The best hiking meals rated

Posted on 27 August 2018 By Matt Sterne

The Getaway tasting panel fired up their camping stove and tested the latest hiking meals. Gear Editor Matthew Sterne compiled the results.

Best overall – The Raw Food Company Marinated Veg, Cashews & Rice Noodles

Overall Score 7.5/10
Taste 7.3/10
Weight 120g
Price R75

The hefty portion size, depth of flavour and crunchy veggies (cabbage, carrots, green peppers, mushrooms and onions) catapulted this Asian-inspired dish into the top spot. The ingredients and spice mix come in a sealed, lightweight pouch. Simply pour them into a pot, boil for 10 minutes and serve. The veg stayed remarkably firm and the meal scored well for its fresh taste. It would also work with any braaied meat or fish.

Most convenient – Safari Sweet Chilli Pasta & Chickpea Salad

Overall Score 7/10
Taste 7/10
Weight 420g
Price R26,95

This was the only cold meal we tested and it was surprisingly well received. The pasta was tasty, despite the chilli sauce being very sweet. The chickpeas added crunch and because it comes ready to eat (open and serve), it’s super-convenient. If you are unable to heat food, this is a lifesaver – it doesn’t need to be kept refrigerated either, and is also much cheaper than the other meals we reviewed.

Best for packing – Back Country Cuisine Roast Lamb & Vegetables

Overall 6.7/10
Taste 5.9/10
Weight 175g (serves two)
Price R192

This freeze-dried meal for two is ideal to take on a multi-day hike where weight is a factor. The meal is prepared by pouring hot water into the pouch (no pots needed) and letting it stand for 10 minutes. Mint gravy, peas and corn made it look appetising but some of the tasting panel found the texture of the meat, derived from New Zealand lamb, unappealing. It comes with well-seasoned mash, but the meal was judged as having the least-natural taste of the dishes.

Best meaty meal – Afritrail Savoury Mince

Overall Score 6.9/10
Taste 6.7/10
Weight 400g
Price R124,90 (including a separate packet of pap)

Adventure gear company Afritrail has recently expanded into outdoor cuisine. Its savoury mince (tasty and made with real beef) was described by one panellist as being ‘similar to mom’s bolognaise’. The pap wasn’t everyone’s cup of maize as it had a grainy texture, but those who did like it said there could have been more. The pap and small portion size affected the meal’s overall score.

*TIP Afritrail sells a 10-hour ration pack for R219,95. It contains one meal, one isotonic drink, Super Cs, cheese, crackers, jam, matches and fuel tablets to heat the meal.

Best taste – NomNom Chicken à la King

Overall Score 7.4/10
Taste 7.9/10
Price R119
Weight 200g

If it wasn’t for the small portion size, this would have been the clear winner. The tender chicken in creamy mushroom sauce tasted like a home-cooked meal, but wasn’t close to being the size of a proper meal. I asked the supplier about this and she recommended combining it with rice, noodles or Smash. This isn’t stated on the packaging, though. There are eight heat-and-eat meals to choose from, including beef curry, chicken briyani and vegetarian pasta (but we can’t vouch for the taste of these as we didn’t try them).

yoast-primary - 1004403
tcat - Food & Drink
tcat_slug - food
tcat2 - Food & Drink
tcat2_slug - food
tcat_final - food-and-drink