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What to Eat in the Wilderness

Last month I went on a four day backpacking trip and had an amazing time, but I have to admit: I was lazy at planning meals. By the end I was sick of trailmix, protein bars, and dehydrated pasta meals. It's a lot easier to incorporate fresh, savory, satisfying foods when you have a cooler or refrigeration (and we've got some great options available! Check out our Portable Vehicle Refrigerator, American Standard Car Refrigerator, or Collapsible Grocery Cooler Bag).

A man in a tent preparing food in front of a mountain range

Sometimes, though, whether you're backpacking, horseback riding, hunting, or fishing, you're out in the backcountry without refrigeration and only a small campstove to make your meals. Backcountry nutrition can be especially challenging for those on vegan, vegetarian, low-carb, low-sodium, and other restricted diets. Dehydrated meals are typically packed with meat, carbs, and sodium! After my recent, unappetizing experience, I've been picking the brains of all the outdoorspeople I know about how they pack fresher, healthier, tastier foods on their backcountry pilgrimages. Here are three delicious suggestions:

  • Egg burritos. Oatmeal and cereal works fine for some people, but I need my protein in the morning. I always bring OvaEasy Egg Crystals and small containers of spices, which weigh almost nothing. Burritos are a common backpacking food because they don't take up much room. Try wrapping scrambled eggs in a burrito with Mexican spices and dehydrated beans for a strong start to your day.

  • Hummus and veggies. Two expert wilderness guides shared their favorite meal of cut-up veggies and dehydrated hummus (available in bulk sections of grocery stores like Winco). The trick to delicious trail hummus, they said, was to bring a small amount of olive oil to mix with the hummus and water when you reconstitute it.

  • First night frozen stirfry. Another friend says she always tosses a frozen bag of veggie stirfry in her pack for the first night. Of course, when packing fresh veggies or frozen foods, follow safe handling guidelines. Here's a helpful list of foods that can go a day or more without refrigeration.

Now I've shared what I'm taking on my next wilderness trip. What tips do you have for gourmet backcountry cuisine?

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