Is there a benefit to dehydrating food when salt water kayaking?

I know dehydrating your food reduces bulk and weight for kayak camping. But when salt water kayaking, I need to bring all my water with me. So the weight & bulk saved from dehydrated will be negated by the extra water needed to rehydrate everything. Do you see other benefits in bringing dehydrated food when salt water kayaking?

In our case, we could never bring all the ingredients to prepare what we get in those little packages of “Mountain House” meals.
The other major benefit is the speed in the preparation of the dehydrated meal unless you enjoy spending a lot of time over the prep. of your meal.
In our case the meal is just for nourishment!

There is the ingredient advantage as above. But many of my meals are based on canned foods… Such as shrimp over ramen with dehydrated vegetables ( dehydrating them means I do not need a cooler) or clam ( can) with tomato ( diced can) and garlic ( clove) over sphagetti with parsley… No advantage in dehydrating the clams and rehydrating.
Dehydrated or freeze dried is less susceptible to squashing which is a major concern when canoeing in Canada with lots of portages… Fresh is simply too heavy… but it is not salt water.

Tacos… I don’t dehydrate salsa. Nor avocado… But I do mix together a spice packet at home and also ground beef ( again for refrigeration avoidance) We are usually out in the Everglades and Maine coast for several days.

I am not a big fan of MH but there are two things I do like of theirs. Beef stew and breakfast skillet. The latter is a complex mix of ingredients that I would never use all of but would need fractions of each… 1/4 pepper etc ( well no one carries that!)

Water is often available unless you are in long wilderness areas or let’s say paddling to Hawaii.

I can think of so many times I have met people who thought that… And in the Everglades it was a real emergency. I am glad I had extra water to give to someone who had run out.

Way better to plan accordingly for water than have to scale rockweed and rocks or a ladder to get to potable water as you do often in Maine.

Echo what kayamedic said. I have no familiarity with water supplies in the Everglades, but once you get beyond a couple of developed island campsites in Casco Bay, most of the MITA trail is a place you have to carry all your own water. There are usually no water sources on those rocky islands, or even near some of the smaller shoreside options for MITA members. Someone doing the whole trail has to plan to add stops where they can replenish water supplies.

I have personally not camped for more than a couple of nights in these spots. But I brought a few things that did double duty, fluid and nutrition or caffeine as well. Like canned coffee and soup. And fresh fruit.

Thank you for the replies! Do dehydrated veggies stay good without refrigeration much longer than fresh veggies? Even if they are not vacuum packed?

The everglades is about 150 miles of the 1500 miles of Florida shoreline. Judging the whole state by that section is as wise as assuming it’s all like the upper suwannee with camp grounds every 10 miles. You have to plan with contingency supplies for the water to be transited.

@kayamedic said:
I can think of so many times I have met people who thought that… And in the Everglades it was a real emergency. I am glad I had extra water to give to someone who had run out.

That would be poor planning, lack of planning or bad events( likely raccoons). Since the wilderness waterway is 100 miles without supplies. Plus the start and end might be limited by storm damage.

Other than the few ranger stations there is no fresh water available for paddlers in the Everglades and if you go there you’re back where you started.
I LOVE my coffee in the morning so I carry more than the 1/gal/day.
I would supplement my water supply with smaller bottles that are easy to stash in cubbyholes.
I too have given water to parched paddlers.

@edh87 said:
Thank you for the replies! Do dehydrated veggies stay good without refrigeration much longer than fresh veggies? Even if they are not vacuum packed?

Yes… I often start vacuum packed but am not OCD enough to put one meal sizes in one vac seal pouch… No doubt it would be a good idea too
But my method is to buy a 16 oz package of mixed veggies, throw it in the dehydrator and then put the result in one vacuum bag… Of course no one or two eats through all of that so I bring a zip loc spare ( its sad we cant reseal the vac bag) to store the excess for the remainder of the trip.
What spoils your veggies is moisture and air… But you can expose unmoistured veggies to air for a few days… Even in Florida.

We all know that stuff happens and as paddlers we should help our fellow paddlers without comment or judgment… The recipient is already embarrassed… In this case we were on the same campsite and he had been there for three days and not one as planned. I managed to surf in without faceplanting but the waves on Highland were huge and stayed so…

For me, it’s granola bars, because I’d have noplace to plug in the microwave, LOL!

Seriously, though, what’s the issue with potable water? There are, like, dozens of filters on the market now, so once you hit land, you can use whatever’s there.


@greyheron In order to filter water you need fresh water to start. There is zero fresh water available in the places I mentioned in Maine for ex.

Non salt water paddlers often confuse water filters ( under $100) for desalinators ( under $1000… the cheapest is Kataydn Survivor 06 at $999.00. )

I take dehydrated when weight matters. If there are few portages, weight matters little, so I will bring pre-hydrated foods, of which there are many choices in the super market. I like prepared foods that come in a pouch, such as Uncle Bens rice and Tastie Bites. Boil a pot of salt water and drop in your pouches, and your food is ready faster than a Mountain House rehydrated meal, and you’ve not used any of your water supply. Canned food also works, but leaves you the can to pack out. There is also water content in canned and pouch food, so you get some hydration while eating, which, theoretically, reduces the amount of water you need to consume.

So, other than the convenience and simplicity of dehydrated meals, there are few advantages to carrying dehydrated AND the water to rehydrate it.


One thing you can do with salt water is use it to cook pasta. I have been often mixing salt with fresh, as I had fresh available, but using straight salt water should work fine also.

I cooked pasta with salt water. It came out way too salty for my taste. Maybe mixing in half fresh water would make it okay. I’ve never tried it again.

You can dehydrate pasta. Rehydration does require fresh water, but when you cook pasta from scratch, the water is discarded. It will probably take as much fresh water to mix with the salt water and boil the pasta as you would use to rehydrate, so no real gain to boiling with sea water.

If you like a lot of salt in your food, seawater might be okay. Try it and see.