AAQ: Dehydrated Food Update

A pic from Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone last August

A pic from Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone last August

If you missed last week’s explanation about what this “Ask A Question” thing is about, you can find it here.

For today’s question, Robin and Kate asked for an update on the dehydrated food experiment I first wrote about late in July. As a quick recap, I bought a box of dehydrated soups from an online company to replace one meal a day while I was boondocking. In the original article I noted how the soups were cheaper per meal than the Campbell’s Chunky Soup cans I had been buying. The flavor was surprisingly good and the meal was filling.

After finishing the full run of the soups a month later (12 varieties, three meals per type, or 36 meals), I did indeed still enjoy them. The flavor didn’t get old since there was quite a variety. One thing I did notice (TMI?) is that my bowel movements were more, uh, regular. Perhaps because the soups I tried were vegan with a ton of veggies and probably had a high fiber content. I didn’t notice any other changes in health or energy level.

Right now as I have full hookups and less time I’m enjoying the microwave foods I’ve had to forgo the past nine months boondocking, but yes, I will be ordering more dehydrated stuff from Harmony House before I leave Texas and start boondocking again. I’d actually planned on ordered more early in September but then the truck broke down and I didn’t have motorized transportation for three weeks.

In short, I found the dehydrated soups to be a cost efficient, easy to carry, and quite tasty alternative to frozen food and canned soup. I consider the dehydrated food experiment to have been a complete success and will be making that a staple of my diet when boondocking.

Note: I really enjoyed what I got from Harmony House, but readers of the original post listed a bunch of other sites in the comments to get dehydrated and freeze-dried food from, there are a lot of options out there!

Bonus Question

Since the response to the first question was pretty short, Mark asked on an older blog post how I came up with the names for Bertha and Cas, and I thought that might be worth sharing here too as I don’t think I’ve explained it before.

Bertha is named for a kooky song that my Dad likes from the early 70’s – Troglodyte by the Jimmy Castor Bunch:
“She was a big woman. BIG woman.
Her name was Bertha. Bertha Butt. She was one of the Butt sisters.”

Bertha is by far the largest vehicle I’ve ever owned and the camper shell she came with makes it look like she has a big butt, so I started calling her Bertha Butt, or just Bertha for short.

As you can probably guess, Cas is short for Casita, but you’ll notice I tend to refer to Cas as male. I watch a TV show called “Supernatural” which has a male character named Castiel, but it’s often shortened to Cas. I got use to thinking of it as a male name.

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  1. marijka on November 27, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Always wondered why she was Bertha! My sleek black FJ Cruiser is Nikita, per the 90s ‘La Femme Nikita’ series starring Peta Wilson and Roy DuPuis. (The only one I ever named; I call it my mid-life crisis vehicle.) When I add my trailer in a few years, he’ll be Michael. 🙂

    I have a serious aesthetic problem with white trailers, although I know they need to reflect heat, so not sure how I’m going to handle that one! Maybe paint the lower half black with a white roof so it looks like my truck, or add bold black stripes… lol

    • Becky on November 27, 2016 at 6:29 pm

      I never named any of my previous vehicles either Marijka.

      Yeah, I’d keep the roof/top white, but you could probably add accent color lower down without it heating up as bad.

  2. Doug on November 6, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    Hey Becky, thanks for your update. Based upon your review of Harmony House I ordered their backpacker meals from them. I spend 8 days in the wilderness each year hunting elk. This year only 2 of us went, so we didn’t rent horses, but instead backpacked in. I wanted something healthier than the typical freeze dried backpacking meals. There are other ones besides Mountain House etc.. but they are really expensive. With Harmony House I was able to get good healthy meals and actually save money. I enjoyed every meal and the prep was easy – important when your cooking on a small Snow Peak backpacking stove and you’re tired at the end of the day. So thanks again for bringing this to all of our attention.

    • Becky on November 6, 2016 at 7:21 pm

      You’re welcome and glad you two enjoyed them Doug! Their backpacker kit is I think the top selling item on their website. Maybe I’ll try that next time I order.

      Hope the elk hunt went well. 🙂

  3. Vanholio! on November 5, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    I keep dehydrated vegetables and soups around to add to rice and grains when I cook them, as well as meats. More veggies in my life!
    Vanholio! recently posted..Rubber Tramps Follow Ancient TraditionsMy Profile

    • Becky on November 6, 2016 at 7:19 pm

      Yeah, I really like how easy it is Vanholio. Glad it’s worked well for you.

  4. Robin on November 4, 2016 at 6:56 am

    Thanks for the update!

    • Becky on November 6, 2016 at 7:17 pm

      You’re welcome Robin!

  5. pamelab on November 2, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Hi, Becky –
    Hanging in there at Amazon. Good for you. I know you have done this before.
    I plan to get some of the freeze dried soups you used and reviewed. I had forgotten they were an option.
    After picking up my Casita on Aug. 2, I visited family in Austin TX area and in Lubbock TX. Then I headed to Grand Rapids MI area for a month of visiting good friends from when I lived there.
    Then, I headed to Newport News VA, but had to wait out the hurricane west of Richmond VA. I took I-95 down to FL and saw many, many downed trees along the highway.
    Estero FL was next and then Cape Coral FL where I visited family.
    Now, I am back in Missouri City TX for a month or so.
    Each place I stayed had full hookups, except for the rest stops and travel plazas I took advantage of along the way,
    Boondocking is still something I want to do. No solar yet. I did make the mistake of streaming some Netflix tv episodes and quickly used up my 8GB package. I don’t want to do that again, so I have started reading some of the books I have downloaded to my Kindle.
    Thank you for your blog and good information.
    Warm Regards,
    Pamelab in Missouri City TX for now

    • Becky on November 6, 2016 at 7:17 pm

      Glad that things are going well with the Casita Pamela, sounds like you’ve had a good summer!

      Boondocking is a lot of fun, I hope you enjoy it as much as I (and RVSue) have. Take care! Safe travels and happy trails.

  6. Kent on November 1, 2016 at 1:20 pm


    I have not thought about Bertha Butt Boggie in years… “Sock it to ya daddy!!”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LQJYgs1sxc Too funny.

    Joy asked about your solar in an above post. I’d like to hear about that as well. Also, as I remember you had or have a battery with a failed or failing cell so curious about how all of that is working out or if you plan any changes..

    • Becky on November 1, 2016 at 7:38 pm

      I’ve added the solar question to the list Kent and it’ll be answered sometime while I’m here at Amazon. Glad to find another person who gets the song reference!

  7. Norm H. on November 1, 2016 at 7:38 am

    “Bertha . . .” Yep, remember that one! lol.

    Thanks for the update on the dehydrated foods. Good to know, though as others have said, I’ll have to check the sodium content. Joys of “maturing.” (Naw, not “old.” haha)

    How about a review of the overall reliability and livability of Cas for those of us that may be considering a “Cas” of our own?

  8. UnderdogFL on November 1, 2016 at 7:10 am

    Soup recipe for simple fast soup. 1 can chicken, 1 can mixed vegetables half a box of instant barley. Add a can of V 8 juice. Cook until the barley absorbs the juice. You can substitute freeze dried vegetable soup if you’d like and it is good. It is also excellent with a pound of ground beef instead of the chicken.

    • Becky on November 1, 2016 at 7:31 pm

      Thanks for sharing Underdog, other readers might find this helpful.

  9. Jodee Gravel on November 1, 2016 at 6:59 am

    It’s always good to have options that go with different life styles, especially in small quarters. Glad the soups are working for you, I’ll have to check the sodium content as well, but I love soup. I always figured that was where Bertha got her name – fun song!!
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..They Were Getting Naked So It Was Time to LeaveMy Profile

    • Becky on November 1, 2016 at 7:29 pm

      See my response to the above comment Jodee.

      Most people have never heard of that song so I’m glad someone understands the name. 🙂

  10. SMBalmer on November 1, 2016 at 5:36 am

    My husband and I have removed almost all salt from our diet and when we eat canned soup we mind the amount of salt in them. We have never tried a dehydrated soup mix before so we were wondering if you found these type of soups to have a high salt content?
    We also wanted to let you know how much we enjoy your adventures and information you write about. Thank you.

    • Becky on November 1, 2016 at 7:28 pm

      You’re welcome SMB and I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog, thanks for reading.

      I talked about salt in the original article (https://interstellarorchard.com/2016/07/26/rving-experiment-dehydrated-food/), I bought the box that came with seasonings included with the soup (and many have a high salt content), but they can all be purchased without any seasoning included. In that case you’ll want to add something to them because it’s just a bunch of veggies at that point.

  11. Joy on November 1, 2016 at 4:44 am

    Could we have an update on the suitcase solar

    • Becky on November 1, 2016 at 7:24 pm

      I’ll add it to the list Joy!

  12. Ron on October 31, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Interesting, both topics, thanks for sharing.

    • Becky on November 1, 2016 at 7:23 pm

      You’re welcome Ron.

  13. Mark Leonard on October 31, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    Now when you boondock do you own a generator? If so what brand?

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