I have had a few requests from people to do a post about food in the backcountry. Even my own mom was surprised when I told her we were having steak. What? she said… You are going into the backcountry, you should be eating hot dogs no? hahaha. Well, I could, but I don’t really like hot dogs, so I figure out fun things to eat and ways to keep them from spoiling and enjoy the eating part while camping as much as possible. I mean, let’s be honest, it’s one of the best parts of camping, no?
Here is a list with photos of some of the meals and treats we made on our visit to #Killarney Provincial Park this past weekend:
Beef tenderloin with dill roasted potatoes and salad. Absolutely delicious! The beef was frozen in advance and then I froze it in a block of ice using one of those large lettuce/spring mix type containers. As we weren’t portaging, weight wasn’t an issue. I suppose we could’ve easily brought a cooler but how do you hang that in a tree? Plus, then you have to bring it back out again. The plastic container you have to take out also, but it can be broken down to a tiny piece of garbage and carried out easily. The tenderloin was made on the camp fire. Always bring a small grill as sometimes there isn’t one by the fire pit at the site and they are fairly compact and can easily slide into the back of one of your packs. Get the fire nice and hot, put a bit of seasoning on the steaks and Voila! easy peasy.
I put the potatoes in a foil packet. Sheets of foil in the backcountry, to me are priceless. One weekend they were used to cover grills that made walls to go around my stove to keep us from freezing as a fire ban was on, even though it rained the entire 3 days we were in Algonquin, so you never know? Foil is light, compact and is barely noticeable in your pack, until you need it and don’t have it. For the potatoes I washed them, sliced them and then put a few blobs of butter on them, some italian dressing, fresh dill from my garden, garlic chives from my garden and garlic powder, salt and pepper. Put it all in the foil packet and put it on the fire for about 40 minutes or so, depending on how hot the fire is. Poke em with a fork to test if they are done. Delicious!
For the salad, it’s pretty easy. Cucumber travels well so sometimes I bring it whole. For this trip I pre chopped it and put it in a ziploc bag with roasted sunflower seeds. I brought a ziploc with spring mix in it and put a few holes in the bag and also a paper towel to absorb any moisture. The tomato travelled safely in a sour cream container that I cut the top out of for it to breath. I also like to use the clear plastic containers that things like grape tomatoes and strawberries come in for these, or apples, pears any fruit that needs a little protection. Grape tomatoes are also good to bring as an alternative, I just had a regular tomato at home so in the bear barrel it went! A bit of salad dressing in a small tupperware container or bottle and you’re all set!
I love the mini cans of tuna you can get pretty much everywhere now. They have flavoured ones and they are just the perfect size to fit on a wrap for lunch. I bring wraps and no can opener is required for the tuna. Just plop the tuna on the wrap and you have a protein packed lunch with basically no muss, no fuss. Cloverleaf used to make foil bags of tuna that were extremely awesome and great for the backcountry but I have not seen them in the stores this year. If anyone has, please let me know where as this is the easiest lightest option for lunch in the backcountry and a good way to avoid using cans that you have to pack out.
For dinner saturday, I made shrimp and crab alfredo. I know technically you are not supposed to bring cans into the backcountry but let’s be honest, it’s really hard to eat if you don’t? I burn my cans immediately after emptying them to remove the smell to keep the bears and animals away, then pack them out with my garbage. I believe as long as you are very cautious and leave your site better than you found it, there shouldn’t be an issue. We actually had 2 cans left in our fire pit from our past tenants, so we packed those out as well! #CleanUpOurParks . If you absolutely refuse to bring cans in, you can also freeze the shrimp & crab in a block of ice. I have done this in the past and it works great and lasts usually until day two if you have it frozen well and wrapped in newspaper and it’s not sweltering hot out.
I am not generally a lover of sidekicks but i find they work great in the backcountry and have made this dish since my first backcountry trip in 2001. You add about 1.5 cups of water per pack (the package states 1 cup water, 1 cup milk, so use less water as it is not as thick and you will be cooking forever otherwise). Then cook the pasta with the garlic, green onions, fresh dill, salt & pepper, and add the shrimp and crab after, or before. When it is done (the package says 12 minutes I think? But it usually takes me 20 with all the stuff in there) plate it and grate fresh romano or parmesan cheese on it. Most hard cheeses will last in the backcountry for many days, mine were also wrapped in cheesecloth which keeps them from sweating and getting yucky. Done and done. Delicious especially on a cold day, it sticks to your ribs and warms your body! 🙂
My last backcountry trip to Frontenac Provincial Park, I made a different version of this that was also really delicious. I brought nesting noodles, the skinny ones that cook in about 3 minutes in boiling water. I drained them and then heated up my frying pan, put in some olive oil, garlic and green onions and a can of shrimp, tossed it with the pasta for a few minutes and then topped it with some fresh grated parmesan cheese. It is very simple food, but I loved it and I will be making it again very soon! Sorry, I can’t locate any photos of this one but I’m assuming you can imagine it by my incredibly descriptive description! HAHA!
I love snacks but in the backcountry it’s not practical to bring in a bag of chips or cheezies or nacho chips. I love to make campfire popcorn. It’s so good and you can make so much with just a few handfuls of popcorn kernels. I go to bulk barn and get the loose popcorn, bring a small bottle or tupperware container of oil (always use plastic as glass is not permitted in the backcountry) and I get the seasoning powder from bulk barn as well. You can get salt and butter, dill pickle, white cheddar and a few others i think? This trip I wanted a snack at 3pm so I made the popcorn on my camp stove and it worked really well. Super easy and very tasty!
S’mores, who doesn’t love them? Not many people I don’t think? I have my own version of s’mores as many people do. I use the celebration cookies . All you do is add marshmallows. The chocolate is thinner on the cookies than on a chocolate bar, but have no fear, you get chocolate on both sides to ensure you still have lots! Then all you do is add a perfectly roasted marshmallow and bingo! You’re done and you have a perfectly melted, deliciously awesome s’more! NOM NOM!
Breakfast in the backcountry is my favourite. I bring one of those pretty bright yellow egg containers in. I have one for 6 and one for 12 eggs. Eggs do not perish for several days from what I’ve learned and I have had them for many days in the backcountry unrefrigerated and without issue. I bring in a bit of butter for the toast and to grease the pan.
Breakfast one on Sunday was over easy eggs, with toast and bacon. The bacon was cooked at home which makes it basically non perishable, the toast was made like grilled cheese is done, butter in the frying pan and then brown the bread in the pan. My friend Steph did an amazing job with this! Best toast I’ve ever had camping! Then we heated up the bacon and a perfect breakfast was born!
Breakfast two on Monday was scrambled egg wraps.I bring in a bit of cheddar cheese in cheesecloth ( can be found at walmart, bulk barn or most grocery stores). I scrambled the eggs in the pan, added some grated cheddar, a bit of salsa I’d brought in a small tupperware container and some salt and pepper. Put it in a wrap and you are ready to go! I also like to do this breakfast without the wrap, having an english muffin on the side, browned like the toast and with some butter and strawberry jam on it. Either way, it’s a great way to start the day!
Other snacks and goodies consist of nuts, trail mix, (always awesome- great to make your own too!) pepperoni sticks, granola bars, cookies, and bars of chocolate, again, if it’s not too hot, or they will melt and become very messy.
As weight was not an issue this trip we brought a bit of alcohol. I packed a small water bottle with coconut rum and then brought mio liquid to flavour the water with berry pomegranate goodness. As we make our own water using a filter in the backcountry and I now have the awesome 10L Katadyn filter, water was plentiful and delicious! Love this item fyi! Thanks guys!
We also brought a tiny water bottle with a bit of baileys in it that goes nice with packets of coffee or hot chocolate. Lovely for sipping on while watching the sunrise or to warm up after a cool evening. I go to food basics or a grocery store that carries the Chubby pop, I think they are like $0.50 and are super little bottles and they are perfect for this type of use. I just pour out the pop and use it for a few shots of alcohol and when you are done they squish up flat and are light and you pack them back out easily.
Well, I think that’s about all I can offer on meals in the backcountry from this trip! Just a note that you are not the only one that loves yummy food in the backcountry. Please always make sure to hang your food properly in a bear barrel or other animal proof container and be very careful not to drop bits of food while eating or cooking. All scraps, leftovers, crumbs, etc, should go back into the bear barrel to pack out with your garbage as feeding the animals, even chipmunks is NOT a good idea and never recommended.
I hope you enjoyed my post and if you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to ask! I love hearing from everyone and discussing not only my posts, but hearing about your ideas and tricks for being in the backcountry as well!
Thanks for reading!