I have tons of backpacking food past it's expired by date...

Aug 13, 2019
I have tons of backpacking food past it's expired by date...Would you still eat it?

I HATE dehydrated backpacking food...it's half the reason my pack weight is so heavy, trying to carry real food that might not go bad! (I'm the idiot with the gourmet spaghetti sauce in his pack on shorter trips!)
Usually tastes like cardboard but not necessarily bad for you to eat it.
I would guess that if it looks and smells fine (and ofc the seal on the package is intact) then there's no problem. expiration dates are really weird anyhow. and also I have Mtn House stuff that expires in like 2049 :). but I've also had higher-quality backpacking meals (from places like good to go or food for the sole) that contained a lot of nuts and tasted rancid well before the marked expiration date...
the one brand of freeze-dried stuff that I actually enjoy is these folks: https://packitgourmet.com/

other than that, I've been moving away from that stuff, although I'm way too lazy to do my own dehydration. grocery store couscous, dressed up with stuff like raisins and cashews, is pretty good. random ramen from the Asian grocery can be quite good, especially with a bit of meat added. I really like the packets of pre-cooked Indian food but the brands carried by actual Indian groceries (Haldirams, for example) are much better than what you find at Kroger or whatever. these have a bunch of water weight so they're only for short trips, but they're just drastically better than Mtn House sorts of things. they go well with some boil-in-the-bag rice. I've made friends pretty jealous when they're eating chili mac and I'm having paneer masala or similar.
grocery store couscous, dressed up with stuff like raisins and cashews, is pretty good. random ramen from the Asian grocery can be quite good, especially with a bit of meat added.
Busy researching this and other options. My biggest issue with the freeze-dried brands is how cardio-risky they are. Very high salt & high saturated fat. We need extra salt, but not 30-60% in one sitting! Folks already on statins need low sat fat. Second issue is many have 30-60% daily fiber! Recalls a scene from "Blazing Saddles"... Finding any just-add-water meals with all 3 of these items at reasonable levels ain't easy.

Tasty with the dangerous stuff though: MH Beef Stroganoff (68% sodium, 35% sat fat, 30% cholesterol)
The expired dehydrated foods should be safe, if not enjoyable, for consumption. The only reason they would be dangerous is if they were punctured or contaminated during manufacturing. There are tons of Youtube videos of people eating long-expired MRE's from 30+ years ago.

I've approached dehydrated pre-packaged foods from the opposite direction as most backpackers. I refused to eat any when I started because of the nasty taste and bulk/expense, but now I really enjoy them. The trick was finding the best brands and then adding fresh or additional ingredients. I add tahini and a "sazon" spice packet to Peak Refuel's Three Bean Chili Mac, dried cranberries and cashews to Kapka's instant upma cups, just tahini to Peak Refuel's Butternut Dal Bhat and Heather's Choice African Peanut Stew, and peanut butter and "Hot Texas Trash" snack mix to chili ramen. LiteHouse makes excellent freeze dried spices that are 80% as good as fresh, and True Lemon/Lime packets add a nice acidic kick. Nothing has a better calories-to-weight ratio than tahini and nuts, and I repackage or let the air out of bulky meals before packing.

OldBill may have specific health problems, but most people and even most hypertensives aren't at increased risk of cardio events from eating salt. I've experience hyponatremia at least twice on trips and my body needed more salt so badly that I couldn't even taste it when I dumped two electrolyte packets into my water. Keep in mind we're losing way more salt than we do in normal life, so most of us without sensitivities could probably eat 2x the RDA and be fine. As for dinners with 30-60% fiber, the rest of my backpacking food during the day has almost no fiber so it evens out. I also sleep alone.
A lot depends on how many you eat thru the year.... I get 4 to 5 weeks... Not too worried about the the salts.

Regehr.... Stuff you listed I can't stand to eat... Lol .

I go MH because I can get them at 50%off.... Big savings.

Other consideration is prepackaged is another layer of bear protection in the smell category.

But.... Buy what you'll eat, a pack full of stuff not eaten leaves one weak.
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In a word, yes. I had some way old Backpacker's Pantry (IIRC) and when I opened it, it smelled odd. I added boiling water etc but could not bring myself to eat it. I opened another and it smelled normal, added the boiling water, ate it with no side effects.

I love Peak Refuel meals.
Well - first we need to define our terms. Dehydrated in popular usage is sometimes used interchangeably with Freeze-Dried, but they are very different processes. Dehydrated foods would not be expected to have a long shelf life, typically because of the packaging, more than anything. Freeze-Dried commercially prepared foods are safe to consume for 25 years, probably longer. So long as the packaging isn't damaged they will be fine. Or at least as "fine" as they ever were. LOL
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