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Valley Food Storage Review: New Backpacking Food Options

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

Freeze dried backpacking food for your upcoming trip can be as easy to find as reading this Valley Food Storage review by Hiking For Her. #hiking #backpacking #trailfood

Disclosure

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.

  • As a gluten free hiker (and not by choice), all food in this review sports the GF label.

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.

  • Hiking For Her is uber cautious when it comes to trying new trail food.
  • Consuming it at home first makes for a blissful outdoor dining experience later.
Valley Food Storage logo on a freeze dried backpacking food package

Valley Food Storage review:
first things first

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:

  • Calculate the number of meals in total needed for the trip.
  • Decide how many calories per meal makes sense for the expected activity level, seasonal weather conditions and terrain.
  • Go through my trusted sources of freeze dried and dehydrated food to pick and choose entrées that will keep me full and satisfied.
  • Double check my math to be sure I'm coming in at, or slightly above, my calorie requirements.

With that in mind, I selected the food discussed in this Valley Food Storage review.

Let's get to it.

The food choices
in this Valley Food Storage review

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:

  • Tomato Basil Soup
  • Enchilada Beans & Rice
  • Coconut Milk Bites
  • Blueberries

A note about this gluten free food:

Dried coconut milk is used in place of cow milk for taste and thickening.

  • Good call if you're lactose intolerant or vegan.
Flecks of basil add savory taste to this coconut milk thickened tomato soup - a hot bowl of this will keep you satisfied on your backpacking trip.Flecks of basil add savory taste to this coconut milk thickened tomato soup - a hot bowl of this will keep you satisfied.


Notes about portions sampled
in this Valley Food Storage review

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.

Calories

I already know how many calories per day I need to keep me upright and humming along on the trail.

  • If you're not sure about your own calorie requirements, read this before proceeding.

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?

Food hacks

  • Add small amounts of olive oil to your cooking water.
  • Throw some bison or beef jerky into your enchilada mix.
  • Add some Valley Food Storage freeze dried chicken or beef to the cooking pot.
  • Eat a lot more coconut bites!!

Food swap suggestion

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.

Calorie breakdown:
the big 3

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

  • Saturated fats: 3 grams, exclusively from the coconut bites

Do your own math

The Valley Food Storage website is easy to navigate to the nutrition facts.

For example, here's the link to the nutrient density and ingredient list for the enchilada beans and rice entrée.


Sodium watch note

Lots of chili powder, cayenne pepper, turmeric and salt makes for a tasty freeze dried backpacking dinner in the backcountryLots of chili powder, cayenne pepper, turmeric and salt makes for a tasty dinner in the backcountry

Chapter one of a true story:

  • Hikers sweat, no matter the season or the load.

Chapter two:

  • Sweat takes away electrolytes, sodium among them.

The amount of sodium in two of the foods (double portions, recall) was high enough to raise an eyebrow for non-hiking folks:

  • 50% of daily sodium in the soup
  • 100% of daily sodium in the beans & rice dish

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.

Fiber

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!


Taste and satisfaction

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.

  • No chemical after tastes
  • No overpowering or obnoxious flavors
  • Flavor full, in a good way!

And no digestive upsets, a huge win for a gluten free hiker.

Freeze dried blueberries and coconut milk bites make a great backpacking snack or dessert for hikersFreeze dried blueberries and coconut milk bites: delicious, nutritious, and so easy to carry

Trail tip:

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.

  • Lots of other fruit choices, too: strawberries, pineapple, peaches...

Here's how good it was!

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.

  • And as emergency preparedness food (see below), it deserves a place in my storage bins.

Plus, my husband suggested it ;)


Ease of preparation
& clean up

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:

  • Boil the 2 cups required for the soup and let it rehydrate while you get the rest of your campsite squared away.
  • Enjoy the soup while the 3 cups for the enchilada mix is boiling.
  • Know that you've replaced a lot of water already as you eat your dinner.

The packages containing the Valley Food Storage selections are not designed for rehydrating with boiling water.

  • The food requires a few minutes (or longer, at high altitude) of simmer time to bring it into its full flavor profile.

So you'll need not only your stove, but a cooking pot and long handled spoon.

  • That also means keeping a scrupulously clean camp, and cleaning chores.

Trail tip:

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?)


Cost

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.

  • Remember, there are 5 servings per package, so this food goes a long, long way - especially if you're hiking solo.
  • And its long shelf life (see below) means you don't have to use it all up at once. Bag up what you need in reusable plastic bags, and store the rest.

Save 10% on your first order

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!


Survival food

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.

  • You have 25 years to use it.
  • It takes up very little space.
  • A camp stove and potable water are all you need to get calories into your body in a satisfying manner.

Questions about this
Valley Food Storage review?

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.

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Valley Food Storage Review

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