Healthy Backpacking Recipes You Can Dehydrate at Home

These dinner backpacking recipes are my favorite trail meals from the Appalachian Trail. The dried ingredients are healthy, and they taste great. Because the backpacking meals are dehydrated, they weigh a fraction of what fresh backpacking foods weigh, plus they won’t spoil on long hikes. They rehydrate on the trail as easily as store-bought freeze-dried backpacking meals, for a lot less money.

Take your time exploring this page. You'll find links to over 100 backpacking recipes.

Food Dehydrating Options for Backpacking Dinners:

  • Cook a big pot of chili or stew, dehydrate and divide into individual servings.
  • Dehydrate vegetables, meat and beans separately and assemble into meals.
  • Enhance store-bought boxed meals with additional dried meat and vegetables.
  • Create saucy backpacking meals by blending and dehydrating starchy foods like potatoes and beans into bark.
  • Dehydrate tomato sauce for Italian style meals.

Would you like to learn the basics of how to dehydrate backpacking food?

Plus, learn how to assemble dehydrated meats, vegetables, and starches into backpacking dinners?

Get started now with my

Free 50-page e-book

Home & Trail: An Introduction to Drying Food.

Chili & Stews

Beef & Bean Chili

Cook a big batch, dehydrate, and divide into meal size portions.This chili backpacking recipe is often mentioned by readers as one of their favorite backpacking dinners on the trail.

Root Bark Stew

Heat and eat for supper or munch out of the bag while hiking. This meal features yams, parsnips, turnips, and rutabaga with Moroccan spices and packs carbohydrates for energy.


This French summer vegetable stew combines eggplant, zucchini, peppers, onions, and tomatoes with garlic and herbs.

Assembled Backpacking Dinner Recipes

Dehydrate meats and vegetables separately, then combine with rice, noodles, or potatoes.

Macaroni and Cheese Recipes

Back to Nature® or Annie’s® Macaroni and Cheese with added meats and vegetables. Ham and Cheese, Kickin' Veggie and Taco Mac 'n Cheese.

Tuna Fish Casserole

Tuna with macaroni, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, and peppers in a white cheddar cheese sauce.

Ramen Noodles Recipes

Vegetarian Ramen Noodles, Ramen Noodles & Kraut, Cheese-O-Rama, Seafood Raminara, Spinach & Bean Raminara

Crab Chowder

Crab meat, a creamed sweet corn base, and celery, onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers.

Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp, grits, bell peppers, and onions.

Mexican Beef & Rice

Beef, beans, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and rice in a zesty cheddar cheese sauce with taco seasoning. Muy delisioso!

Hawaiian Shrimp & Rice

Dried pineapple and coconut add a touch of tropical sweetness to this backpacking meal.

Curry Chicken & Rice

Curry and chili powders combined with powdered milk give this backpacking recipe a Thai flavor.

Free Backpacking Recipes Delivered to Your Inbox Once a Month

Please send me free backpacking recipes!

Plus the free e-book, Home & Trail: An Introduction to Drying Food.

Backpacking Recipes to Make Better Trail Meals out of Boxed Products

Divide the box contents into smaller portions and combine with dehydrated vegetables and meat.

Spanish Rice

Zatarain’s® Spanish Rice with added ground beef and tomatoes

Red Beans and Rice

Zatarain’s® Red Beans and Rice with added vegetables

Couscous Recipe

Near East® Toasted Pine Nut Couscous with added meat and vegetables

Backpacking Recipes with Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce Leather Recipes

Give your backpacking meals an Italian flair with tomato sauce.

Learn how to make Tomato Sauce Leather.

Recipes: Unstuffed Peppers and Seafood Raminara.

Bark Recipes

Bark Recipes

Blend and dehydrate starchy vegetables into bark and use it to make flavorful, saucy backpacking meals such as Mashed Potatoes with Meat and Vegetables, Sweet Potatoes, Bean Bark Stew, Corn Bark Stew, and Pasta Bark Marinara.

Shared Backpacking Recipes

Best Shared Backpacking Recipes

Explore over 50 recipes shared by readers of

If you have a good one, there's a form for you to share it.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken shared by Squidbilly's Wife shown at right.

Find all of my backpacking recipes, including several not included on the website, nicely formatted in Recipes for Adventure.

The recipes include an additional serving size which is 50% larger for big appetites. The calories are listed for each recipe.

Most of the recipes have interchangeable ingredients so you can easily add tremendous variety to your backpacking menu by substituting chicken for beef, broccoli for mixed vegetables, etc.

Click the book cover at left for details.

From the Mailbag:

"My husband and I hiked the John Muir Trail during the month of September and before our trip I had purchased your cookbook so that I could prepare most of our dinners. I trusted your basic ingredients and straight-forward approach and prepared many of your dehydrated recipes. I had friends ask if I was going to taste test the meals first and I said no. My logic was that we would be so hungry that anything would be edible. Well, we were very hungry and it`s true that anything is edible but we looked so forward to having our "homemade" meals in the evening... they were so filling, healthy, and extremely tasty! Thank you so very much for sharing your knowledge and recipes." - Patty

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First dinner backpacking recipe: Beef & Bean Chili

Learn: How to Dehydrate Food

Don't have a dehydrator? Sources for Dried Foods

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