"Backcountry" means something different to everyone. It could be backpacking for several days totally off-grid or it might involve tent camping with a few creature comforts.
Whatever it means to you, we can all agree that backcountry means adventure. And what makes every adventure even better? Food.
Seriously, we all know that food is central to every great adventure! And to that end, we've put together a list of our favorite delicious, easy backcountry meal ideas.
12 Easy Backcountry Meal Ideas
Although we can't assume that everyone has the same definition of backcountry, we can make some generalizations. It's safe to say that if you're in the backcountry, you aren't camping in a developed campsite and that you have limited access to amenities and facilities.
Specificially as it relates to backcountry meal ideas, that likely means you're cooking over a legit campfire or a personal backpacking stove (arguably one of the most important items on a backpacker's packing list!). Keeping that in mind, simple is the name of the game, while also ensuring you get plenty of calories and don't need anything too out-there or expensive. Who's hungry?!
1. Berry Crisp
The best backcountry meal ideas are not just tasty and simple, but versatile as well. That's exactly the case with this berry crisp — you can use any type of berries (although blueberries and raspberries hold up best) or sub in your preferred sweetener. Plus, it works beautifully as a breakfast or treat and is just as delicious as leftovers.
2. Breakfast Egg Scramble
You can't go wrong with this classic backcountry meal! The core ingredients are simple but hearty: eggs, potatoes, and bacon. Feel free to swap in your favorite protein or add veggies. For bonus points, throw in any of the previous day's leftovers!
If you're looking for backcountry meal ideas and weight or space is a concern, you can also use dehydrated eggs or potatoes and keep toppings to a minimum.
3. Breakfast Burritos
For an even easier backcountry meal idea than the breakfast egg scramble, try camp breakfast burritos. Although they technically have the extra step of rolling the filling into tortillas, cleanup is also totally eliminated. Other than a pan and spatula, you don't even need to use plates or utensils!
The thing that really makes breakfast burritos one of our favorite backcountry meal ideas is that they can be made ahead of time. If you have the space to store them, make the burritos at home and wrap them individually in foil. When you're ready to eat, heat them up near a fire for a few minutes. You can also just let them come to room temperature in your pack if you have a long trail day!
4. Camp Quesadillas
Have we mentioned that we love a tasty, super customizable camping meal? Especially one that can be made ahead of time if preferred? Well, we do!
Camp quesadillas work equally well for breakfast as for any other meal and the best part is, you can customize them for everyone in your group. If someone doesn't eat meat, it's simple to just omit it. For someone with a spicier palate, add some chopped green chilies.
Chili is truly one of those backcountry meal ideas that you could make 100 times and never once repeat. A backcountry classic, this hearty, wallet-friendly recipe is easy to customize and feed a crowd.
We've included a favorite, easily-adaptable base recipe, but there's no limit to how you can customize it. Cook it from scratch and literally dump everything in a pot, make yours ahead of time at home (it freezes well if necessary), or even opt for a pre-packaged backpacking meal.
6. Loaded Baked Potatoes
It's hard to beat the simplicity and comforting heartiness of a baked potato. It's not the lightest weight backcountry meal by any means, but it is super affordable and packs a lot of bang for the buck. Potatoes also keep fairly well.
To cook it, wrap it in tin foil and put over a campfire. That's really it! Load it up with as many toppings as you want and voila, you have a complete meal. If you want to do "double duty," make chili one night, then top baked potatoes with it the following night!
7. Foil Packet Sausage & Peppers
You can pretty reliably count on anything with "foil packet" in the name being some of the easiest backcountry meal ideas. It really doesn't get much simpler than foil-wrapped ingredients and a campfire!
For this recipe, all you need is sausage and veggies. Feel free to switch things up by subbing in spicy Italian sausage or brats and using a variety of vegetables and seasonings.
8. Marinated Kebabs With Veggies
Ahh, the humble kebab (or kabob...tomato, tomahhto). AKA, one of the best backcountry meal ideas ever! Protein plus veggies, all marinated and grilled to tasty perfection, and all kept together on a nifty, no-mess stick. What's not to love?
The recipe we've included calls for chicken, but as with most of our favorite backcountry meal ideas, make it your own and swap it for beef or shrimp. The same goes for the veggies and seasonings. You could get really fancy and make a few varieties: classic, teriyaki, Greek, sweet-and-sour. The possibilities are endless!
9. Bubble and Squeak
A take on a traditional British meal that's super hearty, inexpensive, and unbelievably simple (not to mention fun to say!), you won't believe this backcountry meal uses just four ingredients.
Layer the meat, potato slices, and cabbage in your pot and then just let it do its thing over the fire. Of course, you can add a healthy dash of seasonings or additional veggies to change things up, but it honestly doesn't need much tweaking!
10. Fried Rice
Although fried rice may initially seem too fancy or complex to be a backcountry meal, it actually checks all the boxes: it's easy to make a large batch, it's adaptable, it's affordable, and the ingredients are simple and accessible.
This recipe specifically calls for Spam, well-known in the outdoor world for delivering a big calorie and salt payoff in a small, budget-friendly package. However, any tinned meat works well or you can skip it altogether and have a vegetarian backcountry fried rice.
There are several ways to make this more backpacking-friendly, also. For example, you can substitute powdered eggs and freeze-dried veggies, and use soy sauce packets to save weight and space.
11. Trail-Ready Fruit Cobbler
Just because you're in the backcountry, doesn't mean sweet cravings stop. As a matter of fact, you could argue that treats are even more important when you're adventuring, as you genuinely need to replace lost calories. It's science.
This trail-ready cobbler dessert is the perfect backcountry meal, using alternative ingredients that pack well and transport easily (we're looking at you, marshmallows and crushed Nilla Wafers). Much like the crisp at the beginning, berries work best for this recipe, but feel free to use any dried fruit.
12. Campfire Banana Boats
An oldie but goodie, this is one of the best backcountry desserts out there (and it's fun to make!)! Simply slice a banana in half, creating a slight well in it, and fill it with your favorite toppings. The sky's really the limit here, so go nuts! And we mean that literally — nuts are some of the best toppings!
Okay, well we're officially hungry! Anyone else? If you're a frequent camper or backpacker, aside from thinking about backcountry meal ideas, you should consider commemorating all your adventures.
This is one situation where generic souvenirs just won't cut it, but not to worry, because we have the perfect solution: Shop Travel Tokens from The Wander Club. With a vast variety of tokens, including completely custom options, you can keep track of every backcountry trip you've ever taken.
Very literally keep your memories with you and allow them to start conversations with fellow adventurers, too! Happy shopping (and cooking!)!