The Forest: How to Use the Drying Rack

The Forest: How to Use the Drying Rack

Learn how to dry your food

The drying rack is a craftable item for preserving meat. The drying rack is one of the essential buildable items in the Forest, and you’ll need to know how to use them if you plan on surviving for longer than a day. Any meat you scavenge is raw and will eventually rot away in your inventory. This isn’t good because of how crucial edible food is in the Forest, and you’ll have to find ways to make it in bulk – drying racks can help you do that.

The Drying Rack blueprint can be found in your survival guide’s food section, and once you’ve placed the blueprint in your desired spot, you’ll only need 5 sticks to build it. Once crafted, it will have 7 available slots for you to dry your freshly caught meat–freeing up valuable inventory space and preserving your food!

Drying your raw meat is simple; you only have to attach it to an empty spot on the drying rack. It’ll allow you to cycle through multiple types of meat, meaning you’re not restricted to a specific type of raw meat. Drying racks unlock the ability for you to bulk store quality food, which is one of the main reasons why players love them. 

A Forest drying rack placed on the beach with dried meat
Place meat on an available spot on the drying rack to begin drying

Drying Rack basics 

As mentioned, you’ll need to hang your raw meat on an empty drying rack spot, but how long do you have to wait to dry? Well, one piece of raw meat hung on a drying rack will take approximately 8 minutes to dry. Eight minutes for 7 pieces of dried meat that you won’t have to worry about spoiling is quite an excellent deal. 

Although dried meat never expires, it will start to turn black if left on the drying rack for too long. It won’t necessarily poison you, but it will act as if you’ve consumed burnt food. This shouldn’t put you off, however, as you’ll likely never leave it on the drying rack for so long. 


If you’re curious about the specific types of meat that you can dry, here’s a list for you: 

  • Large Generic Meat
  • Lizard Meat
  • Rabbit Meat
  • Fish 
  • Cannibal Arms, Legs, and Heads

If you’re confused about which animals contain large generic meat, here are all of the animals that can offer you large meat:

  • Deer: + 4 Meat
  • Crocodile: + 4 Meat 
  • Turtle: + 2 Meat
  • Tortoise: + 1 Meat
  • Racoon: + 2 Meat
  • Boar: + 2 Meat
  • Goose: + 1 Meat

Unfortunately, you can’t dry meat from small game, so you’ll have to stick to hunting larger animals such as Deer and Turtles and continue to toss small meat onto the fire.

Placing your drying rack

If you’ve been keeping your drying racks outside your walls or base, we urge you to reconsider. We believe that it’s vital to always keep your drying racks within the walls of your base, mainly because skinny cannibals tend to eat dried meat off of them.  

Now, this will become a huge problem if you’re planning on streamlining the process of drying meat outside of your base walls, as cannibals can just easily steal it from you. But, if you keep them somewhere above ground or even on a platform at sea – it shouldn’t be much of a problem.  

A Forest drying rack placed on a platform over water
Drying racks can be placed on many buildable surfaces

Not only can you build drying racks on land, but you can also place them on buildable items such as: 

  • Rafts
  • Houseboats
  • Large Rafts

Even if you are placing drying racks within your walls, make sure never to place them directly next to defensive walls, as mutants can sometimes destroy them through walls as well. With that being said, it’s best to place drying racks next to or inside your main living quarters. 

A Forest drying rack placed on a raft
Drying racks can be placed on rafts and houseboats

The benefits of dried meat

There are a lot of benefits to dried meat, but the one benefit that stands out the most is its nearly non-existent expiration date. If you’ve dried your meat properly and on multiple drying racks, you’ll have more than enough to last you for an entire expedition. Even then, it is an excellent substitute for restoring health when you’ve run out of painkillers or health mix.

The fact that you can dry most meats makes the drying rack the holy grail of consistent and nutritious food in The Forest. As long as you’re regularly hunting, you won’t run out of food.

The only downside to dried meat is that it reduces your overall hydration by a set amount. This amount varies depending on the difficulty of your game mode. For example, eating dried meat reduces your hydration by 5 points in normal or hard mode, but it reduces it by up to 20 points when you’re playing in hard survival. This is pretty significant, so you must be mindful of your daily dried meat consumption in a hard survival mode playthrough.

Also, one common mistake people make is prematurely taking the meat off the drying rack. The meat will take on a darker tone/hint when it’s dried, and that’s when you should take it off the rack. If you’re unsure whether your meat is dried or not, pick it up and hover over it in your inventory to confirm. 

Drying Rack or Campfire? 

The Drying Rack and Campire have their immediate benefits, and at the end of the day, it comes down to what you need. However, we can’t deny the convenience that a drying rack brings to the table. 

Campfire cooking a small piece of meat
The campfire is the best method for getting quick nutrition

If you decide to cook meat on a campfire, you won’t be able to store it once cooked. In our opinion, this is only useful at the beginning stages of the game when you aren’t able to wait 8 minutes for something to dry. 

Now you know how to use the drying rack in The Forest

There’s solace in knowing you’ll be greeted by a full rack of dried meat when you come back to your base. If you haven’t already, we wholeheartedly recommend setting up multiple drying racks as soon as you can. 

A Forest Player's inventory with dried meat
Dried meat stored in the player’s inventory

All in all, you don’t want to be caught without food 20 minutes into a complex system of caves. That is also why it’s important to know how to use a drying rack in The Forest. If this guide helped you and you’re looking for more, be sure to check out our beginner’s guide and game review on The Forest.

About Squishface

Squishface is the co-founder and owner of Corrosion Hour; a RUST community and website dedicated to helping server owners with the administration and navigation of the ever-changing landscape of RUST. As a tech professional with over a decade in the field and a deep love of gaming, she spends much of her time in code researching and developing ways to bring meaningful content to players and readers.

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