How to Make a Legitimate Thanksgiving Dinner on the Trail (Part II)

This is part two of a two-part series.  Read part one here.

You’ve done your prep work for this hiker’s feast (see the post from yesterday). Now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.  Pack away all of those Ziplocs. When you’re ready for Thanksgiving dinner, pull them out and start the preparation. If you’ve done as your Hiker Mom suggested and assigned some of the dishes to others in your hiking party, this should be easy. If you are hiking alone and put together some or all of these dishes yourself, you’ll be making one or two at a time. Follow these simple instructions and you’ll dine in style.

Green Bean Casserole is pretty much the reason for Thanksgiving, isn’t it? Turkey you can have anytime, but who makes Green Bean Casserole except at the holidays? So I’ll start with that since it take a while to sit and become a “casserole.”

To make the Green Bean Casserole:

  1. When you’re ready to make the casserole, reconstitute one cup of milk (about 3 to 4 tablespoons of dry milk powder and 1 cup of warm water) in a Ziploc (more if you packed a lot of dehydrated green beans). Mix it well.
  2. Put half of the milk into the Ziploc with green beans, French fried onions and dried mushrooms and set aside for about 15 to 30 minutes so the green beans and mushrooms can absorb the moisture. Keep it warm if you can.

thanksgiving on the trail

Before eating, put more French Fried onions on top and you have (almost) mom’s green bean casserole!

Next: Make the whipped topping for the pie.

  1. Open one envelope of Dream Whip into a Ziploc. When you are ready to make the whipped topping, add ½ cup cold milk that you reconstituted earlier for the green bean casserole, zip the bag and shake like mad. Shake it about four minutes.
  2. Look inside—if it looks like whipped cream, it’s done. If not, shake some more. Put aside and keep it cold until you’re ready for dessert.

When you are ready to make the sweet potatoes:

  1. Put them into a cup (or a bowl if you carry one), add a few marshmallows if you like your sweet potatoes baked with marshmallows,  dd just enough hot water to  moisten and stir.
  2. Let sit for a few minutes but not long enough to get cold.

Next is the main (and easiest) course: Turkey & stuffing:

  1. Heat water and pour just enough into the Ziploc bag with the turkey, stuffing, onions and celery to rehydrate—not too much.
  2. Let it sit a couple of minutes until the stuffing looks like stuffing.
  3. Eat this promptly; it is a fine line between yummy stuffing and soggy bread.

Mashed potatoes: Follow the instructions on the back of the package. Ditto for the turkey gravy (which is made with boiling water). If you have butter powder, mix in in the same bag as the potatoes before you leave; it recreates the flavor of buttery mashed potatoes very nicely. You can make the milk needed from the dried whole milk.

When you’re ready to make the pie:

  1. Put enough hot water into the pumpkin Ziploc to moisten it. Don’t put too much, you want a pie-filling consistency. You can always add more bit by bit to make it the consistency of pie filling.
  2. To assemble: A shallow bowl or a plate with sides can come in very handy just about now. Put the crust on the bottom and tamp down with your fingers to fit the bowl or plate.
  3. Put the pumpkin pie filling in next, and gently place a dollop (or several) of the whipped topping on top of that. It won’t hold together like real pie, but it sure tastes like real pie. If you don’t have a bowl or plate, just put the filling on top of the crust in the Ziploc, and the topping on top of that, and grab a spoon.
  4. Finish off with a handful of dried cranberries.

thanksgiving pie backpacking meal

Happy Thanksgiving!  Remember to thank those around you, and those who are left at home sitting at the dining room table and don’t have the opportunity to hike this year like you do. Be especially grateful for your ability to enjoy the outdoors.

Sleep well—you have just had a home-made Thanksgiving meal ready for the trail!

–Hiker Mom

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

What Do You Think?