Tired putting together your own backpacking meal plan? Well, Right on Trek is here to help and do it all for you!
Honestly at first I was a bit skeptical of this service, but after giving it a try, I think it’s pretty great! It’s a really convenient and affordable way to plan out your backpacking meals with very little effort! They do all of the work and calculate all the calories – you just pick which of the options you like best for each meal and they’ll send it straight to you or your destination.
It’s so easy and convenient it’s almost like it was created by backpackers, and well, that’s because it was. The team behind this customized meal planning is a group of backpacking friends who came up with the idea while hiking the JMT.
Aren’t they basically just cobbling together food you could get at the store yourself?
Yes and no. All of the snack items are made by other brands and are things that you could find at other stores. Which also means you might just find some of your favorite snacks available in the options.
But the meals are created by RightOnTrek. These aren’t dehydrated meals that have been sitting on a shelf for years that they’re just slapping a new package on and selling. Each meal has been freshly made that season and then air dried, so they’re light, nutritious, and have minimal preservatives.
Plus, each order is prepared individually based on your calorie needs. That means that the portion sizes are actually made to be for one person for one meal. That part kinda got me excited since I’m use to either separating out a dehydrated meal ahead of time into smaller portions or sharing one package with my husband, which also means that we both then have to eat the same thing each night (and I’m vegetarian and he’s not).
How does this customized meal prep work exactly?
It’s super easy! Just go to their website here, and at the bottom of this page, choose how many days for your trip and if you’re planning for yourself or for a family.
Then you can choose to set your own preferences about the types of foods you like (or your dietary restrictions – they have vegetarian, vegan and keto options!) or to have them surprise you and choose everything for you.
Then just enter how many calories you need per day (backpacking calorie calculator available here if you’re not sure how to figure this out) – and that’s it! A custom meal plan is put together for you based on your preferences.
From here, if you like the options you can just check out right away, or if you don’t like what you see, swap it out for a different choice.
For breakfast there’s a variety of different types of oatmeal, eggs, or portage – plus snacks and coffee and tea.
For lunch, there’s a wide variety of choices – everything from protein bars to fruit and nuts, salty snacks, sweets, energy chews and even vegan jerky (one of my favorites).
Then for dinner, choose from a variety of meals, plus dessert.
Oh and don’t forget about the snacks! (Which are basically the same options as lunch)
And even though the choices are separated out by meal type, if you really want to have breakfast for dinner, you could of course still swap those options out too.
Then my favorite part is the totals that appear at the bottom of each day once you’ve made your selections. It calculates how many calories all of this food for each day will be, how much it weights, and also the cost.
That’s a lot more accurate information than you’re gonna get by just going to the store and putting together meals yourself. And if you find you have favorites, you can save custom meal plans for future adventures.
Then when it arrives, all of your days have already been separated out for you into pre-packaged bags with everything that you picked. It’s so much more convenient than doing this all yourself!
What are the costs? Is it more expensive?
Let’s do a side by side comparison based on one of the days for the above meals that I picked:
– Egg & Cheese scramble
– KIND Oats & Honey Bar
– Vegan jerky
– Chex mix
– Lara bar
– Box of raisins
– Mac & Cheese
– Chocolate bar
– PROBAR energy chews
– Munk pack protein cookie
– Justin’s classic peanut butter
Total cost for the day using RightonTrek: $26.56
Total cost buying this on my own: $25.75 (if buying in packs rather than single items)
That’s pretty darn close. So yes, technically its just a teensy bit more, but got the extra convenience of easily laying out a meal plan for you and having everything delivered to you (or your destination) in labeled bags with all of your food for the day already packaged together – I think that $1 difference is totally worth it.
Ya, but how does it taste?
I tested out the Mac & Cheese as soon as it arrived and it was great! Nice and creamy. Plus, it felt healthier (in a good way) than the Mountain Home Mac & Cheese which I usually take on backpacking trips. Still lots of flavor, but it was more like mac and cheese that you’d make yourself at home vs. Stouffers frozen mac and cheese that you microwave.
I’m saving the rest to try while actually on my next trip and will update once I’ve tried some other options!
So what’s the negatives?
The only thing that I can really see as being a negative is that I would want to see more variety in the meal choices – but I complain about this with other dehydrated meals too.
There are 7 breakfast options (2 include eggs, the rest are oatmeal/cereal) and 11 dinner options (6 of which are vegetarian). Seeing that put on paper, that actually sounds like a lot, but when flipping through the options to put together my meal plan, it didn’t feel like a lot of options. I think that’s mainly because you’re only picking from options from one provider and I usually get different meals from different companies to makes it feel like I have lots of options. It definitely enough to keep you eating something different every day on a week long trip, but if you then use the services again, you’d again have to go with those same options for the week. Really not a big deal at all.
Their website says that the packaging for the custom made meals is biodegradable, which sounds amazing since most other meals that I’ve eaten on the trail has had packaging made of foils, plastic, or aluminum. But when I received my order, the packaging for the meals looks and feels pretty much like plastic to me, so not sure how much of that is true. But according to their site, they do try to sources products (for snacks etc.) from other companies who use compostable materials in their packaging.
The food is also air-dried dehydrated, which uses 1/4 of the energy, so that is a plus.
And, the water needed to make these meals is less than your standard dehydrated meal, which can make a big difference if you don’t have a water source. Most other meals I’ve made usually require 2 1/4+ cups of water to re-hydrate the food, but RightOnTrek meals usually require only around 1 cup of water. That is because the portion sizes are smaller since you’re getting an actual portion for one person vs. a big for 2.5 people.
And no, this is not an affiliate link, I don’t make anything off of you trying this service. I just think they’re doing a good job of making meal planning easier and more convenient and like supporting small businesses run by real people rather than big companies.