Hungry Hikers Review: Hearty and Healthy Backpacking Food

Gear ReviewsAmy Hatch
Hungry Hikers Healthy Backpacking Food

Having nutritious, filling food that will provide energy for the next day’s endeavors is mandatory for longer trips into the hills.  But finding fuel that tastes great has been elusive. There’s just something about pre-packaged backcountry food that usually means it’s not going to be that pleasant.

Hungry Hikers, however, offers a new take on backcountry food. The freeze-dried, gourmet meals are hearty and savory. They can be prepared with only one pot, a stove and some water. Hungry Hikers' owner Stacie Murray spent almost two decades traveling the world while working as a chef before taking the reins of the Portland, Oregon based business.

Here at Garage Grown Gear, we had the chance to sample Hungry Hikers meals. Here’s our take ...

 

The Quick Review of Hungry Hikers

Hungry Hikers Healthy Backpacking Food Garage Grown Gear

Pros

  • Awesome taste
  • Great mouth feel
  • Comfort food in the mountains
  • High starch content great for fuel
  • Breakfast eggs set the tone of the day

Cons

  • Helpful to have a more elaborate stove than a Jetboil
  • Need a measuring cup (you can use a Nalgene bottle for this)
  • High starch content burns easily. Pay attention.

 

The Full Hungry Hikers Review

We sampled everything Hungry Hikers has to offer but the Sheppard's Pie. Here are our thought on each of the meals.
 

Murray’s Hurried Curry

  • Net Weight approx. 9.5 oz
  • Makes two 11 oz servings
  • 540 calories per serving (1,080 calories total)

Hungry Hikers Murray's Hurried Curry Garage Grown Gear

Murray’s Hurried Curry was the first product that I tried. I love couscous and the way it combines with the chicken and green peas is great. I also love the flavor. It’s easy to overpower curries with garlic or curry or heat (this can hide the flavor). This curry was well balanced and mild on the heat index. I prefer milder foods when camping; I find that I sleep better when I don’t have a belly full of chilies.

Preparation was easy but be sure to read the directions and don’t get distracted. The high starch content of the couscous can burn easily, as with any pasta. Season to taste; I like that it’s not salty, as more people will enjoy it. However, after a long day in the hills I personally crave salt replacement, so I added some of my own.

 

Three Sisters Scramble

  • Net Weight approx. 4.25 oz
  • Makes two 11 oz servings
  • 318 calories per serving (636 calories total)

Hungry Hikers Three Sisters Scramble

Breakfast is a meal I usually skip; mostly because I don’t like oatmeal. I perform better when I have a morning meal though and it is really nice to put some warm food in your belly after sleeping outside.

While you make your coffee add water to the Three Sisters Scramble package and let the eggs reconstitute for a few minutes. Then cook the meal just like regular eggs. Be sure to bring a small non-stick skillet and some oil or butter, and enjoy a yummy morning treat, with just the right flavor and texture. Season this offering to taste as well.

Pro tip: also pack some cheese and tortillas, and you’ll have the makings for breakfast burritos.
 

 

Chicken Pot Pie

  • Net Weight approx. 7.2 oz
  • Makes two 14 oz servings
  • 240 calories per serving (480 calories total)

Hungry Hikers Chicken Pot Pie Backpacking Food Garage Grown Gear

The Chicken Pot Pie was one of my favorites flavor-wise. It was total comfort food. The texture was great and the addition of the chicken gravy packet added a superb salty savoriness. The directions on this one were a little confusing and I’m not sure we made it correctly; I think we made the mistake of not cooking the potatoes separately. But still, all the textures and flavors were spot on.

 

Beef Stroganoff

  • Net Weight approx. 8.7 oz
  • Makes two 13 oz servings
  • 318 calories per serving (636 calories total)

Hungry Hikers Beef Stroganoff Backpacking Food Garage Grown Gear

The Beef Stroganoff was delicious. However, we definitely made the mistake of not following the directions on this one, as we were ice climbing the day we prepared it and only had a Jetboil stove that day. We (incorrectly) prepared this one by adding the boiling water to the bag and waiting for it to be done. We then brought the dish back to a boil and burned the pot slightly. The flavors were still great, but this definitely illustrates the point that one should follow the directions.

 

Parting thoughts

Hungry Hikers Backpacking Food Garage Grown Gear

A stove that lets you finely control the temperature is best for preparing Hungry Hikers meals. Most of the dishes require simmering temps, so as to not burn the starches. This can mean carrying extra weight into the hills, but I think the rewards of doing so are well worth it.

There’s not much that’s more satisfying after a hard day in the hills than sitting down to yummy food. Great food nurtures the body and the soul.

Hungry Hikers

 

Gear reviewsHungry hikers

2 comments

Kim

Kim

Nikii – that’s what I do. I started doing so as an impoverished college student, and I find I prefer my meals over the freeze-dried ones.
I cook ground beef, potatoes, and pasta, and then dry them. You can dry pasta sauces the same way you’d dry fruit leather. Weigh the cooked product before you dry it, and then weigh it again after it’s dry; that way, you’ll know how much water to use to rehydrate. Meat and potatoes take a long time to rehydrate, so I will put them in water in a watertight container and let them soak while I’m on the trail.
I also dehydrate canned tuna & chicken. These don’t require long re-soaks. Peas & carrots don’t rehydrate well: it’s worth splurging on freeze-dried ones.
My local library system has a book called “Backpacking Gourmet” or some-such thing. The entire premise of the book is exactly what you’ve described: cook an entire meal, dry it, then rehydrate on the trail. They state that you don’t need to determine how much water was removed in the dehydration process, just cover the dried food with an inch of water and bring to a boil. I haven’t tried this yet, but it’s likely I will on an upcoming trip. I use seasoning packets like gravy mixes to form the base of my backcountry stews, and I’d like to get away from that because those mixes contain things I wouldn’t normally eat. But it’s so quick & easy!
The caveat with this is that you need a stove that’ll truly simmer. I use a Peak 1 canister stove. I have yet to get a WhisperLite stove to simmer. I imagine that pre-soaking the food with hot water would cut down on the simmer time, though.

(It may seem weird to cook pasta and then dry it, but I’m just not a big fan of couscous. Unfortunately, I discovered this while facing a large pot of tuna-noodle casserole that was based with couscous I made during a snowshoe trip. I ate it, but I never want to see couscous again.)

Nikii Murtaugh

Nikii Murtaugh

What about cooking the meals at home, measuring out onto food dehydrator sheets and then when in camp, boiling water? If I’m hiking, I’m cooking for one.

Leave a comment

Most Read Articles

  1. 8 Pieces of Ultralight Gear Under $5
  2. The Controversy of Cairns
  3. Joe Chocolate Co Coffee Caffeine Thru-Hiking Backpacking Snacks Food