Here in Dorset we’re enjoying beautiful September weather at the moment, so last weekend seemed an ideal time to try out one of the expedition meals from Firepot which I’d kindly received as a sample a while ago but hadn’t got around to trying yet.
Firepot, like Nature Travels, is also a Dorset-based company, and they specialise in high-quality dehydrated meals for outdoor adventures.
So armed with my Firepot meal and my trusty Trangia, I set out to enjoy a beautiful day hike along the South West Coast Path and Jubilee Trail close to the Nature Travels offices here in Dorchester.
Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch?!
Generally speaking, in terms of overall enjoyment of the outdoor experience and since sitting round the campfire or in your cabin making dinner after the day’s adventures can be one of the best parts of any trip, I’d always prefer to bring ingredients with me and prepare meals from scratch if possible.
However, dehydrated meals certainly offer a considerable advantage in some situations, and this is where products like the Firepot meals really come into their own:
- When you’ll be doing long and physically challenging days and you don’t have the time or inclination to spend time and energy preparing meals.
- When you’ll be carrying lots of gear and keeping packing bulk and weight to a minimum is important (such as for our Rogen Wilderness Canoe Expedition in Sweden).
- When you need to monitor your calorific intake to make sure you’re getting enough energy. Our Backcountry Skiing and Northern Lights in Finnish Lapland tour would be a great example of this and dehydrated meals are often used on that tour.
So at the bright and early hour of 8am I found myself striding off across the Dorset hills, with the world spread out beneath my feet and not a soul in sight.
It may not be the Himalayas, but after a few hours I felt I’d earned myself an early lunch, so I found a comfortable tree stump and got the Trangia going.
Obviously bringing a Trangia on a day walk (or even a dehydrated meal for that matter) is a bit unnecessary. I could easily have brought a flask for the hot water (and a sandwich). But where’s the fun in that? Plus I was enjoying pretending I was on a proper expedition!
An important note about packaging: Firepot currently offers its meals either in standard “waterproof” packaging – the sample I received – which can tolerate having hot water poured into the bag and so doesn’t need a pan, or alternatively in more eco-friendly compostable packaging. The compostable version needs to be cooked in a pan, but the company is working on compostable packaging which will be able to take boiling water. If it cracks this, it will be great, combining the simplicity of an eat-from-the-bag meal while eliminating packaging waste.
Once you’ve filled the packet with hot water to the required level (no. 6 on the scale on the side, 440ml apparently), it’s time to close it up, sit back, and wait for your lunch to magically rehydrate!
Being the impatient type, this was quite a struggle for me!
Fortunately, I had just enough water left over in the pot for a cup of tea to while away the time.
Ready at last, and after a quick stir with my super-duper Titanium spork, lunch was served!
The Porcini Mushroom Risotto was very tasty – full-flavoured and filling, and certainly nicer than many other rehydrated meals I’ve tried. The portion was generous and I definitely felt energised for continuing the rest of my walk.
If you’re a non-meat-eater like me, you’ll be delighted to know that in addition to meaty options, Firepot offers a choice of four main meals suitable for vegans and vegetarians (Porcini Mushroom Risotto, Dal and Rice with Spinach, Vegan Orzo Bolognese and Posh Baked Beans) plus a vegan Baked Apple Porridge for breakfast, so you could have a reasonable amount of variety even on an extended trip.
From what I’ve tried so far, I’d certainly recommend Firepot meals and look forward to trying the other flavours when I get the chance – hopefully on a proper expedition next time!
For more information on Firepot dehyradated meals, see www.firepotfood.com
For ideas for challenging wilderness expeditions where dehydrated meals would come in very handy, see our Inspire Me section for “Wilderness Holidays“.