Five Delicious Backcountry Recipes I Found While Long-Distance Hiking

When it comes to eating on-trail, there can be quite a range of dedication to the craft. Some hikers carry top-of-the-line stove systems with pre-made meals and recipes, others are eating underdone crunchy pasta out of plastic bags.

No matter your skill or dedication to gourmet backcountry dishes, there are plenty of easy trail foods to spice up your typical eating regimen.

I came to trail with very little diversity in my diet. After 800+ miles I was able to pick up recipes and ideas from fellow thru-hikers and with my own experimentation. All of these backcountry meals are tried and true on the Appalachian Trail, and they’ll definitely motivate you to finish those last few miles with a little more pep in your step:

1. Backcountry Charcuterie

Perhaps the easiest and most customizable of backcountry recipes is the charcuterie board. Pair your favorite packaged meats, jerky or nuts with sharp cheddar cheese, biscuits, crackers and cookies to make a delicious and shareable meal.

2. Trailsgiving

If you’re looking for something a bit more hearty to remind you of home, some Stove Top stuffing with roasted vegetables could be a delicious place to start. Vegetables like carrots and peppers can be easily packed out and roasted over a campfire. Stuffing cooks easily in all stove systems and brings a warm piece of home out to the trail.

3. Baguette Supreme

Being a cold-soaker on trail has led me to some creative ways to spice up a tuna packet and bread. Most hikers gravitate toward tortillas, but I enjoy the taste (and lesser weight) of carbs like baguettes, bagels and buns. Add a flavored tuna packet atop after roasting your bread over a fire, and top with some foraged ramps or sliced pepper. With three simple ingredients, we can upgrade our tuna and tortilla regime into something much more exciting.

4. Hazelnut Mocha Coffee

Coffee lovers feeling let down by instant or cowboy coffee on-trail may be excited to learn this recipe concocted by French Press (NoBo ‘21, @tomiller22) himself. Starting with fresh, hot coffee and simply pouring it over a near-empty Nutella jar creates a nutty, chocolatey flavor in your morning brew while utilizing every drop of your hazelnut spread.

5. PB&J Oatmeal

This simple variation of a common trail meal involves cold-soaking oats overnight (I recommend the peaches or strawberries and cream flavors) then topping with peanut butter, jelly, dried fruit and protein powder. This oatmeal recipe is the perfect way to kick off your hiking day with food rich in proteins, carbs, sugars and fats to make your tired muscles happy.

Our food is our fuel out on the trail, which means it’s up to us to eat nutritional and tasty foods that will get us over every mountain. Let’s get cookin!

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Comments 1

  • Matt : Jun 23rd

    My favorite trail food “trick” is to level up ramen with beef jerky. Throw a small handful of your favorite (I like peppered) into the water after it comes to a boil. Simmer that for a few minutes to soften up and rehydrate the jerky. Add your noodles and spice packet as usual after that. More calories and a better-tasting instant with low pack weight!


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