DIY Backpacking Food: Grab a spoon and let's get started!

Do you want to eat the best backpacking food on the trail?

Forget expensive freeze-dried backpacking meals that require a magnifying glass to find the vegetables. Go for healthy, hearty, and homemade backpacking food you can dehydrate at home.

Welcome to Backpacking Chef, an entire website devoted to helping you make light-weight, nutritious backpacking meals.

Learn how to dehydrate food from A to Z, while exploring over 100 trail-tested backpacking recipes for dinners, lunches, breakfasts, desserts, and snacks.

Chef Glenn cooking backpacking food.

Greetings. Chef Glenn here.

Imagine sitting by a peaceful campfire after a beautiful hike in the forest. Wouldn't it be nice to savor the last moments of the day with a pot of homemade shrimp linguine?

That's what I thought.

When I started backpacking along the Appalachian Trail, I developed a complete menu of healthy backpacking recipes. In addition to tasting great, the trail meals packed light, kept well, and were easy to cook with a small backpacking pot and stove.

Backpacking foods on the menu include chili, unstuffed peppers, risotto, ratatouille, taco mac & cheese, and pumpkin pie pudding.

There's a good selection of vegetarian/vegan backpacking meals, and several recipes for cold-soak salads that are refreshing and convenient to prepare for lunch.

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If you're ready to start making the best backpacking food you will ever taste...

Pick a topic and let's get started!

Navigation: If you are exploring the site on a pc, the main topics are listed in the navigation column on the left. If you are viewing on a cell phone, click the red menu button at the top of any page to pull down the menu.

The main topics provide a lot of information and serve as mini table of contents to many more pages of backpacking food recipes and dehydration techniques. At the bottom of every page are a few navigational choices to continue on to the next recipe or go back to the table of contents for the topic you are reading.

I've also linked to the main topics below with a brief introduction.

Dehydrating Backpacking Food

Dehydrating food substantially reduces pack weight and preserves the food.

Learn how to dehydrate backpacking food including vegetables, meat, beans, fruit, sauces, and starches.

Check out the sweet potato bark backpacking recipe, a favorite trail snack that can be eaten dry or rehydrated into pudding.

Quick Links to Learn about Drying Food

Dehydrating Food Table of Contents

Backpacking Recipes

Explore new backpacking recipes

Find 100+ breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and dessert recipes. Learn how to assemble dehydrated meats, vegetables, and starches into a great variety of delicious backpacking meals. There are also recipes for dehydrating whole meals.

Photos of every recipe are included with exact quantities for each ingredient, packing instructions, and how to rehydrate and prepare the meals on the trail with minimal effort and fuel.

Backpacking Recipe Books by Chef Glenn

Recipes for Adventure II: The Best of Trail Bytes

My new cookbook features the best backpacking recipes and food dehydrating techniques collected from over 100 issues of Trail Bytes, plus new topics that will make your backpacking meals as memorable as your adventures.

Buy the book

Recipes for Adventure: Healthy, Hearty & Homemade Backpacking Recipes

If you like what you find on the website, you will love my cookbook, Recipes for Adventure. It covers everything from the website plus more recipes and dehydrating techniques. Nicely formatted with hundreds of photos, it is available as a PDF download for computer viewing or as a full-color printed edition.

Buy the book

The Ultimate Guide to Dehydrating Food for the Trail

Customer Reviews:

"This cookbook is exactly what I needed to prepare for our first backpacking trip. Chef Glenn provides you with great tips, basic instructions, and helpful hints to make DELICIOUS meals for the trail. Chef Glenn has taken all the guess work out of preparing foods and makes it SIMPLE for anyone to use. If you spend some time with this cookbook you will be thrilled with what can be made, dehydrated, packed, and then re-hydrated and enjoyed on the trail. You will be glad you have this cookbook after trying the first meal you make! Side note: I tell everyone about this cool cookbook and my sister in law bought one for her and her daughter. Bon Appetit!"

"My girlfriend and I used tips and recipes in this book to feed ourselves two meals each day as we hiked the Appalachian Trail for five months in 2015. The book was very helpful and our meals were envied by most other hikers we encountered. We met several other hikers who also used this book and dehydrated all of their meals for the AT."

Menu Planning & Food Drying Workbook

Use the workbook to plan your menus and estimate how much food to purchase and dry.

It's a great tool to go with Recipes for Adventure.

Buy the workbook

Recipes for Adventure Action Guide

A Step-by-step Action Guide to put together 31 dehydrated meals.

Includes the shopping list, drying instructions, meal assembly, cooking directions, and packing.

"When you keep a supply of dehydrated meals on hand – for adventure, work, and travel – you’re automatically prepared for emergencies."

Buy the Action Guide

1001 Miles on the Appalachian Trail

Join me on an Appalachian Trail adventure from Georgia through West Virginia. The journal covers 1001 miles of rugged footpath, inspirational mountaintops, and unbounded nature.

"Received your book yesterday and just finished. Congratulations on such a wonderfully written book. It is a beautiful love story between you, Dominique, and nature." - Annette

Available in paperback or download. Free download when purchased with any other book.

Home & Trail: An Introduction to Drying Food

Get my free e-book with your subscription to Trail Bytes!

Receive one inspiring article per month with new backpacking food recipes and food dehydrating guidance.

Subscribe. It's free.

I'll send you a new article each month with backpacking food recipes, food dehydration tips, and trail cooking techniques.

You will also receive my 50-page e-book, Home & Trail: An Introduction to Drying Food.

"Chef Glen, There's no better time than now for the information on dehydrating food and the backpacking recipes in your newsletter. A very big thank you, keep up the great work and stay safe". -Ray

Click to Subscribe

Storing & Packing Backpacking Food

How to pack and store backpacking food.

The longer the trip, the better it is to keep backpacking food well-organized and air and water-tight, so that it keeps well.

I pack my food into daily rations, which I vacuum seal. Breakfast, lunch, supper, dessert and snacks all go into one vacuum sealed bag.

Trail Cooking

How to cook dehydrated backpacking meals

Just about any backpacking pot and stove will work to heat and rehydrate the meals. With dehydrated meals, there’s no need to rush the boil with a high-powered stove. All you need to do is reach a boil, and hold it for a minute or two. I’ll show you how to cook backpacking food efficiently with the simplest of alcohol stoves, and how to heat up sides and desserts with three tea light candles.

Question? Ask the Chef

Contact: If you have questions or comments after exploring the website, feel free to contact Chef Glenn.

Share this page with friends on social media.

Recipes for Adventure II: The Best of Trail Bytes

Recipes for Adventure - Healthy, Hearty & Homemade Backpacking Recipes

Action Guide: Dehydrating 31 Meals

Free e-books:

1001 Miles on the Appalachian Trail

Free with any book purchase. Shop Now

Home & Trail: An Introduction to Drying Food

Free with newsletter subscription.

From the mailbag:

“Thank you for all the work that goes into these great backpacking recipes and hints. We have used many of the recipes in preparing food for my son’s hike on the Appalachian Trail. He leaves next Saturday from Georgia and will likely be packing some of the best backpacking food on the trail thanks to you sharing your work.” – Carrie