1,000 Calorie One-Pot Backpacking Meal Recipes (2024)

15K Shares

Looking for some new food ideas for your next backpacking trip? Here are ten of my favorite high-calorie, lightweight backpacking meal recipes. Each meal includes an entree, hot drink and dessert, provides at least 1,000 calories, takes less than 15 minutes to prepare, and most of the ingredients can be found in regular grocery stores. They are inexpensive (around $5 each) and I think they taste pretty darn good. Give em a try and let me know what you think.

Ultralight Backpacking Cooking Utensils

All you need to make these simple meals is: a stove, a pot, a cup, a spoon and a pot cozy.

1,000 Calorie One-Pot Backpacking Meal Recipes (1)

Here are the lightweight utensils I use:

Snowpeak LiteMax Stove (2 oz)
Evernew Titanium 900ml Pot (4.9 oz)
Evernew Titanium 400ml Cup (1.8 oz)
Light My Fire Spork (0.3 oz)
Home-made Pot Cozy (2 oz)

Total Weight: 11 oz

Monster Mac & Cheese

Calories: 1660, Dry Weight: 16.2 oz (103 cals/oz), Protein: 73g, Carbs: 225g, Fat: 52g
Mac & Cheese Entree (12 oz, 1140 cal), Hot Cocoa (1.2 oz, 145 cal), Cookies (3 oz, 375 cal)

1,000 Calorie One-Pot Backpacking Meal Recipes (2)

This is the granddaddy of hungry thru-hiker meals. It’s cheap, easy to cook, packed full of calories and you can find most of the fixins in convenience stores and gas stations wherever you travel. This is my go-to meal after a long day on the trail when I’m craving comfort food.

Ingredients:

1 box
2.6 oz Foil Pouch Tuna (or other shelf-stable meat product)
1 Cheese Stick (cubed)
1 tbsp Whole Milk Powder
1 tbsp Grated Parmesan
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Seasoning: Black Pepper, Onion Powder, Italian Seasoning (optional)
Water: 3 cups (24 fl oz)
Hot Drink: 1 pk Hot Cocoa Mix
Dessert: 2 Grandma’s Cookies

Directions:

Bring 3 cups water to boil in pot. Pour 1 cup hot water into mug for cocoa, then return pot to flame. Add macaroni and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover pot with lid and transfer to cozy for 5 minutes, or until noodles are cooked and water is mostly absorbed. Add olive oil, cheese, cheese powder, milk powder, tuna and a splash of water and stir to mix. Season with pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning. Top with grated Parmesan.

Parmesan Chicken Couscous

Calories: 1260, Dry Weight: 13.6 oz (92 cals/oz), Protein: 50g, Carbs: 182g, Fat: 37g
Couscous Entree (9.9 oz, 870 cal), Coffee w/ Creamer (0.5 oz, 60 cal), Cupcakes (3.2 oz, 330 cal)

1,000 Calorie One-Pot Backpacking Meal Recipes (3)

This is one of the quickest and easiest backpacking meals to make. Couscous requires no simmering, just add boiling water and let it sit for a few minutes in your pot cozy. I make this meal whenever I’m tired and hungry, don’t feel like cooking and need food in the belly ASAP.

Ingredients:

1 box Near East Couscous (Herbed Chicken)
1/2 pouch (3.5 oz) Foil Pouch Chicken (or Tuna)
1 tbsp Grated Parmesan
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Water: 2 1/4 cups (18 fl oz)
Hot Drink: 1 pk Instant Coffee w/ 4 tsp Powdered Creamer
Dessert: 2 Hostess Cupcakes

Directions:

Bring 2 1/4 cups water to boil in pot. Pour 1 cup hot water into mug for coffee, then transfer pot to cozy. Add olive oil, seasoning packet, couscous and chicken. Stir briefly, cover pot with lid and let sit for 3-5 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Fluff with spoon and top with Parmesan.

Cheesy Bacon Mashed Potatoes

Calories: 1250, Dry Weight: 9.5 oz (132 cals/oz), Protein: 35g, Carbs: 130g, Fat: 65g
Mashed Potato Entree (6.2 oz, 750 cal), Tea w/ Creamer (0.5 oz, 60 cal), Peanut Butter Cups (2.8 oz, 440 cal)

1,000 Calorie One-Pot Backpacking Meal Recipes (4)

Here’s another quickie that requires very little cooking time. It’s also one of the lightest and most calorie-dense meals I make (132 calories per ounce of dry weight.) These cheesy, baconey, gooey mashed potatoes give new meaning to the term “food that sticks to the ribs.”

Ingredients:

1 pouch Idahoan Mashed Potatoes (Loaded Baked)
1 oz Real Bacon Bits
1 Cheese Stick (cubed)
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Seasoning: Dried Chives (optional)
Water: 3 cups (24 oz)
Hot Drink: 1 bag Chai Tea w/ 4 tsp Powdered Creamer
Dessert: 2 King-Size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Directions:

Bring 3 cups water to boil in pot. Pour 1 cup hot water into mug for tea, then transfer pot to cozy. Add olive oil, potatoes, bacon and cheese. Stir until combined, cover pot with lid and let sit for 1-3 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Fluff with spoon and top with dried chives.

Homestyle Turkey Dinner

Calories: 1420, Dry Weight: 15.7 oz (90 cals/oz), Protein: 48g, Carbs: 223g, Fat: 37g
Turkey Dinner Entree (11 oz, 935 cal), Apple Cider (0.7 oz, 80 cal), Cherry Pie (4 oz, 405 cal)

1,000 Calorie One-Pot Backpacking Meal Recipes (5)

This meal reminds of Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Sometimes, after a long, lonely day on the trail when I’m feeling a bit homesick, I’ll make this and it always cheers me right up. Something about the familiar tastes of the holiday season soothes my soul (and my stomach.)

Ingredients:

1 box Kraft Stovetop Stuffing
1/2 pouch (3.5 oz) Foil Pouch Chicken
1 tbsp each:
1 oz Dried Cranberries
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Water: 2 1/2 cups (20 oz)
Hot Drink: 1 pk Spiced Hot Apple Cider Mix
Dessert: 1 Cherry Snack Pie

Directions:

Bring 2 1/2 cups water to boil in pot. Pour 1 cup hot water into mug for cider, then return pot to flame. Add olive oil, onions, celery, carrots and cranberries and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Add stuffing, stir carefully to combine (pot will be very full), then add chicken. Cover pot with lid and transfer to cozy for 5 minutes, or until all water is absorbed. Fluff with spoon before eating.

Chicken Pasta Primavera

Calories: 1250, Dry Weight: 12 oz (104 cals/oz), Protein: 47g, Carbs: 152g, Fat: 51g
Pasta Primavera Entree (8.9 oz, 790 cal), Tea w/ Creamer (0.5 oz, 60 cal), Chocolate Bar (2.6 oz, 400 cal)

1,000 Calorie One-Pot Backpacking Meal Recipes (6)

My favorite pre-packaged backpacking meal is Mountain House Pasta Primavera. Unfortunately, freeze-dried meals are expensive, don’t have that many calories and are not sold in most grocery stores. So, I decided to try and make my own budget-friendly version.

Ingredients:

1 pouch Knorr Italian Sides (Creamy Garlic Shells)
1/2 pouch (3.5 oz) Foil Pouch Chicken (or Tuna)
1 tbsp each:
1 tbsp Whole Milk Powder
1 tbsp Grated Parmesan
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Seasoning: Black Pepper, Dried Parsley (optional)
Water: 2 3/4 cups (22 oz)
Hot Drink: 2 bags Black Tea w/ 4 tsp Powdered Creamer
Dessert: 1 King Size Hershey’s Chocolate Bar

Directions:

Bring 2 3/4 cups water to boil in pot. Pour 1 cup hot water into mug for tea, then return pot to flame. Add milk powder, olive oil, dried veggies, pasta and seasoning mix and boil gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken, cover pot with lid and transfer to cozy for 5 more minutes, or until noodles are cooked and sauce has thickened. Season with pepper, parsley and top with grated Parmesan.

Bacon & Egg Scramble

Calories: 1315, Dry Weight: 9.8 oz (134 cals/oz), Protein: 57g, Carbs: 78g, Fat: 86g
Bacon & Eggs Entree (4.5 oz, 725 cal), Coffee w/ Creamer (0.5 oz, 60 cal), Honey Bun (4.8 oz, 530 cal)

1,000 Calorie One-Pot Backpacking Meal Recipes (7)

I love eggs, but I could never find a good way to make them on the trail …until now. The secret is Ova Easy Egg Crystals. Unlike other powdered eggs I’ve tried, these cook and taste like real eggs! They’re a bit pricey, but it’s worth it not to have to eat oatmeal every morning.

Ingredients:

1/2 pkg (2.25 oz) OvaEasy Egg Crystals (equivalent to 6 eggs)
1 oz Real Bacon Bits
1 tbsp each:
1 Cheese Stick (cubed)
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Seasoning: Salt, Black Pepper, Dried Thyme (optional)
Water: 2 1/8 cups (17 oz)
Hot Drink: 1 pk Instant Coffee w/ 4 tsp Powdered Creamer
Dessert: 1 Jumbo Honey Bun

Directions:

In a quart-sized Ziploc baggy, mix: egg crystals, dried veggies, seasonings and 1 1/8 cup water. Set aside for 5 minutes so veggies can re-hydrate. Bring remaining 1 cup water to boil and pour into mug for coffee. Return pot to flame over very low heat, add olive oil and then scramble egg mixture, stirring frequently so they don’t stick. When eggs are nearly set up, mix in bacon and cheese, remove from heat and cover for 1-2 minutes until cheese is all melted.

Apple Pecan Loaded Oatmeal

Calories: 1475, Dry Weight: 11.3 oz (130 cals/oz), Protein: 26g, Carbs: 221g, Fat: 54g
Oatmeal Entree (7.1 oz, 990 cal), Coffee w/ Creamer (0.5 oz, 60 cal), Donuts (3.7 oz, 425 cal)

1,000 Calorie One-Pot Backpacking Meal Recipes (8)

This is the perfect breakfast for when you have to climb a huge mountain before lunch. It’s hot, sweet and packed full of carbs for all-day energy. I’m not a fan of the goopey texture of oatmeal myself, so I like to chunkify mine with granola, nuts and dried fruit (adds calories too.)

Ingredients:

2 packs
1/2 cup Nature Valley Protein Granola
1 tbsp Whole Milk Powder
1 oz Raisins (or Dried Cranberries)
1 oz Dried Apples
1 oz Chopped Pecans
Seasoning: Cinnamon (optional)
Water: 2 1/2 cups (20 oz)
Hot Drink: 1 pk Instant Coffee w/ 4 tsp Powdered Creamer
Dessert: 6 Mini Donuts

Directions:

Bring 2 1/2 cups water to boil in pot. Pour 1 cup hot water into mug for coffee, then return pot to flame. Add milk powder, dried fruit, nuts, oatmeal and granola and simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until it reaches the consistency you like. Top with a dash of cinnamon. Allow to cool for a few minutes before eating because this stays hot for a long time. Try not to burn your tongue.

Hearty Split Pea Soup

Calories: 1110, Dry Weight: 9.3 oz (119 cals/oz), Protein: 29g, Carbs: 146g, Fat: 46g
Pea Soup Entree (5.1 oz, 610 cal), Hot Cocoa (1.2 oz, 145 cal), Candy(3 oz, 355 cal)

1,000 Calorie One-Pot Backpacking Meal Recipes (9)

This is one of those foods I hated as a child, but love as an adult. If you haven’t tried split pea soup in a while, I encourage you to give it another shot. Sure, it looks green and slimy, but if you can get past that, it tastes great. I like to eat this after a long hike on a crisp Fall evening.

Ingredients:

1/4 pouch (2.1 oz) Bear Creek Split Pea Soup Mix
1/4 cup (1.2 oz) Harmony House Hamish Bits
1 tbsp each: Harmony House Dried Onions, Carrots, Celery
1/4 cup (1 oz) Croutons
1 tbsp Grated Parmesan
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Water: 3 cups (24 oz)
Hot Drink: 1 pk Hot Cocoa Mix
Dessert: 1 bag Chocolate Blueberry Candy

Directions:

Bring 3 cups water to boil in pot. Pour 1 cup hot water into mug for cocoa, then return pot to flame. Add olive oil, dried veggies and ham bits, then slowly stir in split pea soup mix. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover pot with lid and transfer to cozy for 5 more minutes, or until peas are fully cooked. Top with croutons and grated Parmesan.

Darn Good Trail Chili

Calories: 1010, Dry Weight: 8.3 oz (122 cals/oz), Protein: 45g, Carbs: 110g, Fat: 43g
Chili Entree (5.8 oz, 660 cal), Coffee w/ Creamer (0.5 oz, 60 cal), Snack Mix (2 oz, 290 cal)

1,000 Calorie One-Pot Backpacking Meal Recipes (10)

After a long dusty day on the trail, nothing warms you up like a like a bowl of hot chili. Fair warning: This is best eaten when solo camping, if you don’t want to risk the wrath of your tent-mates later. Flatulence aside, chili is an excellent trail food for cowpokes and trailpokes.

Ingredients:

1/3 pouch (3.3 oz) Bear Creek Darn Good Chili Mix
1/4 cup (1 oz) Harmony House Beefish Bits
1 tbsp each: Harmony House Dried Onions, Diced Tomatoes, Tomato Powder
1 Cheese Stick (cubed)
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Seasoning: Salt, Black Pepper, Parsley (optional)
Water: 3 cups (24 oz)
Hot Drink: 1 pk Instant Coffee w/ 4 tsp Powdered Creamer
Dessert: 1 pack Reese’s Snack Mix

Directions:

Bring 3 cups water to boil in pot. Pour 1 cup hot water into mug for coffee, then return pot to flame. Add olive oil, dried veggies, tomato powder, beef bits and chili mix. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover pot with lid and transfer to cozy for 5 more minutes, or until beans are fully cooked. Top with cheese and season with salt, pepper and parsley.

Spicy Southwest Taco Rice

Calories: 1510, Dry Weight: 13.8 oz (110 cals/oz), Protein: 44g, Carbs: 244g, Fat: 40g
Rice Entree (8.6 oz, 940 cal), Hot Cocoa (1.2 oz, 145 cal), Fig Newtons (4 oz, 425 cal)

1,000 Calorie One-Pot Backpacking Meal Recipes (11)

Here’s another southwestern favorite of mine. Tender rice and crispy tortilla strips provide a variety of textures and the taco seasoning, veggies and hot sauce give it a boost of flavor. This is the opposite of bland trail food. If it didn’t have so many calories, I’d even eat this at home.

Ingredients:

1 pouch Knorr Fiesta Sides (Taco Rice)
1/4 cup (1.2 oz) Harmony House Taco Bits
1 tbsp each: Harmony House Dried Onion, Corn, Bell Pepper, Diced Tomato
1 Cheese Stick (cubed)
1/2 oz Tortilla Strips
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Seasoning: Dried Cilantro, Hot Sauce (optional)
Water: 3 cups (24 oz)
Hot Drink: 1 pk Hot Cocoa Mix w/ Chili Powder & Cinnamon (optional)
Dessert: 4 Fig Newtons

Directions:

Bring 3 cups water to boil in pot. Pour 1 cup hot water into mug for cocoa, then return pot to flame. Add olive oil, dried veggies, taco bits and rice mixture. Cover and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. Stir, then transfer pot to cozy for 5 more minutes, or until rice is tender and water is absorbed. Season with dried cilantro and hot sauce and top with tortilla strips and cheese.

1,000 Calorie One-Pot Backpacking Meal Recipes (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Otha Schamberger

Last Updated:

Views: 6029

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (75 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Otha Schamberger

Birthday: 1999-08-15

Address: Suite 490 606 Hammes Ferry, Carterhaven, IL 62290

Phone: +8557035444877

Job: Forward IT Agent

Hobby: Fishing, Flying, Jewelry making, Digital arts, Sand art, Parkour, tabletop games

Introduction: My name is Otha Schamberger, I am a vast, good, healthy, cheerful, energetic, gorgeous, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.