Backcountry food is not always that appealing and that's why when the opportunity to try RightOnTrek meals came along I naturally said yes. Right OnTrek is, however, much more than just a pre-packaged meal company since they also provide free adventure planning tools on their website so you can get the beta (and food) you need for your next adventure. From the RightOnTrek website you can as they say ‘Find your trails’, ‘Plan Amazing Trips’, ‘Buy Delicious Meals’, and ‘Rent Adventure Gear’. A sample itinerary for one of the tails is below and Gear Rentals are a reality from their Glacier Outdoor Centre in Montana. You can rent all the gear you’ll need to either go backpacking or car camping for $50 or $40US respectively for one person. They also have individual meals for breakfast and dinner as well as full meal kits to ensure you are well-fuelled for your adventure.
Having reviewed a handful of other boil-in-the-bag, freeze-dried backpacking food options and energy bars I was interested in testing the Right OnTrek products to see how they were different and hopefully better than the rest. RightOnTrek sent me a selection of Meal Kits as well as a few stand-alone meals which included two breakfasts and two dinners. These were the Banana Bread Oatmeal, Hearty Morning Coconut Granola (which requires no cooking), High Country Pad Thai and their Chicken Coconut Curry. RightOnTrek has a total of six breakfast options with the others being Cheesy Mushroom Egg Scramble, Cranberry and Walnut Oatmeal, and Savoury Mountain Grits. There are also a total of ten dinner meals to choose from with the other options being Backcountry Chili, Bechamel Style Mac and Cheese, Chicken Alfredo Pasta, General Tsoys Mountain Rice, Hearty Beef Bolognese, Vegan Shepard’s Stew, Broccoli Beef Stroganoff, and Cauliflower Forest Chicken Risotto.
The two breakfast options I received—Banana Bread Oatmeal and Hearty Morning Coconut Granola are said to both feed “1 Tired Hungry Explorer” the meals range in weight from 76-85g and provide 390-480 calories with 9-11g of protein each. Both contained simple ingredients that I could both identify and pronounce, with several of them being organic. Both of these options were vegan, gluten-free and contained no dairy or soy so they would appeal to a wide range of people’s dietary needs and constraints. They are both available in 1-4 person portions and can be combined with other ‘add-ons’ such as milk and cream packets or additional fruit/nuts for a small extra fee. Prices for the meals themselves range from $6.49 - $19.99US depending upon the serving size you need. It’s hard to tell which of the two was my favourite as they are both very different but they contained the right amount of sweetness and flavour along with a satisfying texture and about the right amount of calories, although they were so good I wanted MORE!
My choices for dinner were High Country Pad Thai and Chicken Coconut Curry. Both meals required between 3-6 minutes of cooking in a pot as they are not boil-in-the-bag meals. They weighed between 122-132g and provided 540-550 calories with 17-22g of protein. Both options were gluten-free with the Pad Thai being vegetarian and also containing no dairy. The ingredient lists on these meals are more extensive than the breakfast options I sampled and while they did contain a few less common natural ingredients they were still very healthy and again, some ingredients were organic. Both options are available in 1-4 person serving sizes at a cost of $7.99 - $25.99US with add-on options such as nuts, spices and hot sauce being available. Both meals cooked up in 7-8 minutes and were very hearty and delicious. It was amazing the amount of flavour each option provided and how quickly they could be prepared,… and consumed. Being a big eater I could have used a few more calories so I may opt-in future for a 2 person meal and then share some if it proves to be too much.
One of the big differences between RightOnTrek’s meal options and the competition (aside from the delicious taste) is the fact that they use sustainable bio-based packaging. This 60% compostable packaging uses materials derived from tree pulp which helps reduce the overall carbon footprint. There are no plastics or potentially harmful substances contained in the packaging that could leach into the food or harm the environment. The packaging is durable enough to handle the rigours of life on the trail and time in your pack while still being lighter weight, more packable, and waterproof. The packaging can be composted or used as kindling but you will need to remove the product label stickers first. There are no plastics in this packaging so burning won't release any dioxins or heavy metals into the environment if you choose to burn them. While only 60% of the packaging is compostable it’s still better than the alternative and definitely a step in the right direction.
If you are looking for full Meal Kits, RightOnTrek has you covered there as well with nine options that include breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as snacks and drinks. Each Meal Kit provides a generous amount of calories and protein for hungry hikers and comes in a reusable mesh bag so they are easy to organize on multi-day adventures while at the same time minimizing weight. For an example of what a Meal Kit includes let's look at the RightOnTrek Backcountry Meal Kit #8. For lunch, you get Cheesy Mushroom Egg Scramble with Cholula Hot Sauce and for lunch and snacks, there is Parmesan Cheese Crisps, Green Olives, 2X-Roasted and Salted Almonds, Maple Pecan Keto Granola Bar, Savoury Pumpkin Seed Sprouts, Albacore Tuna in Olive Oil, Dutch Caramel & Vanilla Waffle. Dinner consists of Broccoli Beef Stroganoff with Grated Parmesan and Red Pepper Flakes and to wash it all down there is Instant Coffee and tea complete with stevia sweetener, milk and cream. RightOnTrek also includes a few condiments such as salt, black pepper, mayonnaise, and mustard. This Meal Kit provides 2530 calories, with 125g of protein and weighs only 538g /1lb 3oz and costs $59.99CAN /$44.99US.
There is no denying the quality ingredients and great taste of all of the RightOnTrek backcountry meals. They are super convenient and light in my pack so taking them along on any backcountry adventure is a no-brainer. I like that RightOnTrek is a member of 1% For The Planet, uses organic ingredients where they can and that the meals are made in Montana. I applaud their environmental initiatives, especially the use of sustainable bio-based materials in their packaging. While not 100% recyclable or biodegradable, it is a big step in the right direction and they are the only company I know that has done this to date.
There are a lot of backcountry meal companies that provide either freeze-dried or dehydrated meals in a bag but RightOnTrek is different. They help adventurers easily plan multi-day backpacking trips not only with their all-in-one Meal Kits but also by renting gear and providing hiking trail beta. While I did not test out their rental gear or use any of the route information on their website since they are all US-focused, I did enjoy several of their Meal Kits on recent backpacking and paddling trips. The ease of grabbing a complete meal kit for each day of my backcountry trips was beyond easy and the reassurance of knowing that each one is packed with delicious and nutritious food as well as calories to keep me going on the tail is priceless. The snacks were creative and went beyond simple energy bars that lose their appeal after a few days, the variety of the Meal Kits was also really appreciated after a few days on the trail. While the amount of packaging waste from each meal kit was confronting, I cannot think of an alternative that would help reduce this other than preparing my own meals and snacks which takes a considerable amount of time, organization and planning. I find that meal planning is the most time-consuming and intensive part of any trip and the RightOnTrek Meal Kits really help elevate this.
I found that the individual RightOnTrek backcountry meals for breakfast and dinner along with my own snacks and treats provided a good way to minimize packaging waste and also keep the overall cost down as individual meals for breakfast and dinner were about $15US per day versus a Meal Kit which would cost about $40US per day. This also allowed me to pack in more or fewer calories depending upon my adventure and dietary needs. I know for myself, that 500 calories are never enough for dinner as I need more to sustain energy so complimenting one of RightOnTrek’s meals is always a good idea for me personally. Like their website which offers lots of options to get your adventure off the ground, RightOnTrek’s meals have you covered with either individual meals or an entire Meal Kit for the day.
If you’re tired of freeze-dried meals that taste exactly as you’d imagine, then give RightOnTrek a try and discover how nutritious and delicious eating in the backcountry can be.
Right OnTrek Hearty Morning Coconut Granola
Price: $8.95CAN / $6.49US
Net Weight: 76g / 2.7oz
Right OnTrek Banana Bread Oatmeal
Price: $8.95CAN / $6.49US
Net Weight: 85g / 3oz
Right OnTrek High Country Pad Thai
Price: $9.99CAN / $7.99US
Net Weight: 122g / 4.3oz
Right OnTrek Chicken Coconut Curry
Price: $9.99CAN / $7.99US
Net Weight: 132g / 4.7oz
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