5 Dinner Recipes For The Trail

Here are five of our favourite backpacking dinner recipes. We’ve cooked these meals many times in our own adventures in different trails. They are so simple and delicious; we never get tired of them!

Almost all of the recipes we’ve gathered can be made in one pot and with ingredients that can be easily find on hypermarket shelves. Check them out!

1. Polenta Tirolese

  1. * Serves 1 * Easy * 20min * Pot+Pan * 134g (4.41oz) * 584kcal *

polenta tirolese, backpacking dinners, 5 dinner recipes for the trail

You’ll need:
2 tablespoons
full cream milk powder (Nestle Nido)
1/4 chicken bouillon cube, crushed
2 tablespoons instant polenta
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon ghee
1 small shallot, chopped
3 slices shelf-stable smoked bacon, chopped

At home:
Combine milk powder, bouillon cube and instant polenta in a small-sized zip-lock freezer bag. Pack remaining ingredients separately.

On the trail:
For polenta:
Bring to a boil 1 cup water in a pot.
Stream in the polenta mixture, whisking continuously.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring, until smooth and thick. Remove from the heat, stir in Parmesan, cover and set aside.

For topping:
Melt the ghee in a frying pan; add onion and bacon.
Cook together until shallot is soft; then remove from the heat.
Toss bacon grease with onions over cheesy polenta.

2. Tuna Curry With Rice

* Serves 1 * Easy * 20min * Pot * 150g (5.3oz) * 513kcal *

tuna curry, backpacking meals, backpacking recipes

You’ll need:
1 tablespoon
1 small shallot, diced
1 tablespoon yellow curry paste (or 1 teaspoon mild curry powder)
4 tablespoons coconut milk powder
1/3 cup quick-cooking rice
Salt to taste
1 can/pouch (about 75g/2.5oz) tuna chunks in water, drained

On the trail:
Melt the ghee in a pot, add onions and cook until onions are soft and translucent.
Meanwhile, mix coconut milk powder with 1 cup water.
Pour rice and coconut milk into a pot; bring to boil.
Stir in curry paste (or curry powder) and heat for another minute together to release the aroma.
Season to taste and simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is done and almost all liquid is absorbed.
Remove from the heat; mix in tuna pieces and serve.

3. Honolulu Curry

* Serves 1 * Super Easy * 20min * Pot * 102g (3.60oz) * 607kcal *

honolulu curry, dehydrated backpacking meals, backpacking recipes, 5 dinner recipes for the trail

You’ll need:
1/3 cup
 dehydrated basmati rice
2 tablespoons dehydrated shrimp
2 tablespoons  dried pineapples, chopped
1 teaspoon mild curry powder
2 tablespoons  coconut milk powder

At home:
Mix all the ingredients in a medium-sized zip-lock freezer bag.

On the trail:
Pour dry curry mixture into the pot; add 1 cup water.
Place pot over medium heat and bring to the boil.
Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes; then remove from the heat and let stand covered for another 5 minutes to rehydrate meal completely.

4. Smoked Sausage Jambalaya

* Serves 1 * Easy * 20 min * Pot * 179g (6.31oz) * 569kcal *

jambalaya, backpacking dinner recipes

You’ll need:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small shallot, diced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 handful (about 50g/1.76oz) smoked sausages, sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons canned pimentos, drained and sliced (or red bell peppers)
1/3 cup quick-cooking rice

On the trail:
Heat the olive oil in a pot, add onions and garlic; cook until onions are soft.
Add sausages and sauté until browned.
Stir in tomato paste, Cajun spice mixture and pimentos. Cook for another 1–2 minutes, and then pour in rice and 2/3 cup water.
Bring to a boil. Season with salt and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is done and almost all liquid is absorbed.

5. Orzo Al Pesto

* Serves 1 * Easy * 15 min * Pot * 119g (4.20oz) * 446kcal *

orzo al pesto, backpacking dinner ideas, backpacking meals, dinner recipes for the trail

You’ll need:
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup pasta orzo
1 tablespoon pesto sauce
2 tablespoons  grated Parmesan cheese

At home:
Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
Add pine nuts and cook 3 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat and leave to cool.
Pack all the ingredients separately.

On the trail:
Bring 2 cups water to a boil; add a pinch of salt.
Pour pasta into boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally for 7–9 minutes.
Remove from heat and drain well.
Blend in pesto sauce and nuts; sprinkle with Parmesan.

Related posts:

5 Delicious Backpacking Breakfast Recipes To Try On Your Next Trip
Winter Hiking Food Must-Haves
5 Speedy Backpacking Meals


  1. nico on July 29, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    Next week I will start a one month bicycle tour in Danmark, Norway and Sweden. I want to try some of your great recipes. On my way I will use my mobile for the recipes, but do you have a recommendation which are the five most important seasoning I need? Which are the most used? 😉
    Thanks in advance and best regards from Germany!

    • Tanya Krezevska on July 30, 2016 at 10:54 am

      Wow! I’m jealous and can’t wait my trip to Sarek. The seasonings I usually take to my trips to Scandinavia are: salt, pepper, sugar, fish seasonings, chili and thyme. With this basic seasoning you will be able to cook sweet or savoury dishes from natural treasures that Nordic summer gives you: fish, berries and mushrooms. Have a nice an unforgettable trip!

      • nico on July 31, 2016 at 1:44 am

        Hei! Great! Thank you… 🙂
        Have a nice trip in the sarek, too! 🙂


  2. Mark on April 10, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Very good post:-). Best regards!

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