How to Dehydrate Food With an Oven for Backpacking

by Owen Pearson

Dehydrated foods make handy snacks for camping and backpacking, because they keep well and can hold up to heat. They are also easy to store--you will not have to worry about food leaking in your backpack. These foods provide vitamins and other nutrients without adding excess weight to your pack. If you do not have a food dehydrator, you can dry food in your oven before setting off on your camping trip. Although dehydrating food in an oven is time-consuming, it is fairly simple.

Set your oven's temperature control between 140 and 200 degrees F. The temperature should be set as close to 140 degrees F to dehydrate the foods instead of cooking them, advises the Canning Pantry website.

Peel fruits and vegetables that have outer peels. Use a vegetable peeler or a knife. Peeling fruits and vegetables ensures maximum contact with the warm air in your oven, according to the Recession Ready America website.

Mix equal amounts of lemon juice and water. Soak the fruits in this mixture for 30 to 60 seconds to help preserve the flavors and nutrients, advises Recession Ready America.

Place the foods in a single layer on a baking sheet. The sheet should be flat enough to allow warm air to flow over the sides.

Place the baking sheet in the oven, and leave the oven door open at least 2 inches to improve air circulation, advises Canning Pantry.

Check the internal temperature of the oven by periodically placing a food-grade thermometer inside the oven door.

Place a fan outside the oven door, advises Recession Ready America. This will help improve circulation and temperature. Turn the fan on and off as necessary to keep the temperature close to 140 degrees F.


  • Different types of foods, such as fruits, vegetables and meats, require different dehydration times. Thinly cut fruits may dehydrate in a few hours, while beef may take as long as a day. Check your food frequently to prevent overdrying.

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About the Author

Owen Pearson is a freelance writer who began writing professionally in 2001, focusing on nutritional and health topics. After selling abstract art online for five years, Pearson published a nonfiction book detailing the process of building a successful online art business. Pearson obtained a bachelor's degree in art from the University of Rio Grande in 1997.