Ultralight Backpacking Recipes

PREPARING DIY BACKPACKING MEALS IN 3 EASY STEPS

Does this sound familiar?

You’ve tried commercial freeze-dried meals only to be quickly disappointed by the taste, excess sodium, bulky packaging, and not to mention the price. You’d love to give homemade backpacking meals a try, but you’re not sure where to start.

Here's the good news...

Preparing homemade backpacking meals using ultralight recipes is easier than you might think. You can be well on your way to enjoying tasty and nutritious homemade meals in only three easy steps.

Aaron Navaho Pass Lunch in Silicon Bag

STEP ONE

Choose Recipes That Best Meet Your Needs

Here are 9 considerations we use when developing & trail testing backpacking recipes

Optimized for Peak Performance

Recipes including adequate protein for an endurance athlete and anti-inflammatory ingredients will encourage recovery and reduced soreness.

Ultralight & Low Volume

Calorically dense recipes (>125 calories per ounce) reduce the volume and weight of the food you'll need to consume to meet your nutrition goals.

Bear Canister Friendly

Pliable, low volume recipes are great for filling in those nooks and crannies. Easily pack a 5-day food supply in what seems like a 3-day supply bear canister.

Quick & Easy to Prepare

You'll be more likely to eat healthier meals if the recipes are quick and easy to prepare at home and on trail.

Minimal Water

Recipes requiring minimal water for preparation can reduce the water weight carried in your pack and the need to camp near a water source.

Fast Cook Time

Quick cooking recipes will reduce fuel consumption which in turn reduces money spent on fuel, fuel weight in your pack, and frequency of resupplies to refuel.

High Fiber

Recipes with high fiber content aid in blood sugar management and slowed digestion, allowing you to feel satiated for an extended period of time.

High Fat

Recipes with a high fat content serve as a slow burning fuel to help sustain your energy level over the course of the day.

Continue Your Home Diet

Hiking puts your body under a significant amount of stress. There's no need to further stress your body with unusual foods. Recipes can be similar to what you consume on a daily basis at home.

These considerations are the foundation of Backcountry Foodie recipes.

What makes these so important?

Here's one of our favorite ultralight backpacking recipes...

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta

STEP TWO

Prepare Your Backpacking Meals with Ease

Dry Ingredients Based Recipes

Making dry ingredients based meals is as simple as measuring and adding ingredients to a bag or container used in the backcountry. No mixing bowls, cooking or dehydrating required. Clean up is a breeze!

Grocery Store Friendly Ingredients

Dry ingredients can oftentimes be found at your local grocery store which is ideal for those impromptu backpacking trips. Grocery store bulk bins are a great way to purchase ingredients at a reduced cost.

three bean salad on dehydrator tray

Freeze-Dried vs Dehydrated Ingredients

Freeze-dried ingredients retain 97% of their nutritional value whereas dehydrated ingredients can lose up to as much as 50% of their nutritional value. Freeze-dried ingredients also better retain their natural texture when compared to dehydrated ingredients. Freeze-dried fruit can oftentimes be found in local grocery and discount stores in the snack aisle.

Dehydrating Your Own Ingredients

Dehydrating your own ingredients is not required but it's a great way to keep food on hand year round. Purchasing and dehydrating produce when in season can greatly reduce the cost of ingredients used in ultralight recipes.

Personal Preferences

Homemade backpacking meals allow you to choose ingredients that best meet your personal needs and diet preferences. For example, dairy powder can easily be swapped out for almond or soy milk powder as a vegan alternative.

Perfect Portions

Homemade backpacking meals allow you to pack the perfect portion size for yourself or your group. This reduces the risk of food waste and having to carry heavy leftovers home in your pack.

Backpacking breakfast recipes don't get any easier than this!

Granola with Milk & Berries

STEP THREE

Store Your Backpacking Meals & Reduce Plastic Waste

Short-term Storage

For short-term storage, meals can be packaged in zipper top freezer bags or reusable silicone bags. Such bags are not airtight, which exposes the food to moisture and oxygen from the environment. This can result in mold or bacterial growth.

Long-term Storage

For long-term storage, consider vacuum sealing, heat sealing, or freezing the meals to limit the exposure to moisture and oxygen. Plastic vacuum seal, food-grade mylar, or commercial grade compostable bags can be used. Freezing inhibits the growth of bacteria.

backpacking food packaged with olive oil and parmesan cheese
Breakfast Recipe in Compostable Bag

Maximizing Shelf Life

The shelf-life can be further increased by storing meals in a cool, dark, dry location such as a pantry or dark plastic tote. Exposure to sunlight and heat also play a role in the degradation of backpacking meals.

Reducing Plastic Waste

There are a number of ways to reduce plastic waste when preparing backpacking meals. Wash and reuse plastic baggies after each trip. Use empty bread, English muffin, or rice cake bags for packing trail mix, chips, crackers, etc. Wash and reuse mylar bags that previously held ingredients or premade meals.

You're going to love this Foodie fan favorite!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake

Ready to start making your own backpacking meals?

here's how we can help in 3 easy steps

Step 1: 175+ Ultralight Recipes

Step 2: Backpacking Meal Planner

Step 3: Live Virtual Masterclasses

Backcountry Foodie Ultralight Recipes and Meal Plans
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