Strive Backpacking Meals on the Larapinta Trek

We both love our food, it’s a huge part of our lives and as much as possible we try to eat a range of nutritious tasty meals to stay healthy and fuelled for the activities we love doing. Preparing and planning what to eat for an 18-day backpack on the Larapinta was therefore an interesting task. We needed to ensure we had a good balance of macronutrients and calories for each day, as well as food that was satisfying and tasty.  We used two different backpacking meals, Backcountry which we had tried and tested before and new to us Strive, a small Aussie business based in Tasmania. I found this company when researching for backpacking meals which more resembled real food. We were kindly sent some products to test on our trip and I hope you find this an informative honest review of the Strive products.

For our 18-days we had fresh evening meals for the first two days, heavy tinned meals for the nights at the box drops locations which Trek Larapinta provided for us. Then the rest were dehydrated / freeze dried meals. Oh and a restaurant booking at the award winning Glen Helen lodge and a camper pamper package booked at Stanley Chasm I love talking about food and the hikers we met on the track found this out quite quickly. I think I made everyone hungry.

Our test products

  • 24hr ration pack – There are 5 versions to choose from 2 meat and two vegetarian and we tested 1 and 2. They cost $28.50* each
  • 2 Main Meals – Vegetarian, single serve (Double also available)
    • Lentil curry dhal $9.10*
    •  Vegetable laska $9.10*

*price correct as of Nov 2017

What’s in the 24hr Packs?

Version 1

  • Mountain muesli
  • Three beans & sweet corn
  • Pasta bolognese
  • Dried fruit, cup-a-soup, cheese, crackers, oaty slice, hot chocolate

Version 2

  • Tropical porridge
  • Three beans & sweet corn (This has now changed to tuna & pasta since we ate our pack)
  • Beef Massaman
  • Dried fruit, cup-a-soup, cheese, crackers, oaty slice, hot chocolate
*Pictures taken from the Strive website

We use the jet boil system to cook with and have the mini 1L  Sea to Summit x-pot.

 Strive Review

So you can see exactly what’s in the 24hr pack….checkout our short video.

Pros

  • They taste so good and once rehydrated resemble real food, more than the backcountry. I really enjoyed eating them, as they were fresh and tasty. I love how they are packaged, so you can see exactly whats in the dish.
  • We are big meat eaters, so were a little sceptical of vegetarian meals. However they were so good. The Lentil curry dhal was actually our favourite meal.
  • The portion sizes were fantastic! We felt full and satisfied! I wasn’t left trying to scrape every last bit out the bottom of the pack as I was still hungry
  • The main meal plastic packaging is small and compact for carrying off the trail and significantly smaller than foil packed products.
  • As you tip the dry contents into the pan and add water, you don’t have to scrap your food out the packet.
  • IMG_4643If you choose carefully they are easy to make. The Pasta Bolognese was especially quick and is a firm camp favourite with us.
  • The 24hr packs are easy to grab and go, which is perfect if you’re new to backpacking
  • The breakfasts were awesome…. The option 1 24hr pack, has a quick just add cold water Muesli.
  • The oat bars in the 24hr ration package were filling
  • We really enjoyed the hot chocolate, it was a great bedtime treat
  • The soup is a great idea as on this trip we got addicted to our 3pm soup while hiking.

IMG_4634

Cons

  • Compared to the backcountry, the cooking is slightly more technical. You don’t just add water and wait 10 minutes. I probably had the least success with the Laska Curry! Some of this was partly due to me chatting about couscous at the time! The 600ml was a lot of liquid for our jetboil and as it contained coconut milk, it boiled over very quickly. Yes I made a mess!!!! But 100% the slightly extra effort is worth it for the taste and enjoyment of these meals.
  • The curry did stain our jet boil slightly, due to the turmeric but nothing serious.
  • The 24hr lunch of beans in a can was tasty (Not Richards thing! ) However they are in very bulky packaging.
  • The was no tea or coffee so we supplemented this
  • The pack could have done with another cheese for lunch as there were 3 crackers
  • Shapes aren’t something we would personally choose to eat
  • If you’re using the 24hr ration pack, depending on the hike length and difficulty, you may need to supplest with extra nuts and snacks. With the calories and macro’s provided on the packaging you can calculate your requirements and add to the pack.

Summary

I cannot wait to head off on our next trip and will be purchasing more Strive main meals and breakfasts. At the end of a long day hiking I want to tuck into real, tasty, nutritious food and Strive ticks all these boxes.

Sarah x

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