This winter I had the chance to taste test and try some of Boulder-based TrailFork's dehydrated meal kits and I really enjoy them as a quick and hearty meal.
The first thing that struck me first was TrailFork's mission, summarized as: "to educate adventurers about their environmental impact, and we aim to make food that sustains not only you and your adventure, but the environment you’re spending time in".
A mission-based organization making good food and a good product for outdoor adventures is right up my alley. Learn all about TrailFork's mission, in Lillian's (the founder) own words on their website: https://mytrailfork.com/
An environmental and responsibly sourced dehydrated meal product
Familiar to many backpackers and campers, this is an excellent, and opinionated, dehydrated meal offering. By design, the pouches are vegan or vegetarian meals weighing in at around 400-700 calories per serving (pouch). They're made with dehydrated materials that simply need hot water and time to re-hydrate.
TrailFork makes its meal pouches by hand in Boulder, Colorado. Their current offerings range from light, like the cinnamon roll oats, to heavier and more savory, like the deconstructed burrito. I tried both recently and really enjoyed them.
Almost no assembly required
I tried two approaches re-hydrate two of the meals and both worked just fine:
1. Using a bowl and combining the ingredients with hot water, stirring, covering it with foil, and letting it sit
2. Using an insulated 16-ounce travel mug, adding the dry ingredients, pouring in some water, shaking, pouring in more water, and shaking again then letting it sit fully closed and covered
Since the bags/pouches themselves are compostable, not built with foil or plastic like some competitors, rehydrating in the bag itself may work, but with mixed results. Lillian, the founder, herself and the bag's instructions recommended both of these approaches to re-hydrating and they both worked just fine.
When at home or cooking with more supplies (like a big bowl) the first approach is easy and works great. But when on the go, the mug (or camp stove pot) approach is perfectly adequate and easy to clean.
For skiiers and snowboarders: I would recommend taking a pouch and your mug to a ski resort and assembling just like that for a quick easy meal. When out ice fishing or in the cold, this approach should work great for you, too.
Food is not just fuel
Lillian and the Trail Folk team have clearly put thought into offering some appealing pouches. I've had my share of dehydrated meals, both while backpacking, camping, canoeing and I never looked back on any of those fondly. They were a means to an end: getting protein and carbs and other good stuff into my body after a long day.
In the case of TrailFork's pouches, these all sound (and actually taste) really appealing to me:
- apricot almond couscous
- cinnamon roll oats (taste tested ✅)
- coconut chana masala
- coconut granola with milk
- limey beans with rice
- loaded veggie hummus
- peanut butter banana oats
- unwrapped burrito (taste tested ✅)
And these aren't all! There are plenty more flavors in development and rolling out all the time.
Our taste test
I liked the unwrapped burrito best. The beans and spices were very flavorful, the rice and peppers had a great texture and the color made it actually look really appealing to eat. This type of pouch costs $11.50 and is very filling for one person (but could be split if you just needed a few hundred calories each).
The cinnamon roll oats tasted just like you might think: a slightly sweet oatmeal with some raisins and chia thrown in which also made for a nice texture. This pouch costs $8.50 with simpler ingredients and is slightly less filling, but a solid breakfast that should keep you full all morning no matter your activity.