DIY High-Fat Dehydrated Dinners for Backpack Hunting

After going through all the work to become fat adapted for my sheep hunt, I couldn’t find premade backpacking meals that were high enough in fat and lower-carbs. So, along with my Triple Cocoa Coconut Fat Bombs, made my own DIY Dehydrated Backpacking Dinner.

DYI high-fat dehydrated dinners

Why go to all the trouble of making your own Dehydrated Meals?

Health benefits of low-carb while in the backcountry

  • A low-carb, Paleo-ish diet, has anti-inflammatory properties. Sheep hunting is extremely strenuous and hard on your body. Anything you can do to decrease this stress and help you recover faster is worth it. Plus, anyone who has eaten Mountain Houses for a week knows about the GI stress they can cause.
  • When your body is fat adapted, you can go longer between meals and if you must skip a meal, you don’t get that hard crash you do when burning carbs. Fat is also a cleaner burning fuel that everyone carries plenty in their bodies. This translates to better performance in the backcountry.

Other benefits of making your own Dehydrated DinnersA Day's food Backpacking Food

  • They weigh less. Fat has over 2 times the calories per gram than carbohydrates and protein. This means you can either carry way more calories or your back can weigh less. Two pounds of food per day backpacking is considered pretty standard.
  • I was able to get around 3,000 Calories/day to weigh just over a pound/day. This meant my husband’s and mine pack were 10 lbs lighter each (on a 10-day sheep hunt)! That is huge! Especially when you are my size…. And female.
  • DIY high-fat dinners are delicious, almost as good as I could at home. We looked forward to eating them each night, but when you are working that hard, food just tastes better too.
  • I did not experience the strong food cravings I typically do during a long hunt. I’m not sure if it was all the veggies and micronutrients, or just the taste, but I was craving a good cup of coffee instead of my usual hamburger or sweets.
  • You can control what goes in them. I love using real food ingredients, that I know my body performs well on. You can also make them suit your personal tastes. Say you don’t like carrots, just swap them out with another veggie you do like.
  • Want to stay in ketosis the whole time or ear strict paleo? Leave out the beans and peas and just add more fat. Personal I wasn’t too worried about my Marcos. My goal was to perform better not be in ketosis 100% of the time. Sheep hunting is so strenuous, I knew my body would appreciate the extra carbs and go back into ketosis quickly. But you are in control!

How to make your own Dehydrated Backpacking Dinners

I started out by downloading the Heather’s Choice Ebook. They are a great company that makes healthy, gluten-free backpacking foods. Honestly, if I hadn’t been set on Low-carb, I would have saved a ton of time and just bought all my food from them.

Full Disclosure. I am an affiliate with them. The worst affiliate ever. I have recommended their food and E-books countless times, and this is the first time I am using my link.

Anyways, the E-book has lots of good recipes and how-tos to make your own meals.

General process

    1.       Start by dicing all your veggies up. Smaller pieces dry and rehydrate faster. I kept all my veggies separate to allow for different drying times. After everything was dry I mixed the ingredients together.DIY high-fat dehyrdated dinners
    2.       You can dehydrate the veggies either in a dehydrator or in a very low oven. Ovens are faster, but you must watch your veggies more closely.
    3.       In a large skillet brown meat and onions with 2 teaspoons salt. I used caribou and ground turkey.
    4.       Meanwhile, bloom 1 teaspoon gelatin in about 1 tablespoon of cold water. This is optional but results in a pleasant sauce and gelatin (collagen), is a great source of protein and great for you. Ok, I’ll leave it there, but I really could talk about collagen for a while.
    5.       Once meat is browned, add the spices. Keep stirring until you can smell them.
    6.       Stir in wet ingredients and gelatin.
    7.       Simmer until most of the excess liquid is gone.DIY high-fat dehyrdated dinners

 

    1.       Let meat mixture cool until it is easier to handle.
    2.       Dehydrate on the highest setting on your dehydrator or lowest setting in your oven*.

dehydrating in a convection oven

 

 

  •     Once all the food is completely dried, let cool to room temperature.dehydrated backpacking food
  •   In 3 mylar bags, equally divide all the ingredients.
  •   If the recipe calls for coconut butter add it now if the recipe calls for butter or cheese, add those in the backcountry, just before you devour your dinner (remember to pack it).
  •   Add a desiccant packet. I skipped this step, but for piece of mind, I won’t next time!
  •   Seal bag with iron or hair straightener. Try to get all the air out you can. This was the first time I have used my straightener in a LONG time.how to seal a mylar bag
  •   To play it safe, I stored my meals in the freezer just to make sure nothing would go bad. Technically you shouldn’t have to, but who wants to get sick in the middle of nowhere on some mountain?
  •   To eat, simply add about 1 ½ cup boiling water and give a stir. Fold over the top (clip closed with the clip on your pocket knife), and let sit 20 minutes, if you can.DYI high-fat dehydrated dinners
  •   Stir in butter or cheese if desired and Enjoy!

 

*dehydrating times will vary greatly depending on your oven or dehydrator. If you are using a convection oven, the fan will speed up the process. Unfortunately, you will just have to keep an eye on your food. Dehydrators take less supervision than ovens. Good news, these meals can be made in advance, so pick a day when you have plenty of time or break it up into batches. I dehydrated all my food one day and package the next, but there is no reason you couldn’t break it up even more.

Follow me on Instagram to see what I’m eating and my latest adventure!

Basic Chili

Keyword backpacking food, dehydrated meals, high-fat
Servings 3

Ingredients

Veggies

  • 1 bell pepper
  • 3 zucchini
  • 1 can beans drained
  • 5 oz baby spinach no need to chop

Meat Mixture

  • 1 pound meat of your choice
  • 1/2 onion

Spices and Seasonings

  • 2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin whole if you have it
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • cayenne pepper

Wet

  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon gelatin bloomed

Add in the Backcountry

  • 3 tablespoons butter 2T/serving
  • cheese to add the desired calories

Recipe Notes

Leave out beans and add more butter to make keto.

Green Chili

Servings 3

Ingredients

Veggies

  • 2 bell pepper
  • 1 can beans drained

Meat Mixture

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 onion
  • Spices and seasonings

Spices and Seasonings

  • 2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin whole if possible
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Wet

  • 1 jar green salsa
  • 1 teaspoon gelatin bloomed

Add in Backcountry

  • 6 tablespoons butter 2T/serving
  • cheese to add the desired calories

Recipe Notes

To make keto, leave out beans and add more butter

Japanese Curry

Servings 3
Calories 940 kcal

Ingredients

Veggies

  • 1 head cauliflower grated
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 lb potato

Meat Mixture

  • 1 lb ground meat of your choice
  • 1/2 onion
  • 8 oz mushrooms

Wet

  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos or soy sauce
  • 10 oz butternut squash

Add in the backcountry

  • 9 tablespoons butter 3 T/serving

Recipe Notes

Brown meat, onions, and mushrooms altogether

Bone Broth

Bone Broth is a true superfood that you can make in your own kitchen.

Keyword bone broth, bones, stock

Instructions

  1. Roast at least one pound of frozen bones in a glass baking dish at 425° F for about 20 minutes, until browned.
  2. Put the bones in a slow-cooker and cover them with water.
  3. Add a splash of vinegar, preferably organic apple cider vinegar.
  4. Cook the bones, water, and vinegar or lemon juice on LOW.

    If you’re using chicken bones, you will want to cook them for 12-24 hours. You’ll want to cook larger bones (like beef bones) for at least 24-36 hours. 

  5. As the bones cook, skim the fat and scum off the top. Do this more often in the beginning and aim for every few hours throughout the cooking process. 

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3 Comments on “DIY High-Fat Dehydrated Dinners for Backpack Hunting

  1. Pingback: Triple Cocoa Coconut Fat Bombs - Wild & Well Fed

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