Food Reviews

The Best Thanksgiving Backpacking Food

From freeze-dried thyme turkey to instant pumpkin cheesecake, take your Thanksgiving feast into the backcountry without lugging in a fryer.

Some of you may be Titanium Chefs, willing and able to brine a bird in your camp kitchen—this is not for you. No, this is for the rest of us, the ones who like the idea of giving thanks with friends and family in the great outdoors, but, when it’s all said and done, that’s just too much work. We prepped and taste-tested every Thanksgiving-ish trail meal out there to give you the best Turkey Day a dirtbag could hope for. And the best part? Just add water.

Alpine Aire Wild Thyme Turkey ($8) Light sour cream sauce ties together the juicy turkey and just-right rice. We’re not suggesting it’s better than Grandma’s spread, but it’s pretty dang good for Thanksgiving-in-a-bag.

Cache Lake Outfitter’s Choice’s Garlic Mash Potatoes ($3.50) No need to peel tubers—and no need to wait, either; these are nearly instant. Top it off with PackIt Gourmet Butter Powder ($4), Sour Cream Powder ($4), or Freeze-dried Cheddar Cheese ($10). More ambitious dirtbags can DIY gravy with the Turkey Stock Powder ($5).

Alpine Aire’s Cheddar Potato Soup ($4) This thick, cheesy soup could be a meal by itself, but this is Thanksgiving, people.

PackIt Gourmet Dottie’s Chicken & Dumplings ($8.50) Eat your greens: The sweet peas and carrots in this soup are basically healthy.

Backpacker’s Pantry Three Sisters Stew ($11) Never used the canned stuff again: This mixture of corn, green beans, and squash stood out in its own right.

Cache Lake Cinnamon Cranberry Breakfast Fryin’ Pan Bread ($6.50) Yes, you need a frying pan, but it’s worth it. (And what Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without rolls?) This soft-but-dense, sweet bread tastes great alone, and is the perfect, spongey consistency for mopping up leftover juices.

Alpine Aire Cinnamon Apple Crisp ($4) This sweet and cinnamony crisp has just the right amount of crisp in the streusel topping. Make it a-la-mode with Backpacker’s Pantry Astronaut Ice Cream Sandwich ($3.50), and bring their crunchy sugar-topped Crème Brulee ($5.50) for good measure.

PackIt Gourmet Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust ($5) Thanksgiving and pumpkin pie go together like freeze-dried dust and hot water—don’t mess with physics.