Sample Menus


When you're out backpacking all day, your body burns large amounts of calories to sustain its energy expenditure. Because of this, food can become somewhat of an obsession. It's difficult to describe just how satisfying a hot meal can be after a long day of hiking. In fact, you may actually remember certain trail meals more fondly than dinners you've eaten at a fancy restaurant after a sedentary day at the office.

How Meals Are Chosen

Our meals are subject to 4 constraints: Tasty, Lightweight, Healthy, and Non-Perishable. Stir-fry is tasty and healthy, but it's heavy to carry and can spoil quickly. Mac-n-cheese is tasty, lightweight, and non-perishable, but most people wouldn't consider it the healthiest meal ever. Grits are lightweight, healthy, and non-perishable, but not everyone thinks they taste great. So each meal is an amalgamation of compromises between these constraints.


We don't believe in dieting. You must feed your body in order to carry 40 pounds through the mountains all day. We eat small amounts frequently. This doesn't mean to overeat (you can only eat what we're carrying anyway) just don't starve yourself and collapse on the trail.

Note: There will be no food in our tents at night (it attracts animals) so there are no "overnight snacks".

Special Requests

We will accomodate most special requests when it comes to menu planning, from the serious (peanut allergies) to the whimsical (no watermelon). Most of our food is vegetarian, but we can also accomodate vegans. We always bring along some jerky, pepperoni and/or salami as a supplement for non-vegans. We can provide a gluten free menu for those who actually have Celiac or even for those that just saw a Facebook post disparaging gluten.


Guides Steve & Kia prepare a stir-fry dinner in the Black Hills, South Dakota


Dinners are typically a combination of a starch (Brown Rice, Pasta, Cous Cous, Stuffing, Potatoes, Ramen, Lentils), a sauce (Chili, Pesto, Red Sauce, Cheese etc), spices, and mix-ins (Carrots, Onions, Mushrooms, Pine Nuts, Almonds, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Corn, Peppers, Garlic etc.)

Sushi (Avocado, Daikon, Carrots, Cucumber, Ginger, Sesame Seeds, Wasabi)

Stir Fry Vegetables (Peppers, Carrots, Onions, Pea Pods, Tofu) over Stuffing or Rice

Paad Thai, Garlic, Scallions, Pea Pods, Sprouts. Tofu, Peanuts

Bangain Bharta or Dhaipur Vegetables over cous-cous

Penne with Marinara, Pine Nuts, Mushrooms, Garlic, Sun Dried Tomatoes

Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Mushrooms, Carrots, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Almonds

Mac & Cheese w/sun dried tomatoes, parsley, carrots, and peas.

Vegetarian Chili and rice

Pasta with pesto, pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes, and garlic

Broccoli Cheese Soup with European Vegetable Blend

Red Beans and Rice with onions and celery

Pea Soup (Sham (Soy Ham), Pea Soup, Egg powder, Quinoa, Rice Flour)

Taste of the Forest (cous-cous based dish)

Trail Pizza

Ramen, TVP (textured vegetable protein), parmesan cheese, garlic


Guide Heather makes tuna wraps on the beach in Olympic National Park


Lunches are almost always no-cook and are prepared (assembled) and served by the guides during the day on the trail, hopefully at a scenic area

Tofurky & Mustard Wraps

Swiss / Gouda / Cheddar Cheese on Crackers

Hummus and Sprouts

Guacamole & Cheese Wraps

Tuna Wraps

Bean and Cheese Burritos

Peanut Butter (avert your eyes British people)


Grape Leaves on Pita

These may be supplemented/interchanged with the following items:

Mountain Bread / Wraps / Pita

Wasa Crispbread (cracker)


Mango Slices

Sprouts / Cucumbers / Carrots / Broc Slaw


Fresh-Picked blueberry pancakes in Maine's 100 Mile Wilderness


Breakfasts are usually hot, cooked breakfasts or breakfasts that require only hot water. Occasionally we have cold breakfasts -- typically cold cereal -- that do not require much in the way of preparation or clean-up, however hot tea/coffee/cocoa are part of every morning. Expect cold breakfasts on days when we must break camp early to get long mileage in or on the last day of a trip when we are motivated to get back to civilization.

Hash Browns and Soysage (vegetarian sausage)

Grape Nuts w/ milk powder, sugar, raisins

Oatmeal w/cranberries, powdered milk, sugar, cinnamon, salt

Trailside Breakfast Rice (Rice, Berries, Pudding)

Cold Cereal (generally granola) w/milk powder

Bagels, cream cheese and lox

Taco flavored egg and cheese burritos

Pancakes with blueberries or trail mix ingredients

Grits Bar (choice of milk, salt, craisins, cheese, bacon bits, maple syrup, butter, miso)

Quinoa with brown sugar (gluten free)

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Trail Mix

Laying out trail mix on the Arizona Trip

Trail Mix

Every trip's menu is augmented by Trail Mix. Trail mix is a mixture of proteins, starches, carbs, sugars, and salt and is typically eaten at rest stops. However, it can be eaten any time of the day to supplement your diet or as an alternative to meals that don't appeal to your palate. The day before setting out, we will make our own trail mixes consisting of your own personal mixture of the following items. Ingredients will be subject to availability in the locale of the trip, thus some of these items may not be present on every trip, while others that are not listed here may be.




Dried Peaches

M & Ms

Dried Ginger



Dried Apricots



Banana Chips



Soy Nuts

Wasabi Peas

Dried Apple Rings

Chopped Dates

Licorice Bites

Jelly Beans

Dried Pineapple Chunks

Corn Nuts

Dried Pears

Sea Crackers

Dried Cherries

Dried Blueberries


Cajun Mix

... and much more


Tent-service on a cold, wet day in the Superstition Wilderness


Many people drink only water when backpacking. It's a good way to break your caffeine addiction and it just feels "clean" somehow. Also, the more water you drink, the better your body burns fat. However, it's unrealistic to expect anyone to give up caffeine, especially because of the good short-term feelings it can provide as well as prevention of the withdrawal symptoms it averts, so coffee and hot chocolate are staples.

While much of the water encountered on the trail will be delicious, crystal clear mountain water like you've never tasted, on some trips the taste and clarity of certain water sources may not be to your liking. In order to overcome this, some people enjoy powdered drink mixes that sweeten the water and provide electrolytes. Drinks we bring may include:

Starbucks VIA instant coffee

Hot Chocolate (sometimes with marshmallows)

Caffeinated Tea

Decaffeinated Herb Tea

Hot Cider Packets

Gatorade Powder

Crystal Light / Propel / Emergen-C


Ice Cream in Rocky Mountain National Park (no, we didn't bring it, we bought it at a nearby campground store)


Dessert is served sporadically, maybe once or twice a trip, sometimes more and sometimes not at all. Examples include:



Scrambled Brownies

Molten Lava Chocolate Cake

Hot Fruit Compote


Raspberry Crumble

Dark Chocolate

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