Just Add Water – Alpine Aire and Live Prepared Instant Food Review – Camp Cook Week Day 5

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Welcome to Camp Cooking Week! We’ll be cooking outdoors all week long so come back tomorrow for more outdoor cooking tips and tricks.

Just Add Water – Camp Cook Week Day 5

Yesterday’s post was all about backpackable snacks you can eat on the trail, but sometimes you just want a warm meal. Freeze dried food packs are common for backpacking and camping. Just add hot water and voila you have dinner in a pouch. But are they tasty? Will kids eat them? Well…Yes and no.

Live Prepared
Compared to fresh produce and home cooked meals, freeze dried anything isn’t going to taste great, but from experience I know that a long day of hiking makes most things taste better. Live Prepared pouches are shelf stable for up to 15 years, lightweight and easy. Just remove the oxygen absorber pack, add hot water, stir and wait. In ten minutes your food is ready to go.

At Outdoor Retailer, Live Prepared gave me some granola, oatmeal and beef stroganoff to try.
Big E took the oatmeal with strawberries since it is wheat and nut free. We usually have oatmeal when we’re camping so he was a fan, but when we mixed the hot water with the oats we didn’t quite stir it enough and there were still some clumps of powder when it was time to eat. He still liked it, but not as much as the oatmeal we normally have.

I broke out the beef stroganoff for a picnic with little g and baby L. I had high hopes that little g would like it since she’s a noodle fanatic normally. Unfortunately she took one bite and said “Yuck! I don’t like that.” I didn’t really blame her, eating it reminded me of too thick gravy and I couldn’t finish more than a small bowl.

Alpine Aire
The Sierra Chicken pouch from Alpine Aire was a leftover purchase from Mountain Dad’s last man trip. I expected the pasta, chicken, tomatoes and corn to be packed with flavor. It was a southwest style dish, plus like many prepackaged foods the sodium content was more than 20% of my daily recommended value. 

And yet it needed salt. It was very bland, not terrible, but not great. I would eat it if there were no other options I wouldn’t choose to eat it on my own. 


  • Shelf stable for up to 15 years. This varies by brand.
  • Lightweight
  • Easy, just add water.
  • Great backpacking meal option
  • No refrigeration needed.
  • Taste. Other than the granola and oatmeal the freeze dried options were not good.
I know that after a long day of backpacking or an especially cold afternoon a hot meal like one of these can hit the spot. But if you don’t have to eat freeze dried food, don’t. Fresher, preservative free foods are so much better. 

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Other links you might like:
Dutch Oven Cooking for Beginners – Camp Cook Week Day 1
Primus Firehole 100 Camp Stove Review – Camp Cook Week Day 2
Backyard Bonfire – Camp Cook Week Day 3
Backpackables with Munk Pack, Chapul and GoChia – Camp Cook Week Day 4

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Author: Mountain Mom

Hi! I'm Mountain Mom. I live with my husband and three young kids in the mountains near Sundance, Utah. When we're not hiking, biking, skiing and camping, I spend my time doing Mom stuff and reading. Summer of 2016 we traveled over 7,000 miles along the US National Park to Park Highway.

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