Rating: 7.8 / 10
Value for Money 1.5 / 2.5
Taste 1.5 / 2.5
Convenience 2.3 / 2.5
Weight 2.5 / 2.5
Campers Pantry have been known over the past couple of years as producers of high quality freeze dried vegetables but in late 2017 they became the newest entry into the Australian freeze dried meal market releasing ten main meal options in addition to three dessert choices. These meals are progressively becoming more commonly available and can also be ordered both online, in store and through the supplier.
Campers Pantry has done the homework and these main meal offerings which are single serve, sit in the middle, size-wise, of the other two brands at 110 grams. On simple overnight trips, I find that the single serve offerings from Back Country work well but on multi week trips they are just not enough. This larger single serve suits those of us with bigger appetites who don’t want to go with the full twin serve option. In addition these meals offer some great variety rather than trying to duplicate what is already on offer and in doing so, expand the freeze dried meal choices on offer. This includes two vegetarian offerings, that means that everyone should be happy.
As a generalisation Campers Pantry meals are relatively neutral in taste and I anecdotally I know that this is what most people prefer. I on the other hand prefer a bit of kick to my meals but will happily eat the more blander meals providing there is plenty of it. I’m a big fan of freeze dried chicken meals so expected that this dish would be one that I liked.
I found that there were no real negatives with this meal apart from the blandness but from a taste perspective I was hard pressed to taste the apricots. In fact I was hard pressed to tell the difference between this meal and the Mango Chicken Curry.
Having said that the the taste of this meal is good with the chicken tasting like chicken, and the meal is very filling. As with the other Campers Pantry Meals the taste was noticeably less artificial than many of the existing meal choices on the Australian market. In addition there also is less salt and as someone who doesn’t add salt to food, I appreciate this.
Campers Pantry meals have a higher protein content than the other available brands on the market which is so important particularly over the longer trips. The Apricot Chicken meal also has 36.4 grams of protein per single serve pack compared to under 16-17 grams per serve from other meals on offer. The calorie content is also high at 493 calories for the single serve pack which as someone that can, and does, burn anywhere up to 8,500 calories in a single day I really appreciate.
The Campers Pantry bag recommends adding 250 grams of boiling water to rehydrate this meal but the supplier informed me that when he reprints the bags he will increase this recommendation. I added 300 mls of water as suggested and this produced a good consistency. Campers Pantry recommend allowing 20 minutes for rehydration with an occasional stir and partly this is due to the extra protein in the meals requiring this additional time to absorb the water but also because the 10 minutes that the other manufactures recommend is not enough. I’ve been playing with the dehydration times and 14 minutes is more than adequate to allow the water to absorb and to provide a good consistancy.
The normal price for these meals sits around the $15.95 mark for a single serve pack which if you compare this to the offerings from Back Country Cuisine single serves is expensive. However, lets talk value for money rather than cost. These meals taste great, have a much higher protein content than the other choices currently available on the market which is very important on the longer more physically demanding trips. They also have a higher calorie content which helps to reduce the food weight you carry. These meals have a two year shelf life so you can stock up at the sales in anticipation of an upcoming trip.
The meal comes in a bag that is well designed and the bottom opens out to provide a flat base if you want to leave the bowl at home. Unlike Back County and Outdoor Gourmet, the Campers Pantry meals don’t have a tear point to make the food easier to access. This doesn’t bother me as I prefer to use a long handled spoon and leave the bag intact otherwise you can end up a big mess in your rubbish bag.
So what is the final verdict? I would be very happy to eat this meal if it was on offer but for no reason that I can easily define given the similarity in taste between this meal and the Mango Chicken Curry I would choose the the latter.
If you have tasted the Campers Pantry Apricot Chicken meal or if you have questions, we’d like to hear from you. Post your comment or questions below
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Campers Pantry Apricot Chicken meal as purchased
Meal bag with the base folded out allowing the bag to remain upright while rehydrating
Campers Pantry Apricot Chicken unrehydrated as it comes in the bag
Campers Pantry Apricot Chicken rehydrated and ready to eat
This review was done with product provided by Campers Pantry