We are absolutely and wholeheartedly dedicated to making the best expedition meals.
We love being outdoors.
We love camping and adventuring.
And we love feeling great.
This is how Jess of TentMeals opens our discussion about their ethos.
..and not a bad ethos to have ! This is the thinking behind the small outdoor food company I became aware of the other week via a mutual friend Sonny Bennett . Sonny had been at BaseCamp festival (if you get the chance grab a ticket – unique, fun and incredibly inspirational- plus educational!) and had met Jess (the owner/creator) of TentMeals around the ever welcome campfire.
After talking to her and knowing about my interest in local/small/family business connected to the outdoors he connected us via Twitter and we got chatting.
Jess goes on to say
“Our meals are a delicious combination of natural, calorie dense, and easy to prepare. No faff, no hassle, no nasty additives – just high energy health when you most need it.” – again sounds bloody great and I look forward to following up with taste tests soon!
So where did TentMeals come from?
Founded in 2014, TentMeals wanted to fill the gap for a healthy and practical camping meal says Jess.
“It began in cold, snowy Alaska… Me, my bike, and way more stuff than I could really carry. I had decided that I didn’t want a ‘normal’ job, but I also didn’t know what I did want to do.
So I saved up and flew myself to Deadhorse – a very aptly named place on the far north coast of Alaska. No food shops, no homes, no trees… A very bizarre place. Nothing except an oil field, truckers, thousands of mosquitoes, and a long road heading south.
The road was made mostly of mud – thick and slick from the pouring rain. The wind howled relentlessly. I quickly had a cold sweat hugging my skin, and could barely balance my bike it was so heavy.
On the first morning, I woke up to find my bags had disappeared from outside my tent. Left without any food or equipment, I wondered if I would have to head home just a day into my trip. I got lucky though. A patrol guy I bumped into somehow found enough military ration packs to see me through to the nearest shop, 500 miles down the road.
Some months and 3500 miles later I was in Vancouver, scrounging bits of work to buy my flight ticket home and start TentMeals, hoping never to eat such bad food again.”
Jess Szekely, TentMeals Founder digs a bit deeper (…hopefully with along handles spoon)
“Over the last three years, we’ve tested and improved our recipes and packaging over and over again to bring you food that’s high energy, lightweight and instant, but also tasty and nutritious.
We’re now happy and proud to be selling:
– 6 delicious expedition meals, all in 2 different sizes (exact 500Kcal and 800kcal packs)
– 3 different trail snacks
– various ingredients for people to make their own camping meals
Of course the story does not end here – new recipes are always underway, as are improvements to our existing meals.”
Our aim is to make the best expedition food out there. To us this means:
– High energy: 800kcal as our standard serving size, with a 500kcal option for smaller appetites.
– Lightweight: between 111g and 204g per meal.
– Tiny: before sealing the bags we compress down the ingredients so that they take up as little space as possible.
– Healthy and delicious: made entirely with wholesome healthy ingredients, and delicious blends of natural herbs and spices. No preservatives, no colourants, no nasty additives. We already use a number of organic ingredients, and as we grow we are switching over more and more.
– Minimal packaging, but tough: just 3 to 4g of recyclable plastic per meal, but tough enough you don’t have to worry about food explosions in your backpack.
– Quick and easy: just add hot water and leave for 5-10 minutes. No cooking required, so you can save on gas and avoid burning food to your pot. Most meals can also be made with cold water.
Jess says they have really strong core values they adhere to, which I have to say I am a big fan of.
Dedication to service
TentMeals exists because we wanted people to have a good food option for their adventures.
As well as making the best food we can, that means quick deliveries, hassle free returns, rectifyingmistakes we make, and listening to feedback.
It also means flexitime, fair wages, free food and drink, and plentiful holidays for our staff. (Liking what I hear! -Ed)
Dedication to the environment
Packaging: Think the boxes that your meals arrive in are a bit eccentric? That’s because they are. All of the boxes you get your meals in have been re-used. A while ago we asked our friends to save up all of their cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, newspapers etc , and hugely cut our carbon footprint. The only exception to this is the parcel tape we use – this is usually new 😉
What about food waste? “Uh, well, basically there isn’t any. Sometimes we make a mistake and can’t sell it, but we still put everything to good use.
Recently, we sent 200+ meals to the refugee camp in Calais.” ((Ok I think I’m now in love with TentMeals! -Ed)
Finishing our chat Jess adds, with a wry smile….”And sometimes we just eat the leftovers.” … (Who wouldnt !)
Look out for upcoming taste tests from Alan and team, proof is in the pudding as they say!
Until then you can grab your own TentMeals and support Jess and the teams efforts here at TentMeals.co.uk
If you are or know of a small or local business who specialises in kit, meals or activity focused in the outdoors get in touch, we’d love to share your story. (P.s.. meals to test always go down well with the team ;- ) and Alan does love a sticker to adorn his nalgene)