Backpacker’s Pantry Pad Thai with Chicken Review

by | Aug 6, 2023

Good To-Go Pad Thai dehydrated packpacking meal leaning against camp stove

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Backpacker’s Pantry Pad Thai with Chicken Key Features

Serving Size: 95 grams

Calories Per Serving: 410

Servings Per Container: 2

Macros Per Container: Carbs: 99g | Fat: 34g | Protein: 41g

Recommended Soak Time: 15 minutes

Retail Price: $12.99 at time of publishing


What We Liked

  • Not one but two accessory packets of peanuts
  • Pleasing harmony of flavors
  • High calorie density makes this a great value

What We Didn't Like

– May be too “peanuty” for some
– Only reminiscent of Pad Thai flavors (where’s the tamarind?)

HIKEFULL Backpacker’s Pantry Pad Thai with Chicken Review

First impressions/Flavor

MIKE: The word “festive” comes to mind. Here are not one but two bags of garnish – dry peanuts and a packet of creamy peanut butter. What a luxury for the backcountry? The dry ingredients are also very colorful with a confetti of red and green peppers dusting the rice noodles. Who is ready to party?

CHAD: Yes, certainly festive! We prepared this meal at 10,200ft at Stewart Lake in the Pecos Wilderness and soaked a little longer than the recommended time. I too noted the accessory bags of Peanuts and Peanut Butter. This is a bonus for flavor and texture but my partner who prepared the meal noted it can get a bit messy having multiple extra packages – something to be mindful of.

The first bite welcomed a nice kick of heat and tanginess. “Tastes like Pad Thai!” I exclaimed to my fellow hikers sitting around the dinner circle. There is a subtle sweetness here as well as some depth from the tomato and paprika. All the flavors harmonized but it seemed to be missing a layer. Or it could have been the peanut butter overpowering the other flavors?

MIKE: Yeah, flavorwise, this dish is dominated by peanuts. In my opinion, it’s almost as if Backpackers Pantry prioritized nutritional density over nuance of flavors. For someone with an appetite, I’m sure that will not be a problem, especially because it all still manages to taste delicious.

CHAD: Well, does it taste like Pad Thai?

MIKE: That is the question. “Tomato powder” is the third ingredient listed on the packaging and it amounts to a certain “zesty” punch to the sauce – almost veering into marinara territory. There is a noticeable omission of tamarind in the list of ingredients, an element which is typically the heart and soul of Pad Thai flavor. Although there is no tamarind, there is a pleasant zing from the crystalized lime and vinegar, as well as a robust backbone of spiciness as well. It’s not a burn-your-face-off heat but a gentle lip-tingling glow. I would say it is reminiscent of Pad Thai.  



MIKE: This dish comes together really well.  Of course, an extra level of creaminess is achieved with the peanut butter.  The noodles maintain their integrity. The colorful green and red peppers, along with the cilantro add some textural  flair (and flavor) to the dish.

CHAD The texture of this dish was pretty darn good. While many meals have a one-dimensional texture, the peanut packets create a dynamic texture.  While some reviewers note issues with the chicken, our rehydrated perfectly. The noodles held up well and didn’t disintegrate. We even could have soaked for a bit less time.  One pro tip would be to crush up the peanuts. They come halved and it’s not as aesthetically or texturely pleasing.

Final Verdict: Recommended

CHAD  If I bring in something promising Pad Thai, I’m expecting a level of heat and complex flavors.  Backbacker’s Pantry delivers here by committing to a bold level of spice and a Thai-inspired harmony of flavors. The meal rehydrates nicely. Overall, it was satisfying, filling, and delicious. Also, you get a good calories to dollar ratio here, making this an incredibly filling meal or one that’s easy to share. For all of these reasons,  this is easily a top contender for the best Pad Thai we tested. I definitely recommend!

MIKE:  Again, the inclusion of two separate forms of peanuts feels like a luxury in the backcountry.  This could not only be a hearty, nutrient dense meal but a conversation piece or source of envy as well, as in “look at the fancy meal I’m assembling from multiple packets.” The portion size is also such that not only could you spark envy, you could inspire gratitude, as this is easily shareable amongst friends. You could also do so with no qualms, as this meal is one most people would find agreeable, if not totally delicious. All said, this is a tasty and satisfying meal in the backcountry. I recommend.

Bonus Content

Story from the review

“On Saturday, under the influence of perfect weather and amazing scenery, I let my legs simply carry me through the day. The miles drifted away carelessly. Then I ran out of water.

I was just not paying enough attention to my water bottle in favor of more interesting things like rocks and trees and mosses. My already long hike suddenly turned into an even longer hike. No worries. I kept walking and eventually found water exactly at the spot indicated by the blue line on my map. However, it was now late in the day and I couldn’t find a suitable campsite, so I continued walking again. My leisure day turned into an 18 mile day.

Finally, with the afternoon dwindling away and a blood-sugar induced minor delirium settling in, I “settled” for a meh campsite in a heavily shaded pine grove. It felt a little claustrophobic and dark, but at that stage I really didn’t care. I would be eating and then promptly sleeping. I set up my tent, took a quick cat nap, and then decided rather than have dinner in the dark woods I would go seek out Red Creek about ten minutes away.

I hobbled down the trail and here is where I found this dream dinner picnic location. I went from a feeling of compromise with the campsite to a sense of glee. I soaked my feet in the cold water while enjoying a bag of rehydrated Pad Thai and felt, at least for a few moments, that all was right with the world. Sometimes things have a way of working out. Just beyond the darkest woods, there may be an enchanted waterfall in waiting, so to speak.”


A waterfall along the Red Creek in West Virginia’s Dolly Sods Wilderness.  A perfect spot to enjoy a pack of Backpacker’s Pantry Pad Thai!


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