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Trail Chef



BACKPACKER Trail Chef Skills & Recipe Center

Chef Jennifer Bowen spent nine seasons as a cook for trail crews in Yosemite National Park and other Sierra hot spots. Now she brings her mad skills to us as BACKPACKER's Trail Chef. Got a question for her? Email trailchef@backpacker.com.

Recipe: Backcountry Poached Eggs

Elevate your morning with this surprisingly easy technique. Click here for a step-by-step slideshow.

Recipe: Easy No-Bake Cheesecake Sandwiches

"This decadent, creamy dessert was born out of an addiction," says our Trail Chef. "I couldn't bear a backpacking trip without cheesecake." This crowd-pleaser requires no cooking and is super-easy to make. Click here to see a step-by-step slideshow.

Editors' Choice 2013: Adventure Appetites Reindeer Gouda Scramble Wrap

This breakfast is so good, you'll forget it's camp food.

Recipe Upgrades

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even desert recipes that are easy and tasty campground meals.

Recipe: Gado-gado Spaghetti

A spicy peanut butter sauce makes this a light spaghetti dish that is excellent either hot or cold.

Recipe: Cashew Beef Curry

Boil-in-the-bag rice and beef jerky make this recipe a snap.

Recipe: American Chop Suey

Make a double batch of this at home. Have it for dinner with your family then dehydrate half for your next few backpacking trips.

Recipe: Sweet Rice Pudding

Brown rice becomes a yummy desert with this easy recipe.

Recipe: Oatmeal You'll Never Get Sick Of

Think apple pie and lime cranberry flavors!

Dirtbag/Gourmet: Fall Desserts

Enjoy comfort sweets that complement any autumn campfire meal.

Recipe: Insta-Pumpkin Pie

Bring a little Thanksgiving right to the trail with this easy backcountry pie recipe.

Dirtbag/Gourmet: Stew Recipes

Warm your belly with these hearty dishes.

Trail Chef: Blue Cheese-Stuffed Dates

Power up the trail with these healthy energy bombs.

Trail Chef: Backcountry Easter Eggs

Make hard-boiled eggs without even boiling water. Plus: Why a marshmallow Peep has never climbed Everest

Trail Chef: Double-Lemon Bars

When life hands you a lemon, make lemon bars, then go hiking.

Trail Chef: No-Cook Oatmeal

Everyone's favorite breakfast staple doesn't necessarily require a stove.

Trail Chef: Irish Potato Candy

Lads and lasses, stuff your gobs with these tasty treats.

Trail Chef: Tomato Pasta with Spinach-Cheese Sauce

New research shows spinach makes your muscles work more efficiently, so power up with this savory dish.

Trail Chef: Easy-Bake Cinnamon Rolls

Start your morning with the sweet aroma of freshly baked bread wafting through camp.

Trail Chef: Spiced Cocoa Nuts

Add pizzazz to your gorp with this addictive mix.

Trail Chef: GoodBelly ToGo Probiotics Review

Fortify your immune system (and avoid GI distress) in the backcountry with these tasty powder mixes.

Trail Chef: Apple Leathers & Rhubarb Pie Roll-Ups

Why pay a mint for fruity snacks when you can make your own?

Trail Chef: A Brave New S'more

Switch things up with these twists on the classic treat.

Trail Chef: High Country Poppy Seed Cake

You can bake this yummy treat even at altitude, and you and your mates will be fighting over the last crumbs.

Reader Recipe: Chicken Curry Wrap

Overall top-scorer: This wallet-saver meal is super easy to make but packs dynamite flavor.

Trail Chef: Nutty Rice

Switch things up with this easy twist on a classic staple.

Trail Chef: Backcountry Eggnog

Just because you're 10 miles into the wilderness doesn't mean you should miss out on holiday drinks.

Trail Chef: Wheat Pilaf with Bacon

Fill up with this savory and surprising dish.

Trail Chef: Savory One-Pot Meals--Chili Crunch and Tortellini Stew

Check out these delicious one-pot dishes.

Trail Chef: Russian Tea & Apricot Oatmeal

Fuel up with these belly-warming meals.

Trail Chef: 4 Hearty Sandwiches

For your next backcountry lunch, don't just munch on an energy bar. Try one of these tasty options.

Recipe: Drunken Choco-Berry Fondue

A top-ranked dessert in the 2004 REI/BACKPACKER Camp Cook-Off

Recipe: Omelette in a Bag

May 2000 readers' favorite

Recipe: Stick Cookies

March 1982 readers' favorite

Recipe: Angry Red Lentil Tortilla Soup

First-place entrée winner of the 2004 REI/BACKPACKER Camp Cook-Off

How to Do Everything - The Master Chef

Temper our recipe for Earthworm Patty Supremes with a little Drunken Choc-Berry Fondue. Plus, other recipes and cooking skills.

Trail Chef: Backcountry Birthdays

Toasting to the day of your birth in the backcountry isn't complete without a proper dessert. Or three.

Trail Chef: There's a Worm on My Plate

And if prepared properly, it'll be quite tasty and good for you, too.

Trail Chef: 8 Tips for Making Perfect Pasta

Plus: Pesto Pasta with a Kick recipe

Trail Chef: Peanut Butter Omelet

It tastes delish. (Yes, really.)

Dirtbag/Gourmet Recipes: Fondue

Add rich, cheesy flair to your backcountry fare.

Recipe: Savory Gruyere Fondue

Wow your campmates with this restaurant-worthy appetizer.

Recipe: Beer and Pretzel Fondue Dip

Cheese and beer make this a camp favorite.

Trail Chef: No-Burn Chocolate Fondue

A fast, simple way to make silky fondue that's easy to clean

Trail Chef Recipe: Apple Pie on a Stick

What's more American than apple pie? Apple pie baked over a campfire of course.

Trail Chef Recipe: Mini Chocolate Cakes...

...Baked in a soda can!

Trail Chef: Crazy-Easy Craisin Chicken

After a long day on the trail, I am in no mood for gourmet slicing and dicing. Here's a delicious, sweet, and savory dish that lets you leave your cutting boards at home.

Dirtbag/Gourmet Recipes: Tacos

Fill up on these protein-rich meals.

Top Chefs: Reader-Submitted Recipes

We taste-tested a stack of your recipe submissions–everything from pasta to pub food. These four winners emerged as the best of the bunch.

Camp Cooking Tips and Tricks

We'll show you how to be the ultimate trail chef in no time with these tips.

Gear: Backcountry Cookware

Just because you're in the backcountry doesn't mean you don't need cookware. Here, some essentials to make you king of trail kitchen.

Drinks For the Trail

From cocktails to coffee, these recipes and tips will keep you quaffed no matter what.

Snacks for the Trail

Need to recharge with something tasty? These savory snacks will do just that.

Dessert Recipes for the Trail

Finish your meal off right with these treats for the trail.

Dinner Recipes for the Trail

Whip up a four start meal with these trail side recipes.

Breakfast Recipes

Start the day right with these out-of-the-ordinary breakfast treats.

Recipe: Sesame-White Bean Potato Cakes

These potato cakes are heavy on the carbs–and taste.

Recipe: Italian-Style Potatoes

Spice up boring potatoes with some summer sausage, brown sugar, and tomatoes in this Italian-inspired dish.

Recipe: Wasabi Potatoes with Salmon

The wasabi adds a kick to instant potatoes, while the salmon is a perfect protein source.

Recipes: Perfect Pancakes

Batter up for these trail-ready pancakes.

How To Make Perfect Camp Pancakes

From toppings to cleanup, these four tips will enhance the perfect lazy-morning camp breakfast.

Recipe: Blueberry-Hazelnut Rice Flour Pancakes

This gluten-free variation on the traditional recipe serves up superlight cakes.

Recipe: Beer Pancakes

Reason #57 to love a good brew: The carbonation in beer makes for extra-fluffy flapjacks.

Recipe: Spicy Chicken Salad Sandwich

P&J is for amateurs. This spiced up sandwich is just what your taste buds need on the trail.

Recipe: Ham, Cheese & Apple Sandwich

Take your ol' ham and cheese up a notch with this concoction.

Recipe: Pesto Tuna Sandwich

Take your tuna to the next level with this gourmet sandwich.

Desert Recipe: Tiramisu



Desert Recipe: Bananas Flambé



The Manual: Win a Camp Cookoff

Ideal appetizers, perfect wine pairings, desserts, and advanced techniques.

Weekend Planner: Time-Saving Recipes

From dumplings to pasta, check out these three recipes for on-the-go goodness.

Trail Chef: Cook Bacon and Eggs in a Bag

Wow your friends with this campfire cooking trick.

Recipe: Quick Pepperoni Pizza

Craving a slice? Get your fix in the backcountry with these easy stovetop recipes.

Recipe: Parmesan-Polenta Pizza

Improve the basic pie with cornmeal crust and fresh basil sauce.

Readers' Choice 2010: Submit Your Favorite Trail Recipe



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