3 Delicious Backpacking Recipes: Ultralight Meals

To keep on backpacking, you have to stay properly fueled. Check out a few of our favorite recipes to keep you backpacking through out the entire day. These recipes are quick, delicious, and easy to prepare. They also do not require too many ingredients or cooking utensils that take up valuable backpack space. With just a small camping stove, you can make three delicious, ultralight meals perfect for camping, hiking, and backpacking.

Beans and Rice with Fritos and Cheese

For many backpackers and hikers, beans and rice is the go-to backcountry meal. Many camping enthusiasts refer to the dish as “backcountry gourmet”. This recipe puts a delicious twist on that classic dish, by adding in crushed Fritos chips. Trust me, it’s delicious. Let’s get cookin’!

Backpacking Camp Meal - Beans and Rice


  • 2 ounces of dehydrated instant re-fried beans.
  • 5 ounces of instant rice.
  • 1 ounce of Fritos.
  • 1 ounce of cheddar cheese or whatever kind of cheese you like to have.
  • Two-tenths of an ounce of taco seasoning.
  • A few pinches of red hot pepper flakes.
  • 10 to 12 ounces of water.


  1. Boil the water in a pot on your portable stove. If you are using 10 ounces of water, wait until your water is boiling before you put in the beans and rice. If you are using 12 ounces of water, you can put in the beans and rice now.
  2. Let it cook for 30-60 seconds with a nice rolling boil, then remove the pot from the flame. Be careful not to overcook the food or burn it to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Let it cool down for a few minutes.
  4. Add the taco seasoning and a pinch of red hot pepper flakes. The pepper flakes are optional, but we recommend them. It is not necessary to add salt or pepper, since the Fritos and taco seasoning contain plenty.
  5. Add the cheese. Using a knife, shave the cheese block or cut it into small pieces. Put it into the pot and mix it with the beans and rice. You want the cheese to melt, so push it underneath the other hot ingredients and keep stirring.
  6. Crush the Fritos up into manageable pieces. Be careful not to put the Fritos in too early or they will get soggy. Just before you are ready to eat, drop the Fritos into the pot on top of your cheesy beans and rice.

That’s it! Dinner is ready and it’s time to eat a big plate of Beans and Rice with Fritos and Cheese. Enjoy this great twist on an old classic dish, you won’t be disapointed.


Pasta Carbonara with Prosciutto

This is how the classy folk eat while backpacking. It’s time to bring the fancy dishes of Italy into the great outdoors. This is a fantastic recipe for a real pasta carbonara. The recipe uses a cold-soaking technique that makes the pasta taste even better than at home.


  • 5 ounces (100 g) of Tagliatelle pasta.
  • 1 ounces (60 g) of Prosciutto. This is optional)
  • 1 egg.
  • 4 oz (40 g) Parmesan cheese.
  • garlic (1 clove).
  • 1 tablespoon (10 g) olive oil.
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) of freeze dried parsley.
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) of black pepper.

The prosciutto is an optional ingredient and is not required. We do, however, recommend that you use it. It is delicious and really adds to the meal.

Pack The Ingredients For Backpacking:

  • Put the pasta and garlic in a big 2.2 pound (1 liter) Ziploc bag.
  • Place the pre-baked prosciutto in a separate bag.
  • Put the Parmesan cheese in a separate bag.
  • The pepper and parsley can go in a small bag together.
  • Carefully pack up the egg. A great way to protect the egg during packing and transportation is to use the carton it came in. Cut out a section of the egg carton (top and bottom). Put the egg inside and tape it shut.


Soak the Tagliatelle pasta in 7 ounces (200 ml) of cold water for 90 minutes. It is important that you don’t let the it soak much longer than that, or the pasta will become very mushy. The great thing about cold soaking pasta is that the starch will not be activated yet, so the pasta doesn’t get the gel like structure you usually get when cooking dry pasta. The end result will be very similar to fresh tagliatelle.

Cooking Instructions

  • Start off by chopping 1 clove of garlic.
  • Now pour the pasta into your pot and place it on your portable camping stove. Add another 7 ounces (200 ml) of water.
  • Add a bit of salt and a bit of olive oil.
  • Bring it to a boil and let it cook for just one minute.
  • Strain the pasta and put it inside of a Ziploc bag.
  • Put 1 tbsp (10 grams) of olive oil in your pot.
  • Add in the chopped garlic. As soon as the garlic begins to turn brown, turn off the fire.
  • Add the pasta back into your cooking pot and stir it well.
  • Mix the egg, half off the Parmesan, the freeze dried parsley, and black pepper together in a cup. You could also mix it in the Ziploc bag from your pasta.
  • Once the sauce is mixed, pour it over the pasta.
  • Add the prosciutto you baked at home and mix it together.
  • Put the rest of the Parmesan on top and dinner is ready.

There you go, a light and easy Italian Pasta Carbonara with cold soaked Tagliatelle. You can eat it on the spot, or quickly pack it up for your backpacking or hiking adventure.


Beans and Egg Burrito

On your next backpacking trip, try out this delicious recipe for a Beans and Egg Burrito. This dish goes great with a plate of beans and rice, the classic backcountry meal. In fact, we recommend combining this recipe with the beans and rice recipe we discussed above. You may want to leave out the Fritos, but these two dishes compliment each other very nicely. Let’s take a look at the recipe!


  • 1 flour tortilla.
  • 1 ounce of mashed potato powder.
  • 1 ounce of dry beans.
  • 1 ounce of cheddar cheese.
  • 7 ounces of whole egg powder. Alternatively, a whole egg would also work.
  • 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning.

Cooking Instructions

  1. Put the beans in tortilla in a big Ziploc bag. You can put the mashed potato powder, cheese, and taco seasoning in a small bag together. However, the egg powder should be placed in its own bag or container.
  2. When you’re ready for dinner, pour one cup of water in your cooking pot and place it on your portable camping stove. Ultralight Cooking on a Camping Stove
  3. Add the beans.
  4. Bring it to a boil, then turn off the stove. Let the beans sit on the stove for about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the potato, cheese and taco seasoning. Continue stirring for about 20 seconds.
  6. Place your flour tortilla flat on a plate. Carefully scoop the beans, potato, and cheese onto the tortilla. You should scoop out all of it, emptying the pot.
  7. Next, put a quarter cup of fresh water into the pot. Add the egg powder and stir it until it is mixed and smooth.
  8. Turn your camping stove back on and make a nice scrambled egg. Ideally, you want the finished egg to still be a little wet.
  9. Put it on your burrito on top of the beans and potatoes.
  10. Season the meal to your liking.

That’s it, your Bean and Egg burrito is ready to go. Quick, delicious, and easy to eat! Burritos are so good and convenient.


Cleaning Your Dirty Cooking Pot

Sometimes your cooking pot can get a bit messy. If you overcook or burn something, it can stick to the bottom of the pot and cause a real headache. Even if you perfectly cook a dish, the food can be sticky and difficult to remove from the pot. How can we get this clean if we are in the woods? Can it be done without wasting a lot of valuable water?

A great way to remove a stubborn mess from your camping cookware set is to use an abrasive. You should be able to find some good, small abrasives anywhere in the outdoors. For instance, some pine needles and a bit of a dirt will work great. They are likely right beneath your feet.

Pour a little bit of water into the pot and then add the pine needles and a little bit of dirt. Start rubbing the pine needles around the pot, like a sponge. Use the pine needles to scrape the food off of the pot. Believe it or not, this actually works very well.

When you are finished scrubbing and scraping, dump everything out of the pot. Put a bit of water in there and swish it around to remove any leftover pine needles, dirt, and food. You may have to repeat the process a few times, but you will quickly have a pot that is ready to cook your next meal.


Have you tried these recipes? Let us know!

There you have it, three delicious, ultralight backpacking recipes. Quick and easy to prepare, with minimal ingredients needed. Try them out and let us know what you think! Feel free to leave your own favorite backpacking recipes in the comments below.

Food Cooked On a Campsite



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