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Sep 2, 2010 09:28 AM

Chowhounder suggestions for meals while Camping?

Hey Folks,

So I'm planning a 5-6 day trip into the woods and I'd love to hear some ideas for food. I've already read a previous thread ( and got a few ideas there, but since I'll mostly be carrying everything on my back, my trip comes with a few caveats:

- No heavy cast iron (dutch ovens or skillets are out), only a couple of lightweight aluminum pots and a small grill grate. I'll have little other cooking gear / utensils and only a wood fire for heat
- Minimal on-site prep. Pre-made/seasoned dishes are definitely a bonus.
- Nothing very temperature sensitive - I may be able to keep a few things cold for a couple days, but probably can't do things like fish, chicken, milk, etc.
- Nothing very fragile/squashable - bananas, tomatoes, eggs, most types of bread, etc. won't work

On trips like this in the past, I've usually done grilled sausages or pre-marinated kabobs for the first couple of days (super easy and require no utensils or clean up). Then I have to move to cans, PBJs, or rehydrated stuff for the remainder. Do my fellow 'hounders have any campfire classics that might fit the bill? I'd love to hear suggestions for breakfasts. lunch and dinners!

Thanks from Oregon!

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  1. My introduction to serious backpacking with a couple of Oregon college kids included:
    - Mtn House freeze dried meals
    - instant oatmeal
    - hot jello
    - pop tarts
    - peanut butter in reusable squeeze tubes
    - salami
    - pilot bread

    seasoned instant mashed potatoes (various flavors) are convenient and not too bad.
    quick grits
    90 sec. rice pouches. Better than instant, but heavier. Use less fuel than regular rice
    couscous is another quick starch

    tuna and salmon in foil pouches. Even spam comes in single slice pouches.
    boil in a bag Indian and Thai meals - try a few at home to see if you like them. Some are spicy hot.
    If you want milk, hispanic groceries carry whole dried milk, Nestle Nido brand.
    If there's a Trader Joes near you, they have a good selection of nuts and dried fruits, chocolate (covered espresso beans), instant foods, even squeeze tube apple sauce. :)
    Durable breads include bagels, flour tortillas, pilot bread, pita bread and naan.

    2 Replies
    1. re: paulj

      Trader Joe's also has a foil pack of roast beef hash that is OK. Foil pouches are they way to go, much better that freeze dried, although heavier which might be an issue for back packing.

      1. re: cajundave

        +1 to the roast beef hash from TJs, although getting it to brown in a lightweight skillet might be a challenge.

    2. The Uncle Ben's Bistro Express meals can be prepared in a skillet (as opposed to a microwave), and they actually don't taste bad (although a little high in salt). You could easily amp up the protein by bringing along some dried sausage, and throwing that in with the meal. They weigh about 8 oz. each, so six dinners would be 3 lbs.

      Breakfast is tricky; you could bring pancake mix that only needs water, but I've never found one that's very good, and syrup is heavy and sticky! At Scout camp, we soaked beans over night, and then fried them with onions and salt pork the next morning. We had a "seasoning pack", which I think was basically chili powder and salt, but I'm sure you could figure out one on your own.

      I know bread would be a problem, but I've found that heavy European style ryes don't go stale for quite some time, and they're substantial enough that they won't get squished, especially if you have some tupperware or similar container.

      And grabbing a few extra condiment packets your next time at the drive-through might spice things up without adding lots of extra weight..

      1. There's a "foods to take to burning man" thread that was here about a week ago, but the parameters are similar. Check it out.

        1. Tuna helper with the foil pack tuna, works great for supper when folks are real hungry and just want to eat, light and compact. if it calls for milk, bring powdered milk.

          1. My favorite...
            some beef jerkey rehydrated in a pot of simmering beans. Great protein, very filling and easy.