3 Perfect Chili Recipes for Cold-Weather Camping

Banish the goosebumps on cold nights with these three belly-warming one-pot recipes.
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Buffalo Chili

Cocoa lends this recipe an earthy, mole-like flair. Serves 4

  • 2 lbs. lean ground bison
  • 4 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 cup tomato sauce from powder
  • 1 tsp. each: garlic, cumin, and coriander
  • 1 Tbsp. Mexican oregano
  • 2 Tbsp. onion flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 oz. aged Gouda

At home: Sauté bison meat until browned, chopping into small pieces with a spatula. Then drain fat and dehydrate at 145°F for 4 to 6 hours, or until completely dry. Dehydrate beans at 125°F for 6 to 8 hours. Pack cheese in a zip-top bag. Combine all dry and dehydrated ingredients in another bag.

In camp: Add dry ingredients to a pot with 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, or until rehydrated. Garnish with shaved Gouda.

Weight* 4 oz. Protein 56 g Calories 480

Green Chile and Potato Stew

Char fresh chiles over an open flame to give this meal a sweet, smoky flavor. Serves 2

  • 5 fresh chiles (poblano for milder, Anaheim for hotter)
  • 1 large russet potato
  • ½ cup freeze-dried corn
  • 1 Tbsp. Mexican oregano
  • 3 beef bouillon cubes
  • 2 Tbsp. onion flakes
  • 2 ft. aluminum foil
  • 3 oz. freeze-dried chicken

At home: Combine dry ingredients in a zip-top bag. 

In camp: Char chiles over a camp stove flame until blackened and blistered all over. Wrap in foil and set aside. Chop potato into 1/4-inch cubes. When chiles are cool, peel off charred skin, remove stems and seeds, and dice. Add all ingredients to a pot with 3 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through, then serve.

Weight 12 oz. Protein 46 g Calories 420

Sweet Potato, Corn, and Black Bean Chili

This veggie chili is loaded with fiber and vitamins. Serves 2

  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • ½ cup freeze-dried corn
  • 1 cup tomato sauce from powder
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 4 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. each: garlic, cumin, and coriander
  • 2 Tbsp. minced onion flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. Mexican oregano
  • ½ cup aged Gouda

At home: Dehydrate beans at 125°F for 6 to 8 hours. Combine dry ingredients in a zip-top bag.

In Camp: Chop potato into 1/4-inch cubes. Add all ingredients to a pot with 2 cups water. Boil, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, or until potato is cooked and ingredients are rehydrated. Serve with shaved Gouda.

Weight 6 oz. Protein 18 g Calories 420

Chili Powder

Mix and match these dried chiles to dial in your preferred flavor (you’ll need 5 oz. total). Yields 1 cup

  • Ancho: mild, fruity, sweet
  • Pasilla: earthy, fruity
  • New Mexico: earthy, sweet, medium-hot
  • Chipotle: rich, smoky, hot

Remove stems and seeds. Toast chiles over medium-low heat until fragrant (avoid blackening). When cool, grind chiles into a fine powder in a food processor, then store. 

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