How to Eat on the Trail the Charleston Way

Brian Wright
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The true backpacker knows the importance of a well balanced diet on the trail. A lot of times that means beans, a block of cheese, peanut butter, and maybe a bagel—sometimes all wrapped into one smorgasbord of a power meal. While there's nothing wrong with those ingredients, hikers sometimes prevent themselves from enjoying a tasty feast while they're out charging. This is a culinary guide for those of you who are tired of the same old backpacking basics. Whether you're in the backcountry, or simply day-tripping long enough to whip up a meal, remember that it's OK to spice up your menu a little bit. There are hundreds of easy to make recipes floating around out there, but why settle for anything less than the classic Lowcountry staples? All of these dishes are easily prepared, and only require the addition of water and a camp stove, so there's no excuse for not treating yourself on the trail.

Peter Pawlowski

Shrimp and Grits

You were probably expecting this classic Lowcountry staple somewhere in the list, so we'll go ahead and get it out of the way now. Juicy shrimp, creamy buttery doesn't get much better than that, especially after covering however many miles on the trail beforehand. Here's how to do it:


  • ¼ Cup instant grits

  • ¼ Cup dehydrated shrimp

  • ¼ Cup dehydrated vegetables (your choice)

  • Pinch of garlic powder

  • Salt & Pepper

  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp cheddar cheese powder

  • 1 Tbsp powdered milk

  • 1½ cups water


Combine all the ingredients except the cheese and milk powder in a pot with water and let it soak for five minutes. Bring the pot to a boil and let sit for one minute. Stir in your cheese and milk power, cover the pot, and let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Chicken Gumbo

Zachary Collier

This is a power meal that will help you recover after a long tour, or the perfect entree for an afternoon picnic out on the marsh. Combine all of the ingredients at home, bring to a boil when you're ready to feast, and feel the protein surging through your body.


  • 1 cup instant brown rice

  • 1/4 dehydrated vegetables (corn, okra, onion, etc.)

  • 1/4 cup dried tomato sauce

  • 1/2 cup dehydrated chicken

  • Add your favorite spices to taste.


Throw your ingredients together in 3 cups of water and let sit for about 3 minutes. Bring to a boil for 1 minute, then take of the stove and let sit for about 8 minutes.

Crab Cakes

If you've ever sat down next to a fire at the end of a long hike, peeled off your boots, and dove into a hot meal, you know how satisfying it can be. Now picture that meal being composed of crispy, fluffy, golden brown crab cakes.

Here's how to do it:


  • 3–4 packages of mayonnaise

  • 1  package sweet relish

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chives

  • 1/2 package stuffing mix
    2 3 oz pouches real crab meat
    4 tablespoons water
    1 tablespoon cooking oil


Add all of the above ingredients together, and form into cakes. Then fry on a greased pan until golden brown on each side.

Take these recipes with you next time you're backpacking, and we guarantee your buddies will be grateful they're backpacking with such a master chef. These recipes are also ideal for hiking to your favorite spot with those closest to you, and topping off an awesome day trip with a righteous meal.

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