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Backcountry Gourmet

Mmm mmm. SPAMalicious. Photo by Mary Reed.


By Mike Schiller

You’ll be happy to scarf down these SPAM-enhanced quesadillas after a long day on the trail.

Feeds: 4 Hawaiians or hungry mountaineers
Prep time: 40 minutes, preparing one at a time

Blueberry dumplings. Photo by Attila Horvath.

Blueberry Dumplings

By Mary Reed

Think of these as blueberry pancakes minus the wide skillet and spatula – easier for backcountry cooking.

Feeds: 2 morning people
Prep time: 10 minutes at home, 15 minutes at camp

Cashew curry rice. Photo by Mary Reed.

Cashew Curry Rice

By Mary Reed

This recipe is very lightweight and quick. The taste is good and you get some protein from the cashews.

Feeds: 2 non-cooks
Prep time: 10 minutes

1 cup instant rice
1 cup water

Easy hummus. Photo by Mary Reed.

Easy Hummus

By Mary Reed

This ethnic-food-turned-mainstream dish is a good source of protein, it's easy to make and it has a lightweight backpacking version.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Tabouli. Photo by Attila Horvath.

Trail Tabouli

By Mary Reed

This quick and tasty lunch or side dish is also fairly lightweight to pack. If you’re car camping, just bring all the fresh ingredients.

Outdoor nut granola.

Outdoor Nut Granola

By Mary Reed and Attila Horvath

The beauty of making homemade granola is twofold: you save money and you use exactly the ingredients you like. Consider this recipe a starting point – make changes as your tastes dictate.

Chana masala. Photo by Mary Reed.

Chana Masala

By Laurie Ann March

This delicious Indian meal is really not hard to make; get ingredients from your local grocery store or Asian food market and plan time to dehydrate it.

Roasted eggplant spread. Photo by Mary Reed.

Roasted Eggplant Spread

By Laurie Ann March

Rye bread or rye crisps are the perfect accompaniment to this flavorful spread; it’s also a nice condiment for wraps.

Prep time: 1 ½ hours
Dehydration time: 7–10 hours

Steak on a rock. Photo by Mary Reed.

Steak on a Rock

By Mike Schiller

Get in touch with your inner caveman/woman. This meal is simple and way more satisfying than a trip to Outback.

Goo balls. Photo by Mary Reed.

Goo Balls

By Mary Reed

No, these aren’t the psychedelic snacks popular among hippie stoners at Grateful Dead concerts. These goo balls are the homemade alternative to Power Bars.

Prep time: 30 minutes

SPAM. It's what's for dinner. Photo by Mary Reed.

Blackened SPAMfish

By Mike Schiller

Yet another way to breathe new life into this canned meat sensation while feeding and entertaining your fellow campers.

It tastes better than it looks. Really. Photo by Mary Reed.

Hunter's Stew

By Mike Schiller

Even if you hunted for the meat at the grocery store, this meal baked on hot coals will give you mountain cred when you serve it to your campmates.

Stinging nettle pesto. Photo by Mary Reed.

Stinging Nettle Pesto

By Mary Reed

While a brush with stinging nettles on your skin is to be avoided, this highly nutritious wild edible makes an excellent pesto. Be careful when collecting them and steam the nettles to take out the stinging effect.

Banana breakfast bars. Photo by Attila Horvath.

Banana Breakfast Bars

By Laurie Ann March

This is another one of those make-at-home recipes where the bars seem to disappear before the trip.

Prep time: 1 ½ hours
Feeds: 10–12 sweet tooths

1/2 cup butter, softened

Polenta Parmesan. Photo by Mary Reed.

Polenta Parmesan

By Mike Schiller

This Italian cornmeal is becoming more popular in America and especially among campers due to its light weight and great taste and texture.