David on Earth | Trail Food

Trail Food for BackpackingTrail Food for Backpacking

Some might suggest that I’m a bit of a health nut.  Well, I suppose compared to junk food junkies, I probably am.  But for the average over middle-age guy who has had heart surgery and continues to battle esophageal issues, I’m about as normal as they come. Really, for me my diet choices on and off trail are not about anything except my decision to want to be as alive and feeling as good as I can while I’m still foggin’ a mirror. Good eating habits are a big part of what makes that possible. So, no judgement on anyone who has chosen a different path. I choose mine. You choose yours. It’s all good.

By definition, I live by a pescatarian diet. I’m a vegetarian who eats fish and seafood.  Limited intake of eggs and cheese supplement other plant protein sources such as high protein grains (quinoa, bulgur, wild rice, millet, etc.), lentils, almonds and other nuts, soy-based foods such as tofu, beans and legumes, etc.  Fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, grains, pastas, and herbs complete an array of options in my daily intake.

If anyone were to ask, I would tell them that leaning more toward plant-based and more away from animal meats is a healthy option. A plant-based leaning diet is fully endorsed by dieticians around the world and supported by many dozens of studies.  However, I would also suggest a consult with a doctor or dietician to make sure you are getting all you need. It is possible to eat many healthy foods and still not receive all needed nutrition.

I mention all this because eating healthy is as much of a choice off the trail as it is on the trail. One significant difference is that while at home being less active we require fewer calories. Trail eating requires many more calories to sustain the energy required for self-powered travel. So, how do we eat healthy AND take in 3000-4000 calories per day? This is what I had to figure out for my Colorado Trail thru hike. I hope to soon post 5-day meal plans for this hike; it's going to be epic!

I love, love, love my dehydrator. It produces super lightweight food. It’s nutritious – not filled with chemicals like some prepared trail meals. And it brings out all the natural flavors and goodness of eating a fresh home cooked meal. I like knowing exactly what I am eating and that it’s made from the freshest ingredients.

For many years I used a low-cost dehydrator I bought at any discount store. It worked fine for taking moisture out of the food. But it had no heat regulation or time regulation, which increases the risk of lower nutritional content. Overheating can destroy living enzymes in raw food. Vitamins A and C and some mineral (thiamine and riboflavin) potency is effected by improperly dehydrating. So I picked up an Excalibur 9-tray dehydrator. It has temperature and time controls which helps protect against overheating and I don’t have to continually monitor the progress – just dial in the settings and walk away.

There are less expensive options that can be as effective, like the Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator.

So, I'm guessing by now you've determined that the recipes here are centered on my life choices. It's about using my dehydrator. It's about healthy options. It's about high caloric intake. Not every recipe here is a perfect fit for that formula. But - hey - I'm trying here, OK?

You'll find recipe links on the right column of this page. These are recipes I enjoy on the trail. Some are common. Some are unique. But, to me, they all taste yummy. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Happy trails, happy eats, happy life!



Oatmeal Many Ways

Coconut Millet with Options

Popular breakfast choices

Lunch / Snacks

Trail Mix Blitz

High Impact Trail Snacks

Crispy Berry Nut Roll


Basil Walnut Penne in Cream Sauce

Near East Couscous with Mushrooms

Lentil Veg

Mushroom Stroganoff

Creamed Salmon on Potatoes

Mushroom Risotto


Ginger and Orange Bulgur with Veg

Not-your-Mama's Spaghetti

Veggie Pasta Primavaera

Cheesy White Bean Veggies over Rice

Cordoba Lentil Stew on Rice

Moroccan Veggie Stew