Best Bug-Out Bag Food? Southern Survival Trail Chili Review
October 31st, 2022
4 minute read
Food preservation is a big deal in the overall disaster prep landscape. But, even if you have a room full of Mason jars filled with all manner of home-cooked food and produce, there’s still the question of what to carry in your bug-out bag, vehicle or other source of mobility. Weight can be a significant concern, as well as ease of preparation. Even the amount of trash you’ll generate can be an issue since you have to pack it out later.
Some folks like to carry a few protein bars and call it good; others like to have a pouch or two of freeze-dried food available while out in the woods. Personally, I like having hot food; there is just something about having a full, warm belly. Of course, my dad was right — if we’re turning our nose up at food of any kind, we just aren’t hungry enough. But given the choice, I suspect a lot of you would side with me: If you can get a hot meal that tastes good, you’ll take it every time.
For these reasons and more, freeze-dried single meals are highly popular options. They’re easy to make, and usually involve nothing more than dumping boiling water in a pouch and waiting a few minutes, making them ideal for most situations.
They’re more expensive than a ham and cheese sandwich you throw in your pack before a hike, of course, but they also come with long shelf life, minimal prep and the ability to provide that hot meal when you are out in the middle of nowhere.
There are all kinds of meals available from a number of manufacturers: breakfast, entrees, even desserts and snacks. If you’re familiar with freeze-dried food, however, you already know that some of them aren’t so great — in fact, there are a few of them I wouldn’t feed to my dog.
Southern Survival Trail Chili, however, isn’t one of those latter ones. It’s definitely in the “you should have this in your bag” category.
Have You Heard of It?
You may not have heard of this option yet, but that’s because it’s new. It’s the brainchild of the guys at BattlBox, which is arguably the best monthly subscription box out there for survivalists, hunters and even disaster preppers. After trying all kinds of freeze-dried food for their monthly boxes, they decided to make their own, and released it in one of their boxes to let their subscribers test it out.
Their Trail Chili is a mix of spaghettini, beans, onions and cheese, but the seasoning is what takes it to the next level. It has a touch of cinnamon, clove and even dark chocolate, giving it a whole other dimension of taste. This is definitely not your standard freeze-dried food; this is good, tastes-like-homemade food that you happen to be able to take along with you anywhere.
It has a 10-year shelf life before opening, so it will store a long time in your pack, ready for when you need it. It’s light, just as you’d expect from a freeze-dried meal, and while it’s touted as only one serving, it’s filling and could be stretched to feed two people if necessary.
How Does It Taste?
Sure, I could have just boiled some water in my kitchen and poured it into the pouch, but that’s no fun; I wanted the full experience. We got out a little stove, cleared out a space in the snow and got to work.
Once the water was boiling — which only took about three minutes — I followed the directions on the back of the pouch, pouring in the water and sealing it up to wait. After the recommended time, I opened the pouch, stirred everything up and sealed it again for a few more minutes. Total time, including boiling the water, was about 17 minutes.
The consistency was not soupy like I expected; more like a hearty hot dish (Midwestern readers will know exactly what I’m talking about!). It was perfectly seasoned all the way through, the small noodles were tender without being mushy, and there was just the right amount of cheese. Overall, it tasted fantastic. I passed some off to the former infantryman husband for the definitive test, and he pronounced it almost as good as Chili Mac MREs. I’m usually only a fan of freeze-dried meals when I’m already super hungry, but this was just plain good.
Where Can You Get It?
Even if you’re not already a BattlBox subscriber (and you should be), you can still pick this Trail Chili up on their site. It retails for $12.99 a pouch, which is slightly more than a comparable meal at Mountain House. You won’t be disappointed, however, and it appears that they may be looking at expanding their food offerings. I’m interested to see what they make next.
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