I’ve been trying out Decathlons Aptonia range of dehydrated food. I’ve been using it for some time, having picked up a load in the sales. My favourite out of all of the ones I’ve tried is the pasta and beef with sauce. Unlike some dehydrated meals the beef is actually of a decent size and is beef. It also doesn’t taste like old shoe leather.
It comes in a freeze dried pack and this particular meal weighs in at only 120g. It couldn’t be simpler to use, open the pack and form the base of the pack into a bowl shape. On the back of the pack there is a picture guide to preparing the meal, showing water being poured to one of three numbered levels. The level for each meal differs and is indicated on the diagram. On opening the pack you will see the numbered levels indicated inside the pack. Pour in boiling water up to one of the marks, stir, reseal using the press closing strip and leave for five minutes. It’s that simple.
The portion itself is fairly generous and I must admit I struggle to finish it. It’s tasty enough, with pasta tubes, beef and a beef sauce. If you were to have it often it may be an idea to throw in a dash of tabasco and some dehydrated onions just to make a change.
At around £5 it’s not cheap, and is of a comparable price to Mountain House, one of the most regarded of brands from the US. As I haven’t tried Mountain House yet I can’t compare the two for taste.
What I can say is it’s lightweight. At only 120g it weighs next to nothing, and is around a third of a pouched meal such as Wayfayrer or Look What We Found meal.
Another brand I have tried is It’s A Free World, a range of gluten/nut/dairy/wheat free meals. Weighing in at 300g the chicken curry with brown basmati rice is excellent. I imagine it can be boiled in the bag, I chose to heat it in the pan. This has the disadvantage of having to clean pot afterwards, but on the upside it tastes fantastic. A decent sized portion which didn’t skimp on the chicken, I was more than happy with this. Even more so when you consider that I picked these meals up for 70p EACH!
For pre packed meals for hiking the pouch meals win every time in the taste department. However if weight is the major issue dehydrated meals are now of a standard where they are an acceptable alternative, not like the meals of yesteryear, which had the taste and consistency of wet cardboard. In both cases the stove is only being used for five to ten minutes, so neither of the above meals will eat up your fuel, again a major factor in the pack weight department.
A lightweight stove, brew kit and a dehydrated or pouch meal are now essentials in my rucksack, and my squashed cold sandwiches have been consigned to the bin.