Backpacking Chef Top Picks Buyer's Guide

Welcome to the Backpacking Chef Shopping Guide

Welcome to the Backpacking Chef Shopping Guide!

These are products that I use regularly, and if I haven’t yet, they come highly recommended by Backpacking Chef readers.

Take a look and see if there’s something new that will help you too.

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High-quality dehydrators ranked by capacity. Read my Review comparing these dehydrators.

Nonstick Dehydrator Sheets & Trays

Mesh sheets are needed for drying small food items in dehydrators that have tray supports with large spaces. Excalibur dehydrators come with mesh sheets.

Nonstick sheets or trays are needed for drying fruit leather and saucy foods. Flat sheets can be cut to fit with scissors. Trays with raised edges are great for containing liquidy foods. Sheets and trays made of silicone offer the best nonstick performance, but Teflon sheets also work well.


Digital Scale,Measuring Cups & Spoons

Digital scale measuring cups and spoons

Use a digital food scale and measuring cups when cooking meals and ingredients for dehydration, and for weighing dried ingredients when assembling meals.

Vacuum Sealers & Bags

FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer & Bags and Jar Sealer

Vacuum sealing removes oxygen and prolongs the shelf-life of dehydrated food. Vacuum-sealed meals are protected from moisture on the trail. You can seal mason jars with the jar-sealing accessory purchased separately. See: vacuum sealing dried food.

Mylar Bags & Oxygen Absorbers

Mylar bags, when used in combination with oxygen absorbers, are excellent for storing individual dehydrated meals. Cook meals right in the bag by adding boiled water. Oxygen absorbers should also be added to dehydrated foods stored in mason jars at home.

  • PackFreshUSA: Pint (6" x 7") Mylar Pouch Stand-Up, Heat Sealable Bags plus 100cc Oxygen Absorbers, Pack of 50 each, plus Long-Term Food Storage Guide.
  • PackFreshUSA: Quart (7" x 9") Mylar Pouch Stand-Up, Heat Sealable Bags plus 200cc Oxygen Absorbers, Pack of 50 each, plus Long-Term Food Storage Guide.
  • 100cc Oxygen Absorbers, 200 Pack, PackFreshUSA, plus Long-Term Food Storage Guide.

Thermos Food Jars

Thermos food jars are excellent for rehydrating meals that you want to eat later in the day. Great for backpacking, hiking, work, and travel. It helps to have a long-handle spoon. Read more about thermos cooking.

  • THERMOS Stainless King Vacuum-Insulated Food Jar, 24 oz.
  • Optimus Titanium Long Spoon
  • THERMOS Stainless King Vacuum-Insulated Food Jar with Spoon, 16 oz.

DIY Pot Cozy & Pot Stand Material

Hold the heat in your backpacking pot or bag by making an insulating pot cozy or pouch cozy. See how to make a pot cozy, and how to make a pot stand for alcohol or candle stove.

  • Double Bubble Reflective Foil Insulation, 24” x 10’
  • Reflectix FT210 Reflective Foil Tape, 2" x 30'
  • Hardware Cloth for DIY Pot Stands 24” x 5’

Tea light Candles, Alcohol Fuel Bottle, Canister Stove

See tea light candle cooking or tea light alcohol stove cooking.

  • Richland Unscented Tea light Candles, White, 125 count.
  • Vargo Alcohol Fuel Bottle
  • Optimus Crux Folding Canister Stove

Backpacking Pots

A 900 ml pot is big enough for solo backpacking, but a 1300 ml pot gives you more flexibility if you sometimes hike with two people. The GSI Halulite pot, a heavier option, comes with cups and bowls. These pots all have dependable handles.

  • EVERNEW Ti Titanium Ultralight Pot, 900 ml
  • EVERNEW Ti Titanium Ultralight Pot, 1300 ml
  • GSI Halulite Microdualist Pot with Cups & Bowls, 2 Person

Water Filters & Purification

Sawyer Squeeze water filters come in several sizes and work well. Carry a backup water purification method such as chlorine dioxide drops or tablets, or a UV SteriPen. Read more about water filters and purification.

  • Sawyer Squeeze Water Filtration System w/ Two 32-Oz Squeeze Pouches, Straw, and Hydration Pack Adapter
  • Katadyn Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets, 20 Count
  • SteriPEN Ultra UV Water Purifier

Books by Chef Glenn

Everything you need to know about dehydrating delicious backpacking meals.

  • Recipes for Adventure: Healthy, Hearty and Homemade Backpacking Recipes
  • Recipes for Adventure II: The Best of Trail Bytes
  • 1001 Miles on the Appalachian Trail

Electrolyte Drink Powders

Replace sodium and minerals lost during sweating and improve recovery.

  • LMNT Zero-Sugar Electrolytes Hydration Powder Packets
  • Nuun Sport Electrolyte Hydration Tablets
  • Tailwind Electrolytes Hydration Powder Packets.

Instant Coffee & Milk

Coffees highly recommended by Backpacking Chef readers.

  • Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee, 50 packets
  • Café Bustelo Instant Coffee, 72 packets
  • Whole Milk Powder by Hoosier Hill Farm, 1 lb.

Powdered Cheese, Peanut Butter, and Coconut Milk

Make saucy meals. Add to backpacking desserts and fruit leather smoothies. See Mac & Cheese Recipes, Thai Peanut Noodles Recipe, Thai Green Curry Recipe, Fruit Leather Recipes.

  • Cheddar Cheese Powder by Hoosier Hill Farm, 1 lb.
  • Peanut Butter Powder by PB2, 32 oz.
  • Coconut Milk Powder by Anthony's Organic, 1 lb.

Freeze-Dried Meals

These freeze-dried meals got the top votes from Backpacking Chef readers. With a 30-year shelf life, it’s good to keep a few meals on hand for emergencies or for when you don’t have time to dry your own.

Hungry backpackers can eat a 2-person serving, but a 1-person serving may be better for some appetites.

  • Mountain House Biscuits & Gravy, 2 Servings
  • Mountain House Chicken & Dumplings, 2 Servings
  • Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce, 2 Servings

Pro-Pak meals are 1 serving.

  • Mountain House Breakfast Skillet, 1 Serving
  • Mountain House Beef Stroganoff with Noodles, 1 Serving
  • Mountain House Chicken & Rice, 1 Serving

Energy Bars

Calorically dense energy bars to eat between meals. Recommended by Backpacking Chef readers.

  • LÄRABAR Variety Pack, Gluten Free Fruit & Nut Bars, 16 bars
  • CLIF BAR Energy Bars Variety Pack, Plant Based, 16 bars
  • GoMacro Macrobars, Organic, Vegan, 12 Flavors, 12 Bars

Single-Serve Condiment Packets

Add to meals to boost fat calories.

  • Kraft Real Mayo, 25 Packets
  • Marconi Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 25 Packets
  • JUSTIN'S Peanut Butter, 10 Packets

Recommend a Product

If you use and love a product related to food dehydration or backpacking food, please send me your recommendation here: Contact Chef Glenn.

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