Disclaimer: I received free samples from Trail Fork in return for my honest review. My opinions are entirely my own and I enjoy providing real feedback about products I actively use, especially when made by companies who make the world a better place!
If there’s one thing I might love more than being outside, it’s food! I was born with a superhuman metabolism and the amount of food I bring on adventures has long been a running joke amongst friends.
As you can see from the photo above, bringing enough high-calorie food for outings without grossly tipping the scales is a huge personal challenge!
Recently, I’ve put more effort into eating cleaner and lowering my intake of dairy and gluten. Both are inflammatory foods that have a noticeable impact on my rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, so I’m always looking for new, healthy outdoor cuisine options. When Boulder-based Trail Fork reached out and asked if I’d be interested in sampling some of their backpacking food, I jumped at the chance!
About Trail Fork
Based in Boulder, Colorado, Trail Fork is an environmentally conscious, woman-owned company that makes personalized backpacking food delivered straight to your door. Their meals are custom made for your individual dietary preferences, tastes, allergies, and caloric needs and they’re friendly to every kind of diet: vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, omni, paleo, and just about anything else you can think of.
They use organic ingredients whenever possible as well as 100% compostable packaging and they donate 1% of their sales back to the environment.
A full day of food includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner at a cost of $30 per person per day. Paleo and Keto kits run about $40/day. They sometimes throw in dessert surprises and you can also add delicious, freshly ground pour-over style coffee from their partner Latigo.
Don’t need full meal personalization?
Trail Fork also also sells standard “pick a pouch” pre-packaged breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner options directly on their website. Meals retail between $8.50-$11.50 and can be bought by the case.
The value of customized food.
I admit that at first, $30-40/day seemed a little pricey for a day’s worth of backpacking food, but then I did some comparison.
The cost of buying three pre-packaged dehydrated meals from most competitors like Mountain House or Backpacker’s Pantry will run you at least $25, which isn’t much cheaper. With Trail Fork, you’re paying only slightly more for simple, clean, organic ingredients tailored just for you!
Sure, if you prep and make your own meals, you can certainly eat much cheaper on the trail, but creating a good meal plan can take a lot of time and effort, especially if you have dietary challenges. When I hiked the John Muir Trail a few years back, meal planning and prep took up a huge amount of my time.
If you feel overwhelmed trying to plan for a long backpacking trip or simply want some easy, go-to, healthy options for everyday adventures, give Trail Fork a try. If you have the budget, you can get customized meals just for you! Don’t have the budget? Use their meals to supplement your existing backpacking recipes.
Ingredients and nutrition.
As mentioned, Trail Fork uses organic ingredients whenever possible. Most of their pre-packaged meals contain around 500-700 calories and the serving sizes are big! For someone like me who eats a ton, I was giddy! If you eat a little less you can likely divide one of their meals into two.
Here’s a sample of the ingredients in their coconut granola with milk: Oats, pumpkin seeds, raw agave, unsweetened coconut, almonds, whole milk, turmeric, salt, cinnamon. Simple. And this one has 730 calories. That’s some good clean fuel for the outdoors!
But what do they taste like?
Trail Fork sent me a few samples that included their Coconut Granola with Milk, Apricot-Almond Couscous, Loaded Veggie Hummus, and Peanut-Butter Banana Oats. I wasn’t being super picky about going dairy free for trying their samples and only wanted to test some free food!
Granted, when I’ve been backpacking for miles everything tastes good, but Trail Fork meals are tasty and filling. So far my favorite was their coconut granola with milk. And yes, it does have milk, which I try to avoid, but it was a really hearty breakfast! In fact, the serving size was large enough to split with my partner.
If you’re a peanut butter fan, the Peanut-Butter Banana Oats will make you giddy as it’s heavy on the peanut butter and I doubt you can eat a full serving. The peanut butter, chia seeds, and bananas are a stout, filling meal.
100% compostable packaging.
One caveat to Trail Fork is that since their packaging is 100% compostable, you can’t simply pour hot water into the bag like you do with Mountain House. You’ll need a cook pot or bowl to prep these meals or some kind of reusable meal pouch. For me though, it’s a minor inconvenience and I’d much rather support compostable packaging and environmental stewardship!
You won’t get any exotic or inventive flavors with Trail Fork’s food, but you will get simple, tasty, healthy, generous portions of food. For me, Trail Fork is a big winner and I love their larger serving sizes! I’ve especially enjoyed their paleo oats and have bought more of their food for future adventures.
If you have dietary challenges and struggle to build meal plans for outdoor adventures, Trail Fork offers an incredible custom food plan service. If you don’t need quite that level of personalization, their pre-packaged meals are healthy additions to the usual outdoor food options. Give ’em a try!