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non-deyhydrated backpacking meal ideas

I usually don't buy the prepackaged dehydrated meals when I go backpacking.  I find it is pretty easy to go to any grocery store in most countries and put together some easy backpacking meals.  I tend to go for pre-processed grains (like pasta sides), and then supplement it with some packable veggies (if you are going for a couple of days, this isn't really a problem) and maybe some packaged tuna in a pouch or precooked sausage.  I usually bring oil and seasning in small containers.  What are some other easy backpacking meals you can put together yourself?

8 Replies

It takes some supplies and a little work, but I have made and enjoyed meals I made following recipies I found in "Freezer Bag Cooking" by Sarah Svien Kirkconnel. Package the meals at home and add boiling water when constituting them. Search for her name or the title to find the book and other on-line resources.

aka "Boonerelli"

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Look for "retort pouch" meals -- little mylar bags of food that you can heat in a pot of boiling water. I see more and more of those types of things in grocery stores.

We are currently living in Japan, and retort pouch foods are very plentiful...can buy them in nearly every grocery and drug store. 

My favorite meal is a pasta dish my wife and I do. Pasta, Feta Cheese, GreenBeans, Onions, Dried Salami, Olive Oil and Herbs. Super high energy dish, the veggies, cheese, and meat will all stay fresh for days and it's a "just boil water" 1-pot dish which are usually my favorites.

I'll bring fresh green beans from from the farmers market and a small onion. Those get chopped at camp and the green beans get added to the water before the pasta to soften them up. Once the pasta is cooked and strained we add the onion, feta, oilive oil which is pre-mixed with herbs, and diced up dried salami or some other cured meat. When we're backpacking with friends this one is always a hit.

"Because it's there." - George Mallory

They're water-heavy but for shorter trips consider bringing along fruit cups (peaches, pears, fruit cocktail, mandarin oranges) for dessert. At camp at the end of a long day of hiking they really hit the spot!


My friends and I rarely use dehydrated foods but know the trade-off is weight.  I second the Tasty Bites packages. Pasta with pesto is good. I've been buying rice pouches and doing various toppings- last year was a "sushi bowl": rice with cut up nori, hard boiled egg (pre-boiled), tuna from a pouch, grated carrot, cucumber and a little soy and rice wine vinegar. 


For my family or Boy Scout Backpacking Trips Our go to menu for backpacking includes: 

1. Dried Ravioli with sun dried tomates some tomato paste in a squeese tube, parma 

2. Tuna and Salmon in Pouches with noodle, ramen couscous or rice mix

3. Beef jerky with eggs (either in a container) or powdered.

4. Sandwiches, Salami and hard cheese, PBJ or tuna.  

5.  For desset in an area with cold water we have had luck with instant pudding. 

6. We use Pitas alot or some kind of flat bread, because we line the dish which makes clean up a breeze.  


I’ve used the Uncle Bens flavored rice packs. Directions say to microwave it for 90 seconds. I boil in bag and add canned chicken etc. The weight to price ratio is worth the trade off.