Lipei is on a mission to find the tastiest lightweight hiking meals getting around the trails. She reached out to the We Are Explorers community to find out exactly what brands and flavour are worth the packweight.

Quick Overview

Packing camping meals for a multi-day hike is a sum of these values: 

  • lightweight
  • easy to prepare
  • filling
  • most importantly, delicious! 

With the aid of modern technology, lightweight hiking meals have shifted from being an essential fuel into a culinary adventure. With so many gourmet flavours available to fuel a hiker’s hunger, how do we know which ones tick all the boxes?

I asked the WAE community and several other outdoor adventurers for their tasty dry hiking meal recommendations. 

‘When you’re hiking and it’s the end of the day and you’re tired and hungry, ANYTHING warm and salty or sweet is super delicious,’ Explorer Norma told me.

From dehydrated to freeze-dried, here are our community’s top picks of lightweight, premade meals for your next hiking adventure.

Lightweight Hiking Dinners

Back Country Cuisine

Back Country Cuisine is probably the most well-known brand that comes to mind for seasoned hikers. It offers tasty freeze dried meals that can be prepared within their own pouches in approximately ten minutes.

The Indonesian fried rice received rave reviews from avid hikers, Charles and Norma.

Nasi Goreng
Price: $19.99
Weight: 175g

Inspired by the flavours of Indonesia, the Back Country Cuisine Nasi Goreng is a healthy and gluten-free blend of brown rice, vegetables, and egg omelette in a mild Asian sauce. It’s quick and easy to prepare in the pack in ten minutes with the addition of boiling water.

Eva has a great tip for Back Country. ‘If you have to buy it, opt for the ones with mince over other meat pieces like chicken or lamb. So much better.’


Spicy Beef Nachos
Price: $19.99
Weight: 175g

This nachos even comes with corn chips to dip! Freeze-dried beef mince, kidney beans, corn, and tomato in a hot chilli sauce. The Spicy Beef Nachos is gluten free, with no added dairy.


Spaghetti Bolognaise
Price: $18.95
Weight: 175g

Classic ‘spag-bol’ of freeze-dried beef mince with tomato in a savoury sauce, served with noodles. No added dairy.

Radix Nutrition

We Are Explorer’s very own Tim Ashelford is a huge fan of the meals by Radix Nutrition. Radix Nutrition designs food packs with a broad spectrum of nutritional values for optimum health and high-energy endurance activities. Tim recommends the Turkish Style Grass-Fed Lamb.


Original Turkish Style Grass-Fed Lamb
Weight: 120g

This nutritionally dense meal incorporates a range of whole foods, including two servings of vegetables to provide plentiful micronutrients. Taste fresh flavours with a vibrant cumin aroma, typical of Turkish-style dishes.

Strive Food

Charles said that, ‘Strive Food is really tasty. But the problem is that you can’t just put water into the pack like the other ones. You’ll need a pot’. Strive Food’s substantial and tasty dehydrated meals have been designed by a qualified nutritionist to replenish lost nutrients and offer long-lasting energy.

Hearty Minestrone
Price: $11.70
Weight: 135g

The Hearty Minestrone is a gluten-free, vegan, and organic dish that’ll leave you feeling satisfied after a full day of adventure. Made using a combination of rice and amaranth resulting in a pasta both high in protein and fibre with a delicious flavour! Cooking time 12 minutes with 500ml of water in a pot.


Lentil Curry Dhal
Price: $11.70
Weight: 130g

A traditional lentil dhal which you can make quickly. This dish combines Strive’s custom made mild dhal curry powder with tomato, red lentils, onion, and the perfect blend of herbs and spices, with a touch of coconut. 12 minutes cooking time with 375ml of water in a pot.

3 Capes Gear & Gourmet

According to Emma, ‘3 Capes Gear & Gourmet do amazing meals’.



Red Curry Chicken or Beef
Price: $13.95
Weight: 102g

This Red Curry with chicken or beef – your choice! – received 5 star reviews.

A flavourful and hearty Thai red curry, with pumpkin and peas to stop you getting scurvy, rice to sop up the nicely spiced sauce, and cashews as an extra.

The Spice Tailor

Not enough time to shop online? Jack recommends this five minute Tarka lentil dish from The Spice Tailor when you’re doing a last-minute swing through the shops.



Spicy Tarka Lentil Daal
Price: $4.75
Weight: 100g

This Spicy Tarka Lentil Daal is probably the most cooked dish in India as it’s a healthy source of vegetarian protein and is very satisfying. The buttery lentils are lifted with warming spices, zingy ginger, savoury garlic, and tangy tomatoes.


Lazy Food

This is my recommendation that inspired me to write this story!



Broccoli, Garlic & Oil
Price: $18
Weight: 157g

My husband brought home Lazy Food’s Broccoli pasta from work and it was seriously good. I didn’t know instant pasta could taste this delicious. Lazy Food‘s instant pasta sachets are 100% plant based, all natural, and gluten free.

Easy to prepare, yet packed with robust flavours and essential nutrients, this pasta dish is the perfect way to enjoy a quick restaurant-quality meal. Just empty the pouch into the pot and boil with water. The tender-crisp broccoli harmonises beautifully with the rich, velvety sauce, offering a burst of flavour in every bite.

It’s recently been made available in Australia!

Snacks & Sides

Feed The Hike

Feed The Hike soups are amazing’, says Mark. ‘And we love the texture of their hearty mushroom soup.’



Hearty Mushroom Soup
Price: $10.50
Weight: 25g

Creamy, earthy, and rich. A combination of button and porcini mushrooms mixed with coconut milk. Home cooked in Western Australia, simply empty the pouch into a pot and add boiling water.



Time and cost is also a defining factor in planning your outdoor meals. When Grant is in a rush, he purchases dehydrated peas, powdered gravy, Deb potato mash, and beef jerky from Woolworths. ‘Super light, cheap, and all the salty, fat, protein, and carbs you crave.’



Deb Instant Mashed Plain Potato
Price: $6
Weight: 350g

Continental’s Instant Mashed Potato lets you make deliciously smooth and creamy mashed potatoes without the fuss. Pour boiling water into a bowl and stir in Deb Instant Mashed Potato. Allow to stand for 30 seconds and stir again.


Honest to Goodness



Organic Coconut Milk Powder
Price: $11.95
Weight: 300g

Dehydrated coconut milk is a very versatile ingredient. The powdered form eliminates the need to open cans or cartons at camp. Kate and Saphira recommend packing some to use on oats in the morning or creamed rice for dessert. Lotsafreshair has a few recipes incorporating the powder.

This Organic Coconut Milk Powder from Honest to Goodness can be used in a variety of recipes. It has a high fat content of 60-65%, giving your dishes a silky texture and tropical flavour. It’s a tasty addition to smoothies, curries, and baked goods – anywhere a burst of coconut is desired!

But what about dessert?

Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you should miss out on dessert.


Back Country Cuisine

Norma loves this Apple Crumble from Back Country Cuisine that comes with actual cookie crumbs.



Apple & Berry Crumble
Price: $16.99
Weight: 175g

This Apple & Berry Crumble is light to carry and provides tasty, fast-nourishing food for adventure, with a sweet mix of freeze-dried apples and berries topped with a delicious gluten free cookie crumb. Contains no added dairy.

Remove the cookie crumbs sachet from the packet, pour in hot water and stir contents. After 10 to 15 minutes, add the cookie crumb topping and eat the dessert straight from the pouch.


Strive Food

Alissa recommends Strive Food’s chocolate pudding as an incredible dessert option. Add extra water to turn the pudding into a thick and creamy hot chocolate drink.



Chocolate Pudding
Price: $6.80
Weight: 90g

A decadent chocolate pudding made with Lindt couverture chocolate guaranteed to satisfy your taste buds!

There’s no such thing as too much dessert! Try this Apple And Cinnamon Pancakes Recipe


Feature photo by @alissa.ward

Table of contents photo by @dallasfly


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