I generally don’t buy backpacking meals: Most are overpriced, loaded with sodium and artificial ingredients, and the texture ends up mushy. But you can’t really beat the convenience that comes with pre-made meals. So I was excited to try RightOnTrek, a new brand of dehydrated backpacking meals which prides itself in making chef-cooked, healthy backpacking meals that are also eco-conscious.
Full disclosure: RightOnTrek sent me their meal plans to try for free. I’m vegan so I had my dad and sister test out the non-vegan meals on a multi-day hiking trip they did together.
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RightOnTrek Overview: What Makes Them Different?
- Chef-cooked, fresh each season
- Free meal planning tool
- Calculates calories for you!!!
- Healthy meals and snacks
- Good value
- Will ship to resupply points
RightOnTrek Free Meal Planning Tool
Let’s start with RightOnTrek’s free meal planning tool. This is the easiest way to order backpacking food from them. Here’s how it works.
1. Set Number of Days and People
When you go to the RightOnTrek website, you’ll see a section that says “Start Creating a Multi-Day Meal Plan.” Just set the number of days and people. Then click “Start My Plan”.
2. Set Preferences
3. View Your Meal Plan
The tool will automatically generate a meal plan for you based on your preferences. The plan includes breakfast, dinner, beverages and snacks – all of which total up to however many calories you set. Below you can see a screenshot of what one of their meal plans looks like. It will look different on their website — I had to edit it to fit it here. 🙂
4. Swap Products
If you don’t like/want one of the products in the meal plan, you can swap it out for something different. Just select the little swap button and you’ll be able to choose options. It’s pretty simple to figure out.
5. Set Shipping Addresses
A cool thing about RightOnTrek is that they will ship to food pickup locations. This saves you the trouble of having to ship the items yourself. Of course, you can also just have all of the food sent to your own address.
Can I Buy RightOnTrek Meals By Themselves?
Yes, you can buy any RightOnTrek meal by itself and not as part of the meal plan. Just go to the “Meals” option in the menu and then select “Visit Our Store.”
Unfortunately, the cost of the meals goes up when you buy them individually instead of as part of the meal plan. Regular-sized dinners (500-600 calories) cost about $7-$8. There’s also an option to get a larger portion size (700-800 calories), which will cost you about $10-$12 per entrée.
What You Get
When your meals plan arrives from RightOnTrek, they package the items in bags labeled Day 1, Day 2, etc. This makes it incredibly convenient: just put the bags in your pack and go.
What I don’t like about this method though is that all snacks remain in their original packaging. Personally, I usually remove all packaging from snacks before my trip so I don’t have to worry about carrying out candy wrappers (or worrying that I might accidentally litter). Of course, you can always remove the wrappers from the snacks – such as putting them all into one giant bag. But then you’ll have to pace yourself so you don’t eat more than your daily allotment.
How to Prepare RightOnTrek Meals
A big problem with backpacking meals is that ingredients rehydrate at different rates. So, if you try to boil the entire meal, you’ll usually end up with a blob of mush. This isn’t an issue with some types of meals (oatmeal, pilaf, or stews). However, backpacking lasagna and most other pasta will always come out as a nasty mush.
RightOnTrek solves this problem by using a multi-step cooking process for some meals. This means that:
- Meal ingredients are divided into two pouches.
- First you rehydrate the sauce/topping.
- Then you boil the noodles/carb separately.
- Mix the sauce/topping into the noodles.
- Add seasonings from included packets
The result is a meal with a really good texture. But it also means that some of the meals are more complicated to make. I personally don’t mind this method (it’s how I prepare most of my DIY dehydrate meals – the sauce gets rehydrated separately from the carbohydrates). But some backpackers (my dad, for example) would rather have something simpler to prepare.
It’s worth noting that not all RightOnTrek meals use the two-step prep process. The Shephard’s Pie and Gado Gado Peanut noodles, for example, just need to be simmered for a few minutes. Easy peasy.
How Do RightOnTrek Meals Taste?
Compared to other brands of backpacking meals, RightOnTrek entrees have way more flavor. The meals include flavor packets like lime and sriracha sauce, so you can adjust the flavor to your own liking. However, one of the main reasons that RightOnTrek meals taste good is the texture.
Texture is a HUGE part of food taste. Something can have an awesome flavor but, if the texture is mushy, it will taste nasty. The two-part cooking process of some RightOnTrek meals ensures that the texture is really good. You can actually identify the individual ingredients. Yes, it is more complicated to make the meals this way but it pays off with a better-tasting meal.
Pros & Cons of RightOnTrek Meals
- Incredibly convenient meal planner
- Calculates calories and weight for you
- Much healthier than other options
- Good value
- Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options
- Flavorful and great texture
- Eco-friendly packaging
- Cool brand with good values
- Two-step cooking process for some meals
- Not as good value if you buy meals individually
- Can’t “cook” in the pouch
- Not much variety for meals
- Lots of packaging
RightOnTrek Meal Options
Note that RightOnTrek is still a new brand. Their representative said they will be coming out with new meal options. I’ve listed what they currently have offered. It’s already changed since I first tried them out.
- Classic oatmeal (GF)
- Peanut butter cup oatmeal (Vegan, GF)
- Banana bread oatmeal (Vegan, GF)
- Cranberry walnut oatmeal (Vegan, GF)
- Cream of wheat porridge
- Beef lasagna
- Zesty ramen noodle soup
- General Tsoy’s mountain rice (Vegan, GF)
- Spicy peanut noodle soup (Vegan)
- Backcountry chili (GF)
- Gado gado noodles (Vegan)
- Hearty Shephard’s pie (Vegan, GF)
- Cheesy mashed potatoes with chicken (GF)
- Chicken coconut curry rice (GF)
There are tons of snack options. These include trail mix, cookies, fruit bars, protein bars, olives, cheese, crackers, jerky (including vegan jerky!), tuna packets, sausage, nut butter, chocolate, candy and sweets. It’s a good mix of healthy snacks (jerky, trail mix…) and unhealthy options (Sour Patch Kids…).
RightOnTrek Cost Breakdown
Even if you buy RightOnTrek meals individually, it still ends up being cheaper than most other backpacking food brands. For example, Mountain House meals cost $1-$2 more per meal for the same amount of calories – yet the quality of RightOnTrek meals is way better and much healthier.
As for the cost of RightOnTrek meal plans, I did a quick calculation of how much it would cost me to buy each of the snacks individually. The cost ends up being pretty much exactly the same. It breaks down to be about $1 per 100 calories. Overall, it’s a very good deal.
Would I Recommend RightOnTrek?
RightOnTrek is a great option for beginner backpackers as well as anyone who appreciates the convenience of having all calories calculated for you. I definitely recommend them over most other backpacking food brands since the company is eco-friendly and has good morals.
If you are a more experienced backpacker or going on a longer trip though, I wouldn’t rely on just RightOnTrek alone. You’ll quickly get bored of eating the same meals and snacks. Instead, I’d combine some of their meals with some DIY meals and snacks you picked out yourself.
And don’t forget to use the code MomGoesCamping50 to get 50% off your first order!