Female backpacker eating ramen out of a jetboil.

How to Dehydrate Pasta for Backpacking

Are you planning a backpacking trip and looking for ways to make your own meals? Dehydrated pasta is a good place to start with your dehydrating journey. Dehydrating pasta for backpacking is a simple way to create your own meals for the backcountry. 

I’m a little biased, but all of the most delicious meals have pasta in them. Beginning to create my own dehydrated foods has been one of my favorite things about my backpacking journey. In this blog post, I will show you how to make dehydrated pasta that’s perfect for backpacking and short trips. Once you get the hang of dehydrating pasta, dehydrated meals become easier. 

Let’s get into the complete guide to dehydrating pasta for backpacking!

Complete Guide to Dehydrating Pasta for Backpacking

Dehydrating pasta on dehydrator trays

In this blog post, I will cover the basics of dehydrating pasta from why you should dehydrate your pasta, the best types of pasta for backpacking meals, how to store your dehydrated pasta, and how to rehydrate your dehydrated pasta in the backcountry.

Dehydrating pasta is the process of removing all of the moisture from cooked pasta.

Why Dehydrate Pasta for Backpacking

In this section, I will discuss the benefits of dehydrating pasta for backpacking.

Calorie Dense

Dehydrated pasta is calorie-dense, which means there is more provided energy in a smaller serving of food. Carbohydrates are the main macromolecule food source that our bodies use to undergo cellular respiration to produce energy for the body. 

As a calorie-dense food source, you will have sustained energy on the trail to fuel your adventures without taking up substantial space in your pack. When creating your own backpacking meals, look for food with a high caloric density.

Create Homemade backpacking meals

Dehydrated Vegetables

Dehydrating pasta provides you with a base ingredient for creating your own homemade backpacking meals. You can customize the ingredients and flavors to your specific needs to create delicious meals. This is an easy DIY project to help with your nutrition while backpacking since you can control what goes into your own meals.

Faster Rehydrating Process

Dehydrated pasta rehydrates much faster than regular pasta. This means you will spend less time waiting for your food to cook and more time enjoying the great outdoors.

If you want to go the cold soak route with your dehydrated pasta, the noodles will rehydrate much better than creating your meals with pasta right from the grocery store. 

Cheaper than Store-Bought backpacking meals

The primary reason I chose to start dehydrating pasta and creating my own backpacking meals is because it was cheaper to make my own than buying store-bought backpacking meals. The food you dehydrate for backpacking does well in long-term storage when prepared appropriately. It is a great way to create bulk meals that you can use in seasons to come. Store-bought backpacking meals also tend to take up significant space, so making your own meals will take up less space!

Now that I hopefully convinced you to start dehydrating your own pasta for backpacking meals, let’s talk about some simple dehydrated pasta meals you could make for your next trek!

Simple Dehydrated Pasta Meals

In this section, I will cover some easy backpacking meals that you can use your dehydrated pasta with! There is an endless variety of one-pot meals you can make in the backcountry with dehydrated pasta, but here are some of my favorites.

Spaghetti and Meat sauce

Spaghetti and meat sauce

This is a classic dish that is easy to make and perfect for backpacking. When making spaghetti and meat sauce for backpacking, you can make the components all together and then dehydrate them. Or use add dehydrated ground beef and dehydrated pasta sauce to your already dehydrated pasta. 

Since spaghetti and pasta sauce is such a simple recipe, you can use almost any spaghetti recipe as long as it doesn’t contain olive oil. Olive oil and other oils will be impossible to fully dehydrate for safe storage as well as choosing ground meat with a low fat percentage. 

Tip: Pack a little parmesan cheese with you to add after you’ve rehydrated your spaghetti and meat sauce.

Pasta Primavera

Dehydrated pasta primavera is a great vegetarian recipe that can be packed with whatever vegetables you have around. Cook everything according to your liking and then dehydrate according to the specifications of your dehydrator. Store in for later use!

For best results, make sure to cut your vegetables into small pieces to decrease the time of the drying process.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup in a green pot

Chicken noodle soup is one of my favorite backpacking meals because it provides a taste of home after a long day on the trail. 

It is also a great recipe because you can regulate how much water you add depending on how soupy you want your chicken noodle soup to be. Whereas when you rehydrate other backpacking meals, excess water takes away from the meal, which is not an issue with chicken noodle soup.

Storing Dehydrated Pasta

Dehydrating pasta in bulk and then storing it for use when needed will make creating backpacking meals easier.

Here are some ways you can store dehydrated pasta (and other dehydrated ingredients).

Dehydrated Pasta in a mason jar
  1. Mason Jar: Mason jars provide an airtight container that keeps your food dry for a long time content. Make sure when you’re storing food in mason jars that there is no water content.
  2. Mylar Bags: Mylar bags are great for long-term storage as well as for cooking your meals. You can pack your meals into mylar bags and then add boiling water directly to the bag. I use Wallaby Mylar bags for all of my backpacking meals. 
  3. Freezer Bag: Using freezer bags and vacuum-sealed bags will provide the longest storage for the freshness of your food.
  4. Plastic Bags: Ziploc bags are great for putting all of the different dehydrated ingredients together. When creating your dehydrated backpacking meal in a plastic bag, you will need to bring enough cooking equipment to rehydrate your meal in a pot or jetboil

Types of Pasta to Use for Dehydrating

Dehydrating pasta for a backpacking meal

The best types of pasta to use for dehydrating pasta for backpacking depend greatly on personal preference. However longer shapes and smaller shapes are great. The goal is to use pasta that will reheat quickly so a long, thin pasta will rehydrate quicker than a larger, thick shape.


Long Shapes 

When using long shapes, consider angel hair pasta or spaghetti noodles. These will act as a quick-hydrating pasta. You will also likely want to break the pasta in half or thirds so it is easier to rehydrate and eat in the backcountry. 

Smaller Shapes 

Smaller shapes like elbow macaroni or orzo are great for dehydrating. The small shape with high surface area, will rehydrate quickly and be easy to eat and cook in the backcountry. 


Now that we know all of the basics, let’s learn how to dehydrate pasta for backpacking.

How to Dehydrate Pasta for Backpacking

Here is a step-by-step guide for dehydrating pasta for backpacking!

Pouring pasta into a boiling pot of water
Pasta on dehydrator trays to make dehydrated pasta for backpacking meals
  1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. 
  2. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. 
  3. Spread the pasta out on the food dehydrator trays, making sure that the pasta is in a thin layer.
  4. Set the dehydrator to 135 and let the pasta dry for 6-12 hours, or until it is fully dry. 
  5. The pasta is fully dry when it easily snaps in half. 
  6. Once the pasta is dry, place it in an airtight container such as a mason jar, mylar bag, or vacuum-sealed bag to help extend its shelf life. 
  7. If you’re using a plastic bag, make sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing it. 
  8. Store the pasta in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Rehydrating Dehydrated Pasta

When you get to the backcountry and want to eat your dehydrated pasta, here is how to rehydrate it perfectly.

At home:

Cooked pasta in a kitchen scale
dehydrated pasta on a dehydrator tray
  1. Before the dehydrating process for making your pasta, use a kitchen scale and record the mass in grams. 
  2. After dehydrating your pasta, record the mass again in grams. 
  3. The difference in mass is the amount of water you removed from the pasta and the amount of water in mL that you will need to add back to the pasta to rehydrate. Example: 242 g different before and after dehydrating, add 242 mL of water to rehydrate.  
  4. Record how much water you need to add back to the pasta on the storage container.

In the backcountry:

Female backpacker eating ramen out of a jetboil.
  1. Boil your pot of water.
  2. If you’re using a mylar bag, you can add the boiling water directly into the bag. Otherwise, add the pasta to the boiling water.
  3. Quickly stir your pasta and boiling water. 
  4. Let the pasta and boiling water sit for six minutes and then stir again. 
  5. Rest for another six minutes and your pasta will be perfectly rehydrated and warm. 
  6. Time may vary depending on the size of your pasta. Larger pasta will take longer to rehydrate. 

Happy eating!

Tips for Dehydrating Pasta at Home:

Here are some tips for dehydrating pasta at home. 

  • While some people suggest air drying to dry pasta, I would not recommend this. Bacteria can quickly grow during the air-drying process.
  • Consider storing your pasta based on serving size if you want to quickly create dehydrated meals.
  • If your dehydrator does not have a fine mesh screen for dehydrating pasta, you can always use parchment paper!
  • A higher temperature will decrease dehydrating time, while a low temperature will increase dehydrating time.
  • Dehydrate Vegetables at a low temperature to maintain their color and texture.

Pack It Up

In this blog post, we covered the basics of dehydrating pasta for a simple backpacking meal. You are now equipped with the information you need to create your own backpacking meals with pasta. 

Make sure you’re using smaller and thinner pasta shapes and that your pasta is completely dehydrated before storing it. 

I hope this helped and inspired you to begin the basics of dehydrating pasta for your future backpacking trips!

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