When you've been hiking all day, plain ramen noodles can taste perfectly fine. However, if you've got a little more time, you can turn dehydrated food into mouth-watering meals.
Outdoor Kitchen Equipment
Most outdoor meals can be cooked on a single-burner stove with one or two pots. But if you're aiming for something more gourmet, you might add a few extra pieces of equipment.
- A stove that simmers. Some white gas stoves are designed to crank. That's excellent if you're melting snow, but not great for making fluffy pancakes. Look for a stove that's designed to burn at low output. Bear in mind that simmering will generally extend cooking times, so make sure you pack enough fuel.
- Backcountry ovens allow resourceful campers to make all kinds of great things, from apple crumble, to fresh bread, to crusty pizza.
- Bring a good knife and a cutting board (roll-up plastic ones are available.)
- A wood chip will work for flipping the pancakes, but a plastic spatula is pretty nice and some models double as pasta strainers.
- A hand-powered blender adds a whole new level of excitement and entertainment to meals.
- Pressure cookers speed up the cooking process and preserve water-soluble vitamins and minerals.
- Finally, there's nothing like a good coffee in the morning. A stovetop espresso machine, or French press, is an excellent addition when you're kilometres from your usual barrista.
If you find dehydrated and freeze-dried meals a little bland, you can set yourself up with a backcountry spice rack that includes:
- Salt and pepper
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Oregano and basil
- Cayenne pepper
- Olive oil, soy sauce, hot sauce, balsamic vinegar, and bouillon cubes
- Garlic cloves or garlic powder
- Dried mushrooms
When packaged in small plastic containers, you can add heaps of flavour to your meals and only a few hundred grams to your pack.
More than Trail Mix
Add some flash and dash to your backcountry snacks and try:
- Dried wasabi peas instead of nuts
- Dried papaya or mango instead of apricots
- Smoked salmon instead of jerky
- Chocolate-covered espresso beans instead of M&Ms
If you're taking a short trip, setting up a base, or travelling by kayak, weight is not a critical consideration, don't you don't need to skimp on the details.
- Pre-cut your veggies and marinate them the night before you leave. Come dinnertime, simply open the container and dump them in the frying pan. Cook up some instant rice and you have a no-fuss veggie stir-fry.
- Fresh fruit is a welcome treat, but it is heavy, bulky, and fragile, so make sure you bring something you really want. Pulling out a pineapple on a summit though, is pretty unforgettable.
- Bring ingredients that give you options: eggs, milk, cheese, or flour. If it's impossible to cart the real deal, try milk powder, powdered eggs, powdered cheese, or powdered butter.