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Backpacker Magazine – February/March 2013

Backpacker-Friendly Chocolate

Cocoa packs high energy and healthy antioxidants, and our testing revealed the best-tasting, most-meltproof varieties for the trail.

by: Kristy Holland

Best-tasting, most melt-proof chocolate varieties (Photo by Andrew Bydlon)
Photo by BP0313SKIL_BYDLON_Bars_bjk_445x260.jpg
Best-tasting, most melt-proof chocolate varieties (Photo by Andrew Bydlon)
Grape-Nut-size pieces of actual cocoa bean (Photo by Andrew Bydlon)
Photo by BP0313SKIL_BYDLON_Nips_bjk_445x260.jpg
Grape-Nut-size pieces of actual cocoa bean (Photo by Andrew Bydlon)
Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix
Photo by BP0313SKIL_BYDLON_HotCoco_bjk_445x260.jpg
Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix


Best for Nightcaps; calming the kids 

Beta With twice the antioxidants of a glass of red wine, plus comfort-food nostalgia, hot chocolate is an ideal camp drink. We hit the sweet spot for most brands by adding 20 percent more powder than the package directions suggest and using milk (instead of water) when possible.

Prepping After dissolving mix in hot liquid, allow it to steep for up to 10 minutes for richer taste and silkier texture. 

Buying tip Opt for mixes made with milk powder. Bring marshmallows!

Top pick Testers favored our own recipe (right), but Land O’Lakes Cocoa Classics Supreme Mix ($26 for 36 packets; stood out for its richness and strong, chocolatey flavor.

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Reader Rating: Star Star Star Star Star


Star Star Star
Eric Nelson
Nov 23, 2013

I highly recommend the dark chocolate M & M's. They do not melt in your trail mix and the candy coating adds that extra something.

peeved healthy hiker
Nov 22, 2013

I posted earlier about this, but (for some reason) the post is no longer here, so I'll say it again: "powdered nondairy creamer" is not healthy! It should not be included in the homemade hot cocoa recipe.

Star Star Star
healthy hiker
Nov 22, 2013

Good tips on dark chocolate, Ms. Holland--but I can't believe that your homemade hot cocoa recipe (above) calls for "powdered nondairy creamer." Why, when the recipe already includes powdered milk? Do you know what's in that "nondairy creamer"? Nothing healthy: hydrogenated oils (i.e. trans fats), corn syrup solids (probably from GMO, high-fructose corn), and a whole bunch of (probably cancer-causing) artificial ingredients. Those who care can read more here ( or just Google "nondairy creamer ingredients." By the way, that Land O' Lakes hot cocoa also contains unhealthy ingredients. Please read the "fine print," Backpacker Magazine writers and editors. Your readers deserve better.


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