20 Trail Recipes Built for and by Thru Hikers

On the Appalachian Trail, food is probably the single most important thing to a hiker. Not only is it your source of energy that carries you along the trail, it is also just about all you can ever think about! You spend a solid part of each day dreaming of getting to town and all the decadent foods you are going to gorge yourself on while there. But why not bring some of that culinary wonder into the woods with you?! Here are twenty backpacking recipes for the Trail from former and current thru hikers using items that many thru hikers carry already. No filet mignon here, but a little bit of fried Spam can go a long way! A huge thanks to all the hikers who contributed!



Trail Name: Glassman/Cubbie
Recipe: Breakfast of Champions
Ingredients: Flour tortilla, peanut butter, Nutella, hot chocolate mix, instant coffee, Snickers bar, instant oatmeal packet
Directions: On a flour tortilla, spread peanut butter and Nutella. Sprinkle on powdered mocha mix (powdered hot chocolate and instant coffee). Then place a mangled Snicker’s if you’re feeling extra hungry. Add in a packet of oatmeal and roll it up like a burrito.

Trail Name: Medicine Man
Recipe: Breakfast Shake
Ingredients: Instant oatmeal packet, Carnation instant breakfast, instant coffee, powdered milk
Directions: Take three packs of instant oatmeal (my choice, peaches and cream), three packets carnation instant breakfast (my choice, rich milk chocolate), as much or as little of your favorite instant coffee, and then powered milk. Add all ingredients to quart/liter container, add water, and shake.

Trail Name: River Song
Recipe: Crunchy Peanut Butter Pancakes
Ingredients: Maple sugar, cornbread or soft tortilla, Citadel spread or peanut butter
Directions: Put maple sugar in bowl or pot, and add just enough water to make maple syrup. Add cornbread chunks. If the bread you’re using is dehydrated, toss the bread in the maple syrup and let sit to soften a bit (dehydrated cornbread being hard as rocks). I suppose you could use tortillas for soft pancakes. Scoop Citadel Spread or regular peanut butter over the top.

Trail Name: Olive Oyl
Recipe: Blackberry cobble
Ingredients: Maple oatmeal, olive oil, blackberries, sugar,
Directions: Throw a packet of dry maple oatmeal into your pot with a tiny bit of oil and cook it. Put cooked oatmeal to the side. Add berries and sugar to pot and cook it down. Throw oatmeal on top.




Trail Name: Molly
Recipe: PB&J From Hell
Ingredients: Strawberry Pop Tarts, peanut butter, Nutella, trail mix, Snickers bar, gummy candies
Directions: Take two strawberry Pop Tarts and spread peanut butter on one, Nutella on the other. Sprinkle trail mix, pieces of snickers, and gummies on to one, then bring the two Pop Tarts together to make a sandwich.




Trail Name: Cookie monster
Recipe: No title
Ingredients: Tortilla, tuna, pre-cooked bacon, Easy Mac and Cheese, mayo
Directions: Cook the Easy Mac and stir in the tuna and bacon. Transfer on to a tortilla and add mayo.

Trail Name: Coach
Recipe: No title
Ingredients: Ramen, mashed potatoes, pepperoni or tuna, Thai chili garlic sauce, peanut butter
Directions: In a freezer Ziploc bag, mix together Ramen with only half of the spice packet, mashed potatoes, pepperoni or tuna, Thai chili garlic sauce, and peanut butter.  Add boiling water until ideal consistency has been reached.

Trail Name: Cookeh
Recipe: Raman Bomb
Ingredients: Ramen, tuna or spam, instant mashed potatoes, Rooster sauce
Directions: Cook one pack of Raman noodles. Add in one pack of meat stuffs (such as tuna or spam). Stir in one bag instant mashed potatoes. Add in any condiment for extra taste. (Rooster sauce is preferred)

Trail Name: Z/Zorro/6-Pack Chicken/Mercury
Recipe Name: Red White and Blue
Ingredients: Dehydrated potatoes, pepperoni, blue corn tortilla chips
Directions: Re-hydrate potatoes, dice and add pepperoni, crumble and add in chips.

Trail Name: SugaRush
Recipe: Spamtastic
Ingredients: Spam, Knorr’s steak fajia Rice Side, cheese
Directions: Take one or more foil packets of Spam and fry them in your pot. Set aside. Boil water. Cook one or more packets of Knorr Steak Fajita rice sides as directed. Add the Spam. Add some cheese, if you haven’t eaten it already

Trail Name: Sourpatch
Recipe: Tuna Chowder
Ingredients: Tuna, basil, cream cheese/chive crackers (or any flavor), can cream of mushroom, salt and pepper
Directions: Heat cream of mushroom soup in pot and add in tuna. Add basil, salt and pepper to taste and crumble crackers over top of chowder.

Trail Name: Soutpatch
Recipe: Mexican Night
Ingredients: Corn/flour tortillas, garlic, shallot, microwave ground beef packet, rice side, cheese, dried pineapple, oil, spices (cumin, cayenne, etc.)
Directions: Sauté your garlic, & shallots with oil or butter. Once they start to sizzle, add about 2 Tablespoons of water & let it get hot. Then add your pineapple & cook until the pineapple starts to break down. Trail Salsa! You can add tomatoes if you wish, or any dried fruit! Pineapple & shallots are very complimentary though. Cook your rice side & add beef. Put rice & beef into tortilla with cheese & add your salsa to the tortilla or use as a dip! Cooking the salsa over a fire while simultaneously cooking your rice & beef works well.

Trail Name: Still Here
Recipe: Garlic tomato ramen soup and bug repellent
Ingredients: Ramen noodles, sundried tomatoes, diced fresh Garlic, rosemary olive oil (a tiny travel bottle full of olive oil and a sprigs of rosemary )
Directions: Take the oil and heat it in the pot on hand for a minute. Add diced garlic and sauté till Carmel colored. Pour water to a quick boil then cook ramen and tomatoes till done. Eat and enjoy. Great for keeping Miskitos away if you eat enough garlic. On a particularly buggy night I ate this then all the blood suckers mysteriously disappeared. It was one of the happiest moment on the trail.

Trail name: Carry-On
Recipe: Cheeto Burrito
Ingredients: Flour tortilla, instant mashed potatoes, tuna or spam, Cheetos or sour cream and chives crackers, hot sauce, garlic.
Directions: Make instant mashed potatoes thicker than usual. Spoon them into a flour tortilla. Add tuna or spam if available. Add crushed Cheetos or sour cream and chives snack crackers (or both) and  then hot sauce and garlic if available.

Trail Name: Little Flipper
Recipe: Taco Mash
Ingredients: Dehydrated vegi taco meat, crushed Cheetos, pepperoni slices, peanut butter cracker crumbs, trail mix
Directions: Re-hydrate meat and place all ingredients on the wrap in any order.

Trail Name: Ketchup
Recipe: Alfredo Sauce
Ingredients: White gravy mix, olive oil
Directions: Mix them together and pour it over pasta and it makes for a decent “alfredo” sauce.

Trail  Name: Knaffles
Recipe: No title
Ingredients: Tortilla, velveeta Mac and Cheese Cups, corned beef, garlic, pepper
Directions:  Cook two velveeta mac n cheese cups. Add in a packet of corned beef cooked up. Spice with garlic and pepper. Next, scoop onto a tortilla.

Trail Name: Bear Claw
Recipe: Shrimp Pad Thai
Ingredients: Teriyaki rice side, chunky peanut butter, packet of pink salmon
Directions: Cook rice side and stir in salmon and peanut butter.

Trail Name: Shaker
Recipe: Baked Potato Soup
Ingredients: Instant mashed potatoes, onion powder, chicken bullion, summer sausage, cheese (cheddar or Velveeta)
Directions: Make watery instant mashed potatoes, add onion powder, dissolve in chicken bouillon, dice and add in summer sausage and cheese.

Trail Name: Mr. Frodo
Recipe: The Cody Coyote
Ingredients: Ramen, stuffing, peas and beef jerky
Directions: Bring it all to a boil in unfiltered water, in a tin pot, on an open fire.


Help us grow the list and add in your own favorite trail recipes by posting a comment below! May we all have a strong arsenal of tasty trail meals for the future! 

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Comments 10

  • Laura : Apr 1st

    Putting herbs in a bottle of olive oil is a great way to get botulism poisoning.

    • Monica Ravizza : Feb 6th

      I’m an herbalist and putting herbs into olive oil won’t cause botulism. It could cause mold to grow after a week or so if you use fresh herbs but You can add dry herbs without any problem and with the added health benefit each herb imparts.

  • freakystyley : Apr 18th

    These are terrible. I think some people hike just so they can make snickers and gummy bear sandwiches with poptarts for breakfast (either that, or they do this at home stoned). Does anyone who hikes actually like food??

    • Nope : Apr 3rd

      These recipes would have been great when I was 7.

  • John : May 9th

    Not heing experienced, I was appalled on reading what many call food. I so appreciated Freaky’s comment above cause I feel the same.

  • DevilDoc : May 28th

    Ramon noodles, 3 tablespoon peanut butter powder, teaspoon curry powder, 3/4 cup dehydrated chicken, chicken bouillon from ramen in freezer bag. Add 1 1/2 cup boiling water. packet of hot sauce to taste!

    • Allison Ewing-McDonald : Dec 11th

      Devildoc, only good recipe here!

  • Micahsrad : Mar 3rd

    1/2 cup of minute rice, 2/3 cup Santefe brand dehydrated re-fried beans, 1TBS (or to taste) Mccormick taco seasoning, 1oz cheddar cheese and 1 oz of fritos.
    Boil 1.5 cups of water, add all ingredients except for cheese and fritos. When rice and beans are re-hydrated add cheese, add fritos after cheese is melted (add last so they do not get soggy).
    715 calories

  • Nope : Apr 3rd

    I camp in Grizzly country so cooking is often not a good idea. Mountain house about an hour before reaching campsite and even then I sleep light sometimes.

  • Mooch : Feb 22nd

    “Biscuits & Gravy “ or Rice & gravy
    Simple but tasty! One package of Pioneer brand sausage gravy, 2 cups of water. Cook in pot until thickened. When it’s almost ready, throw in some torn up pieces of plain bagel.

    I love gravy so I’ll cook up some rice & pour the gravy over top for dinner…delicious!


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