Backpacking recipes for Havasu Falls 2012

Havasu Falls 2012 is fast approaching and since this is my second time I thought it was worthy of a few new backpacking recipes.  My first trip in 2010 was all about the experience and my nutrition came in the form of MREs and PB&J sandwiches.  This trip will be highlighted by an “elevated” culinary offering.  There’s not much that I enjoy more about hiking and backpacking than sharing a place I love with someone for the first time and sharing great food.  That will be the theme for Havasu Falls 2012 since I am taking 3 first timers with me.

I did Havasu Falls in 2010 with a group of 35 other backpackers.  We left Seligman at 4:30am to head for Hualipai Hilltop and the trailhead. I didn’t sleep the night before.  Instead I battled food poisoning in the hopper until about an hour before our departure.  Good times.  The effects really changed my experience for the hike in, the entire first day in camp, and essentially tainted the first half of my trip.

This year I decided to do my trip with 3 newbies.  One is an experienced big wall climber and day hiker but he’s never been to Havasu Falls before.  The other two are brand new to backpacking altogether and still learning how to hike big miles.  This year’s trip will also be a 4 day trip rather than just a 3 day.  It’s nice to have two full days in camp book-ended by travel days.  So it gives me the opportunity to work on a few new backpacking recipes for the trip.

These are the backpacking recipes I’m working on


  • Trail Tom Yum – a classic Thai soup with great flavor and tons of veggies.
  • Roasted Corn Chowder – a very hearty soup with a sweet taste from the corn.


  • Classic Spaghetti – enough said.
  • Elevated Chow Mein – I’m a sucker for any Chinese dish so that must be represented on the trail.


  • Kitchen Sink Quinoa – quinoa packs more protein per ounce than red meat and is very delicious plus it’s lightweight.  I’ll dress it up with a ton of dehydrated veggies.
  • Pulled Pork Soft Tacos – one of my favorite dutch oven dishes but we’ll see if it dehydrates.


  • Rehydrated Fruit Compotes for killer PBJ sammies – this ain’t yo momma’s recipe!
  • Basecamp Flapjacks – lightweight and available in a “just add water” container.

My culinary philosophy for Havasu Falls 2012

This year I made a commitment (a resolution seems to be a bit strong) to use more dehydrated ingredients, learn how to dehydrate foods myself, and bring a level of sophistication to my camp table at dinner time.  Now I don’t mean white linens, real silver wear, or small portions with edible flowers.  I think eating on the trail can be just as good as eating at home.  Thanks to the dutch oven and my 20+ years as a loyal practitioner, I can deliver a solid culinary experience in camp when we are car camping.

But can I do that with UL cooking equipment?  This trip will be the real test.

My process to perfect these backpacking recipes for Havasu Falls 2012

I see three phases to this process.  First, I needed to decide on a test menu.  Done.  Second, I need to either source the dehydrated ingredients or buy a dehydrator and learn to do it myself.  Fingers crossed, my birthday is a few weeks away and I have dropped a number of hints on my wife.  If I get a t-shirt instead of a dehydrator then I am sure I can source the ingredients online.  Third, I need to put these recipes through some thorough testing before the trip.  Great excuse for a few overnight trips to Red Rock!

So this post will be something of a work in progress.  I will post updates as I test the various recipes.

It’s your turn.  What are your favorite backpacking recipes?

I’m certainly not the first backpacker to think about eating better on the trail.  What are some of your favorite backpacking recipes?  Share a link in the comments to your favorites or weigh in with a comment on my menu.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Get Trail Sherpa posts and insights by email.

Connect with Trail Sherpa
Subscribe via RSS:

I'm the founder of Vestor Logic, the digital strategy and web design firm that created Trail Sherpa, ParksFolio, and Modern Steader. I'm a day hiker, top chef in camp, doting husband, and father to two headlamp wearing boys. My work in digital media brings those experiences to life.