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Prep Now, Eat Well Later

Posted by Jessi Loerch at Jan 03, 2020 12:23 PM |

5 things to do this winter to help you enjoy a year of great trail food.

Winter is an excellent time to look through all your hiking or camping gear and make sure everything is in top shape. While you’re at it check in on your cooking supplies start thinking about how you’re going to fuel your next year of adventures. Here are 5 things you can do now to get your camp kitchen in tip-top shape.

A snowy meal. Photo by Shuwen Wang.jpg
A snowy meal on trail. Photo by Shuwen Yang.


Check all of your cooking supplies. Give everything a once over. Look at your pots and pans, make sure they’re thoroughly clean and in good condition. Check that all the handles are solid. Make sure you can still find your spork. Check your spices, if you have a spice pack for camping, and see if anything needs to be refreshed.


Check your stove. Does it need to be cleaned? Do any parts need to be replaced? If your stove needs a repair, now’s a good time to check with the manufacturer to figure out how to get that taken care of. Don’t wait until right before your next trip.


Toss anything that’s been open for too long or that has gone bad. And if you have some food hanging around that still good but you’re never going to eat, for instance that bar that it turns out you hate, find it another home where it will actually be eaten.


Start dreaming about your meals for next year. What did you make that you loved? What was a total failure? Do some research online, at bookstores or at the library. And be sure to check our website, too,


Begin prepping dehydrated meals. You can enjoy them right away, or save them for later in the season. (If you need a suggestion check out the recipe below.)

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta

Recipe courtesy Aaron Owens Mayhew, MS, RDN, CD, of Backcountry Foodie.

Pasta. Photo by Aaron Owens Mayhew.jpg
Photo by Aaron Owen Mayhew. Find her on instagram at @backcountry_foodie.


  • ⅔ cup mini penne pasta, pre-cooked and dehydrated
  • 2 pieces sun dried tomatoes, oil-free, diced
  • ½ tablespoon pine nuts
  • 2 teaspoon basil, dried
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons shelf stable parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Home directions

  1. Put the remaining dry ingredients in a separate bag to be stored with the noodles.
  2. Put noodles and tomatoes in a bag or container to be used in the backcountry.
  3. Pack 2 tablespoons olive oil, per serving, to be added when the meal is consumed. (Recommend double bagging the oil in case of a leak.)

Field directions

  1. Remove pesto spice packet.
  2. Add 8 ounces hot or cold water — or enough to cover the noodles.
  3. Let stand until fully rehydrated.
  4. Consume or properly discard the noodle broth, following Leave No Trace principles.
  5. Add pesto packet and 2 tablespoons olive oil to noodles.
  6. Stir to mix well and enjoy! 

Notes: Noodles do not have to be pre-cooked and dehydrated, if you are willing to fully cook noodles on trail. If the meal will not be consumed within 2 months, recommend adding the cheese when the meal is consumed to increase the shelf life of the meal. Single serving packets of parmesan cheese work well.

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2019 issue of Washington Trails magazine.  Support trails and the work of WTA as a member and you'll get a subscription to the magazine.