This year, we decided to celebrate the Fourth of July by backpacking through some of America the Beautiful’s purple mountain majesty. The kids have done a few backpacking trips with us, but this was our most ambitious one with kids yet. We went a total of 18 miles with a gain of 3500 feet over three days. It was amazingly beautiful, but also a lot of hard work. Since we write about food here, let’s talk about the food.

We used to be part of a dinner group where we had a bit of a reputation for going all out on the food. When we would host, one of our friends often would say “Merkets don’t cut corners” as we’d put on a Cafe Rio Style salad bar that started with homemade tortillas and ended with from scratch pico de gallo. It’s true, we gravitate towards homemade and sometimes get a bit extravagant. When it comes to backpacking though, we cut corners, as many corners as we can. I spent a lot of time creating our meal plan for this trip to find that balance of minimizing weight and maximizing tastiness and thought I would share. There are a few recipes coming for a few of the meals, so be on the lookout for those.

Day 1

Lunch – Summer sausage, crackers, and cheese. Plus, S’mores bars. The S’mores bars were a new recipe for us. Excitement was really high for these, but they didn’t taste as much like S’mores as everyone had hoped. They were good, but I personally wish we’d packed Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bites instead.

Dinner Burritos. Nice and filling and ready in 10 minutes.

Dessert Soft and chewy sugar cookies. I like to bake cookies at home and take them with us. They travel well and are better than store bought. We’ve also brought snickerdoodles and if we aren’t going somewhere really hot, these chocolate lover’s chocolate chip cookies.

Day Two

Breakfast – Oatmeal. You can buy oatmeal packets, but we like to make our own oatmeal packets. The process is really easy and I think more delicious as well as filling.

Lunch – Fritos and bean dip. It really doesn’t get any easier than that. Salt is really good for the body when you’re working hard and sweating a lot so we always like to have some salty snacks. We also had the world’s easiest trail mix. I bought one of those shareable bags of peanut butter M&Ms and poured about 1/2 C of cashews and 1/2 C of peanuts into it.

Dinner – We saved our lightest and easiest dinner for last. We ate freeze dried Sweet and Sour Chicken. It was really tasty, but I made the big mistake of not reading the label and this particular meal had a lot of sucrose which doesn’t sit well with one of our family member’s tummies. There are a ton of options for freeze dried meals out there. (One of our favorites is Backpacker’s Pantry Pasta Primavera.)

Day 3

Breakfast Tortillas+freeze-dried breakfast skillet + colby jack string cheese = Backpacking Breakfast Burritos. Easy-peasy and so filling. Plus hot cocoa (store bought packets).

Lunch – Snacks and anything leftover from previous lunches. We had packed stinger waffles, stinger chews (including some with caffeine that we doled out on an as need basis), fig bars, and gardettos. I was going to include some savory spiced nuts, but that was one of the corners that needed to be cut due to running out of time.

Are you a fan of backpacking? What meals do you like to pack?

Written by Audrey

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