147: DRIED: The Dehydrated Food Episode

Show Notes: Episode 147

Today on the First 40 Miles, the surest way to lighten your food load is to extract the water from it.  We’ll share our dehydrating successes, some graceful fails and some tips to help you dehydrate your own food.  Then, for the SUMMIT Gear Review, we’ll show you a fun tool to make jerky—and we’ll give you a recipe that will help you pack your favorite Chinese takeout flavor on the trail.


  • Dehydrating is a method of food preservation that is about impossible to mess up—which makes it a great DIY adventure for backpackers.
  • Why dehydrating works
  • Fruits, veggies, grains, meats (low fat) and full meals
  • Dehydrating successes + fails
  • Difference between freeze dried, dehydrated
  • How is dehydrating different than freeze dried food?
  • Remember to drink more water when eating dehydrated foods

Top 5 Dehydrating Wins

Raw Eggs

  • Worked surprisingly well on the Taiwanese Crepes and Cornmeal Pancakes recipes in Trail Fuel


  • Tough, leathery, sweet and good
  • Cheap, satisfying, chewy, fast, easy, great snack, healthy

Tomatoes (sun-dried tomatoes)

  • Make great mix-ins, so easy, so good

Seasoned Ground Beef

  • Pre-cook meat (rinse with warm water to remove excess fat)
  • Season with seasoning like salt, pepper, garlic, onion, parsley, taco seasoning


  • Oven dehydrated lentils, easy to eat, easy to digest, easy to use in any meals, easy to snack on, so good, so fast
  • Trailside Kitchen snack mix with dehydrated lentils
  • Lots of different varieties of lentils

SUMMIT Gear Review™:  LEM Jerky Gun


  • Like a caulk gun
  • Plastic tube with hand trigger, steel piston rod, and nozzle attachments
  • Holds meat
  • Has two attachment nozzles: flat jerky nozzle 1-3/16×3/16 + round snack stick nozzle 1/2” diameter


  • Holds 3/4 pound of meat
  • Comes with a couple seasoning packets


  • Irrelevant…


  • Dishwasher…because it’s used with meat…or lots of hot soapy water


  • $30
  • 1 year warranty


  • This was so much fun. If you have any shred of OCD in you, or if you just like it when things line up perfectly and you can make little rows of things, this is a really fun food toy.
  • Our chicken jerky
  • Next will be banana jerky
  • Piston rod with trigger screws onto one end and nozzle screws on to the other end. If the piston doesn’t fit, switch ends.

Backpack Hack of the Week™: Teriyaki Chicken Jerky Strips

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
2 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs liquid smoke
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt

Add all ingredients to a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add mixture to a jerky gun (any attachment).  Dehydrate at 165 degrees in a dehydrator.  Check after 3 hours.  The longer you leave it in, the tougher it will get.  If left in too long, it will become brittle.

Trail Wisdom

“There is not a fragment in all nature, for every relative fragment of one thing is a full harmonious unit in itself.”

-John Muir