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.
Available as an e-book (PDF download) or Print Edition (Paperback).
In my monthly newsletter, Trail Bytes, I write about dehydrating food for the trail. Each issue features a backpacking recipe and a food-drying project. After 100 issues, a collection of that work is presented here in Recipes for Adventure II: The Best of Trail Bytes.
Now that BackpackingChef.com and Trail Bytes are viewed by an international audience, the book has metric equivalents for weight, volume, and temperature. You’ll still see the usual cups and tablespoons, but now you can also see measurements in grams and milliliters and temperatures in Fahrenheit and Celsius.
Cooking directions show how to rehydrate meals in a thermos food jar as well as in a pot. Thermos cooking lets you prepare dehydrated meals in advance—for work, travel, and trail. Meals rehydrate better with longer soak times. A thermos holds its temperature for hours, whether you’re rehydrating a stew with boiled water or a macaroni, quinoa, or couscous salad with cold water.
Chapter One wakes up the breakfast category with Omelet Bites, Overnight Muesli, Tortilla Grits Bowls, and Pancake Bites. For something hot and creamy, try the Cream of Pancakes topped with pecan pieces. Omelet Bites incorporate grated potatoes, which ensures that the eggs will rehydrate well.
Chapter Two features the all-new soup category, including techniques for turning dehydrated meals into soup. It’s a good practice to use up dehydrated food when the hiking season is over; making soup is an easy way to do it. The chapter has several delicious soup recipes, including a super-healthy vegetable-soup powder that can be used as the base for creating unlimited soups by adding dehydrated meat, tofu, vegetables, starches, or beans. A hearty fish chowder recipe rounds out the collection.
Chapter Three covers how to dehydrate tofu. With one simple step, the problem of tofu not rehydrating well is solved. Tofu absorbs flavors well, which carry over to dehydrated meals. Learn how to precook tofu with vegetable, curry, and taco seasonings. You don’t have to be vegetarian to enjoy Spicy-Tofu Tortillas, Tofu Noodles with Vegetables & Rice, and Curry Tofu & Vegetables.
Chapter Four shows how to dehydrate beans, lentils, and quinoa. Recipes include 3 Sisters Stew, Green-Lentil Chili, Inca Stew, Red-Lentil Curry, Green Lentil Stew, and Zucchini Ratatouille. Since sweet potatoes go well with these meals, there are also instructions for dehydrating baked sweet potatoes.
Where’s the beef? It’s in Chapter Five with chicken, shrimp, surimi, and Canadian bacon. In Recipes for Adventure, the breadcrumb trick was introduced as the best way to dehydrate ground beef that rehydrates well. Now there’s a gluten-free method, plus a seasoning trick that makes ground beef taste like sausage. You’ll also find instructions for making and dehydrating meatloaf and meatballs.
Dried chicken has always been tough to rehydrate. Dehydrating canned chicken is one solution, but new methods are presented for drying pressure-cooked chicken and drying ground chicken and turkey.
Chapter Six focuses on potatoes. Potato bark can take a bit of spirited stirring to rehydrate back into mashed potatoes. It also has a reputation for puncturing vacuum-sealed bags. Learn how to turn potato bark into potato powder that rehydrates almost instantly. For more texture in meals, try dehydrating grated potatoes. Recipes include Grated Potatoes with Sauerkraut and Ham, Grated Potatoes with Vegetables and Beef, and Grated Potatoes & Chili.
Chapter Seven explores cooking and dehydrating barley. Meals with barley are a nice change from rice. Recipes include Barley Risotto and Beef & Barley with Fennel, plus how to turn these meals into soups.
Chapter Eight shows how to dry macaroni and homemade tomato sauce. The sauce is ground into tomato-sauce powder. The chapter includes instructions for dehydrating Italian-seasoned San Marzano tomatoes and olives. Those items are used in meals like Beefy Macaroni & Tomato Sauce, as well as in cold-soak salads.
Looking for no-cook backpacking meals? Chapter Nine covers cold-soak salad recipes, including Tuna & Macaroni San Marzano, Couscous Salad with Cucumber-Salsa Dressing, Quinoa & Bean Cilantro Salad, Shrimp Cocktail Tortillas, Sushi Rice Bowl Salad, and Peach Salsa Rice Salad.
Memorable backpacking meals deserve a special dessert—because you’re special, and you deserve it. There are plenty of ways to create them in Chapter Ten: Baked Pumpkin-Spice Apples, Grated Apples with Lemon Juice, Tortilla Fruit Tarts, Peach Granola Clusters, Hot Peach Crumble, Watermelon Treats, Banana Pudding, Blueberry-Apple Fruit Leather & Pudding, and Baked Sweet Potato Pudding with Glazed Pecan Sauce. You might want to start with this chapter first.
Chapter Eleven wraps up the book with tips for drying, storing, and packing food. You’ll find tips to reduce the problem of vacuum-sealed bags losing their seals due to contact with the sharp edges of dried foods. With proper handling, the meals you take to the trail will reward you with great taste, appearance, and nutrition.
Thank you to everyone who has purchased the Recipes for Adventure books and to the readers of Trail Bytes. Your encouraging words to “keep up the good work” made this project possible.
“Thank you so much. I’m enjoying reading Recipes for Adventure II and being amazed by your creativity. Now I know why some of my dehydrated items just didn’t work well. I love the preparation of dehydrating food. It makes me even more excited for hiking and backpacking.” –Anna
“I bought this as soon as I saw it. Thank you for the inspiration! Keep putting one foot in front of the other.” –John
“Most impressive with many refinements which will make food taste better. Thanks so much for the metric measurements. Here in South Australia our cookbooks always use metric.” –Bob
“Thanks so much for sharing your Trail Bytes recipes with the rest of us. I am a Boy Scout Scoutmaster, and I’m also a Cooking Merit Badge Counselor. Trail cooking is my new passion, and I want to share with as many scouts as I can. We went on an over-night backpack trip in the fall last year. We expanded your mac and cheese recipes by making the cook-ahead dried macaroni, dehydrated pasta sauce, and your dehydrated cooked hamburger with bread crumbs. We also make the pumpkin bark and mixed with instant vanilla pudding for a dreamy desert.
I have learned a lot reading your website. I feel a lot more confident on helping the scouts make trail cooking so much more than buying those store-bought meals. I’m really curious about your new Omelet Bite recipes, as I get tired of oatmeal. Keep sharing, because I will keep reading.” –Julie
“Your book gave me the courage to branch out on my own to try a few recipes. Keep up the good work. We love what you do! –Brittany
“Thanks for the new Recipes for Adventure II. I've ordered it as I have all of your resources.” –Stephen
“I so enjoy your website and the education you give to us backpackers. I have told other backpackers about your site, and I have encouraged them to make their own food and stop buying those sodium-laden, expensive meals in a bag.”
“We recently used your sushi rice bowl recipe on a 7 day trip and were very happy with the results. It was very refreshing to have something cool in the heat.” -Dan
"Love, love, love the new Recipes for Adventure II! Already have made a bunch of recipes. Thanks so much for all of the wisdom and great food." -Jan