Meal time: Backpacking breakfast & dinner recipes


These backpacking breakfast and dinner recipes have been extensively field-tested by me and by hundreds of clients on my guided backpacking trips.

Based on feedback, we’ve tinkered with the ingredient amounts and ratios until they’re just right. Or we throw out a recipe and try something new.

When creating these meals, I tried to make them:

  • Convenient
  • Inexpensive, and
  • Hearty

You will find that at-home preparation is fast and easy, that the ingredients are generally inexpensive and widely available, that common food restrictions (gluten, dairy, vegetarian) can be easily accommodated, that cook-time is minimal, and that the recipes are calorically dense and yummy.

Meal Recipes: The case for fewer favorites, not more

By Andrew Skurka / September 23, 2015 /

Early last week I posted a fifth backpacking dinner recipe. You should not expect more — these five meals are the extent of my backcountry cookbook. (I will post some additional breakfasts, however.) I have considered developing more, either from scratch or based on other recipes out there. But in addition to not yet being tired of…

Snack Recipe: Raw cookie dough

By Andrew Skurka / March 21, 2016 /

As a thank you for helping her land a new job last year, an acquaintance dropped off a small but game-changing gift: a mason jar of raw cookie dough. It disappeared remarkably fast — it worked as a pre-morning run snack, a dessert after lunch or dinner, and all points before, after, and in between.…

Breakfast Recipe: Southwest Egg Burrito

By Andrew Skurka / August 13, 2019 /

Occasionally I appreciate a blueberry pancake or a bowl of Captain Crunch. But my standard breakfast at home entails eggs, cheese, toast or a tortilla, with some hot sauce or salsa. When I delegated the meal preparation this year to David, a local ultra runner who has worked at Boulder’s best restaurants (currently, at Flagstaff…

Dinner Recipe: Beans + Rice with Fritos & Cheese

By Andrew Skurka / November 18, 2019 /

This meal is my favorite. It goes on every single backpacking trip. I never get tired of it. Clients love this recipe. Need more convincing to try it? Key Stats Recommended meal weight: 5.7 oz Total calories: 668 Calories per ounce: 117 It’s rare that someone struggles to finish this meal. But if you have a…

Breakfast Recipe: Quickstart Cereal

By Andrew Skurka / November 18, 2019 /

To get out of camp as early as possible, the most ideal breakfast item is an individually wrapped bar (or several): granola bars, energy bars, protein bars, breakfast bars, etc. They require no prep and can be eaten on-the-go. But there are downsides to this approach. First, they’re not very satisfying. Second, they probably constitute…

Breakfast Recipe: Cheesy Potatoes

By Andrew Skurka / November 20, 2019 /

This breakfast recipe has been a staple on our guided trips since 2015, when Amanda set out to create a savory dish to help balance sweet options like oatmeal or Quickstart Cereal. The ingredients and ratios have been tweaked multiple times based on feedback, and I believe we now have a real winner. Among 100+…

Dinner Recipe: Polenta + Peppers

By Andrew Skurka / November 22, 2019 /

This Italian-themed dinner recipe is very filling, making it ideal for long days and late in a trip, when appetites are big. It’s unique and flavorful. Meal stats Recommended serving weight: 5.6 oz Total calories: 595 Caloric density: 105 cal/oz Like instant potatoes, polenta absorbs a significant amount of water, at a 4:1 volume ratio.…

Dinner Recipe: Peanut Noodles

By Andrew Skurka / November 22, 2019 /

For years Peanut Noodles has been a crowd favorite, usually ranking just below the world famous Beans & Rice. This backpacking dinner recipe goes on every single guided trip and on most personal trips, especially if I have a prepared batch of sauce already in the fridge. The sauce has gone through several iterations, getting better each…

Dinner Recipe: Pesto Noodles

By Andrew Skurka / November 22, 2019 /

This dinner recipe is a sleeper. It’s much simpler than Peanut Noodles, and it lacks the obvious cheese and Frito goodness of the Beans & Rice, yet it’s rated as highly as both by our clients. Meal stats Recommended meal weight: 5.6 oz Total calories: 700 Caloric density: 125 calories/ounce To increase the caloric density, which…

Breakfast Recipe: Coconut Chia Oatmeal

By Andrew Skurka / December 1, 2019 /

A classic oatmeal breakfast (or worse, an instant packet) consists of simple grains and sugar, and not much else. I find that it gives a quick sugar rush, but I’m often hungry within an hour or two. For last season, David developed a recipe that sticks better to my ribs, combining an oatmeal base with…