Friday, August 9, 2013

Summer Backpacking Food Favorites

My backpacking menu changes with the seasons.  In summer, salty soups, crunchy snacks, and lean protein seem more satisfying.  Fruits like cantaloupe, pineapple, and strawberries also taste refreshing.
Pineapple ready for the dehydrator.
Stoveless meals continue to serve me well in summer.  I dehydrate and assemble just-add-cold-water dishes into pint freezer ziplocks.  At rest breaks, I start them soaking so that 2-3 hours later, my food is ready to eat when I'm hungry.  No waiting around to cook.  For dessert (or sometimes breakfast) instant pudding made with nido milk powder is delicious when cooled in a stream- just be sure it doesn't float away.

Dehydrating meats
I've been working on getting more variety of proteins, since tuna foil packets have been getting old.  Shrimp, lean deli meat like ham and turkey, and imitation crab have all dehydrated well (following these online instructions), and can be stored in the freezer until I'm ready to pack them for a trip.
Shrimp cut in half dry and rehydrate faster.
Shrimp are done when they are totally dry and hard.
Crab was surprisingly tasty.
Dehydrating lean deli meat.
Pumpkin and sweet potato bark, also from Backpacking Chef, are versatile ingredients for a variety of meals.  I eat them for snacks like leather, or turn them to powder in a food processor, and add them to dehydrated wild rice for a savory lunch.  Or add protein powder, slivered almonds, and cinnamon for breakfast.
Sweet potato bark.
Soups are especially good for summer because they help you stay hydrated.  I use bulk powdered soup mixes for flavor and to add richness to couscous or dehydrated rice and veggies. They sell them at Amish Markets like David and Katie's in Homer, GA, but you can also get them online in a variety of places.  The creamy pumpkin or mushroom soup and broccoli soup are delicious.  A little Nido milk powder makes the soup creamier.  Sometimes, I toss in dehydrated shrimp or crab for a chowder.
Cold Pizza
My favorite new recipe is adapted from Backpacking Chef's pizza grits supreme.   I used couscous instead of grits, and cheddar cheese powder instead of goldfish crackers.
Cooking down mushrooms and tomatoes.
Adding quinoa and pineapple juice for more flavor.
After fully cooking the quinoa, I dehydrated it overnight, then packaged it with cheddar cheese powder, pizza seasoning, and dehydrated pineapple.  Plus dehydrated deli ham.
Combining pineapple, cheese, and dehydrated quinoa/mushroom.
On the trail, it rehydrated with cold water in 2-3 hours.  A pretty fancy meal but well worth the effort.  Cause nothing beats cold pizza in the summer.
Instant cold pizza in a bag.
Do you have any favorite summer trail recipes?


  1. Thanks for posting this. I definitely want to some of these ideas out. Especially the pizza one!

  2. Think you'd really like the pizza one- I'm thinking it might work with other veggies too. Let me know how it goes!

  3. Great post! Easily accessible food ideas for any level of backpacker :) I have been really wanting to try to dehydrate a paleo porridge recipe that I love for breakfast on the trail. Thanks for reminding us about Backpacking Chef too. I haven't been over there in a while and it's such a useful site. I enjoyed your instagram page too. Happy Hiking!

    1. Ooo what is paleo porridge? That sounds really interesting- it's hard finding new breakfast ideas. Glad you enjoyed the instagram-- that's something new. I have a lot of photos from dayhikes that normally never get published as blog posts.

  4. Thanks for the new ideas! BTW, I recently discovered kiwi. I don't really like kiwi normally, but dehydrated, I find the sweet/sour combo refreshing. Did you dehydrate the cheese yourself?

    1. I love dehydrated kiwi too! Totally agree with you about it being refreshing because it's not too sweet. I got the cheese powder at an Amish market that specializes in bulk foods. I've never tried dehydrating cheese myself.