West Coast Kitchen
Long days on the trail can work up a serious hunger. Sure, small meals throughout the day keep you moving but by the time camp is set, hunger is full bore and h-anger is knocking at the door. We often turn to our dehydrator to provide nutrition while in the backcountry but sometimes adventure invites come when we don’t have time to cook for ourselves. That’s when dehydrated and freeze-dried camping meals come in handy. Look no further than West Coast Kitchen for a filling meal.
Vancouver island’s West Coast kitchen has a great range of camping meals, both vegetarian and non, that are sure to satisfy in the backcountry. All made in the Cowichan valley, their large (and I mean large!) portions will have you up and ready for the next days adventure without weighing down your pack or leaving you hungry.
This summer we were out on the trail, a lot. Over 800km of hiking, countless kilometres on our bikes (countless because well, we forgot to count), and a whole bunch of peaks so we know all about hunger. West Coast Kitchen provided us with some of their best freeze-dried camping meals for testing during these adventures and here are three of our favourites. Read on to find out which we liked best.
Who is West Coast Kitchen
Drawn by the natural, wild beauty of the West Coast, Shani and Penny emigrated to Canada with their three children. Of course, once there, they took to the outdoors.
Shani was an international chef with over 30 years experience so it was only natural they would work in the food industry in Canada. Shani and Penny began the Fat Chili Farm where they now grow 45 types of chili. From there, they discovered freeze drying and wanted to offer locally made freeze-dried camping meals. Thus began West Coast Kitchen.
All of their gourmet freeze-dried entrees and snacks are still made at their farm’s commercial kitchen in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, BC. Read on to find out what we thought of their meals. They all have a shelf life of 5 years so if you feel the need to stock pile, they last a sufficiently long time.
The Spoon Test
You’re going to want a long spoon for these meals. They’re delicious and you’ll gobble up the meal just as fast as the package will gobble up your standard length spork.
Quinoa with Italian Sausage
Quinoa. We know it, we make it at home, and it tastes exactly like this. That’s the magic of this meal. It tastes just like Quinoa you would make at home.
This meal is a monster, 200 grams dry! 1100 calories! I have no idea how they got this many calories in a dehydrated meal, but they did, and I was happy for it. Some friends of BlackSheep have actually found this meal to be a little too big, so be warned & bring a serious hunger.
The Quinoa had a really fresh feel to it, like it had just been made. One of the stand out ingredients was the spinach. Fresh greens! At first glance, the long slices of spinach look a little strange and out of place in a dehydrated camping meal but they were welcome addition after days in the backcountry. Then the walnuts and raisins took over and accompanied the Italian sausage really nicely, though it did seem a little understated.
Persian Bean Bowl
The Persian Bean Bowl was next up for us on the trail. Unlike couscous, I have never eaten Persian food so had no idea what this should taste like or what to expect. What I found was a great mix of pinto beans, kidney beans and lentils that packed into one heck of a nutritious and filling vegetarian meal.
Dried, fried onions are one of my favourite things to eat, and they came through nicely in the Persian Bean Bowl. Accompanied by garlic, always a welcome addition, and a secret dried herb combo all I could think was how am I eating something so fresh?
At 168grams dry weight, this was a very filling meal.
Chili Con Carne
You see those two chili’s on the front of the package? Yup, finally some spice in a backcountry meal! To be honest, a chili that doesn’t have spice isn’t really a chili, I mean, chili is in the name! Packed with 848 calories and weighing in at 148 grams dry, this chili was no slouch. In fact, it was absolutely delicious.
Definitely not too spicy for the majority of our readers but far from mild. It was a filling affair, packed with veggies, and a lot of lean ground beef and pinto beans.
Carrots, celery and tomatoes really stood forward but the paprika and garlic brought the flavour together. This was my favorite of the West Coast Kitchen meals.
Overview, Thoughts & Comments:
West Coast Kitchen’s dehydrated camping meals were a great addition to our trip. Their fresh ingredients and high calorie count (some of the biggest on the market!) kept our bellies full and our mouths happy. I wouldn’t hesitate to bring along West Coast Kitchen on another trip.
They required between 355ml and 455ml of water so make sure you check how much water you are putting in. No willy nilly pours, please. Cooking time is ten minutes across the board so there’s no need to worry about over / under rehydrating your meal.
Interested in West Coast Kitchen? Head on over to westcoastkitchen.ca to place your order straight from the farm!
Black Sheep Adventure Sports was supplied with samples of West Coast Kitchen for review but of course this didn’t influence us in any way.