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Backpacker Magazine – January 2012

Adventure Upgrade: Cook Like a Pro

Pack and prepare a week's worth of mouth-watering meals.

by: Kristy Holland

Quinoa (
Quinoa (

Adventure Upgrades
Elevate your skills with tips we gave to real readers who wanted to go bigger and farther.
Reader Eric Olson, 42, Woodstock, GA
» Problem “My tastebuds go numb to freeze-dried meals within a few days. How do I pack a delicious, weeklong menu that weighs less than 15 pounds per person?”

Expert Laurie March, author of A Fork in the Trail » Solution “Aim for a calorie-to-weight ratio of at least 125 calories per ounce, and plan carefully—I’ll consider heavier foods if they save me fuel weight. Two of the best ways to boost flavor and lighten up: Dehydrate your own meals and plan your menu around versatile staples.”

Pack Energizing and Flavorful Foods
Bring weight-saving meals and prepared fare.

» Plan high-calorie snacks. Load up on healthy but lightweight foods, like cheese, crackers, and nut butters—a 1-ounce packet of almond butter has more than 180 calories.
» Reduce fuel weight. No-cook foods can save a family of four more than one pound per day in fuel weight and shave the weight of cooking equipment. Try muffins and cereal for breakfast and wraps or raw-noodle salads for dinner.
» Dehydrate meals. Save pounds and avoid preservative overload from prepackaged meals by dehydrating your own food. Cut prep by drying leftovers or store-bought prepared dinners.

Use Versatile Bulk Ingredients
Serve these easy-to-adjust foods for any meal.

“A few key foods form the basis of my trail menus,” says March. She suggests mixing these staples with flavorful add-ins and fresh-food complements to build an energizing, balanced, weeklong menu. For recipes from March’s books, visit

Quinoa Rinse and dry this protein-rich supergrain at home. On the trail, cook the grains in water and add dried fruit compote for breakfast, mix with veggies for a lunch salad, or fold into tortillas with Cheddar and salsa for a dinner wrap.

Polenta Fast-cooking cornmeal absorbs any flavor—combine milk and raisins in the morning, or cheese and sun-dried tomatoes for an evening Italian stew. Cool plain leftovers, slice, pan-fry in oil, and drizzle with honey for dessert.

Couscous This versatile pasta works with dried fruit or savory veggies and sauces. In a pinch? Rehydrate it with cold water.

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I create my own mix: corn flour -60%, sugar -20%, dr. milk 20%, some soda; and plus garlic and multivitamins on side. I use it in hot climate.
No need much water to be digested.
You can just add cold (purified) water and not bother with fire. But 30sec of boiling help.
Sugar and corn flour are available in any remote village all over Latin America.
Sorry for those tests,

Apr 03, 2012


Apr 03, 2012


Laurie Ann
Mar 22, 2012

Powdered milk is the best option for backcountry travel. There are so many powdered varieties available these days... cow, soy, rice, goat, and almond milk. Almond milk is sometimes hard to find so I dehydrate my own.

That said... if weight isn't a concern one could use a little shelf-stable tetra pack. That's far too heavy for the trips we do but would be an option for an overnighter.

Mar 01, 2012

Try to bring foods that double-duty--like salami for lunch and as a dinner ingredient, peanut butter for snacks and as a sauce base, etc. You'll save weight and money and eliminate waste.

Feb 25, 2012

powdered goats milk for cereals/nola/everything just add water and not much it's rich and creamy you'll never go back...mmm

Feb 24, 2012

Milk is essential for lightweight sidekicks!

Jan 31, 2012

you should look into powdered milk

Jan 28, 2012

Who brings milk on a backcountry hike?

Jan 28, 2012

Who brings milk on a backcountry hike?


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