Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in Overland Journal’s Fall 2020 issue.
While many of us travel with dehydrated meals, a shelf-stable meal can be a good alternative. What they give up in shelf life, they make up for in ease of heating and convenience. Notably, they also require no additional water, as the fluids used to heat the bags can be poured back into your storage. In the case of Camp Fare, the meals come in a retort pouch constructed from layers of metal foils and plastic, and can easily survive flameless contact to high heat, such as to an engine intake. These meals were designed and crafted by Andrew Sarda, a world traveler, and executive chef.
Chicken Tikka Masala
In our experience testing camping meals, tikka masala has proven to be a perfect baseline, and the Camp Fare version did not disappoint. I heated the meal in boiling water for three minutes at 3,547 feet, which is the high end of the recommended time. The food was certainly warm but would have benefited from an additional minute. It plated easily, and looked a lot like stew, but lacked the orange tinge, likely because of a lower amount of turmeric spice. Though the chicken was a bit spongy, I found the flavor to be pleasant, but quite tomato-forward, and less spicy than other brands. It also scored less salty by reviewers, but this is easily remedied by the camp pantry, as is the spice factor. Made from natural ingredients and minimally processed, it has a five-year shelf life.
270 CALORIES | 25G PROTEIN | $12, ONE SERVING | CAMPFARE.COM
Wild Alaskan Salmon
Fish is a great source of protein, and fillets like salmon are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. I typically add salmon, cod, or herring to my meals. The Camp Fare alder-smoked, wild-caught salmon is a solid choice with minimal processing and only four ingredients beyond the fillet: salt, a dash of brown sugar, garlic, and black pepper. In our heating test, this meal also needed an additional minute beyond the two to three listed on the packaging. After heating, I drained the excess fluid from the package before plating, and the testing team found the fish to look appetizing and have a good initial mouthfeel. The salmon did have a slightly overcooked finish, where the flavors and flesh had muddled with time in the package. It is shelf stable for seven years.
160 CALORIES | 24G PROTEIN | $13, ONE SERVING | CAMPFARE.COM