results were very educational, to say the least. We learned alot
about each other's food preferences, that's for sure. As Josh put
it, "...there's something here for everyone!" His comment was
related to the fact that every meal was someone's favorite and,
conversely, as you might expect, someone's least
all agreed, however, on our assessment of both "Quantity" and
quantity of all the meals was more
than adequate -- if not generous -- for two folks or for one
extremely hungry backpacker (like me about every other day). Josh
coined the phrase "hefty, healthy helpings." A noteworthy tip is
that the double portions are twice as much food, but not twice the
price. You get more for your money by getting the
high quality of the ingredients was
evident. Anna -- who is a teacher of nutrition -- said
"...ingredients are very good, high quality, no additives, and all
meals taste like they were just made (from scratch) in the
kitchen." Other comments about quality, "...tastes like freshly cut
up veggies right out of the garden." "...lack of salt makes
everything taste like a freshly made meal." Sarah (who is not a
backpacker) said, "...makes you wanna go backpacking".
also agreed that the seasoning was
very well done by using a well-balanced selection of herbs, rather
than heavy on the salt like most freeze-dried food. I, for one, am
very sensitive to salty food, and I particularly appreciated the
relative lack of sodium in these meals.
Although both spoon and
fork could be useful, a spoon should be the only required utensil that you'll need for both cooking
and eating all these meals.
Bountiful Bean &
was my favorite #2. It was also
Sarah's favorite #2 and received high scores from both Josh and
Anna. It scored low with Sandra and Janel (who don't particularly
like tomato dishes). Jamie's reaction was sort of a dichotomy. She
thoroughly enjoyed the meal, but it failed her "tummy test" when
she experienced indigestion/heartburn (probably because she's
pregnant). Consequently, she gave it a lower score.
delightful; stewed tomatoes; appetizing -- tomatoey and beany;
wonderful like spaghetti sauce; smells good.
tomatoey and a little too thin (but satisfying); tangy/zesty like
spaghetti sauce; tad spicy; hearty chili taste; tomatoey and very
mild (not too spicy); exquisitely tangy, tiny-bit sour; slightly
sour, slightly bitter, tangy sweet, little salt, medium spicy (not
hot); has an occasional kick, not too sour or sweet; ingredients
have a fresh taste (especially the longer you chew).
variety, good crunch, allows for chewing; slight crunch (lentils);
slightly runny and not too thick; it could have soaked longer (a
matter of personal preference); thickens up nicely after it sits
for awhile; slightly runny but grows on you.
slightly bitter / stays with you and makes you want more; lingering
red pepper/green pepper; wonderfully tangy with slight tingling on
the tongue; mild -- lends itself to eating with 'great gusto';
mouth burns with lingering legume and tomato flavor
great!, filling; would be great with bread or crackers; gives me
heartburn; very warming and filling; great girgley for my girgley
I love the variety of beans and texture, excellent ingredients!;
easy to prepare but took a long time (35 to 45 minutes). Update
from Pack Lite: Cooking time has since been reduced to 10-15
minutes presoaking and 6 minutes to cook.
4.2, 4.2, 5, 4, 3.5, 3.5, 5 (4.2)
smells "ricey" and delicious; it's okay; appetizing rice w/spices;
mild nutty, clearly rice-based.
bland (flavor comes out the more you chew); slightly under
seasoned; fresh veggies.
To fully experinece the flavors your mouth needs to get a workout.
As Josh points out, "if you wolf this down it'll seem bland, but if
you take the time to chew, many flavors will come out"; The more I
chew, the more it unlocks a nutty flavor; Sandra, who is extremely
sensitive to salt, said "...this food is fine -- not too
nuts add a bit of crunch; smooth nutty; thick, crunchy, lumpy thick
as a rice dish should be; thick chewy; Janel said "...mouth gets
good workout"; awesome texture makes it worth eating; good crunchy
and smooth; love the nuts and rice-chewy.
fresh veggies (green beans very fresh tasting); pasty rice; nice
filling; sits well; a full meal.
"makes you wanna go backpacking"; very good hardy and wild rice is
great; Charles belched, which is always a good sign; "liked this
very much, not too salty".
4, 4, 4.1, 3.3, 3, 3, 3 (3.5)
Wild Will's Wild
good earthy; herbal smell; smells very herby; smells of spices --
reminds me of a Fall day in a warm kitchen filled with a
vegetable/spice aroma; spicy and herby.
good hearty, fulfilling taste and texture; there's something sweet
in here like dried raisins (actually craisins -- dried cranberries)
which give a burst of flavor every time you hit one; many different
flavors mixed; it's bitter -- no, it's sweet
hardy, good chew, satisfying, herby; mild but not bland; I like it,
the craisins add a lot.
wonderful, very chewy and crunchy, satisfying; chewy; lumpy,
crunchy; nice slight crunch intermixed with smooth texture of
good; very good -- not salty; not much; sour aftertaste.
sits very well; yes, it's okay; very filling; a good wholesome,
full feeling; satisfying.
very good combination of herbs, not hot; added a little more water
to this dish and soaked it longer, too; cooking time about right --
did add more water.
4.6, 4.5, 3.5, 3.8, 3.5, 4.3, 4 (4.0)
Wasa Crisp Bread with
and Sandra loved the Hummus Spread and Wasa Crisp Bread, but the
rest of us didn't particularly like it. If you like hummus, you'll
love this one. If you don't like hummus, this one probably won't
change your mind.
good fresh; smells delicious; spicy smell; appetizing.
very good, tangy, fresh taste; strong, herby fresh.
excellent. good protein, nourishing; strong veggie; bitter and
good, thick and creamy, cool; smooth.
very good; strong mustardy taste; pasty.
feel replenished; too strong.
hummus with crackers taster better than hummus alone; this would go
good as a side dish to the main meal.
5, 5, 1.5, 3, 3.9, 2.5, 1.5 (3.2)
South of the Border
interesting and surprising thing about this chili dish is that
Sandra liked it, whereas she didn't like the "Bountiful Bean Chili"
because of the tomatos. She said that this chili did not have a
strong tomato taste and was not as spicy. She liked it.
light, okay; mild smell; smells fresh; nice, sweet aroma; good
hearty chili smell.
light, okay, very hearty; mild taste; made my lips pucker; got a
good zing in my jaw; much less spicy than the other
grows on you, runny, prefer chili thicker, not too spicy; tickles
the taste buds; not very spicy, but tomatoey.
runny, but not bad, may thicken if it sits a little longer; nice
whole beans, good pieces of corn and texturized vegetable protein
which acts as "meat"; soupy; plenty of veggies and texturized
veggie protein acts like meat; plenty of veggies and different
kinds of beans; soupy; like a mixture of chili and soup.
very good aftertaste; strong aftertaste; a slight cheese taste;
tomatoey aftertaste -- a little too much.
cooked up great -- let soak for 15 minutes rather than 10. A hearty
Total score 4, 4.1, 2.9, 2, 4.4, 4, 4.2
one was the overall favorite and you could tell it would be so from
all the ummms and ahhhs during that first-bite test.
light, but very good; pepper-jack cheese aroma; smells delicious;
ah yes, this smells good!; smells great!; good pasta
satisfying, creamy, lots of good carbohydrates; cheesy flavor;
tasty can't wait for more; this reminds me of my favorite Pasta
Primavera; I'm hearing a lot of ummms and ahhhs!; taste great-the
peas really add a lot;
tastes fresh, homemade; cheesy; excellent superb but a little
bland; taste great!; creamy, noodley; not spicy a little sweet;
slight cheese taste; lack of salt makes it taste very fresh; a
little spicy; good flavor; peas add a very pleasant flavor; taste
homemade, like it's right off the stovetop at home;
creamy, slightly chewy, satisfying texture; very good pasta is
soft, peas are slightly crunchy which makes it all taste freshly
made; not too spicy, but good herbal flavor; creamy; excellent
consistency; good mix of ingredients; excellent creamy consistency;
nice combination of ingredients; creamy texture; very smooth; pasta
stays firm when cooked;
good healthy aftertaste; cheesy creamy; pleasant; creamy
sits well in my stomach; Jamie says "...yes, sits well in my
stomach"; very satisfying and filling; sits very well.
maybe too light of a meal for after a hike (lacks protein);
filling, complete; loved this -- loved the peas.
5, 4.3, 5, 4.5, 4.7, 5, 5 (4.8) four 5's
was Sarah's favorite.
excellent!, fresh, basil; smells good, like a restaurant; very
tomatoey and tangy;
okay, odd, smells better than first bite; fabulous flavor, I can't
stop eating it!; ZING! -- like a zap to the jaw.
not bad, does taste very fresh; fabulous, taste like home cooking
-- this is great!; I like the slight, subtle spinach
smooth, thick; hearty; extremely tomatoey.
good; lingering, fresh, and clean.
satisfying and filling
very healthy portions
3.5, 5, 4, 4, 4.1, 3.8, 4 (4.1)
Overall Ranking by
4.8 -- Meals with Wheels
GOURMET IN THE MOUNTAINS & EXCELLENT AT
4.2 -- Bountiful Bean and Lentil Chili
4.1 -- Mom's Pasta Primavera
4.0 -- Wild Will's Wild Rice
EXCELLENT IN THE MOUNTAINS & VERY GOOD AT
3.7 -- South of the Border Chili
3.5 -- Green Bean Cuisine
3.2 -- Wasa Crisp Bread with Hummus Spread
First, a word about the
scoring system. We figure that any food that scores 2.0 and above
would be a very good meal in the mountains. All of these meals
scored well above that. Secondly, this group of testers is tough on
handing out 5's. A very critical crowd, indeed.
Having said all that, we as
a group, gave Pack Lite Foods a 4.4 rating overall. Anna
said it for all of us when she said, "...all of these, you can't go
also determined that the Pack Lite Foods fare was more wholesome,
with fresher ingredients and much, much less salt than the
traditional freeze-dried foods -- like Mountain House and similar
brands. "You feel like you've had a home-cooked meal, not like
you've been sucking on a salt lick.
recommend that you try these Pack Lite Foods products. Hopefully,
our assessments will help you zero in on the meals that will be
according to your own preferences.
Copyright © 1999, The
Lightweight Backpacker. All rights reserved.
|Pack Lite Foods
804 Airport Way, Sandpoint, ID 83864
Phone (208) 219-7737
Copyright © 1998-2010 Pack Lite Foods
Review published 22 Apr 1999 on The Lightweight Backpacker and
copyright by them; excerpted for publication on