Local company TrailDrops sells lightweight, high-calorie dehydrated food for hiking and
In a city surrounded by mountains, not a day goes where someone isn’t hiking or camping in the Chattanooga area. Locals Meg Brasel and Marco Perez founded TrailDrops in 2015 to help other people who love the outdoors enjoy easy, delicious meals while in nature.
“I started thinking about how expensive it is to buy multiple dehydrated ingredients, and I was simultaneously wishing that I had some good recipes for putting these dried ingredients
together,” Meg says.
TrailDrops makes the servings by hand in small batches. They dehydrate some foods in
their kitchen, and they buy some from commercial vendors. They also purchase powdered milk and butter. They line up each bag and fill it with fruits, vegetables, grains, and spices before sealing it with heat. To prepare the meal, campers simply pour in boiling water and wait for about ten minutes.
TrailDrops is truly part of the Chattanooga community. They are thankful to the classes
Chattanooga. They share a kitchen with Mad Priest Coffee Roasters with whom they also share ideas and customer relationships.
TrailDrops has partnered with SheVentures, another local business that is passionate
about the outdoors. SheVentures aims to give women the confidence to enjoy outdoor sports. Each summer, SheVentures holds a camp weekend where they teach women outdoor skills and sports such as making a tent, building a fire, and mountain biking. TrailDrops has partnered with them by providing them with at least one meal per weekend for the past three years.
TrailDrops also sponsors the local athlete Cecil Williams. Williams is a competitor in
adaptive sports, which are sports where the athlete requires specialized equipment or
accommodations. Williams got into adaptive sports after a car accident many years ago.
Now he competes in every sport he has the opportunity to try, including biking, kayaking, and rock climbing. TrailDrop sponsors him by providing him with meals and merchandise. “He's mentally and physically tough, and really inspirational.”
Unfortunately, Covid-19 has affected TrailDrops. “We had finished our Kickstarter
literally right as COVID was settling onto the US, so we had to cancel a couple of rollouts,
celebratory events, which was disappointing.” They learned to buy ingredients in advance after this spring when many products were unavailable or priced higher than usual. It was also difficult because Appalachian trail shelters were closed for a while in the spring, meaning they had fewer customers than usual. Things started looking up once they got their first local outdoor retailer at the end of June. Since then, they have had a steady stream of customers.
During their offseason this winter, they have begun developing some big changes to be
implemented in the spring. “I have a hummus powder ready to go for Spring 2021, and I'm really excited to see how that is received.” Their hummus is unusual because is it prepared with cold water rather than boiling water. This is great for lunch on a hike, as not many people have access to boiling water in the middle of a trail. They are also working on a creamy dinner entree.
“Our dinner meals lean toward spicy and savory right now, so I want to balance that out.”
TrailDrops looks forward to the response to these new dishes, and has high hopes for what is to come.
to try a dish.