Introduction: BACKPACKING Breakfast Trail Recipes - Sunrise Cereal, Chocolate Hazelnut Muesli, and Choose Your Own Adventure Oatmeal

Meal planning considerations for backcountry hiking:

1) Calories/High nutrition - You will need to consume plenty of calories to meet the physical demands of backpacking. Hikers may burn 4500+ calories a day carrying a heavy pack while covering strenuous terrain and long distances. Carbohydrates from whole grain sources take time to digest giving you a steady source of enrgy throughout the day. While you may try to avoid calories, fats, and sugar in every day eating, backpacking is not the time to reduce your caloric intake. Ample calories (along with sufficient water) will keep your body properly fueled, aiding it in fighting off fatigue and headache.

2) Weight and Bulk - Trail meals need to be nutritionally dense. Plan lightweight and low-bulk foods. You will feel every ounce screaming at your body by the end of the day, so make sure that your trail food is minimal in weight with a high level of nutrition and calories. Repackage food into resealable plastic baggies to minimize bulk and garbage.

3) Ready to Eat/Convenient - Take care of preparations at home so that your meals are simple and ready to eat on the trail.


I will include the at home preparation for three different backcountry breakfasts: Sunrise Cereal, Chocolate Hazelnut Muesli, and Choose Your Own Adventure Oatmeal followed by how to prepare them on the trail.

Step 1: Breakfast #1 Sunrise Cereal

Breakfast #1 Sunrise Cereal

This recipe makes five 1 cup servings. Each serving weighs 6 oz and has the following nutritional information--

Calories: 760

Protein: 19g

Fiber:15g

Fat: 55g

Cabohydrates: 79g

I first tried a version of this recipe while hiking the 230 mile John Muir Trail from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney 16 years ago and it has became a staple in my backcountry menu planning. We were hiking 10 miles a day with significant changes in elevation and it provided consistent energy. If your hike isn't strenuous enough to need this many calories, just reduce the amount of oil and it will reduce the calories and fat. We sure needed it on that hike though!

Step 2: Breakfast # 1 Sunrise Cereal -- Tools and Ingredients for at Home Preparation

Tools:

  • mixing bowl
  • wooden spoon
  • measuring cups
  • cutting board
  • knife for chopping
  • sandwich ziplock bags
  • snack size ziplock bags

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup chopped chocolate flavored almonds (or nuts of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sunflower oil (or oil of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup powdered milk (Nestle Nido is my favorite)

Step 3: Breakfast #1 Sunrise Cereal -- at Home Preparation

Preparation at home:

  1. Combine oats, wheat flour, ground flax seed, wheat germ, almonds, walnuts, and brown sugar in a bowl.
  2. Add oil to the mixture and stir well.
  3. Put 1 cup of cereal in each sandwich ziplock bag.
  4. Put 1/4 cup dry milk in each snack size bag.
  5. Package the bag of dry milk in the sandwich bag of cereal.

Step 4: Breakfast #2 Chocolate Hazelnut Muesli

Breakfast #2 Chocolate Hazelnut Muesli

This recipe makes 6 servings. Each serving weighs 4oz and has the following nutritional information--

Calories: 453

Protein: 6g

Fiber: 6g

Fat: 25g

Cabohydrates: 61g

I first tried this recipe while hiking the 25 mile Lost Coast Trail along the Northern California Coastline. I remember the chocolate melting into my muesli. I savored each bite as I watched the waves crash on the beach that overcast morning. I realized then that I found another favorite breakfast recipe.

Step 5: Breakfast #2 Chocolate Hazelnut Muesli -- Tools and Ingredients

Tools:

  • mixing bowl
  • wooden spoon
  • measuring cups
  • cutting board
  • knife for chopping
  • sandwich ziplock bags
  • snack size ziplock bags

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups quick oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 2/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup powdered milk (Nestle Nido is my favorite)

Step 6: Breakfast #2 Chocolate Hazelnut Muesli -- at Home Preparation

Preparation at home:

  1. Combine oats, hazelnuts, almonds, coconut, sunflower seeds an dried apricots.
  2. Add honey and chocolate chips to the mixture and stir well.
  3. Put 1 cup of muesli in each sandwich ziplock bag.
  4. Put 1/4 cup dry milk in each snack size bag.
  5. Package the bag of dry milk in the sandwich bag of cereal.

Step 7: Breakfast #3 Choose Your Own Adventure Oatmeal

The nutritional information for this breakfast depends on what oatmeal, dried fruit, and nuts you choose. You can add it up using the serving size and nutritional information on the packages you use if you want to know your number of calories for your trip food planning. Try new combinations at home till you find some favorites for your taste buds.

When I hiked the 75km West Coast Trail of British Columbia two years ago I found I enjoyed the variety of different nuts and dried fruit in my oatmeal so it felt like I was eating something a little different even though it was still always oatmeal.

Step 8: Breakfast #3 Choose Your Own Adventure Oatmeal -- Tools and Ingredients

Tools:

  • Cutting board
  • Knife for chopping
  • sandwich ziplock bags
  • snack size ziplock bags

Ingredients:

  • 2 packets of Instant Oatmeal (steel cut, strawberries and cream, and maple and brown sugar are a few of my favorites)
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts)
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit, chopped if bigger than raisins (raisins, craisins, dried blueberries, dried cherries, dried apricots, dried mangos)
  • 1/4 powdered milk if desired

Step 9: Breakfast #3 Choose Your Own Adventure Oatmeal -- at Home Preparation

Preparation at home:

  1. Open oatmeal packets and dump the contents into a sandwich ziplock bag.
  2. Add chopped nuts and dried fruit of your choice to the oatmeal in the ziplock bag.
  3. Put 1/4 cup dry milk in a snack size bag if you would like to add milk to your oatmeal.
  4. Package the bag of dry milk in the sandwich bag of oatmeal.

Step 10: Tools and Ingredients Needed for Breakfast on the Trail

Tools:

  • lightweight stove
  • cannister of fuel
  • small, lightweight pot for boiling water
  • cup or bowl
  • spoon or spork

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup water per serving

Step 11: Preparation on the Trail for All Three Breakfasts

Preparation on the trail:

  1. Boil 3/4 cup of water
  2. Add the cereal, muesli, or oatmeal and dry milk to a cup or bowl.
  3. Add hot water to the cereal, muesli, or oatmeal till it reaches your desired consistency.
  4. After eating you should be well fueled for a morning of hiking!

Step 12: Enjoy Your Backpacking Trip With Well Planned Meals

These breakfasts can help your body keep up with its caloric demands on your next trip. Front loading your caloric content for the day can help fight off sluggishness in the first couple hours of hiking and give you lasting energy. It is easier these days to find decent tasting, calorie dense freeze dried dinners but the freeze dried breakfasts take longer to prepare than these breakfast recipes, don't have near the nutritional value, are expensive, and still leave something to be desired in taste. I hope you can benefit from my backcountry breakfast ideas.

Comments

author
Guinea Bee (author)2017-05-30

Is there a reason you pack the dry milk separately?

author
Penolopy Bulnick (author)2016-09-19

Thanks for sharing these recipes! They sound great :)

author
Swansong (author)2016-09-12

We love camping! These are all good ideas for things to keep handy. :)