Backpacking Wacky


This past weekend Tim and I headed down to the southern Oregon coast to go backpacking. Despite crazy heat and mosquito posses, it was an absolutely gorgeous area. We saw tiny frogs, snails, birds, lizards, snakes, leopard slugs and so many (think dozens of varieties) colorful wildflowers blooming on hillsides. We even got to jump and swim around in two cold rivers as a reward for enduring the toasty sunshine each day. And, we had complete solitude the entire time – we didn’t see any other people until we were about a mile from the end of the trail. A perfect escape from the city.

Oftentimes, people think of dehydrated packaged meals as the staples for backpacking fare. Tim and I discovered years ago that a little creativity and fresh veggies and ingredients make for much more exciting meals on the trail. While this option might make our packs a bit heavier, we eat tastier, healthier meals! I was too lazy to photograph our lunches but we snacked on homemade bagels (recipe from the kickin’ sweet Vegan Brunch) smeared with peanut butter and bananas we dehydrated a few days earlier. We also had homemade cajun tofu jerky, carrot sticks, pumpkin seeds, and a medley of other dried fruits we made. Here are some photos from our trip, starting with meals.

Soba Noodle Curry

A simple soba noodle curry – We brought along small plastic bottles of coconut milk and a spicy peanut curry sauce to pour over soba noodles (broken in half) and sauteed mushrooms, red bell pepper and broccoli. The meal was then topped with sesame seeds and some toasted coconut. It was delicious.

Of course you can’t have dinner without dessert, right? Right. When Tim and I backpacked around New Zealand in 2000, we brought along an Outback Oven. It’s basically a convection-style oven that you can use with a backpacking stove. It is small, fairly lightweight, and portable. We don’t always use the outback oven, but some of our favorite foods have been enjoyed on the trail when we do bring it along (think cinnamon rolls, pizza, scones…). For this trip, we made a chocolate wacky cake. My favorite recipe is from a Mollie Katzen children’s cookbook. We simply quartered the recipe, packed the dry ingredients in a ziplock, and the wet ingredients in a small bottle. Everything mixed up nicely in the pan and baked in about 15 minutes. We used some addictively yummy chocolate agave packets as a frosting (see photo of packets below).

Wacky Cake!

Wacky cake with about 5 minutes of baking time left.

Chocolate Agave 2

This stuff is so incredibly yummy. I admit to eating a packet straight up by itself. That’s right, you would too.

Next up:

Brekkie Couscous

Breakfast Couscous – Whole wheat couscous, powdered soy milk mixed with water, our own dried strawberries, pecans, agave, and cinnamon. Super quick and simple!

And now some photos from our mini vacation:








Cape Blanco 1.3

I am pretty sure I could do this every weekend…

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21 thoughts on “Backpacking Wacky

  1. What a beautiful landscape.Your pictures are gorgeous! I never went backpacking (I know!) but if I do this sometime, I’ll make sure to reread this post! You definitely had me when you said cake.

  2. ohhhhhh WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! all the photos are amazing, Amy! i love the landscape – and the picture of you & Tim is super fun! i love it the most! you guys had some rock’n eatz on your hike – mmmmmmmmmm! i especially love that you made wacky cake! superw00t! i also love that it was just you two on the trails – how awesome is that?!?!

  3. You two are so adorable! I think you’re an all-star couple for sure! I love how creative you are about the food you eat when you’re on the trail – I think it’s a real testiment to how creative you two must be in the kitchen at home…and thank you for sharing those amazing pics!

  4. Wow you eat better on the trail than I do in my own home! Very inspiring post, thanks! I’ve never thought to make a cake on a camping stove but that’s awesome!

  5. I am impressed that you made such yummy food while backpacking. If that was me, I’d be living off raw fruits and veggies and trail mix.

    Your pictures are beautiful!

  6. how amazingly beautiful! i’ve never been to oregon but i really want to go. your trail food sounds amazing. does all this stuff last overnight or over several days? because that would be amazing. you could start a trail food revolution!

  7. beautiful pictures!!

    I’m impressed with the food you cooked when camping! The curry looks especially good.

    I really like the sound of chocolate agave!!

  8. You guys are just too awesome! Those meals look amazing, and I can’t believe you baked a freakin’ cake on a hiking trip. I went on a 3-day hiking trip in college and subsisted on dehydrated reheated military-issued vegetable packs (it was an ROTC class). Icky! But all that stuff looks soooooo good.

  9. How I would love to backpack there! Your soba meal is incredible. I’m with you on the little extra weight for the more delicious and nutritious meal. Beautiful photos!

  10. What a beautiful hike! Thank you very much for sharing your trail food choices. As you mention, the typical thing to do is grab a stack of granola bars or some similar boring food, and munch on those for a day or two.

    Your solution is much better and still practical!

  11. Okay, now where is this trail?! Beautiful. And you can be my personal cook the next time I go hiking, okay? Yum! I’ve never heard of those convection ovens before. Nature + cake = love!

  12. i just had a flashback of an intense sunburn i aquired on the oregon coast a few years back….i just remember having to sleep on my stomach b/c my legs were so swollen from the burn!
    has the temp dropped out there? we just got our first burst of summer this week.

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