Outdoors Snacks

The Best Foods to Dehydrate and its Benefits

People dehydrate foods for a number of reasons including prolonging preservation, maximizing storage space, and extending the life of certain ingredients. 

In its most simplest form, water that is removed from foods become dehydrated. It's one of the oldest methods of preserving food where bacteria-forming moisture is removed and therefore extending the shelf life of these foods. 

There are also lots of positive health and nutrition benefits in dehydrating foods and is a common practice amongst outdoor enthusiasts for it's shelf life characteristics. Find a list of twenty seven delicious and nutritious dehydrated foods for camping. If you're looking specifically to dehydrate meat, you can find the best dehydrator in this article.  

Popular Foods That Can Be Dehydrated 

Almost anything can be dehydrated and it can be done simply at home with a food dehydrator. Below is a list of foods that are commonly dehydrated:

1. Beef Jerky 

Beef Jerky on a Rack

As we all know and love, beef jerky is known as a quintessential dehydrated snack food. Thin cuts of beef are marinated and then dehydrated on racks in the oven on low temperatures for hours at a time. Beef jerky comes in a variety of textures, flavors, and nutritional value and is known to be shelf-stable for years on end. Continue reading to learn more about how beef jerky is made

2. Fruit Leathers 

Fruit Leathers

Fruit leathers can be made from apples, berries, dates, and other fruits and is a great way of incorporating more fruits into one's diet. 

3. Soup Mixes 

Dehydrated Soup Mix

Dehydrated soups are typically made for backpackers because they are easy to rehydrate out on the go and is a hearty meal during a trip. The best part is that you can make a variety of different soups based on flavor profiles and preferences. 

4. Herbs 

Dehydrated Herbs

Dehydrating herbs is a fantastic solution to extending its shelf life because they have higher moisture content and will mold if not dried quickly. 

5. Vegetable and Fruit Chips

Fruit and Vegetable Dehydrated Chips

Dehydrated fruit and vegetables make for deliciously crunchy snacks that are also nutrient dense. In fact, dehydrated foods keep their nutritional value. 

6. Lean Meats 

Turkey Jerky

Any type of lean meat can also be dehydrated and made into jerky. Think fish jerky, bison jerky, and turkey jerky. Again, by removing the water it extends the shelf life and preserves the meat for longer use. 

Benefits of Dehydrated Foods


The main benefit of dehydrating your food is that it's the best way to preserve it. It's not only fast and efficient to do so, but it's also the most least expensive way to save your food. 

Lightweight and Portable

Another positive attribute is that it reduces the moisture content making it to become light weight and extremely portable. For this reason alone, outdoor enthusiasts and backpackers tend to bring dehydrated foods with them while on long hikes or camping trips. 

Nutrient Dense

During the dehydration process, foods retain their original nutritional value and will typically have the same calorie, protein, fat, carbohydrate, fiber, and sugar content as in its original state. The only thing they tend to lose is its water content, making it smaller in size. However, when it is smaller in size it causes it to have more calories by weight. So it's important to keep dehydrated portions smaller. 

Overall Takeaway 

Dehydrating food is a great way to preserve, extend, and make your snacks portable. Food that is dehydrated maintains its nutritional value so it serves as a healthy snack food item on the go. 

Check out our blog post for high protein hiking snacks that will keep you fueled!