Easy Mouthwatering Meal Ideas for your Next Backcountry Camping Trip
We believe that there is little that is more enjoyable than Backcountry camping as it provides a wonderful opportunity to introspect, explore, and connect with nature. Everything from the beautiful sceneries to the diverse landscapes makes it easy for adventurers to lose themselves in mother earth’s rich offerings. Thus, it is safe to say that the memories made on these adventures are invaluable and the feelings are impossible to capture with a camera. However, after our conversations with other backpackers, we all had the same complaint about backcountry camping: the food always seems to be underwhelming. It is often difficult to find meals that are compact, durable, and quick to prepare. Additionally, there tends to be an unavoidable trade-off between taste and nutrition when it comes to camping food. However, food for your camping and hiking trip is more than just that. Let’s get to some of the numbers. Depending on an individual's weight, a backcountry hiker will burn approximately 500 to 650 calories per hour. Due to this, it is crucial to consume substantial macro and micronutrients to fuel your body.
With all of these desired qualities for backcountry camping food in mind, we decided to develop a list of meal ideas that can be savoured throughout your camping trip with minimal effort!
1) Dried fruits
Compared to fresh fruit, dried fruit contains no water content and thus it also has a higher concentration of calories and sugar. Not only does provide you with enough energy for physically strenuous activities, but the dried nature of the fruit makes it lighter to carry and easier to store in your backpack. In terms of the quantity, a half-cup of dried fruit equals one cup of fresh fruit. If you’re looking for something tasty and readily available, we highly recommend dried cranberries, dates, and apricots.
You can pick from a large variety of nuts and eat it on the trail for breakfast or even as snacks at the camp. Nuts like almonds and pecans contain healthy fats and are high in protein. They also provide other micronutrients, which are good for health. Individuals looking for the healthiest option should avoid salted or roasted nuts.
3) Powdered milk and eggs
They both have longer shelf lives that make it possible to carry them on the adventure and not miss out on the staple breakfast choice! You can also take dried mushrooms and add it to your eggs.
This is extremely easy to make! With the addition of milk, it makes a very satisfying and carbohydrate-filled meal. For a little extra flavour and nutrients, we recommend some nuts and your choice of dried fruits.
5) Tortilla and roti
These are healthier and more compact alternatives to bread. Additionally, they can be eaten with eggs or hard cheese. If you are looking for something sweet, apply some peanut butter!
This Korean delicacy is a must-have! It will truly spice up your camping trip and will provide you with a lot of calories required to stay invigorated throughout the day. The word "Bibimbap" literally means to mixed rice. However, it is challenging to cook when you are on the trail or at camp, as it requires a lot of ingredients and cooking time. Luckily, we at Backcountry Wok have beef and vegan options available that are fresh, nutritious, and flavourful. It comes in an incredibly compact, water resistant, and entirely compostable package. The only step left is adding water to the packet and waiting for 10 to 15 minutes before you get to enjoy this satisfying meal.
We also teamed up with Melanie Jaye, who is a brilliant Dietitian, she helped us tailor the nutritional composition of our meals. Hence, our Bibimbap is rich in calories and is Dietitian approved! Be sure to check out her informative website: https://melaniej.com.au/
The ingredients in the Beef Bibimbap are: rice, carrots, white button mushroom, napa cabbage, lean ground beaf*, gochujang (Korean red pepper paste - red pepper powder, gultinous rice, fermented soybean powder, barley malt powder and salt).
The ingredients in the Vegan Bibimbap are: rice, carrots, white button mushroom, napa cabbage, gochujang, edamame, corn, peas and long beans (instead of beef).
If you are feeling experimental or have leftover from your short backcountry camp adventure, we suggest that you add eggs, dried cranberries, and peanuts to your Bibimbap. The eggs and peanuts will add a different texture to your meal and will balance out the zesty Bibimbap flavour. The dried cranberries will complement the meal with an added twist of sweetness and sourness.
To find out more about the nutritional benefits and to place orders, check out this link: https://backcountrywok.com/products/bibimbap-to-go
2) Gamja salad
This is a Korean version of potato salad that will go well with Bibimbap. Although Gamja salads have mayonnaise in them, you can make one without it, which is equally tasty and simpler to cook. Just take instant potatoes, add dehydrated/dried veggies and powdered eggs to it. This will provide you with a lot of carbohydrates, protein and vitamin A.
3) Lentil soup
Lentil is a great selection to have in your backpack. It is easy to cook as it does not require pre-soaking and has several nutritional benefits. It is rich in proteins, dietary fibre, and minerals. More importantly, it is a great source of energy and it stabilizes blood sugar. You can make lentil soup by heating some olive oil and adding the rehydrated vegetables to it. Add your choice of spices to this and then finally put the lentils with water.
1) Banana and kale chips
These are both healthier alternatives to potato chips and are readily available in grocery stores. Kale is very rich in antioxidants and bananas provide micronutrients. You can also make it at home by baking them in the oven before you venture out.
Hummus is extremely tasty and can be lathered on tortillas or rotis for snack time. Moreover, you can also use the hummus as a dip for the kale chips for a unique flavour. We recommend that you finish eating the hummus early on during the camping trip, as it does not have a long shelf life.
3) Dark chocolate
This is an awesome snack for backpackers with a sweet tooth! Dark chocolate contains a higher percentage of cocoa and is a great source of antioxidants. An interesting fact is that the bioactive compounds in dark chocolate can protect your skin from the sun. All these elements make it a good alternative to chocolates and biscuits on the trail.
Crackers are convenient to carry and are high in fibre. You can either eat it alone or enhance the flavour with hummus or cheese. We recommend you try Tteokbokki crackers. These are spicy Korean rice crackers that make a tasty snack. Again, this is a healthier alternative to potato chips as it is low in fat and can be found in Asian/Korean stores.
1) Mushroom soup
You can easily make this creamy soup with dried mushrooms, lentils, and dried vegetables. Just add some dried parsley to it for flavour.
2) Tuna with couscous or rice
Couscous cooks quickly and has a light texture. Cook tuna and couscous with sundried tomatoes and your choice of seasoning for a healthy dinner. Or you can also make tuna curry with rice! Just get red, yellow or green Thai curry powder and add it to the tuna with the instant rice. Another option is topping it up with your favourite rehydrated veggies. An alternative to cooking the Thai curry would be to find dehydrated meals.
3) Nori rolls
The preparation for this dish requires the same ingredients as the tuna and rice dish. With that being said, it won't consume too much of your time. If you make the tuna and rice for one day, you will likely have a few leftovers to make some nori rolls for your next heavy day of exploring. Nori is basically red seaweed, which can be bought as dried sheets and wrapped around the tuna and rice, to eat it as a roll. This will provide you with a variety of textures and nutrition in a single meal. Also, Nori is a nutritional powerhouse because it provides you with calcium, folate, iodine, and magnesium.
If you feel like adding to the list of Korean food you should try Kimbap, which is a regular hiking meal. It is very similar to sushi except this is sweeter. Although Kimbap is appetizing and portable, it requires refrigeration, thus we suggest you eat it as your first-day dinner.
5) Vegetarian tacos
You can also make healthy soft breaded tacos with tortillas, canned beans, rehydrated veggies, and cheese.
6) Beef jerky with ramen
Both of these can be found in many supermarkets and taste great together. We recommend that you buy organic beef jerky to add more nutritional value to your meal. Jerky and Ramen are compact enough to squeeze in your backpack, filled with calories, and serve as a well-balanced dinner.
Skip your regular tea or coffee and stay hydrated with Kombucha instead! It is fermented tea and is available in a variety of flavours. It is known to contain many probiotics and is a good antioxidant. After a challenging day of hiking, an alcoholic Kombucha is a great option to step up the fun quotient with your friends at camp.
2) Makgeolli or wine
If you choose to drink, we recommend that you intake very small quantities of alcohol at the end of your daily hike. Makgeolli is a Korean rice wine, which has a sharp, sweet, and astringent taste. It is known to increase metabolism, rejuvenate, and relieve fatigue. Sip on this delicacy while eating Bibimbap or Kimbap for a satisfying and enriching experience. If you struggle to find Makgeolli in stores, you can also choose to carry a sweet white wine in portable packaging, as this will serve as another great complement to the Bibimbap!
3) Organic fruit powder
A great substitute to fruits for your next camping trip, as it is weightless and has tremendous nutritional benefits. You can choose from several flavours, such as acai or pomegranate. Depending on your mood, you’ve got the choice of adding either water or powdered milk!
We have tried to provide you with well-balanced and complimenting meals for you to devour on your next backcountry expedition! We hope that all these flavours make your camping trip even more memorable and enjoyable. Let us know about some of your go-to dishes in the comments section below!