Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In



5-Minute Backpacking Meals: Quick-Prep Pasta

You really want more granola? Get your carbs in a tasty, new way.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

You swear this is going to be the trip: You’re going to plan a gourmet menu and savor it under the stars with your friends. But then you think of the extra weight, the cutting boards and the frying pans and the cleanup, and you just stuff a couple of freeze-dried meals in your pack again. Break out of your slump with 5-Minute Backpacking Meals, our guide to gourmet-level cuisine you can put together in five minutes or less. 

Angel Hair Pasta with Olive Oil and Lemon


1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
zest and juice of one-half lemon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
12 ounces angel hair pasta
1/8 cup Parmesan cheese

At Home Mix all ingredients except pasta and cheese. Pack in a small Lexan container (ideal because oil won’t sweat through the plastic). Break pasta strands in half and pack in zipper-lock bag for easy transport.

In Camp Boil pasta until al dente, about 5 minutes. Strain liquid from pot; stir in the oil-lemon mixture and half the Parmesan cheese. Put in bowls and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Serves two hungry hikers.

Raisin and Nut Curried Couscous


1 cup water
¾ cup couscous
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ cup mixed peanuts and raisins (or other dried nuts and fruits)
¼ teaspoon olive oil

At Home Mix curry powder and cumin; carry in a small zipper-lock bag.

In Camp Boil water. Stir in couscous and fruit-nut combo. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand until grains are tender and all the liquid is absorbed (about 5 minutes). Add olive oil and spices; toss with a fork. Serves two. Hassle saver: Use a handful of nuts and fruit from your trail mix-just be sure to pick out any chocolate chips.

Fettuccine Puttanesca


2 tablespoons anchovy paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons tomato paste
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon sugar
splash balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
12 ounces fettuccine pasta
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper to taste

At Home Mix all ingredients except pasta and cheese. Store sauce in a small container or zipper-lock bag; refrigerate until departure. The amount of sauce may seem small, but the anchovy paste and tomato paste will give it a concentrated flavor that goes long way. Note: Sauce will keep 1 day in warm climates, 2 days in cool climates, and longer if you freeze it before your trip.

In Camp Boil pasta until al dente, about 6 minutes. Strain; stir in sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and cracked pepper if desired. Serves two hungry hikers.

Mushroom and Tomato Orzo with Pesto


10 ounces orzo
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
6 dried mushrooms
1 tablespoon pine nuts
2 tablespoons pesto
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese (optional)

In Camp Put mushrooms in 1.5-liter pot, fill it halfway with water, and bring to a boil. Add pasta and tomatoes; cook until tender (about 6 minutes). Strain. Stir in pesto and pine nuts. Top with Parmesan cheese. Serves two. Tip: For extra flavor and crunch, roast pine nuts in a skillet over high heat, either in camp or before departure.

Last updated May 2022

From 2022

How to Pack for Backcountry Skiing

Get to know the winter safety gear you need in your pack.