I have been camping and backpacking in and around the Colorado Rockies for over 16 years. It has become a passion of mine and for me there is nothing better than packing up and heading out into the wilderness for some camping and fly fishing with family and friends. For the sake of ease and weight in the backpack, I have always brought freeze dried meals for breakfast and dinners. Just add hot water and you have a good enough meal to satisfy your intake requirements for the days adventures. All that was fine and good enough, until this year.
Every year I stumble upon new products to try out and this year was no exception. Tents get lighter and use different materials for waterproofing and durability. Backpacks get updated and camping stoves get lighter and faster at cooking when trying to boil water in the wind when camping at 11,500 feet above sea level. But this year I found the best addition to my backpacking arsenal, Camp Chow!
Camp Chow is located in northern Minnesota surrounded by the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, off of the Gunflint Trail at Trail Center Lodge. In the past I have visited that area a handful of times and it is amazing! What sets Camp Chow apart from all other dehydrated/freeze dried foods is the quality of their ingredients and it’s combination of dehydrated and freeze dried foods. With other meals, the taste is ok and mostly you have the feeling you are eating straight sodium. But with Camp Chow it’s like eating a home cooked meal.
One of the meals we ate was their beef stroganoff. Labeled as a meal for 4 people, it was true to its suggestion and we actually all had enough for seconds. The ingredients set these meals apart from all others! I’m fairly certain that there were at least 3 different varieties of mushrooms in the stroganoff and some of them were the size of our spoons. The thing you noticed after taking your first bite is it honestly tastes like something you had made at home in your own kitchen. No overpowering taste of salt, no half cooked noodles and chunky bits of something you aren’t quite sure what it is, the Camp Chow Beef Stroganoff was one of the best dehydrated/freeze dried meals we have even eaten!
Another meal we had was their turkey dinner. Again, amazing taste and texture and with the hint of cranberry you could almost picture yourself sitting down and eating it for Thanksgiving dinner. Cooking up two single portioned meals, Tom and myself easily had enough to fill our stomachs. One morning Tom, Shawn and myself had the roast beef hash. Again having great portion sizes, labeled for 4 people, we all had plenty with some even left over. On the other side of the portion spectrum, previously using a different companies meal that stated it was for 2 people, it barely fed myself and my 10 year old son who doesn’t eat large portions at all!
Camp Chow has figured out how to use the best ingredients and package everything together with the most honest portion sizing I have ever used. Unless you are hiking in your own steaks to sear up for a dinner, Camp Chow will be the best meals you have ever had while out in the backcountry. And if you are in a pinch to find something to cook for breakfast, lunch or dinner in your home, they’re as good in your home as they are in the woods.