Review: Peak Refuel Backpacking Food
Peak Refuel’s freeze-dried meals are fairly new to the market and have been getting rave reviews, so I bought ten of their meals to see if I liked any of them enough to justify their high cost.
After exclusively making all of my own backpacking meals for the previous seven years, I decided to give freeze-dried meals a try. Making your own food usually costs much less per meal than commercial foods, but I was also looking forward to less up-front work and easier meal prep at camp.
Having been a firm holdout in the “I’d rather clean a pot than eat from a plastic bag” camp for a long time, this is quite a switch for me. And after a full year of eating straight from the bag, I can say that I am now a firm believer in convenience… if you can find meals that you look forward to. Fortunately, several of the Peak Refuel meals will be on my regular backpacking menu from now on. A bonus is that I spend less time on kitchen camp chores and have more time to relax. Or hike. 🙂
My favorite Peak Refuel meals
- Beef Stroganoff
- Homestyle Chicken and Rice
- Chicken Pesto Pasta
- Strawberry Granola
- Biscuits and Gravy
- Breakfast Skillet
- Chicken Alfredo
The Beef Stroganoff is tied for my top favorite with the Homestyle Chicken & Rice meal from Peak Refuel. I crave homestyle dishes with either rice or pasta on outdoor adventure trips, and these meals both have great flavor. Rich and creamy, but not heavy on the stomach. The beef tastes like beef, which isn’t always the case in freeze-dried meals. And the Homestyle Chicken meal has big chunks of carrots and mushrooms in a sour cream sauce. Mmm!
I’m a big fan of pasta, so looked forward to trying the Chicken Pesto Pasta and Chicken Alfredo meals. Of the two, I prefer the pesto pasta, but both are on my future backpacking meal rotation list.
I also tried several of the breakfast meals from Peak Refuel. The flavor of the Biscuits and Gravy is very, very good, but I found it difficult to break up the whole biscuit and couldn’t get it to rehydrate very well. I’d love this meal if the biscuits were provided in smaller chunks and not whole.
For the easiest prep possible, the Strawberry Granola is a no-cook breakfast – just add cold water and stir. The taste is just like having cereal at home, which is my favorite type of breakfast everyday.
The most substantial quantity of any of the meals I tried is the Breakfast Skillet. For me, half of this meal is still a lot of food for breakfast. Bring a flour tortilla, a stick of cheese, and a packet of salsa for an outstanding breakfast burrito.
My least favorite Peak Refuel Meals
I liked all of the meals that I tried, but the Chicken Teriyaki was my least favorite. I love Asian food, so I was looking forward to this one, but the flavor just wasn’t right and the meal is one of the least caloric in Peak Refuel’s lineup, so it wasn’t substantial enough for a backpacking meal. And since I love pasta, I was surprised that I didn’t care for the Beef Pasta Marinara. The sauce had a graininess to it and not enough flavor, so I probably wouldn’t buy this one again.
Overall, I really like the meals from Peak Refuel and think they are worth the slightly higher cost versus more popular brands like Mountain House, AlpineAire, or Backpackers Pantry. The variety of meals fits the types of food that I like to eat on outdoor adventures, and the flavors overall are quite good.
I still have a couple of meals to try, including the Sweet Pork & Rice and Chicken and Broccoli, so I’ll update this post after I get a chance to try them.
MY REVIEW POLICY
I purchased these meals with my own funds. As an independent gear reviewer, my policy is to review only items that I have used on multiple outdoor trips and that I feel are quality products worthy of recommending. If I don’t like a product, I don’t review or recommend it.
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