There are a few things worse than opening your lunch box on a camping trip only to find your food spoiled. A food dehydrator can save you from this situation – it works better than a cooler and is lighter than a portable refrigerator. Read on to understand how they work and get some tips on buying them.
But first, how do food dehydrators work?
Heat plus moisture – the perfect formula for ruining perfectly good food – can be your worst enemies on outdoor trips. Food dehydrators work by removing moisture from food by heating them at 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can get food dehydrators at most appliance centers or department stores from $ 50 to $ 350. You do not need a high-end food dehydrator for camping, but it does have to light, efficient, and simple to use.
Here are some of the features to look for:
1. Double wall construction
Food dehydrators heat up quickly on the outside, and they can burn you if you're not careful. To stay safe, choose a food dehydrator with a double wall construction – an extra layer on the outside for insulation – to hold the heat in and protect you from burns.
2. Horizontal design
Food dehydrators have their heating elements either at the top and bottom or at the sides. Horizontal dehydrators have several advantages, including better heat penetration and easier maintenance. You can dry different foods at a time on separate trays, so that the flavors do not mix and the juices do not drip onto the heating element (because cleaning out food stains can be a drag).
An automatic timer is a great feature if you like to multitask or tend to forget things easily. The timer lets you program the machine to shut off after a preset drying time, so you do not burn your food even while you're away. You can set the drying time yourself, or just select one of the presets on the machine.