The Best Hiking and Backpacking Recipes
Some of my family's favorite recipes to cook on hiking trips
As an avid home cook and hiker I always found myself disappointed with the backpacking and hiking meals that I would pick up at the local outfitters. The dehydrated meals are certainly convenient, but they are also incredibly expensive, and oftentimes seriously lacking in the flavor department.
Perusing my local grocery store before my family's last hiking trip revealed hundreds of ingredients and packaged foods that could easily be used for recipes in the backcountry, allowing us to put together lightweight, flavorful and nutritious meals perfectly suited to my family's taste buds.
With a little bit of advance planning and experimentation, you can cook up fantastic meals when you're out exploring the backcountry. After a long day of hiking, nothing tastes better than a real meal!
I would like to share some of my family's favorite hiking recipes with you. I guarantee that once you start creating these meals in the wilderness, you'll never turn back to the pre-packaged meals in a foil bag ever again.
Most of the ingredients for these recipes can be found at your local grocery store or co-op. For some recipes, it is quite handy to order single serving sized packets and pouches from on-line retailers such as Minimus
My family also collects all those little Taco Bell hot sauce packets, soy sauce, mustard and ketchup packets to use on our hiking trips.
Regardless of if you are on the trail for one week, or one month...there's no need to sacrifice flavor!
My Favorite Backcountry Breakfasts - Delicious alternatives to oatmeal!
Energy bars and instant oatmeal are breakfast staples when backpacking, but I like to mix my recipes up a bit. Here are some easy and delicious alternatives that will get everybody up and moving in the morning.
- Cranberry Pan Biscuits
These biscuits are an easy breakfast treat, and a great alternative to trail pancakes. Drizzled with a bit of honey, delicious!
- Breakfast Taters
Mashed potatoes are well-loved comfort food. Try these to start off your day on the trail. A bit of bacon makes these a special treat.
- Almost Instant Rice Pudding
If your trying to get back on the trail in a hurry, this rice pudding is fast to make, and so much tastier than an energy bar to get started off on the right foot. It also makes a yummy dessert on chilly nights.
- Cheesy Grits & Bacon
Grits. Cheese. Bacon. How can you go wrong?
- Eggs Benedict
Eggs keep for quite some time without refrigeration! To be on the safe side we usually use pasteurized eggs for this breakfast favorite. Shelf-stable bacon makes a good substitute for the canadian bacon, and we use a packet of Knorr's hollandaise mix to keep our pack weight down a bit. The mix calls for half a stick of butter, but butter buds can be substituted in a pinch, as long as you add a tiny bit more water to the mix.
To save on fuel, cook your eggs over easy, rather than poaching them in boiling water.
A Beautiful Dining Room!
Recipes for Lunch and Dinner on the Hiking Trail - Some of my favorite backpacking recipes
Keep your energy up with meals rich in protein, carbohydrates, and flavor!
- Glenn's Mexican Beef & Rice
This recipe requires advanced preparation at home, and the use of a dehydrator, but once on the hiking trail it is a very easy and comforting meal.
- Jambalaya with Quinoa
Quinoa is packed with protein, and is a perfect complement to this backcountry Jambalaya recipe.
- Shepherd's Pie
A satisfying dinner. The recipe calls for smoked tofu, but a foil pouch of chicken works equally well.
- Almost Thanksgiving
This is very tasty and extra filling served with a prepared pouch of "Idahoan Instant Buttery Homestyle Mashed Potatoes"!
- Cashew Chicken
This recipe calls for fresh pearl onions and bell pepper, but you can use dehydrated if you are trying to save some weight in your pack, or if you are on an extended hiking trip, just be sure to rehydrate them first!
- Mango Chicken Curry
A tasty curry that really hits the spot after a long day on the trail. It is served over pre-cooked and dehydrated lentils, although if you don't own a dehydrator you could easily omit the lentils and serve with extra rice.
- Pesto & Salmon Pasta
This is an easy gourmet trail meal, prepared with ingredients you can find at most any grocery store.
- Beef Stew
This recipe also requires a bit of prep at home, but is very tasty! The link includes a recipe for biscuits prepared in the "Outback Oven" as well, but we usually just serve this up over our enduring favorite, "Idahoan Buttery Homestyle Instant Mashed Potatoes".
- Chicken Gumbo
This is so good! I highly recommend the use of "Better Than Bullion" chicken stock concentrate for this recipe; the flavor just isn't the same if you use bullion cubes.
- Bannock Bread Recipes
Bannock bread is a backcountry staple. It is simple to prepare, and very filling. We like to get creative and experiment with adding different ingredients such as nuts, seeds, and even fruit!
The Excalibur Food Dehydrator - Save money by dehydrating your own ingredients.
Once you really get into the swing of preparing your own hiking and backpacking recipes, purchasing a food dehydrator is a great way to expand your options for cooking on the trail. Almost any recipe that you can dream up can be prepped at home using this dehydrator.
Dehydrate single ingredients, or whole recipes, for quick and easy preparation in the backcountry.
This Excalibur Food Dehydrator features nine drying trays, an easily adjustable thermostat, and superior air flow for even drying!
Books to Guide You In Dehydrating Most Anything
Different foods require different preparation techniques, and these books are excellent resources to walk busy "cooks" through the process of successfully dehydrating everything from apples to jerky.
Our picky eaters enjoying a hike in Colorado
Foodsavers Are a Lifesaver! - Vacuum sealing keeps food fresher on the trail
Many backcountry cooks use zip-top freezer bags to package up their recipes for the trail, but I have found that vacuum sealing thoroughly dried foods not only saves space in my backpack, but also has entirely eliminated messes in my pack from failed seals on freezer bags.
The Foodsaver bags are also safe to cook in, and can be packed out, washed, and reused many more times than standard zip-top bags.
As an added bonus, on canoe or kayaking trips, you can seal up most anything, including clothes that you want to keep dry!
More Delicious Hiking Recipes - Check out some of my favorite cookbooks for more hiking recipes!
Here are some of my favorite websites with even more hiking recipes
Now that you have found some great hiking recipes... - Hit the Trail!
I'd love to hear about your backcountry and trail cooking exploits! You don't need to be a registered member of Squidoo to comment, either! If you have any favorite recipes you'd like to share, feel free to contribute.