How to use a food dehydrator for great hiking meals

One great way to eat well on a hiking or backpacking trip is to dehydrate  meals you have  prepared at  home. Many people are scared of the thought of dehydrating food for their bushwalking trip but we have found it a simple and easy way to eat cheap, home cooked meals that taste great!

As always, with anything that is good in life, it takes a little effort. But don’t stress, the rewards far outweigh the time spent creating a great meal, ready to eat out in the bush.  The food is lighter, much tastier than “satchel” freeze dried and you can make it to your own taste or dietary requirements.

In this video, Deb and Frank explain what a dehydrator is, how it works and how they use  it to dehydrate great home cooked food  for not only multi day trips,  but camping and at home.

We hope you enjoy it!

In our book, Food to Go, we have a step by step guide on how to dehydrate a meal. It has some fantastic, close up pictures that we hope make the whole exercise easy and simple.

Do you own a dehydrator?
Have you dehydrated meals for outdoor trips?
How did it work out for you?

We would love to hear back from you, please leave a comment below and share your knowledge.


  1. Alan Holzman (aka Uncle Al) says

    Hi Frank and Sue,
    I got the inspiration from you to purchase and use a dehydrator. I’m in Arizona to begin a 5 day backpack and made some great beef jerky for the trip. You guys have to do this with me soon. Be well.

    • Frank says

      Good stuff Alan, glad to see it worked out for you and you are still getting out there! Yes, we know we have to get over there….. one day!
      We are well! Frank

  2. Steve Went says

    We bought a Vacola dehydrator to prepare meals for the Overland Track. Being able to cook food you enjoy is a bonus, as some of the commercial meals are a bit hit and miss. (Saves having to sample them all to find the ones you like) Our children appreciated eating their “normal food”. Portion sizes are easy to control as well. Our first hike using commercial meals ended up with having to carry out rehydrated excess food resulting in our packs getting heavier as we went along! Food preparation is as simple as filling a plastic bag with boiling water and letting it sit which saves on cleaning your pots. If your meal looks a bit light on after a big hike add or accompany it with some instant mashed potato and some rehydrated dried peas. Cooked rice came back very light and fluffy- delicious.

    • Frank says

      Thanks very much Steve and welcome to the site. Really great advice and tips there. I have just finished dehydrating three meals for a trip this week. For the first time I weighed everything and will wack up the results when we get back. It makes a huge difference!

  3. Steve Went says

    Forgot to say thanks for the great book, Food to Go, the timing for our trip was spot on, and the information invaluable.

  4. says

    Longtime reader; first time poster, Just curious guys while I was away at Easter, I stumbled upon the thought that dehydrated capsicum would be possibly a good idea; have you ever tried it? Did it re-hydrate well?

    • Frank says

      Hi Ben,
      Thanks for commenting. Yes you can dehydrate capsicum (and most other vegetables) It dehydrates ok , better for a stir fry or to add to a meal than as a salad……..

      Part of the trick is not to cut it too small. The skin can end up a bit tough so you need as much flesh as you can get.

  5. Tracy says

    Last weekend on the trail I enjoyed immensely a reconstituted multi-bean curry that had obviously been dehydrated. Simply six tins of assorted beans (chickpeas, lima beans, 4-bean mix etc etc) and a 500g jar of the lowest fat pre-mixed curry (pataks) sauce. The beans are already cooked in the tins, so I just mix it all up, lay on drying trays (covered in baking paper as I don’t have a solid tray) and ‘viola’ – yummy trail tucker! Just add water and let simmer for a few minutes till beans ‘come back’ – Yum!

  6. Jeanne B says

    Making beef jerky for years in my Excalibur and thought I would try just marinating raw hamburger and dropping it in small dabs to dry, it dried up into hard rocks, and I use it with a can of beef broth or spaghetti sauce to bring it back to fresh tasting hamburger.. delicious and tender.. Using some steak seasoning and a little soy sauce for moisture, it turned out so much better than I had hoped. Now I have dry rocks on the shelf.. buying Hamburger when on sale or having the butcher grind London Broil when it is on sale

    • Frank says

      Hi Jeanne,
      That sounds really good. Do you just keep them in an airtight container and use them as you feel like some “meal balls”?
      I reckon they would work well for a meal on the track with some rehydrated tomato / bolognaise sauce.
      Thanks for dropping by,

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