|Rating:||8.4 / 10|
|Value for Money||2.0 / 2.5|
|Taste||1.9 / 2.5|
|Convenience||2.1 / 2.5|
|Weight||2.4 / 2.5|
Recently Campers Pantry released its new range of Expedition Meals which for me is a game changer. At the time of this review, there are five meals in the Expedition Range with more expected down the track. The five are:
Those of you who already eat the Campers Pantry meals will know that a couple of the options in this range already existed in the traditional packaging so what then is the difference? Essentially the Expedition Range is all about the packaging. First up this range as it exists are single serve meals so nothing different there. The big game changer is that these packs have had the air sucked out of the packet which has two big benefits. First, they now have a five year shelf life whereas perviously most freeze dried meals were only 2-3 years at best. This means that if you see these meals on sale, you can buy up big knowing that they won’t go to waste.
The second benefit is the reduction in packaging size. I can get away with a 36 litre pack for overnight hikes of up to four days in length but once I go to five days, the extra food bulk (as opposed to the weight) pushes me up to a larger pack. With all the air sucked out of the packs, these meals take up a lot less space and as a result free up pack volume.
If you look at the images for this product below you’ll notice that the meal has a cardboard display card attached to make them easier to display but it also allows easy reading of the the ingredient and nutrition lists which is vital if you have any food allergies. Prior to a hike I remove this cardboard component which further reduces what I carry on a hike, and as a bonus the cardboard is recyclable. The compressed package does have this information printed on it but in sucking the air out, it has the potential to impact on the readability. Having said that, I had no such issues with this pack.
While we are talking about food allergies, this meal option doesn’t contain nuts but it is prepared in a factory that handles nuts and as such, there is a warning on the packaging. Oh by the way this is a vegetarian dish for those who care.
Now onto the meal itself. Preparing this meal is a bit more fiddly than traditional freeze dried meals due to the vacuum sealing process so once you tear the top of this bag off, the preparation process while quite easy, is a bit more fiddly. You need to take out the internal paper bag with the food in it, flatten out the outer meal pouch to create a standing bowl, place the freeze dried food back into the pouch, and add 300 ml of boiling water before letting stand for ten minutes. At the five minute mark you need to stir the meal. In practice, the additional step of taking the internal bag out and adding it to the outer packaging only takes a matter of a seconds, so no big time impost.
I’m always dubious about how much water to add to freeze dried meals and in many cases the consistency of a meal is a very personal thing. In this case adding 300 ml of boiling water was spot on. This was the third meal I have tried out of the Expedition Range and it produced a perfect consistency and meant the meal as eaten weighs 400 grams. Bonus points for consistency across the range.
While I’m a typically a meat eater I do like a lot of the vegetarian options on the market. So what about the taste and consistency? Taste wise by going off the ingredient list, it was what I expected but a bit more of a bite would have been good. While the meal does contain spices and has strong ‘heat’, I wouldn’t say it’s spicy. Now in all fairness in talking to Campers Pantry in the past about this aspect, they work on the view that you can always add spice but you can’t take it out. Given that I’m a big spice lover I do appreciate that other people don’t like the same level of spiciness I’m used to. The other thing I didn’t realise while I was eating this meal was that it contained rice but that wasn’t obvious to me. I did like the texture of this meal and it wasn’t mushy which can be a problem sometimes.
Price wise this single serve meal is AUD$15,95 RRP at the time of review. For a single serve meal this is on the high side but given the compact packaging and longevity in storage, this meal is great value. For testing I had this meal as a lunch and found it to be very filling but not so large that I struggled to eat it. One thing to note is that this meal is loaded with calories and as a single serve vegetarian meal and one based on beans, you end up with 411 calories all for a 100 gram dry weight.
While this meal option isn’t going to be my first choice its one I would happily eat and will defiantly include it on my longer trips just because it has that ‘comfort food’ feel about it.
You can purchase the Campers Pantry Spicy Mexican Beans from Campers Pantry
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If you have tasted the Campers Pantry Spicy Mexican Beans or if you have questions, we’d like to hear from you. Post your comment or questions below
PLEASE NOTE: As a special offer Campers Pantry is offering a 15% discount on meal purchases (information correct as at 7 May 2023). This discount will be applied at the checkout when you make your purchase via the above link
The following Campers Pantry meals are also available in the expedition packing:
AUD $15.95 RRP
Campers Pantry Spicy Mexican Beans as purchased
Campers Pantry Expedition Range – size comparison against an iPhone 14 Pro
Campers Pantry Spicy Mexican Beans with the cardboard display removed
Campers Pantry Spicy Mexican Beans nutrition list
Campers Pantry Spicy Mexican Beans ingredient list
Campers Pantry Expedition Range opened up. The white bag contains the food
Campers Pantry Spicy Mexican Beans – unrehydrated
Campers Pantry Expdition Range with meal rehydrated. Before you add the food you need to flatten out the bag so that it ‘free stands’. Once you have added the water, roll the top over to let it rehydrate
Campers Pantry Spicy Mexican Beans ready to eat
Campers Pantry Spicy Mexican Beans artistically displayed. Your meal is only likely to look like this if you are car camping
This review was done with product provided by Campers Pantry