Camp Food

7:50 a.m. on April 5, 2013 (EDT)
6 reviewer rep
14 forum posts

Hey guys, I was thinking about a trip to the swamp fox passage for a couple days and was wondering wht is the best package food to take? Any suggestions?

12:00 p.m. on April 5, 2013 (EDT)
244 reviewer rep
5,429 forum posts

I like mac and cheese with tuna and spicy Dorito's chips for more flavor. And instant Quaker Oatmeal in the Fruit and Cream variety. Plus CheezIt Crackers during the day. And don't forget the powdered Gatorade!

8:44 p.m. on April 5, 2013 (EDT)
12 reviewer rep
848 forum posts

mountain house chili mac and spaghetti. any of the mountain house meals are good. they make good stuff.

10:38 a.m. on April 6, 2013 (EDT)
73 reviewer rep
4,048 forum posts

Here is my favorite light supper for fishing on a boat out past dark.  Spicy tuna in a foil pouch with wasabi mayo, onions, avacado on whole grain bread.  Sushi sandwiches.

11:40 a.m. on April 7, 2013 (EDT)
1,753 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts

Welcome packlitemb!

You will like the Swamp Fox Passage, I did most of it last Spring. It is one of the best local trails I have backpacked. 

These days I mostly prepare my own meals either with dry goods & non refrigerated meats from the grocery store, or by dehydrating meals cooked at home. I especially like the tuna / salmon / crab / herring that come in a foil pouch or tin, add some instant rice / pasta and a bread along with a powdered drink mix and you have a very tasty meal.

One of my favorite meals is Salmon patties or Crab cakes with rice, vegetables, and some sort of bread or cracker, with powdered tea. 

The commercial backpackers meals like Mountain House or Backpackers Pantry are easy, light, fairly tasty, but pricey. They are a good choice for convenience & shelf life. 

The dehydrated Coleman meals at Wally's aren't to bad either. 

Mike G.

11:47 a.m. on April 7, 2013 (EDT)
1,721 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts

Knorr's meals for me. I also add foil pack Tuna, or chicken breast into the mix. 

Then there is your instant oatmeal, a stick of pepperoni  block cheese, pb&j, fruit, so on and so forth.

What can I say? 

Fatty likes to eat. 

I just could never justify the premium one pays for specialty meals(ie Mountain House, etc.)when I can make something on trail that tastes a hell of a lot better for cheaper.  

6:55 a.m. on April 8, 2013 (EDT)
2,780 reviewer rep
1,638 forum posts

I do a combination of all of the above, and make some of my own dehydrated meals. The sky is the limit when it comes to food.

10:56 a.m. on April 8, 2013 (EDT)
6 reviewer rep
14 forum posts

So are you guys talking multi days worth of food? Could you guys give me a menu that you actually used before on a multiday trip?

11:34 a.m. on April 8, 2013 (EDT)
244 reviewer rep
5,429 forum posts

Mine is a multi day hike worth. I eat pretty much the same thing every day!

11:45 a.m. on April 8, 2013 (EDT)
109 reviewer rep
66 forum posts


- Instant Oatmeal or baggy of quick cooking oats with dried fruit.

-Breakfast skillet mix. Homemade with eggs, peppers, sausage, and onion (dehydrated & in mylar bag) or Mountain House or preferred brand. Sometimes take along tortillas and make into a burrito.

-Blueberry or Cinnamon Raisin Bagels. Yum.

-Coffee/Hot Cocoa. Instant cocoa (2 tablespoons per cup stored in a zip-loc baggy) For coffee I usually use Starbucks VIA, because it's simple and I put cream in my coffee anyway, so I'm not overly particular on the taste. My second option would be purchasing the press for my pot and doing the French Press type.

(Take enough for each breakfast you'll eat on the trip)


-Crackers. Whichever you prefer. I also enjoy tuna/salmon spread. Made in the dehydrater and then you just add water on the trail.

-Cheese (hard, aged cheeses keep better) Cheddar, Romano, Parmesan, dry Monterey Jack, or my favorite, 10 year old Tillamook White Cheddar. (My friend works at the factory).
-Granola Bars/Power Bars. I make my own. Otherwise, Clif, Power Bar, what have you.
-Pepperoni/sausage/Jerky/Smoked salmon. I make my own Jerky from venison/salmon.

-Vegetables. (Ones that keep well) Baby carrots and cucumber. Ones that keep medium-well (eat within first couple of days) celery, bell peppers and peas.

-Fruit Leather. Homemade or store bought.

-Trail Mix. Make my own out of my favorite nuts, dried fruits and M&M's or dark chocolate pieces.

(I like to eat, so I pack a lot of this category. Otherwise, take enough for each lunch you'll eat on your trip, plus a snack for each day, plus a little extra.)


I make my own. I have a backpacker's recipe book, or refer to good ol' Google. Otherwise, select a Mountain House or Preferred brand meal. Take one for each dinner you'll eat on your trip. I've had Mountain Houses Lasagna with meat sauce, chicken terriyaki with rice, and Pasta Primavera. They were pretty good, but not as good as homemade.

7:27 a.m. on April 9, 2013 (EDT)
2,780 reviewer rep
1,638 forum posts

Sure, is a pretty standard menu for me on a 3+ day trip.


Dried blueberries and granola w/powdered milk(there is a MH /BP version of this too but i just buy the materials loose and combine them in a ziploc for 1/4 the price).

Scrambled eggs and cheddar, or hardboiled eggs  and bacon(fresh eggs last weeks provided you don't crack them, even longer if you coat them with mineral oil before you leave home. Hard boiled eggs will last about 2-3 days in moderately cool temps. I use the 'precooked microwave bacon in the 4 pack vaccum sealed packages. far from high quality bacon, but its good enough IMO and no risk of spoiling. Just heat it up in my skillet.

Pancakes or blueberry muffins (i just make up a dry mix at home, but you can also buy the just add water betty crocker packets which work nice)

Instant oatmeal or grits

Other variations on these would be things like breakfast wraps w/eggs , bacon, peppers, onions, etc


*I usually like 99% of the time do a no cook lunch

Wraps- Tuna w/mayo,mustard,relish packets, sometimes add in fresh onion etc if i have it. pbj should be self explanitory. canned chicken w/avacado and taco seasoning.

Pepperoni and cheese

dried smoked sausage from the local polish deli(yum!)


MH Meals-I use a few MH meals on occassion, the ones i like best are lasanga w/ meat sauce, beef stroganof, and chili mac w/extra cheddar added.

Homemade dehydrated meals- shredded beef wraps, chilis, stews, soups, spaghetti, chicken pot pie, gumbo, jambalaya and many more

Other meals that are not 'dehydrated' just made from grocery store items: Pad thai, thanksgiving in a pot/bag, spicy tuna pasta, chicken yakisoba etc

I also like something sweet, so make a few different desserts. Trail brownies, chocolate lava cake, or rum raisen rice pudding.

Snacks/misc items that can be added to different meals:

Dried smoked sausage


cheese-some hard type like cheddar


dark chocolate peanut m&ms

homemade jerky


chocolate almond granola bar things

hudson bay bread



Here are some recipies, to give you some ideas and get you thinking.

Thai Red Curry noodles

2 cups water
2 sugar packets
2 soy sauce packets
1/2 SunBird's Thai Red Curry Seasoning Mix (more if you like it spicy)
2 packets ramen noodles (any flavor)
1/2 cup soy nuts or peanuts (more if desired)

In camp
Bring water to a boil. Add ramen (excluding the spice packet), sugar, soy sauce, and SunBird seasoning mix. Simmer two to three minutes, or until noodles are tender. Add soy nuts. Serve immediately.


Pad Thai

Sauce- soy sauce, ¼ cup brown sugar, 2tsp rice vinegar, red pepper, half juice of a lime

Noodles-rice noodle, heat water and add noodles, set aside and cover for 10min

Sautee carot, garlic, onion

Drain noodles, add to pot

Add chicken packet

Add fresh bean sprouts

Add crushed peanuts

Stir for a minute, then add sauce

Cook for two minutes or until sprouts and noodles are ready


Backcountry Thanksgiving

-1 packet stove top stuffing

-1 packet chicken or turkey

-dried cranberries

-instant potatoes

-instant gravy mix

add boiling water until it looks right, usually takes around 1/2 cup-1 cup depending on serving size

Chicken Yakisoba

-2 Ramen noodle packages

-1tbs seasame seeds

-1tbs olive or sesame oil

-foil pack chicken

-2 packs soy sauce

Thai chicken wrap

* 1/2 C. Creamy Peanut Butter
* 1/2 C. of Prepared Pad Thai sauce (easily found in most grocery stores)
* 1 Bunch of Green Onion
* 4 Large Tortillas, Wraps, or Flatbreads
* 1 Pkg - 7 Ounces of Tyson Chicken (or two 5 ounce cans)
* Leaf or Romaine Lettuce (We suggest Romaine. It's much stiffer and will hold up well in a pack for a day or two as long as it does not get overheated)

Trail Preparation
In your cookpot (we suggest using hard anodized aluminum for its non stick properties) stir together the peanut butter, chopped green onions and pad thai sauce. Cook over medium heat stirring until sauce is mixed completely and warm. Do not overcook!
Layout a Tortilla or Wrap, top with lettuce, chicken and onions. Sauce over the top and then wrap burrito style.

You may also consider saucing the wrap first, then other ingredients but we find personally that having the sauce on the chicken imparts a better flavor.

Chicken Guaco-Tacos (Justin Bailie)

Prep Time 3 min Cook Time 6 min Price $4.35 per serving
Weight 11 ounces per serving
Serves 2
Calories 895
Fat 53 g
Carbs 61 g
Protein 52 g

4 small flour tortillas
1 7-ounce chicken breast in foil pouch
1/2 white onion
1 4-ounce block cheddar cheese, diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ packet taco seasoning
1 avocado
Several salsa packets*

At home
Put the oil in a spillproof container and the avocado in a hard container like a cup.
In camp
Heat oil in pot on medium heat, chop and add onion, and sauté until it softens (3 minutes). Add seasoning, three tablespoons water, and chicken. Simmer until water is evaporated and meat is heated through (about 5 minutes). Meanwhile, mash avocado (in a zip-top bag to save a dish); mix in sauce. Scoop chicken into tortillas; top with cheese and guacamole.


Trail Brownies In A Bag

In a sandwich bag:
1 sleeve graham crackers, reduced to crumbs.
1/4 cup toasted diced pecans
2 Tbsp powdered sugar

In a quart freezer bag:
3 ounces (about 3/4 cup) chocolate chips
3 Tbsp dry milk

In camp:
Add 1/4 cup water to the chocolate bag. Bring a small pot of water to a gentle simmer (warm). Turn off the heat. Dip the tightly sealed chocolate bag to melt the chocolate. When melted, add the graham cracker crumb bag to the chocolate bag and knead to mix thoroughly. Eat warm with long handled spoons or let it cool and break into chunks.

Serves 1-4. Depends on what you consider dessert! If you love dessert then assume it will serve more like 1-2.


Apple Pie on a stick

1 Jonathan or Rome apple for each person
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ cup granola (optional)

At home

Combine sugar and cinnamon in a zip-top bag.

In camp
Push a stick or dowel through the apple top until the apple is secure on the stick. Place the apple two or three inches above the hot coals, and turn the apple while roasting it. As the apple cooks, the skin browns and the juice drips out. When the skin is loose, remove the apple from the fire (but leave it on the stick). Carefully peel the hot skin off. Roll the apple in the sugar-cinnamon mixture, then roast it some more over the coals, letting the mixture warm until it forms a glaze. Remove the apple from the heat, and if you want, roll it in the granola for a crust. Let it cool, then bite in!


Spicy Tuna Linguine


* 8 oz linguine pasta
* 1⁄2 t granulated garlic
* 1⁄4 t red pepper flakes
* 1⁄4 t ground black pepper
* 1⁄4 t dried oregano
* 2 T extra virgin olive oil (2 packets)
* 3 oz albacore tuna pouch
* 2 T dry bread crumbs
* 2 T shelf stable Parmesan cheese

At home:
Break the pasta in half and pack in a sandwich bag. In a snack size bag pack the seasoning blend. In a second snack bag combine the bread crumbs and cheese. Tuck in the oil packets and tuna pouch.

In camp:
Add the oil to the snack bag with the seasoning, seal the bag and gently massage the bag to combine. Let sit while you prepare the pasta.
Bring 4 cups water to a boil, add in the pasta and cook for time on package, around 9 minutes. Reserve a little of the pasta water, drain off the rest.
Toss the pasta with the tuna and flavored oil, toss again with the breadcrumb mixture. Add reserved water as needed to coat the pasta.


Warming rice pudding


  • 2⁄3 c instant rice
  • 1⁄3 c raisins (i soak them in rum for about 15 mins or so before adding)
  • 1⁄3 c brown sugar
  • 3 T dry milk
  • 1 t potato starch
  • 1⁄4 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 c water


At home pack everything in a quart freezer or sandwich bag.

FBC method:
Add near boiling water. Stir well, seal tightly and put in a cozy for 15 minutes.


12:06 p.m. on April 9, 2013 (EDT)
6 reviewer rep
14 forum posts

Thank you guys so much. I appreciate you all taking the time to do this. To a beginner this means alot.

1:25 a.m. on April 10, 2013 (EDT)
38 reviewer rep
1,902 forum posts

There are lots of menus you can find online. One good site is I know the site owner from another site I belong to. She has a lot of free recipes, sells a cookbook with them in it and sells some cooking gear on her site. Her focus is easy to make, healthy food, which will be cheaper to put together than pre-packaged meals that can be fairly expensive.

10:46 p.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
33 reviewer rep
22 forum posts

There are these pasta cups at Target "lasagna flavored", very cheap, and they taste awesome to me. They are pretty tiny so i think a growing man would need at least two of them per meal. add a parm packet and some crushed red pep and it is dynamite.

I also like the steak fajita Knorr sides quite a bit.

I saw an awesome recipe on Backpacker mag the other day that was some kind of really good sounding  beefy noodle thing with dry onion soup mix, beef jerky, and ramen or something.s

February 22, 2020
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

More Topics
This forum: Older: backpacking sleep and back issue inflatable wedges or best pillow advice Newer: dumb question about backyard testing
All forums: Older: hikers rescued in southern cal Newer: I couldn't do something like this to someone...