msr_logo.jpgby Mike & Amanda, Charlotte Staff 

Tips and Tricks for “gourmet” dining in the backcountry:

  • Plan for three meals and 2-3 snacks per day (breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, dinner, evening snack)
  • No dieting or cutting carbs in the backcountry! You need plenty of carbs and proteins to fuel your body, balanced with sodium and fats.
  • Separate food into packets for each meal and clearly label them; re-package items that are too bulky and keep the directions.
  • Multiple ingredients can be stored in one bag; just tie off a corner to separate them until use.
  • Add some variety to your menu. By the fourth day in, you’ll be sick of the same old thing.
  • Condiment packets of hot sauce, ketchup, mayo, relish and margarine will keep well and give you a good serving size.
  • Tortillas and pitas make a great alternative to bread.
  • Cured meats and hard cheeses travel well in the backcountry.
  • Package eggs carefully to avoid breaking. They will keep in moderate temperatures.
  • Dried herbs and spices can add punch and variety to any meal.
    • Mexican – chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, oregano, onion powder, coriander, crushed red pepper, garlic powder and black pepper
    • Italian – dried basil, dried marjoram, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, rosemary, crushed red pepper flake
    • Indian – Cumin, ground ginger, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, turmeric, black pepper
    • Creole – chili powder, garlic, parsley, salt, thyme, cayenne pepper
    • Thai – chili pepper, ginger, coriander, red pepper flakes, cumin, cinnamon, star anise, salt, garlic, dried lemon peel, dried shallots

Menu suggestions for great packable, easy-to-use foods:

  • Meats – summer sausage, packaged meats (tuna, shrimp, salmon, chicken), beef jerky, salami, pre-cooked bacon
  • Dry Goods – Pasta, rice, couscous, lentils, instant potatoes, beans
  • Mixes – Soups, sauces, hummus, dips.
  • Add-ins – Dried mushrooms and tomatoes, dried fruits, nuts, honey, peanut butter, Nutella, granola
  • Breakfast – quick-cook cereals like oatmeal, grits or cream of wheat,
  • Breads – bagels, flat bread, tortillas, wraps, pita bread.
  • Drinks – Cider, hot chocolate, tea, coffee, drink mixes.

A Typical Daily Menu:

Breakfast: Amanda’s Power Oatmeal

  • 1 package instant oatmeal
  • 3 tablespoons applesauce OR peanut butter
  • Assorted mix-ins (dried fruit, granola, nuts)
  • ½ cup water

Heat water to a boil. In serving bowl, mix dry oatmeal mix and dried fruit. Add water and allow to hydrate for approx. 2 minutes. Stir in applesauce or peanut butter. Stir in granola or nuts.

Morning Snack: Granola bar and dried cranberries

Lunch: Wraps with cheese and pepperoni and a Snickers bar

Afternoon Snack: Power Bar

Dinner: Mike’s Couscous “burritos”

  • Tortillas or wraps
  • 1 pkg. couscous (flavored or plain)
  • Cheese
  • Meats or dried veggies to add in

Heat water to a boil, then add meat and/or dried veggies. Remove from heat and add couscous and flavorings (packaged or your own blend). The couscous will hydrate in about five minutes. Roll into wraps “Colorado style.”

Dessert: Backpacker’s Pantry Hot Apple Cobbler and Hot Cider Toddies