Easy Backpacking Recipes

Prepare for your next hike with these backpacking recipes, including a nutty fruit muffin recipe, high-protein cracker and bread recipes and a coconut granola recipe.

| May/June 1982

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    Swap bland dehydrated meals for rich, delicious dishes on the trail.

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With spring at its peak, a lot of folks are going to be itching to stretch their winter-stiff muscles by heading into the back country. One of the most confusing aspects of planning a multi-day excursion — especially for the person who's relatively new to backpacking — is working out the menu. Furthermore, the commercially available backpacking foods — which, admittedly, do range in quality from excellent to decidedly mediocre — can be a bit expensive.

So to help you cut costs (at least a little) and fuel the old internal furnace with healthful whole foods, we've put together a sample two-person menu for a three-day warm-weather foray in moderate terrain. (As you likely know, high-altitude hiking requires special cooking considerations, and folks on cold-weather journeys need more daily calories than they would in temperate seasons.) We're confident you'll agree that the menus here are nutritious, tasty and practical to serve while rambling in the outdoors.

You'll have to decide — before you even begin to pack — the method of cooking you plan to use. Because campfires are often no longer permitted in our national parks and forests, it's best to check with the appropriate officials before starting out to determine whether permits are required, or fires even allowed, in the areas where you plan to be traveling. Odds are that you'll find a backpacking stove an all but essential accessory (there are many compact lightweight models available).

Of course, some items can be carried as is, or fully prepared in advance and our menus include a number of these. Then, the simplest way to package foods to be cooked on site is probably to put the dry ingredients for any one recipe in a plastic bag, label it, and add the liquids in camp. (Ziploc-type sacks are airtight and don't take up much room.) Finally, if you pack all the breakfast-menu fixings in a larger plastic bag, and do the same for your lunch and dinner menus (again, be sure to label everything), you won't have to sort through a jumble of bundles when you're getting ready to eat.

Our list includes seven meals: two breakfasts, three lunches, and two dinners on the assumption that most people will begin their excursions after breakfast one day and return — two days later — after lunch. Here's the sample bill of fare for that trip.

Backpacking Meal Ideas

Lunch: High-Protein Leftovers Bread with Miso Sesame Butter Spread, Dried Fruit, Lemonade.

Dinner: Spinach Cheese Soup, High-Protein Crackers, Nutty Fruit Muffins, Tea.

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