Just writing this makes me as overwhelmed as I feel when I begin meal prep for a backcountry adventure. Shoot, I don't even know what I want for lunch, much less what I'll be hungry for 60 miles from the nearest road two months from now. What will it be that gets me through, do I really need 4000 calories a day? Will I really be that hungry? Will I even take the time to cook that freeze dried chicken wrap when I still need to make 20 river miles by dark?  I can't even look at dried sausage anymore without thinking of the 14 links I ate 2 years ago for 7 days straight. Or even stomach a cliff bar after I thought pumpkin spice was the greatest flavor ever, just the smell alone now will have me hugging the toilet.  I now know that it is a mistake to bring identical meals for trips over 3 days. I know that food can be just as important to your mood as a stove is to cook it. I don't have the magic recipe but I do have a few that keeps my mood up and the belly full and is a hit around the camp at the end of a hard day.  So with all that said, here are a few of my all time favs.

Kayak Camper Fish Nuggets

2 Cup         Cornmeal and Cornmeal flour mixed 50/50

2 Tbls        Tony’s Cajun Seasoning 

1 -2 Tsp         Cayenne Pepper (less if you are running short on water)

Mix the above Ingredients and vacuum seal flat for packability. 

8 oz         Penut oil in plastic container (the used oil can aid in fire starting)

1 dz            Mustard Packets 

1 dz            Hot Sauce Packets  

1 dz            Ketchup Packets 

Pack above ingredients and packets in a Large 1 gallon zip lock bag. Place an extra Gallon Zip Lock inside or double bag it.

Riverside Meal Preparation

Catch a few fish 1-2 per person on the river a few hours before you are hungry, on a day that you are not pressed for time, or need to meet milage goals. Filet Fish on a river rock and cut into small bite size chunks and place in the extra zip lock bag that is holding all the sauce packets. Store fish nuggets inside the hull of your kayak out of direct heat and sun (should keep for a few hours.) Once at camp and everyones tummy's are growling. Set up your camp stove and pour oil into pan and begin heating oil. (be sure the surface is flat and that the stove will not tip and pour scalding hot oil on your friends or self.) Open fish nugget Zip Lock and Squeeze all the mustard and hot sauce packets onto the nuggets. Slosh around until evenly coated. In second zip lock pour in seasoned cornmeal mix. Add a few nuggets to the cornmeal mix and shake until nuggets are fully coated. Once coated cook 4-6 nuggets at a time in oil and repeat steps until all the fish is cooked. Ketchup is use for garnish. Remember pack out what you brought and that is including the used oil.

Chicken Noodle Soup

1/4 Cup         Freeze Dried noodle Pasta broken in 3rds 

2 Tbls        Freeze Dried Diced Carrots

2 Tbls        Freeze Dried Diced Celery 

2 Tbls        Peas

1 tsp        Dried thyme 

1             Bay leaf

2-3 Tbls        Granulated Chicken Bouillon             

pinch        Black Pepper

pinch        Salt

Mix the above Ingredients and vacuum seal for packability. 

Camp Side Preparation

I Use my jet boil on this one. Bring water to a rolling Boil. Add Pre packed Ingredients to a Boiling water be careful not to over flow. Turn off heat and seal using Jet boil lid and leave set 10-20 min. Smaller Jet boils may not have enough room so utilization of bigger pot and stove may be required. Freeze Dried Ingredients can be found at online retailers like PackitGourmet.com.  You can substitute The freeze dried pasta with dried Angle hair pasta, the celery with a tsp of Celery Salt and Leave out the salt carrots and peas and still have a really great soup. 

Bacon Cheese Grits

2 packets         instant grits 

1/2 Bag             Real Bacon bits or Bacon Jerky

1                        Wax covered Sharp Cheddar Cheese  (this will keep a few days in cool pack)

Sunrise prep

Boil enough water according to packaged grits instructions. In your serving boil,  place grits into bowl. Cut up cheese in to small chances and place on top of grits. Once water is boiling Pour over cheer into bowl and let stand until gritty are tender stirring a few times to help melt cheese. Once gritty are fully cooked ad bacon and serve.

Elk Camp Coffee

3 tbls         Instant Coffee Granules  

1                 Hot Chocolate Mix

2 cups        Hot Water

Mix all in large coffee mug and enjoy

The above are a few of my go to recipes that i pre make at home for a fraction of the cost as the big box store type. I hope you enjoy and i will try and post up a few more in the coming weeks. 


Daniel Underbrink