After any big adventure, nothing is more rewarding than a hearty meal enjoyed with spectacular wilderness views. Many of us have our go-to camping meals, the ones we’ve memorized for trip-planning ease. But now that it’s mid-backpacking-season, it’s time to mix things up: add some kick to the pasta, boost the oatmeal, and get creative with trail snacks. For all of that, MSR’s Recipes Catalog has you covered. From bikepacking fare to thru-hiking meal hacks, the catalog is chock-full of new ideas for both backpacking and camping recipes. To start, here are 10 recipes that’ll freshen up your menu right now.
Breakfast Camping Recipes
Pair with: PocketRocket® Stove Kit
This easy, healthy breakfast requires no stove and takes only a few minutes to prepare before crawling into your tent after a long day of activity. While you sleep, the shelf-stable, plant-based milk works its magic on the oats, seeds and dried berries, turning them into a creamy concoction. With nothing to cook in the morning, you’ll enjoy a ready-made, delicious and calorie-packed breakfast to power you through the miles.
Black Bean Huevos Rancheros
It’s worth bringing a small hard-sided carton of eggs to enjoy a savory breakfast at the roadside campsite or during the first few days of a bikepacking trip. This version of huevos rancheros includes black beans, which adds flavor as well as the extra energy that you’ll need for whatever adventuring comes later in the day. Feeling extra hungry? Add sliced avocado to it as well.
Boil-Only Backpacking Recipes
Darn Good Chili and more
Pair with: WindBurner Personal Stove System
You can find plenty of ingredients at your local grocery store to make warm and filling one-pot backcountry meals. This round-up includes five heat-and-eat ideas that are not just fast and simple, but extremely satisfying when you’re perched next to the campfire or an alpine lake.
Darn-Good Chili: Truly a go-to meal and one that’s quick to make when you’re starving. Add instant quinoa for extra bulk.
Tasty Bites: You can place the unopened bag of these savory Indian dishes into boiling water to heat the contents, and then eat straight from the bag. Combine with a bag of instant rice.
Good ol’ Mac ‘n’ Cheese: Indulge in creamy goodness guilt-free and add sriracha for added flavor and spice.
Pad Thai: Use the suggested pre-made packets for zero effort, or make the home-made style option to feel like you (sort of) cooked at camp.
Homemade Andouille Stew: Boil-only ingredients make this hearty stew surprisingly easy to make in the backcountry.
Cheesy Pasta with Dried Mushrooms
Pasta dishes can get old after a while if you don’t mix up what you toss in. Fortunately, pasta makes a great foundation for all kinds of ingredient combinations. One savory addition that pairs perfectly with cheese is dried mushrooms. If you’re craving something warm and full of cheese and starch after a long day, dig into this flavor-packed, one-pot dish.
Curried Red Lentils with Toasted Almonds and Red Pepper
Pair with: PocketRocket® Deluxe Stove Kit
Red lentils make a great backcountry meal because they’re hearty and cook up pretty quickly. One trick: Bring the water to a boil and let the lentils soak; they’ll keep their shape and a bit of crunch. Red pepper chunks add fresh fixings, and the red pepper flakes and chipotle powder give this dish a spicy, smoky kick.
Easy “Gourmet” Camping Recipes
Thai Peanut Noodles with Spinach
Pair with: PocketRocket® Deluxe Stove Kit
High in calories and rich in fat with plenty of protein—peanut butter is quite possibly the perfect backpacking food. This Thai-inspired dish utilizes powdered peanut butter and coconut to simplify the sauce (and reduce the mess). Add vermicelli rice noodles, spinach and roasted peanut oil, and you’ll have dine-in quality cuisine in the great outdoors.
Kale and Smoked Salmon Pasta
This is an excellent frontcountry recipe for group dinners around the camp fire, or an option on the first night or two of a backpacking trip. Ensure your salmon is packaged for transport—and sustainably caught (we like Patagonia Provisions). Kale adds a welcomed fresh ingredient and actually travels fairly well, as long as it’s not too hot.
Pot Pie Pockets
On some camping trips, mealtime is one of the main events. These adventures are the perfect opportunities to concoct something more elaborate and show off your culinary talents. These pie pockets are crescent-shaped pillows of crust filled with a fresh mix of chicken, sweet peas, wild ramps and creamy potatoes. The pockets are simple enough for camping food, and great for a frontcountry feast. The recipe makes two generous pot pies, plus some extra filling for munching.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls
Simple to make, these healthy snacks taste like raw cookie dough even though they’re cooked. What more could you want in a camp-food snack? Filled with good fats, protein and a hit of sweetness, they’re easy to munch on while hiking. Best for cooler days, because they tend to lose their shape in the high heat, they also allow you to reduce your trash because you can pack them in reusable bags or Tupperware®.
Jerky, GORP, and energy bars are always acceptable trail snacks, but sometimes, it’s nice to up the ante a bit with something special. This list of on-trail snacks is full of easy, inexpensive (minus a bottle or two of boutique spirits) ideas that provide the energy and inspiration to get you and your crew through the final push.