Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Dehydrated Meal Review: Part 1. Bla Band Potato with Beef and Bearnaise Sauce

Having reviewed the MX3 meal a while ago I decided to try some other options. A good supplier of camping type dehydrated meals is Outdoors Grub who have quite a reasonable selection. So I decided to by a few examples to try and do a review, in several parts of the meals I bought.

First up is a make I had heard of, and had a reputation for being a good quality dehydrated meal. The maker in question is Bla Band. Specifically, their Potato, Beef and Bearnaise Sauce.

I will review the following:

• The packaging, ease of access etc.
• Ease of preparation.
• Texture.
• Flavour.
• After the meal.
• Nutrition.

The design of the packaging on the Bla Band meals is quite unique. They have opted for a shorter, lower profile pack that to me looks like it will be a lot easier to access, and save me cutting the top few inches off to access the meal inside once ready. Access the packaging was really easy.

The fill line for this particular meal was 'G' and it was easy to spot and fill to, using approximately 350ml of water. The meal has the consistency of a dry stuffing mix with the contents quite easily identifiable.

A good stir and the pack was sealed and left for the instructed 10 minutes. Alternatively the meal can be eaten cold by filling with the same volume of cold water and leaving for 30 minutes to re-hydrate. I wouldn't fancy trying it that way, but if needs must.

The meal was easy to access with a normal length spoon. The meal itself had re-hydrated quite nicely, not just lumps with a watery sauce. There was substance to the meal.

I really enjoyed to flavour of this meal. It was a little spicy, which I like a lot, and  the potato was very good. The only downside was an apparent lack of beef. I could only find small pieces of it.

On the whole, it was a filling tasty meal, with only a minor negative. If I had the choice to eat this again I certainly would. It is at least as good as anything I have had before. But as you will find in my series of reviews, it's not the best.

Nutritionally the meal provides 650 Kcal. This is sourced from 20g of protein, a good amount for a meal as the body has limits to the amount of protein that can be digested at any one time. There as 88g of carbohydrates, I imagine mostly from the potato. The slightly worrying figure is 22g of fat. There are meals that are worse, but this is quite high. There are 7g of vegetable fat and 8g of beef along with milk protein which must be the sources of the fat. It's okay for the odd meal, but a regular diet would not be too good. Other competitors are either slightly under or as you will see, way over.

So highly recommended, but be aware of the fat content of any of these meals.

Outdoors Grub can be visited on their site:


  1. Nice review, I wouldn't worry too much about the fat, if your using them while your out day & night you'll need high levels of fat, sugar, ect. Look at the 24hrs rat pack for example, the calorie count is epic, yet on longer distance hiking I've done, I have needed it!
    Also my only concern with dry packs is you need to have water and heat to eat, while wet packs can be eaten without.

  2. Most dehydrated meals can be eaten cold but just take longer to re-hydrate. The 24hr Rat packs are convenient, but eaten cold there is no difference between the two as wet packs are heavy and dehydrated packs need water which you carry. Dehydrated packs I have found are far easier to eat hot as you only need a small stove and container to heat the required water, not the entire meal. 24 hr packs, if bought in the right place, can be financially a better deal.