Food Finds · Trail Cooking

Commercial Meals Review: RightOnTrek

While the newer RightOnTrek meals may look like a typical freeze-dried commercial meal, they are designed to be cooked in a small pot, and not have hot water added to the bag. The bags are Biotrē 2.0 which are as far as I can tell are a “sustainable” bag that is bio-based. The outside of the bags break down quickly, the interior liner breaks down in 1 to 2 years. It’s not compostable yet at the curb in your urban yard waste pickup, but it will break down in the dump. Which they are right about – unlike mylar bags, these will actually go away. So you cannot “cook in the bag” as with traditional freeze-dried mylar bags, but you are in theory making a better choice. It’s a start in the right way. Commercial food options will always need a bag/container you toss into your pack, and to keep it fresh. And the price point isn’t bad on it either. The downside (if you see it that way) is you will be washing a pot after every meal. Tip on that? As soon as you eat, wipe your pot out with a paper towel, to get all the food and any oil left behind. Then you can just boil water in it to sanitize it. Paper towels are a hiker’s friend in many ways.

The meals are in a new look – about a year and a half ago we had reviewed their meal plan, which is a whole day’s worth of food, paired for no-thinking-needed trip planning. They still offer that service, but it’s nice to see the main meals also offered, and some new flavors without setting up an account. If you go to the store page here, you can click on filters to see the different options, including buying full day meals that go from breakfast to dessert (which if you are a busy person, this isn’t a bad thing – no shopping needed in person, or having to think it out at all – those all day meals range from $39.99 to $44.99 (which might seem pricey at first, but again, your time may be worth more to not have to drive around on a day off….)

Both breakfast and dinner meals are offered, in single, two person, and 4 person servings. That isn’t usual for a 4 person option. Long ago (was that like 25 years ago??) you could actually buy a few freeze-dried meals in 4 person pouches from Campmor. Ok, I’ll quit dating myself.

4 of the meals are noted as Keto (friendly) in their store, so for those avoiding processed carbs, you have an option on their website. And let it be noted – the Keto friendly one I reviewed (er…ate) was my favorite.

The packaged meals came with some extras tacked on the back – at least for the ones we received. The cheese bars were quite good for shelf-stable cheese. I’d eat those by themselves. The hot sauce packets are always welcome in our tribe. The boys loved having even more cheese, with the parmesan cheese packet with each meal.

The packaging is quite nice now, definitely a lot more durable than the previous thin plastic bags they used. The bags will hold up well in a food bag, bouncing around in a backpack. My meals had over a years shelf life on them when received (sent about a month ago, and dated for November 2023).

Bechamel Style Mac and Cheese.

This meal isn’t on the website. It is a vegetarian choice. The middle child enjoyed it very much. He is 12, so it is both kid and teen friendly. Inside was the pasta, cheese sauce mix in a packet, and another packet with dried flavorings. Just add water to a pot, bring to a boil and then add the pasta and cook for 5 minutes. I felt it could have used a wee bit more water for the sauce, but the boy didn’t care, he thought it was great as is. Myself, I’d have added in a packet of olive oil and a bit more water. But as I said: the kid loved it just as it was. He’s maybe not so picky.

Broccoli Beef Stroganoff.

This was the one I wanted to try. I am not Keto, but I am on a 5 month tight workout program these days, so my carb intake has gone down rapidly, and my protein up. This was a solid choice for me. No added sugars, no added carbs like pasta or rice. At 520 calories for the bag, 34 grams fat, 32 grams protein and 680 mg sodium, it fit into my diet. Often, freeze-dried meals can come in far too low for calories at around 300 calories a serving, and be a salt lick at 1500 or more mg of sodium. This was appreciated.

Having said that, you could easily serve this over rice or pasta for a couple hundred more calories (or to split it into 2 servings), or even put it into tortillas as a wrap. It’s easy to cook: boil water, add in dry beef, broccili and mushrooms, cook for 3 minutes. Take off heat, stir in the powder mix and let sit covered for 3 minutes, then enjoy.

I would highly recommend this meal. It was well flavored and NOT a salt lick! It is $9.99 for a 1 person meal – which is a great price these days.

Savory Mountain Grits.

I love grits and polenta. It’s a carb fest of course, as it’s based on corn. So I enjoyed the two bites I took of it – it was thick, creamy, warm and cheesy with a hickory smoke flavor. It would make an excellent breakfast if you can eat carbs. Our youngest loves grits also, and he polished the bowl off quickly for lunch, on a cool fall day. I’d add some shelf stable bacon, and a nap in the sun enjoying life. It is $6.49 for a single person meal. 

The 3 meals were all good in their own ways. While I wasn’t overly excited about the mac and cheese, the other two meals I truly enjoyed. Walker would tell you though that the mac and cheese was delicious of course 😉

FTC Disclaimer: We received meals for potential review. All thoughts and opinions are ours. 


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