3 Tips for Healthy and Delicious Meals on the Trail or by the Campfire
Nothing beats eating a gourmet meal at the base of a 9000 ft glacier. When my wife and I first met, I took her camping in the Olympic Mountains, Washington’s young mountain range located on the wet wilderness of the Olympic peninsula.
After we set up our tents, I made dinner—seared scallops with mushroom and asparagus risotto, all on a one-burner Whisperlite stove. She was astounded, and needless to say, she decided to keep me.
There are a number of different styles when it comes to camping and hiking meals. Some back-country hikers I’ve known can be happy with packets of goo, freeze dried bags and trail mix, while others need something a bit more indulgent.
Although I’ve gotten my pack size down considerably over the years, food is still one area where I don’t skimp. Whether you’re humping gear over mountain passes, or pulling coolers from the back of your car, here are 3 ways that you too can be a master back-country chef.
1. Say no to packaging!
Making mac and cheese for three? Ditch the boxes. Grab some heavy-duty zip lock bags to carry those noodles and another for the powder. Roll out all of the air and store them in another larger bag marked ‘lunch’.
Want scrambled eggs for breakfast? Crack all the eggs, blend and pour them into a zip lock bag. Push out all the air and freeze. They’ll keep other foods cool as they thaw in pack or cooler and be ready for breakfast the next morning!
2. Cook it and freeze it!
This works great for the first night for hikers, or longer depending on the season or availability of snow, and really well for car campers. Thinking about spaghetti and meatballs campside? Make it at home first, portion into zip lock bags and freeze. Burrito filling, fajitas, chicken curry, lasagna, all work great and are easy to reheat on trail or camp table.
3. Don’t forget dessert!
Any mediocre campsite meal can be forgiven if followed up by a delicious dessert. Chocolate bars are always a good standby, but fruit can also be a delicious, nutritious, and re-hydrating option. Plus, after your done, there’s nothing to pack out.
Any good camp cook will tell you there are some staples to keep in your kit. I always keep a bottle of cooking oil, a small plastic jar of a mixture of good salt and pepper, and a small squeeze bottle of biodegradable soap. Have some favorite spices, like to spice up your meals? Make a mixture and stash it away with your cooking kit for the next outing. Forgot the spices on the counter? Don’t worry, the scenery will make up for it!
What was your favorite camping or hiking meal? Let us know in the comments below! Want a good recipe for camping? Try our Pork Vindaloo recipe, just cook it, cool it, then portion and freeze.