I like to try out new backpacking recipes at home before hitting the trail, so today I baked bread in the Banks Fry-Bake that I was given on Christmas. Very successful, it was tasty and I learned things for next time.
Tired of the same old mylar packet of freeze-dried stuff? Here are some sources for tasty prepackaged meals and for dehydrated ingredients so you can make your own. As I write this, a lot of the dehydrated ingredients are out of stock, likely due to new converts to emergency preparedness during the pandemic. I’m sure they’ll be back in stock by the time we are ready to go backpacking again.
These are my favorite trail cooking references and cookbooks, with some explanations of why they are so good.
The cooking merit badge requires a Scout create menus “keeping in mind any special needs (such as food allergies)”, but doesn’t provide a source for allergy-friendly recipes. It does give a URL for FARE, but that doesn’t have an organized recipe section.
The next version of the merit badge pamphlet should reference Hiking Free: Allergy Friendly Recipes For The Outdoors because that is the only book I know of on the subject.
Worried about recycling the fuel canisters for your backpacking stove? Just poke holes in it with an old-style can opener, let the gas out, then recycle it. Done.
A kitchen splatter guard is just the right size for a backpacking stove windscreen. It costs $7 and weighs eleven ounces. A little heavy but a good choice for Boy Scout patrols.
It is tall enough to shield the flame of a canister-topper stove and big enough to leave room around the fuel tank so it won’t overheat.
I’ve made this on a few backpacking trips and it has always been delicious. It is several cuts above the normal dehydrated meal. It is simple to assemble at home and needs only a few dehydrated vegetables. On an overnight, it is worth carrying some fresh sourdough bread to accompany the chili.
This is from my favorite outdoor cookbook, The Back-Country Kitchen: Cooking for Canoeists, Anglers, and Hikers by Teresa Marrone, page 125. I’m reprinting it here with her kind permission.
Here we are, enjoying the chili with friends at Eagle Spring trail camp, near Mission Peak.
If you’d like to eat better on the trail, you should get this book with the favorite recipes from more than forty PCT hikers. Most trail cookbooks follow a single style, but this one is a wide-ranging trip through different styles of prep (home dehydration, supermarket food, no cook) and eating (big breakfast, vegan, high protein).
What’s Cooking on the PCT 2015 is the first of a planned yearly collection from Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikers.
We can all find dehydrated onions, but what about dehydrated carrots or cabbage? Make sure that your backcountry chef has what they need.
The Harmony House Backpacking Kit is a collection of eighteen packages of different kinds of freeze-dried vegetables. Each package is one cup of freeze-dried vegetables in a zip-lock bag. The kit is about $50 from most sources.
Bacon is magic in food but a problem on the trail—refrigeration, skillets, grease, etc. Shelf-stable bacon makes tons of trash with strips wrapped individually. Bacon jerky to the rescue!
I came for the flannel, but I stayed for Harriett. I didn’t see this book in 1977, but I’m glad I found it now.
I bought a used copy of Supermarket Backpacker by Harriett Barker and I love it. This sentence starting at the bottom of page one may be the truest thing ever written in a cookbook: “Don’t forget that water is the only thing you can cook really well when backpacking in the high mountains.” I have proved that it is true in the flatlands, too. Ask the other members of the Raccoon Patrol.
OK, so I broke our Vegan September by adding (excellent, imported) Parmesan, but this was a tasty backpacking meal and still vegetarian. I’d use fresh mushrooms and spices for guests at home, but this is a tasty, filling meal on the trail.
This recipe is from Teresa Marrone’s The Backcountry Kitchen.
Tina and I are going vegan for September, and we have a backpacking outing planned for the last weekend of the month. Teresa Marrone’s The Back-Country Kitchen is, once again, looking like the best resource.
Breakfast and lunch are not a challenge. I often have a Lärabar for breakfast at home. Oatmeal, bars, dried apricots (only Blenheims), figs, cashews, whatever, will get us through until dinner. But dinner is a challenge.
If you want to get started on trail cooking, turn to page 318 of The Boy Scout Handbook (14th edition, page 336 in the 13th edition). Choose one ingredient from each column, scale the amounts, and you are on your way.
Since the 11th edition Scout handbook in 1998, the cooking chapter has included a great “choose your own stew” recipe. It might have been in the 10th edition, but I don’t have one of those handy.
The 11th and 12th edition have slightly different lists, so I’ve combined both to make one table. I’ve also split vegetables out into their own column, since they are not really the same thing as cheese or nuts.
I was excited when I heard about this cookbook. We need a Scout-friendly backpacking cookbook and I like the idea of contributed and trail-tested recipes. Unfortunately, I have some reservations recommending this book to Scouts. Good information is buried in boring text and only some of the recipes are Scout-ready.