I have to start this with “don’t knock it till you try it”. Some of the recipes are down right hiker trash. And they’re delicious…. if you just hiked 30 miles and are starving to death.
Some trail food you can make at home if you dare, but I suggest keeping them for the trail. (Or, the hotel room before you head home!)
On the trail we’re looking for high calorie, fatty foods. And sugar. Lots of sugar. I know some of you are automatically thinking of the downside of sugars- the sugar crash, the rotting teeth, the adult onset diabetes…. there may even be some that think “oh I like my pancreas and want to keep it”. If you’re one of these people, I suggest you find another article or go buy a case of mountain house, because you’re not going to like what you read here.
Some of the ingredients you will see need to be somewhat scavenged. As in, you need to go to 7-11, buy a hot dog, and take TONS of different condiment packets. If the clerk looks at you weird, explain to that judgy clerk that you happen to like sweet and sour sauce on your dog! Who is he/she to judge??
Every once in a while you will hike through a town, or stop for a resupply box and find a store with some treasures you cannot resist. For instance, at the Trout Lake General Store along the PCT in Washington, I found fresh avocados and some of my favorite tortilla chips. The result? Guac and chips on the trail! It was unbelievable, and I even had enough to share with my tent neighbors.
Alright, here we go. Let’s get weird…
#1- ITALIAN STALLION
- Salami and/or pepperoni
- Cheese (sliced or shredded, whatever you have)
- Ketchup packets
- Red pepper flakes
- Grated Parmesan cheese packets
- Salt packet
- Chopped onions packet
- Salsa packet
- Mix the ketchup, a park packet, salt (to taste), onions and salsa. Add red pepper flakes now or sprinkle on top later.
- Soften and warm the tortilla over open flame, or pour some water (just a little) in the bottom of your pot and bring to a boil. Stuff the tortilla in the pot without it touching the water or hold it above the vapor and steam the tortilla.
- Place the cheese down first to warm or melt, then add the meat.
- Pour the sauce over and add a sprinkle of grated parmesan and/or red pepper flakes.
- Roll it up and chow!
#2- TUNA SURPRISE
- Tuna packet
- Cheese (sliced or shredded)
- Sriracha, tobasco, or any kind of sauce really
- Tortillas (yes, more tortillas)
I think you can figure this one out
#3- LOADED RAMEN
- Any flavor ramen
- Dehydrated veggies. Harmony house makes a great dehydrated veggie pack called “beefish stew mix”. It’s a beef-flavored dehydrated stew complete with the seasoning and veggies. They’re pretty awesome.
- Any meats you would like to add
- Bring water to boil and throw in the ramen and the veggie mix. The veggies take a while to rehydrate, especially the potatoes.
- Boil the veggies and noodles until done.
- Drain as much water as you need until you have your desired noodles to broth ratio, then add the seasonings. You can either add seasoning powder from the beefish stew pack, or you can add the actual ramen packet. Sometimes we’ll add both.
- Let cool and enjoy.
*we like to have a lot of water/broth. It tastes good but you are also benefitting from drinking more water, which is always good.
#1- THE RAMEN BOMB
- Pack of instant mashed potatoes, any flavor.
- Any flavor ramen pack
- Boil about 2.5-3 cups water
- Put in the ramen and cook until it’s… cooked ramen.
- While the water is still boiling, pour in the instant mashed potatoes.
- Stir the potatoes in well, turn off the heat and cover.
- Let sit for a few minutes
#2 SWEET AND SOUR BEEF
- Beef jerky, ripped into small pieces
- Boil in bag rice
- Sweet and sour sauce condiment packets
- Boil the rice as directed
- Towards the end, throw the beef jerky into the boiling water to soften
- When rice is cooked, drain the water and return the rice and jerky to the pot.
- Pour as much S&S sauce in as your trashy little heart desires
- Eat it and like it. Eat it even if you don’t like it, because you probably don’t have the food or motivation to make something else.
#3 SPICY MAC ‘N CHEESE OF THE SEA ‘RITO
- Box of preservative filled mac n cheese.
- Tuna packet (or chicken packet if you want to get fancy)
- Nido fortified milk powder (if the mac has powdered cheese packet)
- Sriracha or frank’s red hot
- Dehydrated jalapeño and/or red pepper flakes.
- Boil macaroni
- Strain the noodles and add the cheese. If using a powdered cheese, add the nido and additional 1/2 to 3/4 cup water.
- Add tuna
- Add hot sauce to taste
- Stuff a tortilla and enjoy
#1 CHOCOLATEY PB OATMEAL
- Instant oatmeal of your choosing (I prefer maple and brown sugar)
- Reese’s pieces (fav), or peanut butter
Prepare the oatmeal as usual, then add the chocolate and peanut butter. I don’t know why you need me to explain this to you, it’s pretty self-explanatory. 🙄
#2 POP TART SAMMIE
Step 1- spread peanut butter, Nutella, or whatever spread you have (or all of them) on a pop tart.
Step 2- put another pop tart on top of the first.
Step 3- shove this into your face-hole for an on-the-go dessert
See, now that wasn’t too bad was it? Sure there were a couple things that were kind of weird, but really nothing crazy. Okay maybe the ketchup sauce is a little out there, but trust us- it’s killer when you’re on the trail and hungry.
Some may say this seems like a lot of food weight. Sure, it does add up, but once you experiment and find what you like and what works for you, it’s not that much extra. These meals may not be gourmet, but they definitely holds you over until you run across that random trail angel, or when you finally can get to town and chow down on ALL of the things!
A final note: When conducting your backcountry chef-ery (?), LEAVE NO TRACE! A lot of the stuff we eat on the trail comes in one time use disposable bags. Always try to repackage and reduce or reuse the bags. If you are not able to reuse or reduce the trash, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pack it out with you. We carry either a gallon or a quart Ziploc bag for all of our trash, depending on the duration of the hike. Please don’t pollute the beautiful scenery that we have been blessed with.
And with that, good luck and good eating!