Homemade Backpacking Food: Quick Options and Recipes for Your Trip

Nutritious homemade trail mix.

Homemade backpacking food can be less expensive and more nutritious than prepackaged backpacking food.

Homemade Backpacking Food

It is fun and easy to make homemade backpacking food. When making your own food remember that backpackers have certain requirements for the food they bring in their pack. Backpacking food needs to be:

  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Nutritious
  • Delicious
  • Easy to cook on the trail

Dehydrating Food

A good food dehydrator is essential if you are a serious backpacker wanting to make your own food. Research dehydrators and find one that has good air circulation, double wall construction, and an internal thermostat between 85 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit when in use. Follow the directions that come with the dehydrator when you are preparing dried fruits, vegetables, and meat. Once you have dehydrated vegetables, meat and fruit, you can add it to your favorite homemade backing food.

Trail Mix

Trail mix is one of the easiest and most nutritious backpacking food you can make. Make the granola recipe below and add any of the following ingredients:

  • Peanuts
  • Pecans
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Chocolate chips
  • Butterscotch chips
  • M&M's
  • Coconut
  • Dried apricots
  • Dried apples
  • Dried bananas
  • Dried blueberries



Make homemade granola to eat as a trail mix or breakfast food.Mix in a bowl and then spread in a large buttered baking sheet:

  • 4 cups oatmeal
  • ½ cup wheat germ
  • Sliced almonds
  • Raisins
  • Dried cranberries
  • ½ cup coconut
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup flour

In a separate bowl mix and then pour evenly over the dry ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes. Store in zipper storage bags.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Ingredients needed:

  • 3 ounce foil pouch of tuna
  • 1 package of Ramen noodles
  • ½ cup dehydrated peas
  • Small pouch of mayonnaise from a fast food restaurant

To make on the trail, boil 1 cup water. Add the Ramen noodles and peas. Boil until soft. Add the tuna pouch and mayonnaise and stir.

Shredded Beef Chili

Make this chili at home and dehydrate it for your backpacking trip. The bread crumbs in the meat help in the dehydration process and makes re-hydrating on the trail easier at camp.

Brown the following:

  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 large onion

Add the following to the ground beef and cook in a large pot:

  • 3 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1-15 ounce can of red beans, drained
  • 1-10 ounce can of tomato puree

Boil until most of the liquid is gone. It will take approximately one hour.

Spread the chili on the dehydration trays covered with a sheet of parchment paper. Dehydrate for approximately four hours, breaking up into smaller pieces after about two hours. Dehydrate longer if needed. Store the dried chili in a zipper bag. At camp boil one cup of water and add one cup of the dried chili. Let it sit for about five minutes to re-hydrate and then boil another ten minutes.

Spanish Beef and Rice

Dehydrate some shredded beef, black beans, bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes. Combine in a zipper bag all of the following ingredients:

  • ¼ cup dried shredded beef
  • ¼ cup dried peppers, onions and tomatoes
  • ¼ cup dried black beans
  • ½ cup instant rice
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning

Place the following two ingredients in a separate zipper bag:

  • 1 tbsp cheese powder from a macaroni and cheese box
  • 1 tbsp powdered dry milk

At camp boil one and half cups of water. Add the bag of beef, beans, vegetables, rice and seasonings. Rehydrate for approximately 10 to 20 minutes in the boiling water and then add the cheese and powdered milk. Cook a few minutes more until warm.

Enjoy the Benefits of Homemade Camping Food

You will not only save money when you make your own homemade backpacking food, you will also know you will be enjoying tasty and nutritious food on the trail.

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Homemade Backpacking Food: Quick Options and Recipes for Your Trip