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Lightweight Hill Food - Wild camping recipes

I've been on many wild camping trips in Britain and over the years have tweaked and fiddled with the food I take.   When I go on a long trek I don't want to have to go shopping in the middle of it.  So I aim to carry all of the food I need.  This doesn't out weigh my need to be safe though.  So my pack will only weigh as much as I can, relatively, comfortably walk a full day with.  This is a personal thing.   

The following information is relevant only if I'm going for longer than a few days.

Basic principles...

  1. Dehydrated food only
  2. Lots of carbohydrate
  3. Plenty of fat
  4. Some protein
  5. Minimal packaging
  6. Reasonable cooking time
  7. No waste producing foods.  Any waste should be minimal, clean and not tins.  Be mindful of bits of waste being blown off by the wind.  

Hints and Tips

Never leave your waste behind.  There is never a good reason to dump your waste.

Following these principles I can carry enough food for at least 10 days.  Including dog biscuits and all my kit for safe wild camping and hill walking.   With the following treats and recipes I keep my energy levels up and minimise the desperation for a huge green salad at the end of the trip.  

This is what I foraged yesterday.  Ramson leaves and a primrose flower.  The leaves were ripped up and tossed in warm pasta with olive oil, tomato and parmesan.  Yum.  The flower was scoffed, ceremoniously, before it went all floppy.

Hints and Tips

Don't forget to forage on your trip.  Learn before you go what's in season in the area you are visiting.  Copy the individual identification information, including pictures, to take with you. 
That way you don't need the entire book.  
Don't take risks.  If you can't identify it confidently, don't eat it.

Some of my food successes on a trip...

  1. Mini Babybel cheese.  Before leaving for your trip remove the red plastic but leave on the wax.
  2. Packets of Tuna.  There are two flavours meditaranean and a limey one.  Both lovely.  
  3. Chappattis.  Take them out their packets and put them in thinner plastic food bags.
  4. Pitta Bread.  As above.
  5. TVP - Textured vegetable protein.  An excellent way to get some protein without carrying lots of weight or eating beef jerky.
  6. Knorr stock cubes.  I say knorr because they taste the best to me.  You could unwrap the cubes and put the into a thin plastic food bag.  I would do this next time.
  7. Dried bacon.  Amazing ingredient!  Light, really tasty, will last for ages in all weather.  It comes in packets.  I would leave them in the packets to retain their freshness.
  8. Pasta flowers.  These are tiny.  Less than 1/2cm in size.  The reason for taking these instead of a normal pasta shape is that you get more pasta per pack size and you don't need to worry about crushing them.
  9. Trek Bars.  These are actually quite heavy for their size.  I include these though as the feeling of general healthy wellbeing they give make them worth it.  They're bloody expensive as well.  So I only get a couple.  I can't eat one all at once anyway so they go a long way.  I save them for times when I'm feeling rundown.                                                
  10. Instant Hot choc.  Need I explain this one?
  11. Instant porridge
  12. Salted, roasted peanuts
  13. M&M's. Chocolate ones.  They don't melt!  They will be fought over.
  14. Fruit leather.  This is pulped raw fruit, sometimes with added honey or sugar, that has been spread  flat on a tray and then dehydrated either in a very low oven or a dehydrator.  You can make this yourself relatively easily.  Here is a link to a good recipe for easily making your own  Apple and Blackberry Leather recipe.  Here is a link that is great at explaining how to dehydrate food with your oven.  If you'd rather buy some your probably best going to a Natural food shop (health shop) or looking online.
  15. Parmesan.  It's a real treat to have some cheese.  However, don't be tempted to take a cheddar, it just goes all sweaty and minging really quickly.  Parmesan is really hard and tastes quite strongly so you only need a little bit to enjoy it.
  16. Tomato puree.  There's no getting away from the fact this is in a metal tube.  Keep the edges folded and roll the thing up as you go.  Keep it in a food bag incase the puree starts oozing out the sides of the tube.  You never know. 
  17. Flavoured couscous.  Take the packets out of the box before your trip.  Remember that couscous is pasta not a grain.
  18. Cup a soups.  These make good flavourings for pasta or rice.  Empty the cupasoup packet into the boiling water before cooking the rice or pasta.
  19. Pate in a tube.  One tube will last you all week and there's lots and lots of choices of flavours.

I've found that the immense psychological benefits of having life- giving, tasty food, makes taking the time to get it right important.  My first few trips away were made harder by our choice of food.  2 weeks wild-camping in the  howling weather of the mountain ranges of Britain, living on super noodles and savoury rice packets.  Well, you didn't feel too healthy at the end of it and at the end of a day there was very little to lift your spirits.  When your days are simplified to getting up a mountain and down again, it's amazing how important food can become to you.  Especially if the weather is cold. 

Hints and Tips

For breakfast I will eat as much as I can.  I then snack throughout the day on nuts and dried fruit.  If the day is very long I'll stop for some bread and pate and maybe a cup a soup (depending on conditions).  Then I scoff my main meal as outlined in the recipes below...


The Recipes

Warning! One of these recipes contains Super Noodles.  I do not apologise for this, as 'msg' ridden as they are, they're delicious on the hill! :)

Pasta Recipe for one person

100g tiny pasta flowers
parmesan shavings
some dried bacon crumbled
1 x tuna packet

Cook pasta, drain, add ingredients & mix.
Takes about 10 minutes.


TVP Recipe for one person

1/4 thermal mug of tvp (textured vegetable protein)
80g Basmati rice
1 x knorr chicken stock cube
1dsp korma curry pwder
1/2dsp tom puree
2 thermal mugs of water (or a pint)

Boil water, add stock, korma curry powder, tom puree.  Mix.
Add rice and tvp.  Cook.

Make sure it doesn't stick or dry up.  Add a little more water if this happens.

Takes about 15 minutes.

mmmm... curry.... yum!

Super Noodles.  Yes, Super Noodles recipe for one person

1 x Packet of Supernoodles
1x Packet of Tuna 

Cook noodles
mix with the tuna
wrap it in a chappatti or pitta bread.

Sounds disgusting, I know.  It is so ridiculously tasty though!!!

I've not written every bit of food I'd take, like cream powder, sugar, tea, coffee and that, as they go without saying.  

There are many other bits of food that would be great to take I'm sure.  This list is my favourites, that have worked for me and are relatively easy to get hold of and don't make too much mess when cooking.  If anyone else has any ideas it would be great to hear them!



  1. Before I find my rucksack (knotted hanky on the end of a stick actually) can you please dear Hen tell me what fruit leather is? An absolutely ace post and a true gift from you.

  2. heehee! I'll bung in an explanation!


  3. Well written Hen, very good post. A lot of my hill food is the plasticised add water to the bag stuff. Some worse than others. Normally I throw in a few treats. Kit kats go down well, are lighter than chocolate bars and seem to only get a tad crunchy if they freeze in the rucksack. Frozen mars bars are lethal. Cup a soups, the Ainsley Harriot spicy lentil are quite good. They are obtainable from Tesco, the downside is that a tad more pricey. Dog biscuits, now there is an idea, in fact I used to know someone who always carried a few on the hill. Fruit leathers, delicious. Dawn

  4. Hi Dawn

    I have a greta marsbar story, not frozen but trying to keep it from melting in a heatwave. Suffice to say that putting it in a bag and weighing it down in a stream doesn't prevent the dog from pinching it.

    Oh, and the dog biscuits are food for the dog! However... I am in the process of working out a recipe for a savoury biscuit treat.



  5. :) I have never known a dog refuse a good mars bar Hen

  6. Its always interesting to hear what other people take on the trail. Everyone has different methods of preperation, and what tastes best to them along the journey. When I talk about our hikes, one of the most common questions is what we eat along the way. I think our menu is much more simple than a lot of people think it might be. It sounds like you have a nice variety in your meals, keep enjoying!

  7. Stacey, you must be just about ready to take off on your trek? When you have the time it would be great to hear about some of the meals you have/food you carry on a long distance trek.


  8. Thanks for adding to fruit leather, I can tell I'm soon to have a go at making some with I think mango and pears perhaps... I hadn't been on the Waitrose website before either so you're educating me now!

  9. hey! your as bad as me for not sleeping at a healthy hour!



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