I’ve been out on the road for the past month and a half, working around the western half of North Dakota quite a bit. Life on the road comes with its own unique challenges.
There is a lot of open land up in this area of the country. Towns are small, and those that are there are few and far between. Working out in the middle of nowhere, it’s still necessary to fuel up with good food and water. Food in these situations, by necessity, needs to be lightweight and portable, while still being mostly nutritious.
Before heading out on the road, I contacted a number of freeze dried food companies to see what the options were. Mountain House is one of the biggest names in freeze dried foods, but recently their ubiquitous #10 cans have become rather scarce. Instead, I managed to get a hold of Wise Foods and requested a few of their sample packs to see how they compared.
Wise doesn’t use cans. Each of their pouches is designed to make just four servings, unlike the #10 cans which can absorb moisture once opened and begin to spoil rapidly.
The only drawback to the family sized pouches that Wise uses is that you cannot easily cook the dish inside the pouch. You need a decent sized saucepan in order to boil water and prepare the dish. While this means that Wise food pouches may not be ideal for ultralight backpackers, it is still quite easy to transport and prepare a meal while traveling by vehicle.
Danny Eriksson from Wise called me a week or so after the samples arrived, and we discussed their product line. I asked about their pouches and was pleased to discover that they do indeed have the smaller ready-cook pouches. I didn’t get to test them, but if they function anything like the other brands on the market, they should be perfect for backpackers and hunters.
Preparing any of the meals is quite simple. Start by measuring the prescribed amount of water into a saucepan. Bring it to a boil. While I tested this on an electric range, my experience backpacking has shown that bringing this quantity of water to a boil is easily done within a few minutes using a small camp stove or even a penny stove.
Once the water is boiling, remove from heat and add in the dehydrated food mix (or pour the water into the ready-cook pouch). Stir it in well and let it stand for 12-15 minutes or until the mix is hydrated all the way through.
Serve, and enjoy!
Dehydrated foods really are the “luxury” surival food. They’re tasty, almost as convenient as MREs, and much more compact and lightweight to carry around. Best of all, they have the longest shelf life of all food types used in long term storage. Wise foods advertises that each pouch has a 25 year shelf life, although it’s quite likely that they are capable of lasting much longer when stored in a cool location.