Healthy Ideas for Backpacking Meals, Snacks, and Coffee
Autumn is primo backpacking season in Utah thanks to the stunning colors and cool temps. If you backpack often, or even if you’re just getting into it, you may be looking for an alternative to bagged meals full of mystery preservatives and oversalted ingredients.
But carrying regular food along adds enough weight to give you a backache. So what’s best solution for eating better in the backcountry while saving money and time?
Here are two easy ways to make backpacking meals better: 1) have healthy, pre-made meals shipped to you 2) pre-bag soup or oatmeal you can whip up in a jiff that won’t add too many extra ounces.
Easy Backpacking Meals–Delivered
Fireside Provisions is a delivery service like Blue Apron or Plated, but with one big difference: the food is made for backpackers and Campers. campers pay $60 for a two-person, two-day backpacking box, or order a la carte at $10 per two-person meal.
Select meals at firesideprovisions.com based on the length of your trip and a box of food will be delivered to your door. Meals contain no artificial ingredients, flavors, or preservatives and come in compostable bags perfect for hauling out waste. We tried it on a recent backpacking trip and a few winners stood out:
Fireside Provisions Menu Favorites
Breakfast: Santa Fe Scramble– Eggs, sun-dried peppers, garlic…oh my
Lunch: Spicy Sasquatch– Salmon with curry seasoning stuffed in a pita pocket
Dinner: Dragon Bowl– Ginger Chicken Rice
Snack: Raw Cacao Energy Chunks
You may love your French Press, but is it worth lugging it up a mountain for gourmet coffee? Sacrificing for sub-par instant used to be awful, but that’s a thing of the past thanks to Alpine Start.
They’ll ship you instant coffee made out of high-quality beans that dissolve so smoothly it doesn’t taste…instanty. Versions pre-mixed with coconut cream are coming soon!
DIY Camp Dining
The ladies of Dirty Gourmet are experts at creating easy, healthy recipes for backpacking meals. At the recent Outessa Summit at Powder Mountain, these women made a lightweight Tortilla Soup perfect for cold nights that I had to share it. It’s the perfect dish to cook after your hike in because it’s quick and easy, filling, and keeps you feeling toasty before bed.
All the cooking gear you’ll need for making this backpacking meal is included in the new MSR PocketRocket Stove Kit ($99), which comes with an ultralight stove, two bowls, mugs, and utensils that all nest together in one easy-to-carry set. As for the soup, pre-measure the ingredients in baggies to save time and space in your pack.
Dirty Gourmet Backpacking Tortilla Soup
1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 tablespoon tomato powder
1 cup bean flakes
2 bouillon cubes
2 cups water
tortilla chips, pre-crushed from being in your pack
lime, cut in wedges
avocado, cubed (optional, but worth the weight)
1.Pre-measure ingredients in a Ziploc baggie before you leave.
2. Add two cups water and boil in pot or put ingredients with boiling water in food-safe silicone cooking bag for at least ten minutes.
3. Top with fresh lime and avocado. Enjoy!
Oats, Oats, Oats: The Best Backpacking Breakfast Made Better
Instant oatmeal packets are go-to backpacking meals, but they can certainly get dull over time. So we opted to amp up the flavor without adding extra weight with Crunchies Freeze-Dried Fruit added to our oatmeal just before serving. These lightweight bags are affordable and made only with fresh, natural fruit. The Cinnamon Apples and Strawberry Bananas stood out as our favorite oatmeal topping flavors, but any of the choices would be great atop oatmeal or alone as a snack.
Nuuntinis: Backcountry Cocktails
Backcountry cocktails are all the rage, so kick back and relax after a long hike with a Nuuntini. Just take a flavor of Nuun Hydration Tablets (we love strawberry lemonade) and mix it with your favorite spirit (vodka or tequila are best with this flavor) and water. Voila!
Nuun’s effervescent tablets make the fizzy drink taste indulgent, and at least you’re hydrating while having dehydrating alcohol.
Or make a mocktail—add a Nuun tablet, water, and a lime wedge, and you’ve got yourself a fancy camp drink too.
Snacks: Dehydrate Your Own
Snacks—easy to buy, more fun to make. After years of buying dried fruit and jerky from the store, it was time to try DIYing. The Excalibur 6-Tray Stackable Dehydrator is $39.95 (my average monthly cost for dried fruit and snacks) and insanely simple to operate.
However, a dehydrator is not strictly for fruit and veggies, try meat, and even eggs to create your own backcountry-friendly powdered eggs.
After testing all kinds of recipes, watermelon jerky and sweet potato or beet chips became our favorites. I know what you’re thinking, watermelon jerky? But making this snack yourself is easy, and the payoff is worth it.
Watermelon Jerky Recipe
1 watermelon sliced into small slices or strips
1.Slice watermelon and arrange in the dehydrator.
2. Sprinkle all slices with sea salt.
3. Dry for 18-22 hours or until dried soft, but not sticky.
We’d love to hear how you backpack better too, drop a line with your favorite camping recipes and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.