Trail Chef: Three Stop-and-Smell-the-Roses Lunches

Take the time to savor these midday meals.

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Sometimes, lunch on the trail is all about convenience: handfuls of gorp, an energy bar or two, maaaybe some peanut butter spread on a bagel. Those times are, let’s face it, less than exciting for the palate. When you’re not in hot pursuit of a peak or trying to break a speed-hiking record, why not kick back and have something that involves just a little more preparation? Go ahead, dangle your feet in the stream or gaze at the clouds with one of these trail lunch specialties—some easy, some a little more involved—in your hand. You even have my permission for a little postlunch siesta in the shade.

Olympic Wrap

After being introduced to the wonders of tomato paste while on a trip in Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park, this wrap quickly became my go-to lunch for big hikes. Serves 1.

1 or 2 whole-wheat tortillas

1 tube tomato paste

Turkey pepperoni

Manchego cheese (Hard cheeses are best because they last longer. Plus, they’re delicious: See how happy that guy is at right?)

On the trail

Squeeze desired amount of tomato paste onto tortilla. Slice cheese. Layer desired amount of pepperoni and cheese on tortilla, then wrap and eat. Repeat as necessary.

BCT Roll-up

Serves 1. Recipe adapted from Travel Light—Eat Heavy, by Bill McCartney.

2 flour tortillas

2 tablespoons bacon bits

2 ounces cheddar cheese sticks

5 sun-dried tomatoes (1/2 ounce), minced

2 packets mayonnaise

On the trail

Squeeze one mayo packet onto a tortilla. Sprinkle bacon and tomato pieces on top. Top with one cheese stick. Wrap and eat. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Beef Veggie Wraps

Serves 4. Recipe adapted from Backcountry Cooking, by Dorcas Miller.

3 tablespoons dried ground beef

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons instant hash browns

1/4 cup thinly sliced dried carrots

1/4 cup thinly sliced dried tomatoes

1 tablespoon dried onions

1/2 cup salsa

4 flour tortillas

At home

Pack all dried ingredients in a zip-top bag.

On the trail

Place dried ingredients in a bowl and add 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons boiling water. Mix, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes. Heat tortillas in a frying pan or pot lid. When meat and veggies have fully rehydrated, drain any excess water and mix salsa in. Spoon 1/2 cup of the mixture into each tortilla, fold, and eat.

—Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan

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