Good Food Ideas when hiking/camping

Many of the recipes involve DIY with a dehydrator, and many of the ingredients may be hard to get in Australia, but their ideas keep flowing. 'Freezer bag cooking' is a common term there: add boiling water to a dried meal in a freezer bag and let stand a

Good Food Ideas

This will probably stir a lot of controversy. Good. If you think I have left out an essential material, contribute! I leave the question of which sort of tea or coffee to individual tastes. Cheap tea and instant coffee are not to be considered. I haven't included morning tea here: just add tea and coffee to the lunch mix.

  • Breakfast
    • Muesli always a good solid start to the day. (The author favours the raw unsweetened variety, but ymmv.)
    • Stewed fruit left over from the night before (kept overnight in plastic, not aluminium!)
    • Porridge: traditional, but requires cooking and washing up.
  • Lunch
    • Biscuits such as Wheaten Oatmeal
    • Army Biscuits if you can find them (some love them, others don't).
    • Vitawheat variants (ditto).
    • Ryvita variants (some like them; others compare them with cardboard).
    • Various hard ryebreads and variations
    • Lebanese bread or Pittas
    • Sweet biscuits, such as ""squashed fly"" and Chocolate Ripple. Good in bad weather when buttering biscuits doesn't really appeal.
    • Butter, jam, honey, Vegemite
    • Salami
    • Cheese - variety to suit, and lots of it
  • Snacks
    • Scroggin - nuts, dried fruits etc
    • Muesli bars and fruit bars
    • Chocolate, Mars/Snickers bars, etc (but not so good in hot weather when they melt).
    • Some sweets, such as Jersey caramels, but not those based mainly on alginates (very poor value for weight)
  • Dinner
    • Two Minute Noodle Soup (or non-noodle version for a lighter dinner)
    • Other fast-cooking packet soups
    • BackCountry freeze-dry meals (not cheap, but hardly dear either)
    • Adventure Foods freeze-dry meals
    • Settlers Dried Beef Mince and variants (needs extras added)
    • Surprise Peas, Peas & Corn, Peas and Carrot, Beans
    • Rice - preferably a fast cooking variety (eg Sun Rice Express)
    • Pasta - preferably short noodles rather than long spaghetti, which makes a mess everywhere!
    • Deb - dried mashed potato
    • Ardmona Tomato Magic (dried tomato paste, good stuff, powerful but it went off the market at the end of 2003)
    • Dried Onion Flakes (but cook well)
    • Herbs and spices; use your imagination, and some discretion!
  • Desert
    • Instant Pudding
    • Dark fruit cake and cocoa
    • Stewed fruit and custard


Not so good food ideas from America

Just for amusement, you might like to contrast my humble but sensible fare with the food list reported recently in a American walking magazine as being reasonable for a lightweight walking trip of four nights:

Breakfast wt Dinner wt
Four 4-oz. packets instant mashed potatoes   16 oz Four packets miso soup mix 2.5 oz
10 oz. hot cocoa 10 oz Two 3-oz. packets vacuum-packed tuna 6 oz
    3.66-oz. tin smoked mussels 3.66 oz  
Lunch   Two 4-oz. packets smoked salmon 8 oz  
Five 3.5-oz. packets ramen noodle soup 17.5 oz 8-oz. packet stuffing mix 8 oz  
    5.9-oz. parmesan couscous 5.9 oz  
Snacks   5.6-oz. toasted pine nut couscous 5.6 oz  
Shelled pistachios 18 oz 5.7-oz. mushroom risotto mix 5.7 oz  
Dried apricots 14 oz 4 tea bags 1 oz  

Unreal! Cocoa-flavoured mashed potato for breakfast? Stuffing mix, miso soup and smoked mussels for dinner? Do American males have any idea about cooking? Boiling water seems to be the limit of the walker's ability here. This menu weighs 3455 grams and is meant to be 'ultralightweight', but comes in a little heavier than my standard menu - before you count the additional weight of all those tins. Whether I could tolerate the sort of diet is another matter. It makes me determined not to blindly trust American catering.


1: British Medical Journal, vol 327, 19-July-2003, p113 
'Overconsumption of fluids by athletes: Advice to overdrink may cause fatal hyponatraemic encephalopathy' 
Dr Timothy Noakes, Discovery Health Chair of Exercise and Sports Science, MRC/UCT Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town and the Sports Science Institute of South Africa

2. Hyponatraemia: in simple terms a reduction in the sodium concentration in the body to a potentially dangerous low level.

3. BMJ, 19-Aug-2003, Rapid Response section, from William B. Greenough III, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, USA

3. 'Hyponatremia in Distance Athletes, Pulling the IV on the 'Dehydration Myth', Timothy D. Noakes, MB ChB, MD, The Physician and Sportsmedicine, vol 28/9, Sep 2000