Backcountry cooking can be one of the most difficult kinds of camp cooking, mainly because it requires the cook to work with limited, backpacked-in utensils and few ingredients. Most of the time, space and the amount of food you can bring are very limited. There are, however, ways to spice it up with extras that nature can provide, and packing and cooking techniques that maximize what you can do while in backcountry areas.
Cook Lightweight Foods But Add Spices
Instead of bringing cans and jerky, bring dried foods that are lightweight and cook in water. Rice, oatmeal, beans and pastas take up little space in your backpack. Dry foods generally make the best foods on longer trips or in primitive conditions. Bring along your favorite spices to dress up your meals without adding weight to your pack.
Use Nature's Supplements
Fresh vegetables and fruits are nice to have while backpacking, but they also add more weight to your bag. Instead of packing perishables, use nature's provisions. Pick dandelions for greens, look for wild onions and pay attention to which flowers and roots are edible. Many edible plants, like onions and tubers, can also be added to soup with pasta for more flavor and substance.
Wilderness Baking With Dough
For bread to go with your meals, pack in some flour, oil and other ingredients for bread recipes. After making the dough, wrap it on a stick or lay it on a woven stick grill.
Pack Instant Foods
Instant foods are perfect for days when you need to get out of camp fast or are too tired to cook a meal. These foods are usually lightweight and require only water to prepare them. Try packing instant oatmeal, potatoes, soups and rice to make mealtime easier in the backcountry.
Drink mixes are good choices when planning a camp menu. They provide something flavored without hauling in juice concentrates. Lemonade, berry, Gatorade and lime mixes take only a minute or two to make. For a twist to your drinks, try combining two or more flavors together. Good combinations are strawberry-lemon, lime-orange and berry-lemonade. Remember to bring a small pitcher for larger groups, or have each person fill his own bottle with the mix before adding water.