Hints and tips for packing and cooking meals for a backpacking trip.
Dehydrated food is one of the most common types of meals for backpacking, but we describe multiple options. One handy method of cooking is called Freezer Bag Cooking or FBC. Check it out here are our Troop highly recommends this.
Start with a backpacking stove. These are lightweight and can be had for not much money. An all in one simple stove with pot can be purchased for < $30.
Next item is option, but useful if you want to mix your own meals. It is a insulated pouch for holding cooking bags while your meal "cooks". You simply add you boiling water to a freezer bag containing you freeze dried meal, and then place in this pouch to cook. You can buy a ready made one, or build your own out of insulated car window shades. Here is one example:
Choices for meals are numerous. You can choose from pre-packaged meals by major names such as Mountain House or Backpackers Pantry, or you can assemble you own. Below we offer some tips and meal suggestions.
Add oatmeal + boiling water to freezer bag and place in cooking cozy until done.
Bagels + English muffins
These are 2 bread types that pack and travel well. You can add extras to these like peanut butter or nutella. Justins makes single serve packets of various flavors that are perfect for this (http://www.justins.com/nut-butters). These are sold at HEB and Amazon.
Another favorite is scrambled eggs. Real eggs can be bought in crystal or powdered form. OvaEasy(https://ovaeasy.com/collections/camping-food-storage-1) is a favorite brand and can be found on Amazon. Judee's is another brand we have had success with (https://www.judeesglutenfree.com/products/whole-egg-powder)
Pre-mix the powder in a freezer bag with desired spices(salt, pepper, etc). Then simply add water and submerge bag in boiling water in cooking pot(still in bag) for a no mess breakfast.
Granola or Cereal with powdered milk
Lunch and Dinner
Pre-packaged meals from Mountain House or Backpakers Pantry are a popular option. Individual pre-packaged meals that just need hot water added. Mountain House Lasagna, Beef Strognaoff, Teriyaki Chicken are some of the Troop favorites. Vegetarian/Vegan options are also plentiful (https://www.cleverhiker.com/best-vegan-vegetarian-freeze-dried-meals)
Knorr pasta or rice sides
If you get the 7 minute version(avoid the 12 minute cook ones), you can do the freezer bag method to cook these. You can also add chicken with something like https://www.heb.com/product-detail/sweet-sue-premium-chicken-breast-pouch-3-oz/539544 for just a couple of dollars.
Mac and Cheese
You can of course buy freeze dried meal, but you can also cook your own with just the basic Kraft single server packets using the freezer bag method. Add in some dried sausage like Dukes for a great meal. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Kraft-Easy-Mac-Original-Macaroni-Cheese-Microwavable-Dinner-18-ct-Packets/170152888
Ramen, Cup of Noodle, etc, can also make a great lunch. Any just add boiling water version will work great.
Meal Replacement Bars
There a numerous options that provide for a quick no-cook meal. We don't recommend these for every meal, but can be a good option for a meal or 2.
Personal favorite of the ScoutMaster is GreenBelly as it is truly a full meal replacement with balanced nutrition.
Almonds or cashews make a great snack
Banana chips are a cheap option and can be bought in bulk at HEB
Apples, pears, kiwi, strawberries can be dried in a dehydrator and pack and travel well
Dukes is a Troop favorite (https://www.heb.com/product-detail/duke-s-original-shorty-smoked-sausages-16-oz/1970460)
Make your own or buy in bulk.
Especially in warmer weather, important to bring electrolytes to add to water
Nuun is a tablet brand that many in the Troop like, but there are others. Can be bought at HEB or Academy.