At present we are on a 90 mile hike across the Yorkshire Dales in the UK. When on a multi-day camping trip we aim to keep our packs as lightweight as possible and to be as self sufficient as the resources allow. This includes taking all of the food we will need for the entire trip. Since being diagnosed with celiac disease and additional food allergies, sourcing food and creating meals which are suited to lightweight backpacking has been a challenging process.
All of the food we take must comply with our dietary needs, and be free from the following:
- Lactose / Dairy products
- All food must also be Low FODMAP, compatible with fructose malabsorption.
As well as meeting all of the dietary requirements, the meals must also meet our backpacking objectives:
- One bag one meal for two people
- One meal can be cooked in one pot
- Quick to cook
- Easy to cook
- Taste good
- Lightweight packaging/trash remains
- Pot and dishes are easy to clean after cooking and eating
In order to reduce the amount of preparation and general faff on the trail, we vacuum pack all of the components comprising one meal for two people. This saves on space in the backpack, reduces pack out waste and means that when its dark and raining everything needed to make a meal is in one packet.
Camping Cooking Kit
All of our meals are cooked using the following kit:
- Primus ETA Pac Lite Stove
- MSR folding spoon
- MSR pot cleaner
- Titanium sporks
Gluten Free Camping Meals
Our dietary requirements combined with our backpacking objectives and the limited cooking equipment quickly reduces the number of food and meal options available to us. The food and meals we currently take, have been arrived at through trial and error. Below are some of the foods and meals we are currently eating in a little tent somewhere in the Yorkshire Dales.
Gluten Free Breakfast
For the last few trips we have made porridge every morning for breakfast. However we found this time consuming given the cooking and washing time. This trip we have replaced porridge with home made oat bars.
- Porridge with maple syrup and / or freeze dried fruit pieces
- Home made oat bars, with banana and maple syrup
Gluten Free Snacks and Lunch
For lunch we like to have a variety of smaller servings of food, which don’t require any preparation. This allows us to mix and match foods, and provides us with flexibility to stop at the best view points.
- Trail mix; mixed nuts, dried berries, banana chips and pieces of chocolate
- Cured dried meats
- Seed bars
Gluten Free Dinner
- Quinoa with dehydrated vegetables, fish, chorizo or freeze dried chicken
- Rice with dehydrated vegetables, fish, chorizo or freeze dried chicken
- Freeze dried mashed potato with dehydrated vegetables, fish, chorizo or freeze dried chicken
- Spices, herbs and seasonings
- Home made chocolate and pecan brownie (best in the world!)
Evening meals are normally prepared once we have set up camp. All of the meals are quick to prepare with minimal fuss. Quinoa and freeze dried mashed potato are quick to cook and easy to add flavour, so meals tend to alternate between these with different protein additions. I sometimes pack rice, but it is heavy and slow to cook. The after dinner brownie is an important addition to our days food. It not only offers energy and tastes amazing, but it also acts as a vital morale boost. All too frequently on long distance hikes in the UK it will be freezing cold and rain constantly, this persistent barrage of weather can seriously lower enjoyment levels. I have found that a tasty treat at the end of a long days hiking will boost morale and help you to remember why you’re doing this.
I’m always on the look out for new backpacking meal ideas. What are your favourite backpacking meals?