Backpacking Recipes - Some Simple Ones
By Steve Gillman
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.