Review: Stowaway Gourmet Adventure Meals
I’ve been backpacking and adventuring for quite some time now and I’ve tried just about every dehydrated, shelf stable, backpacking, just add water, type of meal on the market. I started to get burned out on the bland flavors and honestly the way I would feel after eating them and I even started taking my chances on packing in not so conventional or shelf stable foods just to mix things up a bit. As soon as I took a bite of a Stowaway Gourmet meal, I knew the disappointing diet days were a thing of the past!
I had the opportunity to talk with Dan West who’s the owner of Stowaway Gourmet and the first thing I asked him was to explain his product and his response, “We’re making the best backpacking meals in the world. End of story.” Thats a pretty bold claim but once you taste the product he’s putting out, you realize that there is truth behind the words. The first meal I tried was the “La Pasta Nostra” and I kid you not, you could’ve served that to me in an Italian restaurant and I wouldn’t have batted an eye. The fact that you can get that much flavor and quality by just adding boiling water is utterly mind blowing! Dan sent me a couple of samplers which is essentially one of everything and I haven’t had a single meal that I wasn’t impressed with. When I talked to Dan, he told me that he didn’t want to give away his secrets but what he could tell me is that a big part of what sets them apart is that they have a chef on staff who is actually cooking the meals in house and then they’re freeze-drying them. So instead of creating a vat of “prison slop” and then dehydrating it, Stowaway is actually cooking meals in small batches so they can focus more on quality instead of quantity.
One of the greatest things about the outdoors is that they’re free for anyone to enjoy. It doesn’t matter skill level or social status, if you want to enjoy the outdoors that just go for it! Unfortunately, one major limiting factor for some is dietary restrictions. Most easily packable meals are not only not thinking about people with specific diets, they also make it hard to figure out what exactly is in them. Stowaway Gourmet was tired of this exclusion so they have products with many different diets in mine and they’re all clearly labeled on the front of all of their packaging. They also list some important nutrition facts as well as “at a glance” instructions along with the diet info making it easy to decide what you want to take for specific adventures.
The meals from Stowaway Gourmet are unlike any other backpacking meal on the planet. I’ve enjoyed them so much on the trail that I’ve actually started making them at home when I don’t feel like cooking after a long day. The quality cannot be matched and since they use real, whole ingredients, you don’t feel like you just ate a bunch of cement a few hours later. I love the creativity in their menu too, they have taken options that you would never think of as trail meals and made them easy and delicious to make in the backcountry. The only negative thing I have to say about these meals is that their breakfast options are a bit limited. Stowaway has somehow figured out how to freeze-dry yogurt and many of their breakfast options are a sort of yogurt and granola mixture. I’m all for a good parfait in the mornings but when I’m hiking, I’m looking for more of a bacon and eggs kind of meal. The yogurt options were quite impressive but just not quite my cup of tea. I hope that as Stowaway releases more options, they mix up their breakfast menu a bit.
When you compare Stowaway Gourmet’s prices to other backpacking meals it’s pretty obvious that they are charging a premium for their products. If you don’t know anything about the products it might seem like an unnecessary expense when you could pay significantly less for another meal in a bag that you add boiling water to. I guarantee if you try Stowaway Gourmet’s meals, you will understand the reasoning behind the price and you will have a hard time going back to the other budget meals on the market.
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