Backpacking Food Tips

Backpacking Food Tips
Cooking in the backcountry can be a chore on par with washing dishes. Complicated preparations, bad portioning and insufficient meal planning can contribute to an ineffective backcountry kitchen. Take extra time in planning your next outing to prepare an efficient and enjoyable menu.

Separate Meals

One of the simplest food preparations you can make is to separate your meals before the trek. There are several ways to organize your food; for example, separate by mealtime, day or preparation. Place each meal in its own sealed plastic bag, then arrange the meals in larger freezer bags. Label each meal by day (unless they're all the same), and label the freezer bags by mealtime or meal day. Careful organization of your meals will make packing and repacking, food preparation and rationing much easier on the trail.


Vary Foods and Flavors

After 4 days on the trail with the same flavor of oatmeal at breakfast, you'll likely find yourself craving something new. Plan for this taste-bud burnout by varying your food types and flavors. Make pesto as well as tuna mac, or try orzo instead or traditional pasta twists. Dehydrate your own sauces, fruits and vegetables, if possible. Add a different dessert or drink mix to your menu every night. And if you must have oatmeal for breakfast every morning, purchase a flavor variety pack.

Plan Preparations

Mealtime is easier with simple preparation. Although backpacking stoves are versatile enough to boil, simmer and even bake, cooking a complex meal with several stages is time consuming and aggravating when you need fast nutrition on the trail. Plan your meal preparations to speed cooking time. Make sure none of your meals requires long boil times, and minimize steps by combining ingredients before cooking. Boil extra water so you can make a hot drink while your pasta cooks.


Article Written By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson earned his Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from The Ohio University. He has been a professional writer since 2008, specializing in outdoors content and instruction. Johnson's poetry has appeared in such publications as "Sphere" and "17 1/2 Magazine."

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