I’m Rich, one of the founders of On Track Meals.
In the 2000s I was working as an expedition leader on the infamous Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea. I was captivated by the heroic stories of Australian soldiers in WW2 and the traits they demonstrated: courage, endurance, mateship, sacrifice. Along with my brother Andrew - who earned his special forces Green Beret at 19 and served in Afghanistan - we started On Track Expeditions, a company dedicated to sharing the story of Kokoda with other Australians.
Ned, the chief of Abuari village, took us under his wing and put together a local team to help with our logistics. Since then, we have led many hundreds of Australians across the Kokoda Track. We consider Ned and his village to be family.
Others joined us on the journey and became part of the family. Lummy, an outdoor specialist, runs our operations. Lex, an expert travel agent, plans our travel logistics. Erin runs our digital marketing.
We love everything about PNG - the history, the people, culture, the wild scenery - but on the Kokoda Track itself, there was one thing that wasn’t so great: the food. We were often camping in remote places where there were no facilities and no road access. All the food and cooking equipment needed to be carried in.
The industry standard at the time was freeze-dried food. It kept well, and was light to carry, but it tasted like cardboard. I would pull into camp each evening dreading another dehydrated meal. I couldn’t force myself to eat enough to get the energy I needed.
We were determined to find a better way. Back in Australia, we teamed up with Eric - a firefighter and Iraq veteran - to create On Track Meals. We weren’t chefs, but we knew what we wanted: meals that were nutritious, great-tasting, and were shelf stable for harsh environments, quick and easy to prepare. We hired a commercial kitchen and began cooking!
At first, there was some trial and error. There was no-one else in Australia doing what we were doing. Every outdoor meal company was producing freeze-dried. We turned a corner when we teamed up with Nathan, a specialist in retort pouch technology. This method meant we could cook real food and then seal it in a pouch - it could keep for three years in the harshest conditions, fresh as the day it came out of the kitchen.
After many years of research and development, we are proud to sell the world’s best outdoor meal range. Made by adventurers, for adventurers. We’d love for you to join the family and try our meals!
Wishing you all the best - wherever your adventure takes you…
Rich & The On Track team