As part of our preparation for our first multi-night backpacking trip, John and I spent a lot of time researching our food options. On other trips, we had been able to keep sausage for a night or two and could carry around cans of potatoes and beans without them weighing us down.
This trip to Yellowstone was much different though. We were planning for seven days in some of the most remote parts of our country, so calories, weight, and healthiness were all important factors in our choice. You can read about our entire planning and prepping process for our big trip in this post.
We started our research by going into some local outdoor stores to see our options. When walking around our local REI, the first thing we noticed about meals were the cost. Upwards of $5 per meal seemed very costly. At first, the prices made us panic about our decision to try them out, but we learned about variety and bulk boxes offered when we started looking online.
A quick Google search lead us to these sites that helped us start our search: Switchback Travel, Adventure Junkies, and My Open Country. Thanks to these articles, I was able to narrow our search to less than 10 brands.
The companies we checked out first were Alpine Aire, Backpacker’s Pantry, Good to Go, Mary Jane’s Farm, Mountain House, Wise Company, and Wild Zora Foods. The lack of variety instantly took Wild Zora off the list. Good to Go’s variety packs were all sold out, and even though Mountain House was highly recommended and the least expensive, the sodium content was too high for us. We felt that we’d rather spend more money on healthy ingredients than carry more meals.
I ended up making a spreadsheet that laid out each meal that was offered in each box I was researching. I broke down the cost, calories, and quantities of meals for Backpacker’s Pantry, Wise Company, and Mary Jane’s Farm.
Backpacker’s Pantry had two options I was considering: their seven day one person kit and their seven day two person kit. The main issue I had with this company was their website! It would allow me to create a variety pack with the meals they had, but for some reason, they would never appear in my cart or they were just not available. I had a hard time pricing out their items because of these troubles, but from what I could tell, they were a bit more expensive than the ones we ended up with.
Wise Company offered a very large survivor style box on Amazon that cost $70 and included 15 packets. The downside is that there were there were no breakfasts, and their nutritional facts weren’t very impressive. Also, some of the comments sold it as more of an emergency preparedness box instead of camping meals, but it still came in a close second.
After all of our research, Mary Jane’s Farm’s “Alone At Last” was the box we chose, and we could not have been happier. In fact, we don’t really know how any dehydrated meals could be any tastier or more filling than Mary Jane’s. Every night, we were amazed by the quality of product and the consistencies of the dishes. Nothing felt gummy or uncooked.
We were able to eat a meal and a soup every night, and for three nights, we had chocolate mousse for dessert! I will say that we never ate any of the meals for lunch - we each had snack bags and made tortilla roll ups with sandwich meat and cheese nearly every day for lunch. But still, at the end of the trip, we had one soup, two breakfasts, and one couscous meal left over.
Overall, we were thoroughly surprised and absolutely stuffed while on the trail. We were so glad that we chose Mary Jane’s Farm for our first backpacking trip, and honestly, I can’t wait to give the others a try to really compare the taste and quality!
Check out our other posts to see what other gear we carried and the things we packed in our first aid kits!
Talkin' 'bout Tacos:
I'm Taylor, aka Tacos! I am sharing my journeys and experiences from across the world hoping to inspire travel and adventure in all who read!