PRE-HIKE REVIEW AND THOUGHTS
PRE-HIKE REVIEW: You cannot purchase a standalone meal pouch from RightOnTrek. The meal pouches are only available by purchasing a daily meal plan. It is difficult to accurately calculate the price of an individual RightOnTrek meal pouch. I can only calculate the cost based on what I would pay individually (at the best available price through Amazon) for each of the other items that are included in the RightOnTrek Meal Plan that I selected. The actual price (if available separately) of each RightOnTrek meal is hidden by the cost of the other foods that are included in your pre-selected or customized meal plan that is based on your desired daily caloric intake.
The comparison to other freeze dried/dehydrated meal pouches (Mountain House, Next Mile Meals and Packit Gourmet) is made based on their site that it will cost you $1.00 per 100 calories for the RightOnTrek Meal Plan, $2.10 per 100 calories for a Mountain House meal pouch, $2.69 per 100 calories for a Next Mile Meals pouch and $3.11 per 100 calories for a Packit Gourmet meal pouch. The comparison is made between these using RightOnTreks Meal Plan vs. the Mountain House, Next Mile Meals and Packit Gourmets meal pouch. That is the cost per calorie of an entire day’s food plan (which does include a meal pouch) being compared to an individual meal pouch (not an entire day’s food plan.) These calculations are accurate but, again, it is difficult to calculate the actual cost of a RightOnTrek meal pouch because that cost is built into the cost of an entire day’s meal plan. Based on RightO[DJ1] nTrek’s claim of $1.00 per 100 calories, their breakfasts were priced at (for my selected meal plan): Banana Bread Oatmeal (399 calories) $3.99 and Cranberry and Walnut Oatmeal (315 calories) at $3.25. Dinners were: Chicken Alfredo Pasta (516 calories) at $5.16 and Cheesy Mashed Potatoes with Chicken (516 calories) also at $5.16. Decent and average prices when compared to other freeze dried/dehydrated pre-packed meals and slightly above the cost of a Mountain House meal pouch. Price per Dinner Serving: Mountain House – $5.00 per serving (Chicken and Mashed Potato Dinner- 2 serving Pouch at $9.99 with 460 calories and Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken – 2 serving Pouch at $9.99 with 860 calories). When comparing the cost per serving of a RightOnTrek dinner serving to either a Next Mile Meals dinner serving (about $14.00) or a Packit Gourment dinner serving (about $12.00), RightOnTrek is much less expensive (less than half the cost per serving). In general, the cost per calorie of a RightOnTrek meal pouch is comparable to the cost per calorie of a Mountain House meal pouch.
I have learned than my biggest expense when working out a food budget for a backpacking trip is always, always, always the cost of my dinner, especially when buying a freeze dried/dehydrated complete meal pouch.
Okay, on to the review of the actual packets and meals.
RightOnTrek provides a packet (labeled by Day #) that contains a complete days’ worth of food. There is a breakfast, lunch and snacks and a dinner. RightOnTrek personalizes the Meal Plan based on the number of calories you would like to have per day. I requested 2,000 calories per day (I have a smaller appetite the first few days that I am out backpacking, so I request only 2,000 calories per day). It looks like the maximum number of calories you can choose per day tops out 4,000. Their pricing model: RightOnTrek will put together a daily meal plan at a cost of $1.00 per every 100 calories that you request. In my case, $20.00 per day (based on my request for 2,000 calories per day.
The Day 1 pack included Coffee, hot chocolate a candy bar and several snacks (peanut & tropical fruit snack, a few energy snacks, a vegan jerky) and a RightOnTrek breakfast and dinner. The snacks and drinks were typical for what I would normally bring with me. Dinner the 1st night was the RightOnTrek Chicken Alfredo Pasta (23g carbs, 516 calories and 827 mg of sodium). It contained ramen style noodles, chicken and a variety of spices. I used my JetBoil and prepared the meal according to the package directions (this is NOT a meal where boiling water is added to the pouch). The meal must be cooked in a pot (or as in my case, in my JetBoil). I really did enjoy the flavor of the meal, the chicken was rehydrated well. The only real issue I had was with the ramen style noodles as they were a bit on the gummy side. The package calls for 6oz of water and I think that the amount of water called for could be increased. Otherwise, I really enjoyed the meal. I found there to be enough chicken in the meal. Now, this is a single serving. For those with a larger appetite, there may not be enough to satisfy your hunger. As for me, the amount provided worked well. The breakfast that was in the Day One pack was the RightOnTrek Banana Bread Oatmeal (9g protein, 399 calories, 48g carbs and 372 mg sodium). As with the dinner, this is classified as a single serving. I opened the package and was hit with a great cinnamon smell. Again, as with the dinner packet, I think that there could be more water added than what is called for. The package calls for 7oz of water. Using this amount, I found the meal to not be as creamy as I would have hoped for. The taste was so-so. I didn’t find the cinnamon flavor in the oatmeal as I thought I would have when I opened the package.
The Day 2 pack included much of the same as what was included in the Day 1 pack (coffee, hot chocolate, various snacks, a vegan jerky and a breakfast package and a dinner package). The 2nd nights dinner was Cheesy Mashed Potatoes with Chicken. Following the package directions, I again found that I could have used more water for cooking. The meal though was very good. The chicken was rehydrated well and a nice cheesy flavor. The Day 2 breakfast was Cranberry and Walnut Oatmeal. As with the other meals, I think that more water could be added to make the meal a little creamier (personal preference maybe???). The cooking instructions on the package indicated that the walnuts, cranberries and an additional butter and cream packet were to be added after cooking the oats for 3 minutes. I did not have the additional butter and cream packet included in my pre-packed pouch and the walnuts and cranberries were not separated from the oats, I had to cook these items at the same time. As with the other meals, I think that more water could be used in the cooking process. The breakfast was good and I found there to be enough cranberries and walnuts included.
If you don’t want to take the time to shop for all your food, The RightOnTrek Meal Plans are a good option. The total price for all items included in each Daily Meal Packet will be higher than purchasing the individual items on their own but, you are paying for the convenience of having these pre-packaged Daily Meal Plans put together for you. You do have to have a separate pot to cook the meals in as each meal pouch is not suitable for rehydrating the meals. The benefit of having the meal pouch includes having a resealable bag to pack out your trash. I did like the flavor of the foods, and thought they were adequate for a single serving.
Post Purchase/Post Hike:
After coming back from my hike, and in the process of writing this review (April 21, 2021) I found that RightOnTrek has made some changes to available serving sizes and have also included additional items that can be added to their meals. Whereas there was only one size available when I ordered my meal plans, I have found out that there are now larger servings available.