find that you can always make dehydrated meals even better by adding your own spices and embellishments like red pepper flakes, lemon, black pepper, and of course salt. You can find Alpine Aire here:

More Info/Pricing at Amazon

More Info/Pricing at REI.com

2. Backpacker's Pantry

Their most popular and my personal favorite Backpacker’s Pantry meal is the veggie pad thai. You can find Backpacker’s Pantry here:

More Info/Pricing at Amazon

More Info/Pricing at REI.com

3. Good To-Go

Good To-Go boasts clean ingredients and has many gluten free and plant based options to choose from. Their most popular meal is their Thai Curry. You can find them here:

More Info/Pricing at Amazon

More Info/Pricing at REI.com

4. Greenbelly Meal2Go

Greenbelly’s non cooking high energy meal bars are big with thru hikers. You’ll definitely see them on the Appalachian Trail and PCT for example. You can find them here:

More Info/Pricing at Amazon

5. Heather's Choice

Heather’s Choice specializes in healthy and gluten free dehydrated meals. They get consistently high positive reviews. You can find them here:

More Info/Pricing at Amazon

More Info/Pricing at REI.com

6. Mary Janes Farm - Outpost Backpacking Meals

Mary Janes Farm is a well known (with many books) and very busy organic farm near Moscow, Idaho. They craft organic freeze dried meals called Outpost Backpacking Meals. You can find them here:

More Info/Pricing at MaryJanesFarm.org

7. Mountain House

Tried and true and with many updated recipes, Mountain House has long been one of my staples while backpacking. My favorite is the Beef Stroganoff while my girlfriend’s favorite is the Chicken and Dumplings. Biscuits and Gravy is another solid choice. Remember everything can be boosted by adding spices like cayenne. Per calorie Mountain House provides one of the most economical freeze dried backpacking meals available. You can find them here:

More Info/Pricing at Amazon

More Info/Pricing at REI.com

8. Next Mile Meals

Next Mile Meals makes low carb ketogenic and paleo friendly freeze dried meals. The Chicken and Broccoli is a tasty option. You can find them here:

More Info/Pricing at Amazon

9. O Meals

Omeals makes self heating, fully cooked meals kind of like the military MRE’s I subsisted on while firefighting… but tastier. Note that these meals are convenient but do carry some cons: They’re heavier than freeze dried meals, contain fewer calories, plus the heating element gains water weight and must be carried out as trash. You can find them here:

More Info/Pricing at Amazon

More Info/Pricing at REI.com

10. Outdoor Herbivore

As the name suggests, Outdoor Herbivore crafts vegetarian and vegan friendly backpacking meals. You can find them here:

More Info/Pricing at OutdoorHerbivore.com

11. Packit Gourmet

Packit Gourmet focuses on Keto and Paleo friendly backpacking meals. You can find them here:

More Info/Pricing at PackitGourmet.com

12. Patagonia Provisions

Patagonia Provisions feature organic, sustainably harvested, and fair trade dehydrated backpacking meals. Where you can find them:

More Info/Pricing at REI.com

13. Peak Refuel

Peak Refuel cooks up premium freeze dried backpacking meals with high protein and no fillers. You can find them here:

More Info/Pricing at Amazon.com

More Info/Pricing at REI.com

14. Wild Zora

Wild Zora is a premium backpacking meal brand that caters to special dietary needs including: Paleo, AIP autoimmune protocol friendly, dairy free, gluten free, no added sugar, nut free, and soy free diets. You can find them here:

More Info/Pricing at Amazon.com

More Info/Pricing at REI.com

15. Wise Company - Emergency and Survival Food Supply

Wise Company makes long term emergency supply freeze dried meals with a shelf life of 25 years. The cost per meal is lower due to added fillers. You can find them here:

More Info/Pricing at Amazon.com

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