How to build a perfect dehydrated food kit

Light weight and long shelf lives make this the perfect camping or survival kit.

The first Americans in space squirted their meals out of tubes. Their successors on the Apollo missions enjoyed somewhat finer fare, nibbling on ­freeze-​dried food. Today, travelers and desk jockeys can enjoy the ­descendants of those space dishes with an array of dehydrated cuisine. The kit below stuffs 2,000 calories in a package ideal for disaster prep or camping trips.


Typical powdered punch can form clumps when you mix it. Tapioca flour in Nature Restore Organic Pomegranate Juice Powder helps the dehydrated beverage remain smooth.


Cooks at Backpacker’s Pantry season raisins and almonds with cardamom and orange peel to create Indian Rice Pudding. One helping delivers 12 grams of protein plus dashes of calcium and potassium.


Dried fruit like dates and apricots bind Wild Zora Original Meat & Veggie Bars together for a texture that’s softer and tastier than gas-​station jerky. Each 1-ounce packet delivers 100 calories.


Each packet of Good To-Go Pad Thai provides two servings of that sweet and spicy dish, along with 146 grams of carbs. Add about 2 cups of boiling water, wait 15 minutes, then eat it right out of the bag.


Most sweets don’t travel well. But the 1.1-ounce Mountain House Ice Cream Sandwich is a room-temperature freeze-dried confection that looks and (mostly) tastes like the real thing.

This story originally published in the Out There issue of Popular Science.

Stan Horaczek

Stan Horaczekis the senior gear editor at Popular Science and Popular Photography. His past bylines include Rolling Stone, Engadget, Men's Journal, GQ, and just about any other publication that has ever written about gadgets. For a short time, he even wrote the gadget page for Every Day With Rachel Ray magazine. He collects vintage cameras, eats pizza, and hopes you won't go looking at his Tweets even though the link is down there.