Categories: Camping Recipes

A Foodie’s 2-Day, 3-Night Backpacking Menu

There are a lot of things to look forward to before setting off on a backpacking trip, but eating dehydrated trail food is not usually one of them. It’s true that hunger is the best sauce and at the end of a long, strenuous day even the world’s most finicky of eaters will happily stuff their face with whatever freeze-dried food they can get their hands on. In many ways, meals in the backcountry – just like the pack on your back – serve more as the price of admission than the main attraction. But that doesn’t necessarily need to be the case.

Now, there is nothing wrong with going down the pre-prepared path. Companies like Mountain House, AlpineAire, and Good To-Go have spent a lot of time dialing in their recipes and have a couple of rock-solid hits. But if you’re looking for something a little more customizable to your diet – not to mention a whole lot cheaper – we’ve got a few build-it-yourself meal ideas for your next weekend excursion. Low on weight, big on flavor, these meals will give you the energy you need to explore while being something to look forward to in their own right. Extra bonus points: all recipes listed are vegetarian.

Weekend Backpacking Menu

Friday

Lunch: Cheese & crackers, dried fruit, nuts

Dinner: Dan Dan Noodles

Saturday

Breakfast: Strawberry Almond Oatmeal

Lunch: Dried fruit, nuts, peanut butter & crackers

Dinner: Vegan Bacon Mac

Sunday

Breakfast: Jackfruit Coconut Oatmeal

Lunch: Granola bars, cheese & crackers

Breakfasts

We are big fans of oatmeal around here – it’s full of protein and fiber to keep you full and loaded with (good) carbs to get you energized for the day. Here are two of our favorite variations. You can find freeze dried fruit at Trader Joe’s or on Amazon.

Strawberry Almond Oatmeal

1 serving / 420 calories / 14.5g protein

Ingredients

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 oz freeze dried strawberries

1/4 cup almonds, chopped

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

Preparation

At home

Portion out the oats, strawberries, chopped almonds, sugar and salt, and place in a ziplock bag.

In Camp

In your cookpot, combine 1 ¼ cup water and all the dry ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cook for another minute or two and then turn off the flame and let it sit, covered, for 1-3 minutes until the oats have softened to your liking.

Jackfruit Coconut Oatmeal

If you can’t find jackfruit, you can sub with mango or pineapple.

1 serving / 384 calories / 8.5g protein

Ingredients

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 oz. freeze dried jackfruit

1 tablespoon powdered coconut milk

1 tablespoon shredded coconut

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

Preparation

At home

Portion out the oats, jackfruit, coconut milk powder, shredded coconut, sugar and salt, and place in a ziplock bag.

In Camp

In your cookpot, combine 1 ¼ cup water and all the dry ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cook for another minute or two and then turn off the flame and let it sit, covered, for 1-3 minutes until the oats have softened to your liking.

Lunches

We’ve never been fans of pulling out the camp stove at lunchtime, so we always include an assortment of non-cook foods to refuel throughout the day. Some great options are bars (Lara, Clif Bars, Kind bars, etc), nut butter packets, crackers, trail mix, dried fruits, nuts, and cheese. Hard cheeses will keep for a few days in your pack, as will the wax covered Baybel cheese rounds.

Dinners

After a long day of hiking up mountains, a high protein dinner is an important factor in helping your muscles recover. These dinners each have over 30 grams of protein.

Dan Dan Style Soba Noodles

1 serving / 828 calories / 31g protein

Ingredients

3.5 oz soba noodles (or other high protein noodle – egg or bean curd noodles are great)

2 (1.15 oz) peanut butter packets (or scoop 1/4 cup peanut butter into a small container)

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1-2 teaspoons sriracha, depending on your spice tolerance

Preparation

At home

Mix the sesame oil, sriracha, and soy sauce in a small plastic screw top container (you can pick these up for $2 at REI). Portion out the noodles. Place the sauce, noodles (break in half to make them more packable), and peanut butter packets into a ziplock bag.

In camp

Bring enough water to just cover the noodles to a boil. Once boiling, add the noodles and cook according to the package instructions – ours took 3 minutes. Once the noodles are done, drain off all but about 1 tablespoon of the cooking water. Mix in the sauce and peanut butter. Thin out the sauce if needed with a little water. Enjoy!

Vegan Bacon Mac

Did you know that McCormick’s bacon bits are vegan friendly? It’s true! They add a little salty crunch to this comfort classic. You can find them in most supermarkets.

1 serving / 620 calories / 32g protein

Ingredients

4 oz. pasta

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon bacon bits

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt + pepper

Preparation

At Home

Portion out the pasta and place in a ziplock. We found small elbow pasta that cooks in 6 minutes – try to find pasta that cooks in that time or less to conserve fuel. Angel hair cooks in about 4 minutes, so that would be even more efficient! In a separate ziplock, add the nutritional yeast, bacon bits, garlic powder, and salt & pepper. Place the olive oil in a small plastic screw top container.

In Camp

Place the pasta and enough water to cover by ½ inch into your cookpot. Bring to a boil. Continue boiling until the pasta is done (time will depend on your pasta selection). You’ll want to stir fairly often to avoid the pasta sticking to the bottom of your pot. Once the pasta is done, drain off some of the water, leaving about 1/2 cup. Add the oil and dry ingredients and mix well (add a little water at the end if the sauce looks too thick). Dig in!

Last but not least, here’s a photo of camping at Cathedral Lakes in Yosemite. Enjoy!

Words by Fresh Off the Grid

Fresh Off the Grid is a camp cooking blog featuring recipes specifically designed for cooking in the outdoors, written by Megan McDuffie and Michael van Vliet. Find us online at freshoffthegrid.comor on Instagram @freshoffthegrid.

Hipcamp Staff

Hipcamp is an online marketplace where you can list, discover, and book campsites and accommodations on private and public land. Hipcamp is your go-to guide to getting outside. If you’re a landowner, Hipcamp creates new revenue streams for your business, which can help conserve your land and keep it wild. #FindYourselfOutside #LeaveItBetter

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