Ultralight Backpacking Meals: Dinner Basics

Here are the backpacking food basics for a sit down dinner.

Some backpackers eat their dinner meal in mid-afternoon and have a snack of walking food before bedtime.

Make sure you follow the basic Beer Can Stove Kit cooking guidelines of:

  1. Boil water.
  2. Extinguish flame.
  3. Add ingredients.
  4. Let your meal cook by steeping.

Re-heating or simmering a thick meal like oatmeal or rice is dangerous because you run the risk of burning the food in your cook pot, which will burn your cook pot’s non-stick coating.

  • Grains: Instant white or brown rice, corn meal, polenta, quick cooking oats, rolled quinoa, TVP, and hot wheat breakfast cereals will cook by steeping in boiling water.
  • Noodles/Pasta: Thin noodles and pasta like rice noodles, vermicelli, ramen, and couscous will fully cook by steeping in boiling water. You can buy couscous in packages with a wide variety of flavorings.
  • Cooked Vegetables: Steep dried vegetables in boiling water.
  • Beans: Instant pinto bean flakes and instant black bean flakes are available in bulk and packages in many stores.
  • Freeze Dried Meals: A wide variety are available that will cook by steeping in hot water. See your local camping store.
  • Dry Soup Mixes: A wide variety of prepackaged soup mixes are available in any large grocery store. The local health food store had these dry soup mixes in the bulk section: Veggie Chili Mix, Black Bean Soup, Split Pea Soup, and Curry Lentil Soup. If the cooking instructions for the soup mix calls for simmering less than 15 minutes, you can cook it by steeping it in boiling water.
  • Make your own soup or stew. Start with miso, bullion powder or a soup mix, and add your choice of spices and any quick cooking ingredients.

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