The first time I backpacked was in Baja Arizona’s unforgiving Galiuro Mountains. My inexperienced frame carried 45 pounds for 10 days. Prior to departing, my expert companion taught me to pack my top-of-the-line gear lightly and modularly, but the trip tested my fortitude and emotional well-being. Sometime in the heat of the Day Three, while arguing about topographical map navigation and gnats and the demerits of canyoneering, I came to resent every rocky step.
Except the sacred sunset dinners at the tent. Those kept me from turning back to the trailhead. The promise of the reward of those meals kept me buoyant under my pack’s weight, and eventually sparked my love of backpacking. Today, regardless of whether I carry 45 pounds for 10 days, 18 pounds for three days, or if I “glamp” (“glamor camp”) for a night from an ice chest with a campfire and running water at a developed site, food prepared under starlight tastes better than any coming out of a restaurant or home kitchen.
Here are some health-conscious recipes to encourage that first trek or spice up the 50th. Each serves one hungry adult, though measurements are somewhat inexact. Access to dishes, potable water, and at least a backpacking stove are required. Pack dry ingredients in organized Ziploc bags and roll to remove excess air and save space in your pack.