by Diane Spicer
This Valley Food Storage review of pre-packaged freeze dried backpacking food is brought to you for one reason, and one reason only:
to put more options in your backpacking menu
Hiking For Her and Valley Food Storage have no affiliate relationship.
This food was received by Hiking For Her with the intent to prepare and sample it, and then offer a thorough, unbiased assessment of its usefulness to a backpacker planning for an upcoming trip.
All comments, photos and opinions in this Valley Food Storage review belong to Hiking For Her.
This food was prepared at home, using a stove and kitchen utensils.
You might go at the critical task of planning a backpacking or camping menu differently, but here's what I've learned over the decades will work:
With that in mind, I selected the food discussed in this Valley Food Storage review.
Let's get to it.
From the wide selection of choices on the Valley Food Storage website, a sub-selection of gluten free options were carefully considered.
For an evening meal after a long day on the trail, these freeze dried, lightweight food choices seemed interesting to try:
A note about this gluten free food:
Dried coconut milk is used in place of cow milk for taste and thickening.
Each package of freeze dried food contained enough for five servings, at a quarter cup or half cup rehydrated per serving (details below).
If you've ever backpacked, you know that a quarter cup of soup added to a cup of water is a laughable amount at the end of the day - unless it's followed by a lot more food.
So my recommendation would be to double the amount of the serving size on the packages, and maybe even triple it for large or extremely active backcountry hikers.
Using the double serving approach, let's get to how much fuel you'll be ingesting.
I already know how many calories per day I need to keep me upright and humming along on the trail.
The double portions of the four different food choices delivered 1000 calories (give or take a few mouthfuls) for the entire meal.
Not enough calories for your needs?
Or swap out the Tomato Basil soup for the Irish Pub Cheddar Potato Soup GF mix, with a whopping 280 calories per quarter cup serving - thanks to both cow milk and coconut milk.
Disclosure: The potato soup was not eaten as part of this Valley Food Storage review, so no comment beyond the calorie count.
Using only the blinding speed of
my own brain the calculator on my phone, here are the energy calculations for all of the food in this Valley Food Storage review:
Total carbohydrates: 141 grams
Total protein: 26 grams
Total fats: 16 grams
Chapter one of a true story:
The amount of sodium in two of the foods (double portions, recall) was high enough to raise an eyebrow for non-hiking folks:
If sodium intake is a health concern of yours, and you feel that you aren't depleting your sodium on your hike to any great extent, this particular food pairing isn't for you.
Not to get too personal here, but fiber is your friend on a long hiking trip.
That's one good reason to include fruit in your menu, whether dried fruit or the Valley Food Storage freeze dried blueberries (12% of your daily recommended amounts).
The enchilada entrée also provided fiber: 36% x 2 servings = you're almost there for your daily values!
Eating this food for the Valley Food Storage review was a given.
Enjoying it was not.
So I was blown away by how REAL this food tasted.
And no digestive upsets, a huge win for a gluten free hiker.
Put a handful of these dried blueberries and a few coconut bites in your mouth, and let your saliva deliver the happy news to your taste buds: creamy, slightly sweet, and a refreshing change from icky sweet backpacking desserts.
I'm not being paid to say this, and Valley Food Storage might be surprised when they read this, but I am ordering more of this stuff to squirrel away for upcoming summer adventures.
Plus, my husband suggested it ;)
The total amount of water required to rehydrate the soup and bean/rice entrée (at double rations) was 5 cups total, per person.
That may sound like a lot of water for one meal if you're hiking in dry areas.
But when water is plentiful, and you have enough stove fuel, do this:
The packages containing the Valley Food Storage selections are not designed for rehydrating with boiling water.
So you'll need not only your stove, but a cooking pot and long handled spoon.
Sit down and leisurely enjoy the blueberry + coconut bites reward after you've cleaned up!
No cooking required, just lots of creamy, fruity bliss. (Or am I the only one who misses fruit on a backpacking trip?)
One of the complaints I hear about freeze dried hiking food is how expensive it is.
To me, time is money, and my backpacking time is precious enough to warrant spending a bit of cash on easy to fix meals.
The combined cost of this Valley Food Storage backpacking food was quite reasonable: about $50 U.S. at current prices listed on the website.
I noticed that when you sign up for the Valley Food Storage newsletter, you can save some cash.
So if you're a strategic backpacking menu planner, order everything you need in one go!
If you live in a disaster prone area like I do in the Pacific NW (floods, wind, earthquakes, fire), stash some of this food away in an accessible place.
I'm here for you.
Contact me and we'll talk.
I've eaten A LOT of pre-packaged trail food in my decades of hiking, and what I've reviewed here is among the best for all of the reasons mentioned.
Thanks to Valley Food Storage for a chance to try something new!
For more Hiking For Her tips on how to stay full on the trail, go here.
Valley Food Storage Review