Firepot Dehydrated Meals Review

4th Jul 2018

Firepot Porcini Mushroom Risotto

Good food is surely a vital part of the outdoor experience.  When you are working hard you need food that will fuel your adventures but you also want that food to be nutritionally balanced, tasty, satisfying and environmentally sustainable.  It also helps if it offers good value and is light to carry and simple to prepare.  Fortunately, there is now a wide choice available and gone are the days where outdoor meals had to be bland or uninspiring.

We recently came across a recent addition to the market and, having tested a range of their products, we can say with confidence that they are fantastic - good size portions,  yummy menu choices and good value.  Outdoor Foods Firepot range is a great addition to the outdoor food market for all these reasons, but we also love them because they are aiming to do something very different...... 

Firstly, all Firepot meals are prepared by dehydration rather than being freeze dried.  This is an important distinction.  While both processes involve removing the water from the food,  dehydration involves passing warm air over the food surface which helps keep the food flavour and texture.  We weren’t, before we found out more, particularly aware of the difference between this method and freeze drying, but friends who dehydrate their own food all shouted loudly for the advantages of dehydrating.

The next big thing that separates Outdoor Food is that they prep and dehydrate all the food ingredients themselves.  Many companies will buy in freeze dried ingredients and mix them together but Outdoor Food strongly believe in doing absolutely everything themselves.  This allows them to create ingredient combinations that combine into yummy meals but also means they can source almost all their ingredients locally - something they take great pride in.  Their beef, for example, comes from their local Bridport butcher while the vegetables are from the nearby greengrocer in Chideock. Brilliant - you can be enjoying a meal on a mountain anywhere in the world knowing the roots of what you are eating.   

The dehydration and sealed pouch preparation method also means the meals have a minimum 2 year shelf life without needing any preservatives.  This is another important distinguishing feature as many options on the market do contain a variety of preservatives.  The natural preparation also allows for minimal use of other typical ingredient additions. Outdoor Foods did a comparison between their chilli option and a popular competitor's offering and the results were startling.  The Firepot portion contained 50% less sugar, 30% more carbs, 35% less salt and 100% less palm oil. 

Many dried food outdoor meals just don’t, in our opinion, provide enough per portion to fill you up and keep you fuelled after an active day.  Firepot meals come in decent size portions offering between 540kcal (Dal and Rice) up to 700kcal (Orzo Bolognese) for the standard portion size although they are also able to offer larger portions offering from 750kcal up to 1050kcal - that should be plenty for even the hungriest explorer. 

As is common with many pouch meals,  prepping the Firepots couldn't be simpler.  You can add water to the pouch and eat straight from there or you can add the contents to a pan and prep in that.  I am a big fan of the pouch prep meal and extolled its virtues in a blog post which you can read here.

And so, after all these great features,  it all obviously comes down to taste!  You can produce the most ethically sourced and lovingly created options but, at the end of an active day,  you want to sit atop your grassy knoll, survey the natural environment and enjoy your well deserved meal.  How do Firepot options stack up?

Well, without getting scientific, they are all delicious.  I am vegetarian so I can only personally comment on the vege/vegan options but some Peak Mountaineering clients tested a selection of the meat dishes on a recent mountain leader course and the carnivorous Peak Mountaineering juniors, who are notoriously fickle eaters, think they are fantastic too (that is a major thumbs up for any brand!).  

They say that the mind has a big part to play in how much we enjoy our food and so there is no doubt the knowledge that you are eating lovingly prepped natural ingredients offers a significant feel good factor, but when we let our mountain leader clients loose on them we hadn’t revealed all that info yet and they still raved about them.  There is no doubt whatsoever that these meals are a superb outdoor meal choice and, once you’ve tried them,  I dare to suggest that you won’t want to eat anything else on your backcountry trips.

Please do try Firepot out for yourselves and you’ll see what all the fuss is about.  You can buy direct from the Outdoor Foods website and they are also available in a rapidly growing range of retailers too.  The standard size meals cost £6.50 and the extra large portions are available for £8.50.  There is also free postage from the Firepot website for any orders over £15.  

Firepot have also just released a great little video that explains their unique approach to outdoor food production (I so want that kitchen!).  Please do have a watch.....

Posted by Cal