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Dehydrating Your Own Trail Food (5/05)

We promised information about how to make your own dehydrated food - so here are some tips from an unscientific poll of six seasoned backpackers.

  • It's possible to sun dry many foods, and even to dry some in your oven, but most backpackers who make their own trail food use commercial dehydrators. (One that was mentioned several times is the American Harvest SnackMaster.) Several hikers recommended borrowing a dehydrator first and trying it out before investing in one of your own.
  • Dehydrating your own trail food takes quite a bit of time and care, but it can give you a backpack full of foods that you know you're going to love. Plus, you won't have to depend on the much more expensive packaged dried food sold at outdoor stores.
  • Burlington Section treasurer Joel Tilley says that Wilhemina's spaghetti sauce dries easily and is delicious when reconstituted.
  • Once you've tried drying some basic foods, dare to be a more creative. One hiker mixes scrambled eggs, diced onions and green peppers, garlic and other spices and dries the whole mess. Then she pulverizes it by putting it in a plastic bag and hitting it with a rolling pin, and then divides it into one-person portions.
  • Drying food tends to tame hot flavors like cayenne, so if you like spicy dinners pack extra spices and add them when you're cooking your meals.
  • There are lots of helpful books at this website: