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The Best Gluten-Free Freeze Dried Meals: Camp Food for Everyone

Increased awareness of gluten-free diets makes backpacking a little easier — and a lot more delicious — for gluten-free eaters. Here are some favorite freeze-dried gluten-free camping meals.

gluten free camping meals
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I count the day my wife said she’d like to go on an extended backpacking trip with me as one of the happiest of my life. And to a lesser degree, a stressful one.

Kat eats gluten-free. On previous shorter backpacking trips, she made her own meals, like red chile enchiladas with corn tortillas that she would then vacuum seal and boil in water to heat up. But on this week-long trip through arid Utah canyonlands, I realized the weight of her homemade meals and the fuel required to cook them would quickly eat up valuable space and add many pounds to an already heavy pack.

And the disparity of me devouring a hot, noodle-filled beef stroganoff while she picked at a sad bag of nuts wouldn’t work.

A Growing Community, Going Gluten-Free

person holding prepared gluten free meal in the bowl
Kat’s gluten-free camping food; (photo/Steve Larese)

About 1% of the American population is diagnosed with Celiac disease, a hereditary autoimmune condition in which gluten damages the small intestine. An additional 6% are gluten-sensitive, a condition that is increasingly being better understood.

For many reasons, nearly 30% of the American population now choose gluten-free or gluten-reduced food, citing health benefits and just generally feeling better. The gluten-free food market accounts for more than $2 billion in annual sales in the U.S., and more than double that worldwide.

Our Utah trip was years ago, and we had a great adventure. Kat didn’t starve to death. But the entire time I wished that freeze-dried, verified gluten-free camping meals and food were as available and diverse as my freeze-dried go-tos.

Fortunately, a lot has changed since then. Gluten-free eaters have a wide selection of camping meals and food that offer the convenience, taste, nutrition, and weight savings backpackers need. There are even some great vegan options out there these days. After many trials, taste tests, and experiments with different brands, here are a few of our favorites.

Gluten-Free Camping Meals

1. Backpacker’s Pantry

(Photo/Backpacker’s Pantry)
  • Dietary certifications: Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan
  • Number of gluten-free options: 46

Tracing its history to 1951 when Girl Scout troop leader Anne Benedict began making dehydrated meals in her garage, Boulder-based Backpacker’s Pantry has a dedicated gluten-free food menu with 46 camping meals and snacks guaranteed to be gluten-free.

Three new meals for this season are Drunken (rice) Noodles with Chicken, Fiesta Beef and Vegetable Bowl, and White Bean Chicken and Green Chile Stew. The Crème Brûlée is a perfect trail dessert whether you’re gluten-free or not.

2. AlpineAire

  • Dietary certifications: Gluten-free; vegan/vegetarian options
  • Number of gluten-free options: 20

Started in 1979, AlpineAire was one of the first brands to give Mountain House a run for its money.

AlpineAire serves 20 hearty camping meals that are all gluten-free food. The lineup includes the new Santa Fe Beef Skillet (580 calories, 50g protein), Homestyle Chicken Pot Pie (570 calories, 37g protein), and Grilled Chicken and Mushroom Wild Rice Pilaf (530 calories, 28g protein). Pack some corn tortillas for the Al Pastor with Cilantro Lime Rice mix (670 calories, 35g protein per pack).

AlpineAire even offers a 7-day gluten-free meal kit.

3. Farm to Summit

farm to summit larese gluten free camping meals next to the bowl
Farm to Summit gluten-free camping food meals; (photo/Steve Larese)
  • Dietary certifications: Gluten-free; vegan
  • Number of gluten-free options: 5

This small Durango, Colorado-based company was started in 2021 by Jane and Louise Barden. They combined their love of farming with adventuring to create dehydrated backpacking meals that taste great, using local “seconds” produce that would otherwise go to waste.

The Thai Red Curry is made without gluten and even comes with a packet of dehydrated Sriracha (780 calories, 22g of protein per serving). The Harvest Green Curry is also gluten-free (700 calories, 16g protein) as well. The Puebloan Beans & Rice (700 calories, 24g protein) and Thai Carrot Slaw (460 calories, 15g protein) make great gluten-free bases or sides.

All of the Farm to Summit packaging is also biodegradable and/or compostable.

4. Next Mile Meals

  • Dietary certifications: Gluten-free, keto
  • Number of gluten-free options: 9

Jessie Greger founded Next Mile Meals in 2017 after she made her own keto meals for tackling the Pacific Crest Trail. She decided to go into business, encouraged by friends and fellow hikers.

Greger’s Oregon-based company specializes in keto and gluten-free meals. The brand sells Beef Tacos (560 calories, 41g protein), Chicken and Broccoli Casserole (590 calories, 55g protein), and Deli Roast Beef (520 calories, 50g protein). The meals are mixed with freeze-dried ingredients and spices, perfect for corn tortillas.

5. Firepot

  • Dietary certifications: Gluten-free; lactose-free; no palm oil; no artificial additives; vegan options
  • Number of gluten-free options: 8

Firepot was founded in 2017. Josh Fisher started it in a barn-turned-kitchen in West Dorset, England, after being less than impressed with his expedition food in Greenland. The brand offers eight gluten-free meals, including Chicken Keema Curry (550 calories, 42g protein), Posh Pork and Beans (510 calories, 35.2g protein), and Dal and Rice with Spinach (500 calories, 19.6g protein).

6. Good To-Go

person holding good to go larese gluten free camping meal in hand
Good To-Go Breakfast Hash; (photo/Steve Larese)
  • Dietary certifications: Gluten-free; no preservatives; vegan options
  • The number of gluten-free options: 18

Everything Maine-based Good To-Go offers is gluten-free. Favorite meals include its spicy Chicken Pho (390 calories, 27g protein), Mexican Quinoa Bowl (350 calories, 13g protein), and Smoked Three-Bean Chile (340 calories, 16g protein). Chef Jennifer Scism and David Koorits (who eat gluten-free) founded Maine-based Good To-Go in 2014. She wanted to combine her love of healthy cuisine and backpacking.

7. Heather’s Choice

  • Dietary certifications: Gluten-free; dairy-free/grain-free/vegan/vegetarian options
  • Number of gluten-free options: 14

Heather Kelly began making her own gluten-free food for her Alaskan packrafting trips. Her friends talked her into launching Heather’s Choice in 2014. The Anchorage company has built a loyal clientele and appeared on Shark Tank in January 2024.

Its plant-based Packaroons are puck-shaped snacks in flavors including Sweet Coconut, Lemon Lavender, Cherry Almond, and Black Espresso — all gluten-free.

The meal offerings also include Smoked Sockeye Salmon Chowder (470 calories, 39g protein), Grass-fed Bison Chili (520 calories, 44g protein), and Grass-Fed Beef Spaghetti (gluten-free noodles, 560 calories, 27g protein). All of Heather’s Choice meals have been tested in the Alaskan backcountry.

8. Happy Yak

  • Dietary certifications: Gluten-free; lactose-free/vegan/vegetarian options
  • Number of gluten-free options: 4

Quebec-based Happy Yak was founded in 2013 by nutritionist Christine Chénard and adventurer Guy Dubuc. The company is starting to make a name for itself in the United States with its spicy fusion meals.

They have hearty portions and offer four gluten-free recipes. Two of our favorites are the Chili Fiesta (360 calories, 20g protein) and French-Canadian Shepherd’s Pie (200 calories, 19g protein). Happy Yak donates 1% of sales to Leave No Trace.

9. Mountain House

Mountain House Lasagna Dehyrdrated Meal near lagoon
  • Dietary certifications: Gluten-free, no artificial flavors or colors
  • Number of gluten-free options: 18

Mountain House traces its origin to the Vietnam War. The Oregon Freeze Dry company won a government contract to create lightweight, long-storage meals for Long Range Patrol soldiers. The granddaddy of freeze-dried backpacking meals, Mountain House has nine gluten-free meals under its designated gluten-free section.

If you’ve tried the brand’s new Chicken and Mashed Potatoes, Chicken Teriyaki with Rice, or Beef Stew, you were eating gluten-free. Mountain House also sells freeze-dried ground beef and diced chicken in bulk 10-pound containers. For those who like to add meat protein to their gluten-free meals at home, it’s a great option.

10. Nomad Nutrition

  • Dietary certifications: Gluten-free, nut-free, vegan
  • Number of gluten-free options: 10

All of the Nomad Nutrition meals are vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free, including its Kathmandu Curry (620 calories and 20g of protein per serving) and Hungarian Goulash filled with potatoes, mushrooms, peas, and Hungarian peppers and spices (500 calories, 19g protein per serving). The British Columbia-based company was founded by climber Denis Mikhailov, who maintains a vegan paleo-style diet.

11. Omeals

omeals self heating meal
  • Dietary certifications: Gluten-free
  • Number of gluten-free options: 7

Born in Lima, Peru, Omeals founder Saul Mishkin is an avid runner who wanted to create stable, self-heating meals for adventurers and people experiencing hardships worldwide. His Omeals are a stand-out in the backpacking meal world in that they generate their own cooking heat by adding water, like military MREs.

Omeals states that their Turkey Chili, Chicken Creole with Brown Rice, Vegetarian Chili, Chickpea Masala, Lentils with Beef, Beef Vegetable Beef Stew, and Hashbrowns with Bacon are all made without any gluten-containing ingredients. Its meals bring the convenience of self-heating meals to gluten-free diets.

12. Outdoor Herbivore

  • Dietary certifications: Gluten-free; vegan
  • Number of gluten-free options: 32

Kim Safdy began Outdoor Herbivore in 2010 to create healthy, no-cook meals for vegetarians doing long thru-hikes. Based in Sacramento, 80% of Outdoor Herbivore’s ingredients are locally sourced. 

Outdoor Herbivore’s new Go Garbanzo Spread packs 530 calories and 20 g of protein per 4.2-ounce serving. It contains walnuts, carrots, and diced celery in a dairy-free dill sauce, which is great with gluten-free crackers and flatbread. Also, try the Open Sky Yasai with cabbage, broccoli, peas, carrots, and peanuts in a ginger sesame vinaigrette (470 calories, 16g protein).

Outdoor Herbivore also sells its freeze-dried Everyday Vegetable Mix, Crisped Organic Quinoa, and Organic Vegetable Bouillon Cubes in bulk for those who like to craft their own gluten-free meals.

13. Trailtopia

trailtopia sweet potato chili
  • Dietary certifications: Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan options
  • Number of gluten-free options: 32

Vince Robichaud created Minnesota-based Trailtopia after years of making his own food for his kayaking and backpacking adventures. At the behest of friends, he added gluten-free meals to his menu.

He now offers several gluten-free ramen meals using brown rice noodles including Beef Flavored Stroganoff (315 calories, 8g protein), Curry (276 calories, 9g protein), Chicken Cashew Curry (310 calories, 19g protein), and Jambalaya (370 calories, 20g protein), as well as desserts including Rocky Road Pudding and Apple Crisp. Trailtopia also sells beef, sausage, and chicken crumble packs to add to meals and boost protein.

14. Wild Zora

  • Dietary certifications: Gluten-free, paleo, no added sugar; dairy-free/soy-free/vegan options
  • Number of gluten-free options: 31

Having grown up on her grandparents’ farms in the Czech Republic, Zora Tabin wanted healthy food bars for her Colorado family. In 2014, she began selling them at her local Fort Collins farmers market. In 2017, she expanded into freeze-dried backpacking meals, and by 2019, REI and other outlets were carrying Wild Zora meals.

Wild Zora has a large range of gluten-free meals. Try its Mediterranean Lamb with Spinach, Rosemary, and Turmeric bars (120 calories per bar, 6g protein each) and Bedrock Beef Chili (350 calories, 25g protein).

15. Honey Stinger Snacks

honey stinger marathon training pack of recovery and performance waffles, gels, and snacks

Perhaps most importantly to many gluten-free diets, Honey Stinger makes gluten-free flavors of stroopwafels: Cookies and Cream, Salted Caramel, and Cinnamon. They provide a kick in the pants when your energy is lagging on the trail, and taste good enough to eat as a dessert on their own.

Looking for more meal options for snacking, breakfast, or dinner on trail? Check out our full guide to our favorite Backpacking Meals.

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