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One of Our Favorite Travel Gear Companies Is Now Stocking Our Pantries

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Camp kits cover two days of meals.

Photo by Marc Pell/Unsplash; courtesy of Patagonia

Camp kits cover two days of meals.

Camping at home with Patagonia Provisions.

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Welcome to AFAR Approved: a deep dive into the travel items that we’re totally obsessed with, never leave behind, and can’t stop telling our friends about. 

Camping was a hallmark of my childhood. My parents, both teachers, had summers off, which meant that wed load up our orange VW van and set off—it seemed—as soon as that final school bell rang, traveling for weeks at a time. (The family record is still 39 consecutive nights in a tent.) Some of my fondest memories from growing up are vignettes of these times: counting cicada husks with my brother, drawing in my journal in the shade, napping in the hammock. And then there were the meals—Dinty Moore beef stew over rice and La Choy chow mein, topped with a fistful of crunchy noodles. 

Like many of you sequestered mostly indoors during the pandemic, I’ve been dreaming of camping again. Recent snowstorms in the Northeast have dashed my hopes for a camping trip within a drivable distance, as has a somewhat-debilitating hand injury, but that hasnt precluded me from tapping around the campground corners of the internet, dreaming of that Trip Sometime Soon. As often happens with hours of uninterrupted time online, I ended up somewhere altogether unexpected, but in hindsight, not wholly unsurprising: Patagonias food website.

You, maybe: Patagonia produces . . . food?
Me: Yes! 

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Dubbed Patagonia Provisions, the extension of the famed outdoor brand began quietly in 2012, when it debuted its inaugural product, wild salmon jerky. Since then, its food offerings have grown to include spice blends and beverages and can be found in hundreds of stores across the United States, including REI and Whole Foods. In June 2020, it introduced its 2-Day Camp Meal Kit for Two. Tempted by the idea of meals ready in less than 10 minutes, I decided to try it.

Each kit comes with the following:

  • Five pouched meals (red bean chili, green lentil soup, mushroom savory grains, tart apple breakfast grains, and creamy banana breakfast grains)
  • Three tins of seafood (roasted garlic mackerel, savory sofrito mussels, and smoked mussels)
  • One box smoked wild sockeye salmon
  • Six fruit and almond bars (two each of mango, Inca berry, and apricot)
  • Five pouches of savory snack seeds (two pouches each of mellow curry and chipotle lime, and one classic barbecue)

Helpfully, each camp kit also includes a hybrid menu guidebook and cookbook, which means you dont have to wonder what to do with those sofrito mussels (put them in a paella!) or try to work out what other groceries you need to supplement the box—its all there. And so: the day after we received our box, my husband and I started eating like we were camping.

First up was the salmon, which was firm, flaky, and not overly smoky. Patagonia recommends you put it on cream-cheese-topped bagels; dutifully, we did just that. The day followed with a succession of hits: smoked mussels at lunchtime were excellent piled on crusty bread, and at dinner, we boiled the chili for one minute, let it rest for 10, then ladled it over polenta and topped the whole bowl with shaved cheddar cheese. 

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In truth, I could not find one thing I did not enjoy in the Patagonia Provisions box. The breakfast grains were velvety, the snack seeds were incredibly crunchy and tastefully seasoned, and the fruit and almond bars were punchingly flavorful and filling. Other good things: Everything that needed cooking could be done in a skillet or saucepan, and the meal kit provided 2,400 calories per person, per day. (We felt full after every meal, but admittedly, its hard to gauge whether we would feel the same after a long day of hiking.)

Importantly, everything in the box is responsibly sourced to help regenerate the environment by building soil health and ensuring animal welfare, and Patagonia has committed to using only packaging that is reusable, compostable, made from renewable resources, or recyclable by 2025. “Why is Patagonia making and selling food?” founder Yvon Chouinard wrote in April 2020. “The real question, to me, is how could we not?”

Your move, Dinty Moore. 

Buy now: 2-Day Camp Meal Kit for Two, $67 (was $89), patagoniaprovisions.com

>> Next: What Camping During COVID Is Actually Like

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