The Best Ready-to-Eat Meals to Bring Camping


If you’re hitting the trails with an ultralight pack, ready-to-eat meals refuel you with little fuss. We tasted more than a dozen to find ones worth carrying.

Make sure you invest in these campsite cooking essentials, then hit the trails. This is as close to a four-star meal as you’ll get in the wilderness.

Backpacker’s Pantry Three Cheese Mac & Cheese Courtesy Image

1. Backpacker’s Pantry Three Cheese Mac & Cheese

Serves 2

As we learned, rehydrated meat and vegetables can be dicey, so picky eaters should pack this classic. After about 15 minutes, the pasta emerged from the pouch coated in a tasty sauce.

Get it

[$9; backpackerspantry.com]

Good To-Go Chicken Gumbo
Good To-Go Chicken Gumbo Courtesy Image

2. Good To-Go Chicken Gumbo

Serves 2

After adding about 2 3⁄4 cups of boiling water to the bag, everything hydrated nicely, even the chicken, and it delivered a spicy kick. With 330 calories, it might not be enough for long trail days, but you can pronounce everything on the ingredient list.

Get it

[$13.50; goodto-go.com]

Omeals Serves Turkey Chili With Beans
Omeals Serves Turkey Chili With Beans Courtesy Image

3. Omeals Serves Turkey Chili With Beans

Serves 1

This was the only kit we tested that included a cooking source and utensils. Water (or snow) activates the heating pad and warms the meal packet in five minutes. Because it’s not freeze-dried, it looked and tasted like traditional chili.

Get it

[$8; omeals.com]



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