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Backpacker Magazine – November 2010

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.

by: Kristin Bjornsen

(Photo by Justin Bailie)
(Photo by Justin Bailie)

Over Achieve
with all our "How to Do Everything" articles

Plan your menu It's tempting to simply throw a bunch of grub into your pack and call it good, but you’ll regret that on night four, when you’re choking down your eighth granola bar for dinner. Instead, map out your meals: Shoot for about 2,500 to 4,000 calories a day (up that by roughly a third for strenuous or cold-weather trips). Limit the weight to less than two pounds of food per person per day. For fewer dishes, bring one-pot meals like pasta, rice, and freeze-dried entrées.

Prep smart To minimize weight, repackage foods into zip-top bags and dehydrate fruits, veggies, and meats—or buy them dried from the grocery and sites like and maryjanesfarm
.org. Swap milk and eggs for powdered ones. Also, opt for foods that keep better, like waxed or hard cheeses (last about a week), margarine (three weeks), hard salami, jerky, and smoked meats (a few weeks), and dark chocolate (melts less readily than milk chocolate). For portion sizes, roughly double what the label lists as one serving.

Clean up Are you camping with someone you’d kiss? If not, sterilize dishware by rinsing it with boiling water, then air-dry. Otherwise, leftover cooking water works fine. Scatter wastewater in an arc 200 feet from streams and ponds; pack out food scraps. If soap is needed, use a biodegradable one. To protect your food, use a canister like Wild Ideas’ Bearikade Weekender ($225, 1 lb. 15 oz., or hang with 50 feet of cord (tutorial at

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Dec 10, 2010

Tired of the limitations of freeze-dried foods. You can get something like the Nesco FD-61 for about $60. You can dehydrate pretty much anything you can think of. If you're vegan or vegetarian it's close to your only option. Home-made pasta sauces, "cheese"-sauces, "meats", fruits, refried beans. Be creative and experiment. If you backpack a lot, it will save you money in the long run too.


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