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PerryDolia's avatar

What is your favorite backpacking meal?

Asked by PerryDolia (3470points) September 1st, 2009

I go on a hiking trip each year with the same partner, and am always looking for a new meal to take. Any ideas?

This is backpacking, so weight of ingredients and preservation of ingredients is important. I am not interested in dehydrated, pre-cooked meals like “Richmoor Chicken Tetrazini”. I would, however, use dehydrated ingredients like green beans, or mashed potatoes.

Please provide a general description of the ingredients and method of preparation.

Got any good backpacking meals to suggest?

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14 Answers

Sampson's avatar

Trail mix and water.

Darwin's avatar

You might want to take a look at :this site. It has a few ideas.

Otherwise I generally made a lot of pasta dishes and used a lot of dried mushrooms of various sorts.

bumwithablackberry's avatar

I wish I could say I only eat what I pick, trap, or maim, but I don’t get to go hiking that often sounds fun though. Dehydrated foods are good, cause their light, and can be high in nutritional value. Suggest buying a GOOD dehydrator, like a and experimenting and making your own stuff. Better all around. You know if you mix yogurt with fruit, and dry it out, you get something like taffy.

ratboy's avatar

Long pig. The downside is that you have to carry two backpacks on the return trip.

Fred931's avatar

Same as @ChazMaz, but summer sausage +Stubb’s bar-b-q as well.

hannahsugs's avatar

Falafel, hummus, and couscous. There is dry mix that you can get for the falafel and hummus, and couscous doesn’t weigh much before it’s cooked. The only downside is that you have to bring some oil to fry the falafel in.

Mac and cheese with tuna and (dried) peas is a good trail meal as well. Bring some dried milk to beef up the cheese sauce, and get tuna in the foil packs, not cans, because it’s lighter weight.

I’ve also had success with black bean soup mixes. They can be pretty hearty once they’re mixed up. You can mix in rice for extra carbs.

Darbio16's avatar

Tuna in a pouch. MRE’s. Trail mix.

rooeytoo's avatar

I mix up the spices I like in a baggie, saves carrying a bunch of different spice containers, rice and dried beans with the spices is pretty much the staple. If you want meat, it of course needs to be dried (light but yukky in my opinion) or canned, heavier but a little bit tastier than dried. I always have to have some fresh veg so carrots carry well and tomatoes if you don’t squash them. Sardines and tuna are good.

I am getting old so what we do is 4 wheel into a deserted spot, then everything you need is in the car right beside the tent!

kalafatic's avatar

It depends on how you are cooking and what kind of cookware you bring, but I always love pancakes (just-add-water mix), summer sausage, instant oatmeal, ramen, etc. But if you are looking for something a little more fancy, someone just recently posted a recipe for campfire cake which I can’t wait to try.

bumwithablackberry's avatar

Raw Top Ramen, the staple of the modern hobo

Capt_Bloth's avatar

Dried fruit, packets of dried soup (Lipton onion soup), you can add dried mushrooms. 7-grain cereal is great. I like to make breads and such with cornmeal while camping. Jiffy has a mix with everything you need already in it, and if you plan on fishing, it also makes a great breading.

Dilettante's avatar

Oft-found entry in Appalachian Trail Shelter logs:


Kidding aside (not really), the one, most universally found meal in backpackers’ food caches is:
Mac ‘n Cheese!

Lightweight: Add water (heavy, ugh!) AFTER you make camp. Doesn’t take too long to cook if you cheat a little, besides, crunchy style is good too! (saves fuel)

Compact: Remove it from the box (properly discard) then give it a few stomps with your boot and it fits fine, most anywhere in your pack.

Durable, long-lasting: Doesn’t get rotten easily, and if it does, just chop a few pieces of human food into it (onions, garlic,ramps,roots, dandelions, ferns, ants, berries, mice, used socks, moose droppings, raccoons, porcupines, squirrels, baby birds, lizards—you know, most anything you come across in the woods that is edible; then eat it anyway, to help replace your calorie burn-off, constant hunger. And besides, all this adds flavor, combats the monotony of eating mac ‘n cheese for the last 70 days in a row. Just close your eyes and imagine it’s something else. Don’t forget the hot sauce! (Natural, all-purpose antibiotic, disinfectant)

Favorite comfort food: Those little individual packages of “Swiss Miss” hot chocolate, with the tiny marshmallows floating on top, boiled right in your sierra cup…then don’t wash it out (saves water too) so you have a snack later in the morning—licking the crusty stuff left inside your sierra cup, with a couple of ants stuck to it, if you’re lucky, for extra protein. mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Smashley's avatar

Dried meat, hard cheeses, and durable breads (anyone know where to get Austrian “Schuttlebrot” in North America?) make good fare, if you’re looking for tasty and efficient for extended trips. Think anything the people in the Alps might munch on.

If it’s a shorter trip and weight isn’t really an option, if you are creative with your cooking, storage and preparation, you can literally make any meal you can possibly think of. I’ve made fettuccine Alfredo at sunset at 6000 feet, but that was easy. Hmmm…. using a dehydrator is probably the best for customizing ingredients… Just let your imagination go wild! Pick your favorite dish, and deconstruct what ingredients you will need, and how you could go about cooking each one either individually, together, or have them precooked and just heat and combine! Ziploc bags, film containers and thermoses work pretty well to do the storing you’ll need, also.

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