Successful backcountry cooking ranges depending upon the style of the chef, but there are a few items that will universally make your scenic dining more enjoyable. Whether you’re a flash boil bag fan or you like to make elaborate meals from scratch, we’re here to offer you a few simple solutions that will improve any meal.

  1. Spices – While this may seem like the obvious answer, a well put together spice rack is a must have no matter what you’re eating. There’s a short list of spices that can be carried to help improve the taste and quality of any meal. Whether your meal comes spiced, or you need to boost Here’s the breakdown:
    1. Garlic Powder
    2. Curry
    3. Cayenne Pepper
    4. Salt & Pepper (duh)
    5. Oregano
    6. Basil
    7. All Spice Mix (Mrs. Dash, Lawry’s, McCormick, etc.)
    8. Brown Sugar/Honey
  2. Sample Spice Kit and Oil Bottles
    Sample Spice Kit and Oil Bottles

    Oil & Vinegar – The addition of a tiny bottle of oil and/or vinegar can make a huge difference. They make a great flavorful addition to any meal, especially when frying, and can sweeten meals to your liking. Caramelize onions, fry fish, make desserts, or craft tasty sauces, a tiny bottle of olive or vegetable oil and a tiny bottle of white vinegar can really boost the flavor of any meal. Generally, I carry 2oz-3oz squeeze bottles. Be sure to get one with a good lid and double bag it in your pack in case of any leakage.

  3. Plastic Bowl w/ Lid
    Plastic Bowl w/ Lid

    Bowl w/ Lid – Rather than your standard mess-kit style bowl, bring a bowl with a screw on lid or a Tupperware with an attachable lid. Ditch the weight and carry something a little more heavy duty. The bowl/lid combination makes cleaning easier with the hot-water-shake method (add hot water and then shake), but it also opens up the door for leftovers! Rather than sticking with the standard dry cracker/cheese/tuna/Cliff Bar lunch, don’t be afraid to throw your leftover dinner into your closable bowl and eating it for lunch the next day. This is great for soups, pastas, rehydrating bags, and casseroles.

  4. Cholula Hot Sauce - Only the Best
    Cholula Hot Sauce – Only the Best

    Liquid Sauces – whatever you do, DON’T FORGET THE HOTSAUCE. But don’t stop there, generally I like to pack a tiny bottle of soy or teriyaki sauce as well. Whether you pour a little Cholula on your cheese sandwich for lunch, or add some teriyaki to your ramen dinner, the benefit of little sauce bottles is huge. Don’t forget to double bag them to prevent leaks!

  5. hobo-dinner
    A Classic Hobo Dinner – Meat and Potatos

    Aluminum Foil – You don’t need a lot, but a couple of pre-torn aluminum sheets can be a huge benefit in the backcountry. Whether you’re trying to improve your tan (jokes!) or looking to craft the perfect meal, aluminum foil can do it all. Throw your fresh caught fish in with some onions and carrots, wrap in foil and toss them on the coals for the perfect hobo dinners. Use foil to prevent unnecessary heat exchange when letting something sit or cool. Remember, pre-cut pieces is what you want, no need to bring the entire roll.

  6. Scraping Tool for Cleaning
    Scraping Tool for Cleaning

    Scraping Tool – I love to carry a scraping tool for cleaning. Whether it’s the scratchy part of a sponge, or the top of a hard spatula (my preference), having something that is handy and easy to clean with is a great addition to the end of the night. No need to lick your pots out of leftover food, just use your scraper to scrub it all off and then wipe it in the garbage bag.

Use these quick tricks to help improve your backcountry cooking. Whether backpacking, hiking, kayaking or car camping, there’s nothing better than a good meal. Have great success with your favorite camping accessories.

Happy Trails!

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