Three-Ingredient Backpacking Meals

…For When You Hate Everything in Your Food Bag

The first few hundred miles of your hike will be a blissful, face-stuffing party of Snickers and Pasta Sides, but soon that mail-drop of Ramen and Power Bars sent by your oblivious pre-trail self is going to look pretty unappetizing, and you’ll be combing the stores looking for something you still want to eat. Burning up to 6,000 calories a day on a thru-hike means you have to eat a lot, even when everything starts tasting like paste.

These are meals we made—or saw other people making—starting around mile 700 when our food bags made us want to cry. These ingredients can be found in most trail towns, and some you already have in your food bag…. they just need a little flavor boost. The combinations might wrinkle your nose now, but it’s amazing how much your standards tastes change after months of hiking.

A huge shout-out to 2016 blogger Colleen Goldhorn for making/photographing these concoctions, and our awesome design intern Dekotah Lego for compiling the images.

Enjoy!

3 Ingredient Backpacking Meals

 

Low-Cash Lo Mein

Ramen + Beef Jerkey + Soy Sauce

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Piggy Von Spartacus

Tortillas + cream cheese + bacon bits

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Shelterside Chicken Alfredo

Alfredo Pasta Side + chicken packet + sun-dried tomato

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Vegan-in-the-Woods

Crackers + almond butter + freeze dried apple slices

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Carnivore-in-the-Woods

Crackers + sharp cheddar + salami

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Thru-Hiker’s Carb Bomb

Angel hair pasta + salt and pepper + olive oil

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Tuna Fish Crunch Surprise

Pita bread + tuna + Doritos crumbs

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White Blazin’ Thanksgivin’

Mashed potatoes + gravy + bacon bits

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Calorie-Bomb Mouth Glue

Peanut butter + honey + trail mix

3-ingredient-meals-calorie-bomb

Fire-in-the-Hole Backpacking Bowl

Couscous + freeze-dried veggies + curry powder or tabasco or bullion

3-ingredient-meals-fire-in-the-hole

In-tents Breakfast Thing

Cereal / Granola + powdered milk + dried blueberries

3-ingredient-meals-breakfast

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Comments 13

  • Carla Robertson : Jan 31st

    This is great. I lived on salami and cheese on those little sandwich rounds for lunch. Made a little better with a squeeze of spicy mustard. Another fave of mine was dried tortellini, dehydrated veggies (tomatoes, kale and peppers sent to me by friends who had my dehydrator) and olive oil. Leave a little water in the pot and it’s like an awesome tortellini soup.

    Reply
  • Steve : Feb 1st

    Personally they all sound and look fantastic! Except for the sun dried tomatoes. … not a fan. Great job folks!

    Reply
  • Terry Gandy : Feb 1st

    Thanks for the simple, delicious, creative suggestions. This is just what I’ve been looking for. Definitely a keeper!

    Reply
  • TRIAN : Feb 1st

    After a while I asked, ‘whats you’re add it?’. Meaning what do you add to the Pasta/Rice side. My favorite tuna & garlic. I ate it with many sides. Also parmesan cheese adds a nice touch to the cream based sides.

    Reply
    • Lucinda : Feb 8th

      It’s good to see someone thnnikig it through.

      Reply
  • Sophie : Feb 1st

    I made 159 different dehydrated dinner meals, the most repetition is 20-something pasta with tomato/veggie sauce, and to those I’ll add either salmon, tuna, chicken, or beef… Also have 180 breakfasts… Different kinds of oatmeals, granola, polenta eggs and potatoes.. Hopefully I made enough variety. When we finish at the end of this season I’ll be able to report back and hopefully put out a little cookbook. 🙂

    Reply
    • Deidre : May 23rd

      I hope I get to see your cookbook!!

      Reply
  • Wheaties AT NOBO 2015 : Feb 2nd

    Tortilla, salami, cheese was my go-to. Adding tuna packets (to just about everything) saved me from completely withering away, after losing 25% of my body weight in the first 1000 miles. I never got tired of Clif bars by keeping a wide variety of flavors. I also would put together some interesting gorp bags from what I could find in town stores.

    Reply
  • Kevin Neal : Feb 3rd

    The granola, powdered milk and freeze dried blue berries or strawberries was what I had almost every morning, yum. And instant espresso of course.

    Most others look pretty good too. I tried parts of most too.

    Reply
    • Gorp-Gobbler : Feb 5th

      Kevin,
      What ratio to water did you use for your powdered milk? I have “Milk Man” brand of milk that makes a quart per envelope, but I don’t need that much each morning. Appreciate your feedback on this a-head-of-time.

      Reply
  • Gorp-Gobbler : Feb 5th

    Far Out!! I like these ideas. Will have to try them.

    Reply
  • Danny : Feb 5th

    My grandchildren eat Ramen noodles with the seasoning packet emptied on top with no water. Crunchy yet doable. Also they can be eaten with cold water but, for me, cooking is definitely the best.

    Reply
  • TicTac : Feb 5th

    I love the “mouth glue” recipe. My teethe were sticking together just reading it…

    Reply

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