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!

Carrot Cake

Okay, this one is kinda silly and I bet none of you will make it, but I love to go all out when I am hiking with a friend on their birthday–and make them a cake! Carrot cake is one of my favorites.

It really helps if you have a fry pan and a canister stove that can burn really low. A wider diameter burner is better than a small one. A scorch buster doesn’t hurt either. You can probably make it in a 0.9-1.3L pot, but you will just have to rotate it around on the burner to make sure it doesn’t scorch.


  • 1 c. Carrot cake mix (Duncan Hines makes one that has a separate packet of dried carrots and raisins)
  • 1/2 packet of dried carrots and raisins
  • 1/3 c. Dried matchstick carrots (if you couldn’t find the Duncan Hines mix)
  • 1 small box of raisins (if you coudln’t find the Duncan Hines mix)
  • 1.5 t. Egg powder or Egg Replacer
  • 2.5 oz. Olive oil
  • 1/4 container of cream cheese frosting (package separately)
  • Birthday candle


  • 1/4 c. Confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 t. Dried whole milk (package these together in their own snack ziplock)



Dried carrots and raisins that come with the Duncan Hines boxed carrot cake mix



Examples of pre-packaged olive oil

At Home Preparation

Put the cake mix, carrots/raisins, and egg replacer in a small ziplock bag. In a separate bag, package your frosting or frosting mix.


On-Trail Preparation

To the cake mix baggie, add just enough water to make it cakey, but not too runny. Let sit about 20 min to allow carrots and raisins to rehydrate.

If making your frosting, add a small amount of water to the sugar/milk mixture to make a thick glaze.

Put a small amount of oil in the bottom of your fry pan and turn stove on its lowest setting. Squirt cake mix out of the baggie into the pan. Cover and allow to cook until you see holes from bubbles in the middle of the cake–about 2o min. (Note, I live at 8000′, so I don’t know how long it would take at sea level).


Finished cake has holes throughout, including the middle

Allow to cool slightly and add frosting.


Add candle(s) if it is someone’s birthday. 🙂


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!