Full disclosure, RightonTrek sent us these easy backpacking meals to try, however, the review is 100% the writer’s (who is a true foodie) opinion.
Selecting a food plan for your outdoor adventure trip or hiking trail, whether it’s an overnight or section hikes, involves balancing nutrition, taste, ingredients, preparation, and shelf life. Fortunately, options for premade backpacking meals have increased over the past few years. In addition to classic comfort offerings – gluten-free, keto, organic, dairy-free, vegan, and vegetarian backpacking meals are now available.
Right On Trek Meal describes their premade next-generation backcountry meals and meal planning service, as both delicious and nutritious trail meals free from preservatives. Additionally. they offer one, two, and four-person individually packaged servings for their products.
James and I brought four of their one-serving premade meals on a recent camping trip and were pleasantly surprised by the taste and how delicious they were. Overall, for our review, we give RightOnTrek backcountry meals three out of five stars – highlighting the fresh, flavorful meals but docking for complicated preparation and messy clean-up.RightonTrek Meal review Video by Nina Pukonen
Summary of Backpacking Meal Plan Options
- 390 Calories per serving
- 18g Fat/49g Carbohydrate (15g Sugar)/9g Protein
- 380 Calories per serving
- 26g Fat/13g Carbohydrate (8g Sugar)/25g Protein
- 540 Calories per serving
- 20g Fat/69g Carbohydrate (13g Sugar)/22g Protein
- 560 Calories per serving
- 17g fat/71g Carbohydrate (17 Sugar)/29g Protein
Easy Backpacking Meal Review Highlights
What I liked:
- Fresh, flavorful meals
- Clean ingredients with attention to separating potential allergens
- Small batch production in sustainable packaging
What I didn’t like:
- Multi-step preparation prolongs cooking process
- Clean-up is messy for some of the meals
- Not compatible with all-in-one cooking system
Premade Meals: Flavor and Ingredients Equally Matter
The ingredients listed on the Right On Trek sustainable bio-based packaging reassured me that I wouldn’t be setting myself up for failure on the trail. I struggle with both food intolerances and allergies, and not my dietary preferences, that limit my options on backpacking food plans.
At RightOnTrek.com I was able to review all the ingredients by meal prior to selecting the Banana Bread Oatmeal, Cheesy Mushroom Egg Scramble, Bechamel Style Mac and Cheese, and Hearty Beef Bolognese.
In all of the meals, both spice and cheese packets were separated from the other components which allowed customization. This is a benefit for those with food or flavor sensitivities. The entree meals are generally aligned with a 30 fat/50 carbohydrate/20 protein macro count.
Breakfast- Cheesy Mushroom Egg Scramble
The Cheesy Mushroom Egg Scramble was the best egg backpacking meal we have tried – we’d buy this again. The fluffy consistency of the egg was exactly what you’d expect in a scramble.
That said, I recommend rehydrating the powdered egg and mushrooms longer as we found our mushrooms were still a bit tough. The package came with a small serving of oil and the use of beeswax in cooking is recommended, which is not something we have previously encountered.
Vegan Banana Bread Oatmeal
The vegan and no gluten Banana Bread Oatmeal was full of flavor but gummy in texture. I appreciate that the oatmeal came with separate bags of walnuts, dried fruit, and milk/cream powder. I added the fruit and walnuts to step up the flavor profile, which certainly made it taste better. Also, the single serving was generous and could easily be split depending on calorie needs.
Lunch- Bechamel Style Mac and Cheese
We were excited to try the vegetarian Bechamel Style Mac and Cheese. After a messy preparation, James proclaimed the dish to be “great” due to the rich flavors. This is where customization is key as I would add less of the parsley/onion/black pepper spice packet for myself and more for him.
He likes bold flavors while I like mine more nuanced. The consistency of the elbow pasta was perfect and the cheese sauce was generous, leaving no noodle bare. We both enjoyed this creamy, filling dish.
Dinner- Hearty Beef Bolognese
The Hearty Beef Bolognese lived up to its name by delivering a warm dish of gently flavored noodles and beef crumbles, which was perfect for me. An optional red pepper packet helped James kick up the spice a notch.
Once again, the freshness of the ingredients shined in this dish making it taste more like a chef cooked restaurant meal than a premade backpacking meal. Undoubtedly, this dish set a new bar for us on backcountry beef noodles.
How to Cook RightOnTrek Backpacking Meals
Most meals are freeze-dried or dehydrated. Traditionally, you boil the recommended amount of water before adding ingredients. It’s my experience that more water and longer cooking times are required to reach the desired consistency when at altitude, and these meals were no exception.
Right On Trek’s dehydrated meals are designed for single pot preparation – these foods are not prepared in a resealable bag so leave the all-in-one cooking system at home. Each meal we tried had several pouches of ingredients requiring multiple cooking steps and making preparation time-consuming.
- Step 1: For the noodle-based dishes I used our MSR 1.3 Liter pot to first heat the recommended ounces of water.
- Step 2: Once the water was at a boil I added the noodles (and protein) and cooked them for around 5 minutes – the high end range of recommended time.
- Step 3: Once the water had mostly evaporated and the noodles (and protein) were tender I slowly mixed in the first flavor/spice packet. Both dishes required the addition of a little more water at this stage to fully mix in the packet, but I was at 10,000+ feet elevation.
- Step 4: Both dishes had a secondary or optional spice/cheese packet which I added next, stirring to make sure it was fully incorporated into the dish.
- Step 5: I chose to transfer the dish into a bowl so that I could clean and use the pot for the preparation of a different meal for my partner.
The oatmeal and mac and cheese, while an easy backpacking meal to make, were particularly difficult to clean from the pot, so I’m reluctant to take these on a multi-day backpacking trip. What’s more, without proper dish soap and towel,the pot would be difficult to clean in a manner that honors leave no trace principles.
I’d be more likely to take these with us for dispersed camping. Regardless, backpacking foodies and gourmands will likely welcome the additional time and effort in exchange for the fresh, tasty flavors.
How to Prepare a Backpacking Food Plan
In addition to selling individual meals, Right On Trek offers a service to customize your multi-day meal plan complete with snacks. If the cheddar cheese stick they sent is an indication of quality then their snack offerings will likely meet your flavor needs.
Since I have food allergies and intolerances – including soy, potato, cauliflower, sunflower, and cocoa – I like selecting my own snacks. I always pack more snacks than I think I’ll need as: 1) getting hangry on the trail can ruin an otherwise great adventure, 2) inevitably someone in the group will need extra snack options, and 3) sometimes the hike or trip takes longer than expected.
My snacks are usually a small bag of nuts (trail mix), dried fruit, beef stick/jerky, mini waffle, and energy gel/bar.
For easy backpacking meal plans, I’ll bring three premade meals (breakfast, snacks, dinner) for each day and sometimes a dessert. After a long day and I hiked a lot of miles or up a significant elevation, then I usually eat a two serving premade meal. If less, then I’ll share a meal with my partner or pack a one serving meal.
Meal planning ultimately depends on your personal calorie needs. James sometimes brings four to five meals per day, or bigger serving packs, as his calories need are higher than mine.
Buying and Using Backpacking Meals
The RightOnTrek meals we tried all had a shelf life of about one year. These are meals to purchase and use on a quick basis, not stored as backup or emergency meals.
We have a stash of premade backpacking meals and snacks from which we can draw as we plan our backpacking trips. Unfortunately, the RightOnTrek meals are not likely to make that cut due to the reduced shelf life. However, the freshness of the meal plans and convenience will make me consider a timely purchase for some trips.
Review Final Thoughts
In reviewing the cost, RightonTrek meal options are slightly more expensive than other brands. On the plus side, I felt great after RightonTrek meals – no bloating or stomach discomfort.
The clean ingredients and fresh quality can set you up for success on the trail. If you’re willing to put in the extra effort on prep and clean-up, then I recommend Right On Trek backpacking meals for your next adventure.
Nina Pukonen is an avid outdoor enthusiast and gear aficiando. She began camping at the age of one, skiing at three, fishing at five, hiking/backpacking at twenty-one, and rock climbing at twenty-six. Her favorite activity is hiking with her dog, Sierra Snow. When not in the forest, she provides business operations services and consulting to higher education, public sector, and private sector clients.
Other Right On Trek Meal Planning Services
If you have special diet and don’t want to make your own meals, Right On Trek offers meal plans by the day the fits any of these dietary preferences:
- Keto backpacking meals
- Vegan backpacking meals
- Gluten free backpacking meals
- Vegetarian backpacking meals
All meals come with breakfast, dinner, condiments (such as cream, soy sauce, salt, pepper, sugar, snack options and drinks (instant coffee and hot chocolate).
Right on Trek Menu for Breakfasts and Calories
- Blueberry Bliss Granola with Yogurt (480)
- Cranberry and Walnut Oatmeal (410)
- Hearty Morning Coconut Granola (480)
- Savory Mountain Grits (420)
- Banana Bread Oatmeal (390)
- Cheesy Mushroom Egg Scramble (380)
Right On Trek Dinners and Calories
- Backcountry Chili (640)
- Bechamel Style Mac and Cheese (540)
- Chicken Alfredo Pasta (520)
- Chicken Coconut Curry (550)
- General Tsoy’s Mountain Rice (590)
- Hearty Beef Bolognese (560)
- HIgh Country Pad Thai (540)
- Vegan Shepards Stew (520)
- Broccoli Beef Stroganoff (520)
- Cauliflower Forest Chicken Risotto (500)
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