Along with my Sawyer Mini water filter, my favorite piece of backpacking gear is my dehydrator. No, I don’t lug my dehydrator around with me on the trail. 🙂 However, I do use it to make dehydrated backpacking meals. DIY dehydrated meals not only cut down on backpacking expenses, but also save you a lot of weight.
You can dehydrate practically anything. In addition to the obvious fruits for homemade trail mix, you can also dehydrate things like tomato sauce, cooked veggies, and beans.
I even dehydrate entire meals on my dehydrator. Then I can just add water on the trail to rehydrate them. If you are interested in learning how to make dehydrator backpacking meals, get my ebook. It has over 50 recipes, plus tons of advice on meal planning and nutrition for backpacking. Get the ebook now.
One of my favorite dehydrator backpacking recipes is hummus. It’s fast, easy, and dries very lightweight. How light? It might vary on the hummus recipe you use, but you can expect around 190 calories per ounce!!! That’s way over the 120 calories/oz recommendation for backpacking food.
Backpacking Dehydrator Hummus Instructions
Dehydrated hummus is really simple to make.
Step 1: Make hummus.
The secret to good hummus is a lot of fresh lemon juice, but use whatever recipe you like. Or buy readymade hummus.
Avoid hummus recipes which call for a lot of oil. Too much oil in your hummus will make it go bad faster. You can always bring a little bottle of olive oil with you backpacking and add it to your rehydrated hummus.
Step 2: Prepare your dehydrator sheets
Obviously you can’t just spread hummus on your dehydrator racks. It would fall through the holes. Instead, you’ve got to put a sheet down for it.
You can buy dehydrator sheets like these ones for fairly cheap. They are basically a mesh screen. The purpose is to let the air through without letting the food fall through. You can buy any brand of sheets and just cut them to fit your dehydrator.
Alternatively, you can just use parchment paper. The problem with parchment paper is that it blocks air flow, which means your hummus won’t dry out well. To solve this problem, you can poke a bunch of holes into the parchment paper.
Or, use small circles of parchment paper (as opposed to paper cut to fit your dehydrator trays). This allows for much better air flow.
Step 3: Spread hummus on the sheets
I spread it to be about ¼ to ½ inch thick. Try to make the thickness uniform across so they dehydrate evenly.
Step 4: Dehydrate
I’m not too scientific about this. I dehydrate pretty much everything at 104 degrees F (40 degrees C). Hummus usually takes about 12 hours to dehydrate. It helps to rotate the trays at least once. Otherwise the hummus on the bottom will dehydrate first.
You’ll know it is done when the hummus is very dry. It will look a bit like bark. You should be able to break it easily. If you used a lot of oil in the hummus, it might bend more than break.
Step 5: Grind Up (Optional)
This step is optional, but I find it helpful to grind up the dried hummus in my high-speed blender. This creates a hummus powder. The reason for doing this is because the hummus will rehydrate a lot faster and without clumps.
If you skip this step, at least crumble your hummus up as much as possible before you rehydrate.
Rehydrating Your Dried Hummus
Again, this is easy. Just add water to the dried hummus. Let it sit for a few minutes. Stir to get out any clumps.
How to eat on the trail?
- On bagels
- In tortillas
- With couscous
- As pasta sauce
Other Dehydrator Backpacking Recipes
Below you can see some pictures of dehydrator backpacking meals I’ve made. All of the recipes are available in my eBook. There’s also tons of advice on backpacking meal planning and nutrition. Get it here. I’ll even give you 50% off!