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Backpacking Recipes - Some Simple Ones


When I go backpacking, and recipes for meals have to be simple, because there is never a stove in my backpack, even on week-long trips in the mountains. On my last overnighter in the Sangre de Christo mountains, which involved hiking in several feet of snow, I had a total pack weight of 11 pounds. Total means total here - including all food, water and everything else. It was all in a day pack, so I don't have much room for a stove and fuel canisters, even if I wanted to carry the extra weight.

But I don't want the extra weight. In fact, I don't want the extra trouble of cooking either. I want to have time to hike and explore and pick wild berries. So I leave the stove behind. If you are considering doing the same, try some of the following simple backpacking recipes to add a little variety to that diet of crackers, nuts and granola bars.

Peanut Butter With Wild Fruit

A great backpacking food is high in calories for the weight, and tasty. That makes peanut butter one of the best. For a healthy treat, put it on a wheat cracker and top it with a few wild strawberries or other wild fruit. I've eaten as many as nine different kinds of berries on one day hike, so you can have quite a variety of taste sensations with this simple recipe.

Not the season for wild fruit? Then bring along a handful of jelly packets borrowed from your favorite restaurant. If you carry jam or jelly from home, ditch the heavy glass jar. In a small plastic tub it will be lighter and safer, and should stay fresh for a few days or more.

The Simplest Trail Mix Recipe

Trail mix is one of the most convenient backpacking foods you can bring. The recipe is simple. Mix peanuts, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, and raisins, and anything else you can think of in any proportions you like. Taste it and adjust the quantities and ingredients until you like it. Simple enough?

A Fine Dining Backpacking Recipe

Is a delicious dinner in the middle of the wilderness without cooking possible? I think so. Bring whole wheat crackers and two types of cheese. Smoked gouda and other hard cheeses will stay fresh longer. Pack a foil pouch of tuna - these don't have to be refrigerated. Bring a few olives in a zippered plastic bag with a small handful of baby carrots. Buy a boxed wine, drink all but about four glasses (about a pound), remove the bag from the box and put it in your backpack.

Eat this special dinner on your first or second night out, while the carrots and cheese are still in good shape. Some of the crackers get tuna on then. If you find wild onions, sprinkle some chopped up leaves or bulbs on them too. The other crackers get two types of cheese, and are topped with the olives (cut in half so they don't roll away). Your baby carrots will have been flavored by the olives.

A water bottle half full of wine (I never carry a cup) completes the dinner. The plastic wine bag, by the way, weighs less than three ounces and is very tough. It can be used to carry up to six quarts of water, or can be blown up and used (wrap in a sweater) as a pillow.

A Fresh Salad Recipe

Does lightweight backpacking mean giving up fresh foods? Not at all. Put a few baby carrots and washed radishes in a plastic bag and they're usually good for several days. Once on the trail, add some edible wild greens, like dandelion leaves, and some wild onion or peeled and chopped young thistle stalks. Use a large zippered plastic bag, for easy mixing of the salad.

For salad dressing, use an eight-ounce plastic water bottle. These may be hard to find, but they weigh less than an ounce and don't take much room in your pack. In it, mix a few ounces of olive oil (a great high-calorie backpacking food), an ounce of wine vinegar (or any other vinegar), and a pinch of salt, pepper and oregano. You can also add a touch of honey if you like it sweet, and a bit of cayenne pepper if you like it hotter.

It should be enough for a couple salads. Wash your salad ingredients, put them in the bag, add some dressing, close and shake t up. Eat it right from the bag to keep it simple. The dressing container can be used as an extra water bottle once it's empty. I always aim for backpacking recipes that keep it light and simple, and multi-use containers help.


The Ultralight Backpacking Site | Backpacking Recipes