Rating: 7.9 / 10
Value for Money 1.5 / 2.5
Taste 1.6 / 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. I was lucky enough to test out some of the prototypes and based on that, I was eagerly awaiting the appearance on the market. These meals are progressively becoming more commonly available and can also be ordered both online, in store and through the supplier.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve eaten Beef and Black Bean Sauce so I was interested to see what the Campers Pantry offering tasted like. The texture and taste of this product is good which surprised me as it contains flavour enhancers which don’t tend to agree with me. I usually get a hangover from eating meals with flavour enhancers but in this case the quantity is just enough to provide flavour without overpowering the dish and as with other meals from Campers Pantry the salt level is minimal. Usually I find that these meals need a bit more spice to them but in this case while still on the lower level of preferred spiciness for me I found that the Beef and Black Bean Sauce had a good balance. I found that the beef was more in the range of beef mince but unlike other beef dishes on the market it tasted like real beef and wasn’t chewy. the quantity was also good which is what I usually expected from these larger size single serve meals.
Campers Pantry meals have a high protein content which is so important particularly over the longer trips. The Beef and black bean sauce meal has over 63gram of protein per single serve pack compared to under 16-17 grams per serve from other meals on offer putting this in the upper end of the protein range. The calorie count for a single serve is also much higher meaning you can minimise the weight you carry to get the appropriate amount of food (listen our Podcast 057 on nutrition on the trail on the importance of protein on longer trips).
Campers Pantry recommends adding 250 grams of boiling water to rehydrate this meal and as per the other meals I added 300ml but in hindsight 250mls would have been fine. 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’m finding in nearly all cases 14 minutes is perfectly adequate.
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 are great tasting, have a much higher protein content than the other choices currently available on the market which while not an issue for short trips 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, again particularly important for longer trips. 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’d be happy to add this too my hiking mix which given it has flavour enhancers is a rarity for me.
If you have tasted the Campers Pantry Beef & Black Bean Sauce 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 Beef & Blackbean Sauce meal as purchased
Meal bag with the base folded out allowing the bag to remain upright while rehydrating
Campers Pantry Beef & Blackbean Sauce meal unrehydrated
Campers Pantry Beef & Blackbean Sauce meal rehydrated and ready to eat. I added 300ml of water but 250ml would be fine
This review was done with product provided by Campers Pantry