The word “gourmet” is relative. Especially when it comes to long distance backpacking. As a foodie and a long distance backpacker, I struggle to find a compromise. Here is a sampling of one of my recipes that takes a little extra time to make, but the reward is worth it!


I absolutely love tamales. I am sure I am not the first person to try this, but I am pretty proud of how well these worked out. Not only is the flavor amazing (identical to the original), but it rehydrated instantly in a freezer bag. It’s quick, uses very little fuel, is delicious, and the clean up is nothing. What else could you want in a backpacking dinner?


  • 3 Tamales of your choice (I used the Trader Joe’s Handmade Pork and Red Sauce Tamales)
  • 1/2 10 oz. can enchilada sauce
  • 2 3/4 oz. Tilla-Moos (or similar) snack cheese (these keep up to 3 days in the pack) -OR-
  • 2 T. freeze dried sharp cheddar cheese



At-Home Preparation

Pour the enchilada sauce over the tamales as evenly as possible. Then, slice the tamales into bite-sized slices and arrange the pieces on the mesh tray in your food dehydrator. Dry at 120F for about 8-10 hours. Place dried crumbles in a pint (or quart) freezer Ziplock bag. Easy!

Serves 1. Calories: ~720

On-Trail Preparation

Pour very hot water over mixture very slowly trying not to drown the pieces. They will soak up the water quickly. Add just enough to moisten it all. Roll around in your hands to make sure all parts get hydrated. Crumble in cheese and allow to sit a couple of minutes to get melty. Eat out of the bag. YUUUUUUUM!


Okay, it doesn’t look pretty. But it worked out amazing.

Calories: 975, Cost per serving: ~$7

If you liked this idea, check out my other “Gourmet Trail Recipes”.

No way you would put this much work into trail food? Check out my articles entitled “Favorite Easy Trail Recipes”. New recipes coming soon!