Hiking meals tested

Posted by Melanie van Zyl on 4 March 2015

We taste-tested these popular, lightweight hiking meals so you don’t have to. Cooking directions were followed exactly and we rated each out of five – here are the results.

1. CookMe

From R40, Spar, Pick’n Pay and selected deli stores.

Weight: 275g

Taste rating: 4/5

CookMe hiking meals.

CookMe hiking meals.


CookMe hiking meals - Couscous.

CookMe hiking meals – Couscous.


CookMe offers ready-mixes of pasta, rice, risotto and quinoa. The meals easily outdo a tin of tuna on the trail when it comes to taste, and deli ingredients like olives, sun-dried tomatoes and saffron. However, the dishes need a bit of salt so bring seasoning. The packs are made to serve two as a full meal or four as a side dish and are easy to find at Pick’n Pay so you can pick them up on your regular grocery shop. They’re great if you’re health-conscious too because there are no added preservatives, colourants or flavourants. Visit www.cookme.co.za for the full range of foods.

 

2. The Raw Food Company

R60 for pasta mix feature here (breakfast mixes, snacks, and single-serve veggie packs from R27).

Weight: 120g

Taste rating: 4/5

The Raw Food Company - meal mix.

The Raw Food Company – meal mix.


The Raw Food Company - Tomato Pasta.

The Raw Food Company – Tomato Pasta.


Produced by a small Cape Town-based family company, these delicious dehydrated vegetable mixes come with easy to follow instructions and plenty of mix-and-match meal options – ten types of veggies and three dinner mixes (the tomato, onion and pepper mix pasta featured here plus cashew noodles and a vegetable lentil option). The vegetables swelled up properly and the sauce was thick and delicious once simmered down. The spices and seasoning also come in separate sachets so you can add according to taste – a thoughtful feature – and earned an extra half score over the CookMe brand because the pasta sauce was more appetising. They also offer healthy snacks like mushroom biltong and dried fruits. Serves two. Visit www.facebook.com/therawfoodcompany for more info.

 

3. Back Country Cuisine

From R130, Outdoor Warehouse.

Weight: 175g

Taste rating: 2.5/5

Back Country hiking meals.

Back Country hiking meals.


Back Country hiking meals - Lamb Fettuccine.

Back Country hiking meals – Lamb Fettuccine.


Unlike the options above Back Country meal packs offer meat options. The Lamb Fettucine featured here is effortless to make – just boil water and pour straight into the ziplock sachet, which also stands on its flat base doubling as a bowl. In all honesty, the meat tastes nothing like lamb, but it’s tasty enough and the fetuccine was soft and well-seasoned. There are loads of other options in the range like Bobotie, vegetable stir-fry or plain rice you can spruce up yourself. Each pack serves two people.

 

4. Wayfayrer

R79, iWarehouse.

Weight: 300g

Taste rating: 3.5/5

Wayfayrer - hiking meals.

Wayfayrer – hiking meals.


Wayfayrer - Vegetable curry.

Wayfayrer – Vegetable curry.


These food pouches aren’t freeze-dried or dehydrated and come in ready-to-serve pouches, which just need warming up – much like a ready-made soup. You can either place the pouch into boiling water (you’ll need big pot to do this) or pour the contents straight into a saucepan. The vegetable curry was the firm favourite and infinitely better than the tinned variety, even though it’s about five times the price and only serves one person. Meatballs in pasta, Thai chicken curry (another favourite because it actually tasted like chicken) and chocolate pudding are some of the other options available.