Trail-Tested Backpacking Recipes

These backpacking recipes have all been proven successful on my backcountry camping trips. Backpacking menus don't need to be boring! Your overall ideal menu should include a variety of different food. The basic idea for most backpacking recipes is to add spices, meats and/or dried fruits and vegetables to a base of re-hydrated carbohydrates like grains, pastas and potatoes, making a "glop".

All the recipes below are tasty and easily prepared, lightweight and/or have high weight-to-energy ratios. The key to any backpacking recipe is simplicity -- do all the work you can at home so all the food is either ready to eat (lunch) or ready to dump in the pot and cook (dinner).

Even for just general camping recipes (like for car camping at the trailhead), these work well because they are so easy and fast to cook!

If you really like to eat well on backpacking trips, take a look at this book of delicious backpacking recipes.

Rice Breakfast, one serving
Breakfast backpacking recipes don't get much simpler than this.

1/3 cup dried milk
1 1/6 cup instant rice
1/4 cup raisins
1/8 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp sugar

Add everything into a pot, and boil for as long as the instructions say on your instant rice package. Add raisins afterwards if you don't like them plumped up.

Cheesy Baco-Spuds, two servings
An easy, tasty, lightweight backpacking recipe.

1 1/2 cup potato flakes 1/3 cup drd milk
1 pkg ButterBuds
1 T. drd parsely
1 T. drd onions
1/2 tsp salt
2 heaping T. powdered cheese
bit of pepper
bacon bits to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a plastic bag, except for bacon bits. Bring water to boil (amounts according to pckg), dump in mixture, stir. Add bacon bits.

Pototoes and Peas, two servings
Dried potatoes make a good base for dinner backpacking recipes. So here's yet another recipe based on spiced-up, glorified dried potatoes.

1 1/2 cup potato flakes
1/2 cup dry milk powder
1 pckg ButterBuds
1 T. dried parsely
1 T. dill
1 T. dried onions
some garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste

Put all above into a bag. In separate smaller bag, put: 1 envelope brown gravy mix 1 lb dried peas (or corn or mixed veggies)

Carry some kind of sausage to add to this (get the kind that doesn't need refrigerating) or use dried hamburger. In camp rehydrate the peas for as long as you have time for with the brown gravy in 4-5 cups water (depending on the consistency you want). Bring to a boil. Add the potato/spices bag and stir.

Logan Bread
An energy-packed backpacking recipe, a classic originally used by climbers. Very dense so it resists smashing. Perfect for lunch.

Mix together:
7 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 cup raisins, craisins or other dried fruit

Stir all above ingredients together. Then add:
2 cups water
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup melted butter or margarine

Stir all the gooey stuff into the dry stuff until you get a stiff dough. Smash into a greased pan. Bake for 1 hour at 300. Then turn the oven down to 200 and open the oven door the least amount you can so it still stays open, and thus let it dry out/bake for 2 more hours. This recipe will fill an 11x17 inch pan (1 inch high), and makes about twenty four 2.5 inch square pieces.

Peanut Butter Balls
This is a delicious, very high calorie, relatively healthy, entirely "wing-it" backpacking recipe for lunch.

Start out with peanut butter (crunchy). The amount you use will roughly be the amount of balls you end up with. Try 2 cups. Add honey to the peanut butter (just stir it in) until it tastes sweet enough. Then add milk powder (maybe a cup) for protein, and butter (maybe 1/4 cup or 1/2 stick-softened) for calories, and stir the whole thing up.

Add whatever you want in nuts and raisins. Try sunflower seeds, soy nuts, peanuts, walnuts, raisins.

Stir in enough quick oats (regular oats are too big) to make a thick enough consistency for a reasonably firm glob. Then roll the ball in oats to make it less sticky to handle.

If you're looking for more backpacking recipes, I recommend these books:

Lipsmackin' Backpackin' : Lightweight, Trail-Tested Recipes for Backcountry Trips
Trail Food: Drying and Cooking Food for Backpacking and Paddling.

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