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 sample of one of my recipes that takes a little extra time to make, but the reward is worth it!


This is a non-cook, creamy, graham cracker-crusted cheesecake that is pretty easy to make in the backcountry. It works best with a large diameter pot and in cooler temps. The ingredients list makes 2 full cheesecakes!

Ingredients (makes 2 cheesecakes)

  • 1 Box Jell-O No Bake Real Cheesecake (without fruit filling)
  • 6 t. Sugar (or 6 packets)
  • 1/2 c. Dehydrated milk (preferrably whole) (or 2 oz. powder, by weight)
  • 1 oz. Freeze dried fruit of your choice (you could also used dehydrated or ~1/2 c. fresh–if you have huckleberries on trail DO THAT.)
  • 4 T. Olive oil (or four 1/2 oz. packets)

At-Home (or in hotel) Preparation

First, divide the recipe into two portions and repackage (if you care if it resembles a cake). Separate 1/2 of the “Crust mix” (about 1/2 c.) into two separate ziplock baggies. Add one T. sugar (3 packets) to each baggie of crust mix.

Then, divide the filling mix equally into two separate baggies in the same way. Add 1/4 c. dried milk and the dried berries to each baggie of filling mix.


Each cheesecake will look like this when repackaged

On-Trail Preparation

Add 3/4 c. + 1 T. cold water to the baggie with the filling/milk/fruit mixture (do not add too much water). If you are using fresh berries, keep them aside until the end. Stir or knead the bag until all the powder is mixed in; it should be the consistency of pancake batter. Let the filling mixture sit until it has thickened to the consistency of pudding. This can take up to an hour. The colder it is, the faster it will occur. (Note: If you are impatient and don’t wait for it to thicken, it is still delicious.)

In the meantime, pour the contents of the crust baggie into a cook pot (the wider diameter the better). Mix in 2 packets (1 oz.) olive oil. Stir until all the crust mix is moistened. Press into the bottom of the cook pot like this:


When ready, spoon the thickened filling onto the crust and distribute it evenly. If you have fresh berries, throw them on top. That’s it.



Each cake makes about 2c., has  1100 calories, and weighs about 8.5 oz. packages.

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!