Monday, October 18, 2010

Vegetarian freeze-dried food for backpacking

As part of the preparations for our backpacking holidays in Peru, I invested some time gathering as much information as possible about all available freeze-dried vegetarian backpacking products.

This information might be useful to others who are also vegetarian and look for (1) lightweight, (2) tasty, (3) high in calories and protein, backpacking lunch/dinner options.

I looked at all vegetarian products from the following four companies:
  1. Mountain House
  2. Backpacker's Pantry
  3. MaryJanesFarm
  4. Natural High
For further evaluation I selected the ones that had more than 9 grams of protein per serving and a consumer rating above 3 (on a scale of 1 to 5, where 5 is the highest, as judged by backpackers who left their comments on the REI webpage).

All the data that I collected can be found in the excel file HERE.

The file contains:
  1. Product name
  2. Company name
  3. Average product taste rating
  4. The lowest price online found for the product (*)
  5. Package weight
  6. Protein content
  7. Number of calories
  8. Time to cook (only for the products that I ended up buying)
  9. Link to the product info on the REI webpage
  10. Link to the product on amazon, if amazon is selling it at the lower price than REI
The list is sorted from the best to the worst product (as per criteria I described above).

Size of the packages is one more important parameter that is not discussed in the attached excel file as this information was not available to me before I bought some of the freeze-dried food items. As you can see at the photos below, some of the products (notably the ones from MaryJanesFarm) are MUCH smaller than the competitors.

Each pile contains 6 products of the same kind as the one on top of the pile:

(*) If you order 12 food products in the REI's online shop you get 10% discount. In some states (e.g. CA) there will be also no sales tax. Shipping is free for the REI members on orders bigger than $75. Some products, e.g. all from MaryJanesFarm are 30% cheaper on amazon! So shop around before you place your order.