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Reviews > Books > General > Backpack Gourmet by Linda F Yaffe > Owner Review by Kathleen Waters

BACKPACK GOURMET: Good Hot Grub You Can Make at Home...
by Kathleen Waters
February 17, 2017



NAME: Kathleen Waters
EMAIL: kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
AGE: 66
LOCATION: Canon City, Colorado, USA
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.60 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)

Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado. Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley. My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.


TITLE: Backpack Gourmet: Good Hot Grub You Can Make at Home, Dehydrate, and Pack for Quick, Easy, and Healthy Eating on the Trail

Author: Linda Frederick Yaffe
Year Copyright 2002
Published by Stackpole Books:
Publisher's Website:
Author's Website:

MSRP: US $14.99 Print, $13.99 Digital (Kindle)
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: Not applicable

Other details:
File Size: 2585 KB
Print Length: 176 pages


As indicated in the very long title of the book, this is a book for people who want to make and dehydrate food at home for rehydration and heating up on the trail.

The book is divided into 5 chapters: beginning with the Introduction and Home-Dried One-Pot Meals and then continuing through Breakfast and Lunch, Sweet and Savory Snacks, and Pasta Dishes and Casseroles. It closes out with a section of Suggested Reading and Index.

The very short Introduction focuses on the many benefits of dehydrating meals for backpacking and is followed by a slightly longer chapter Home-Dried One-Pot Meals which covers the basics of dehydrating, equipment needed, meal planning suggestions and information on the backcountry equipment needed, including stoves, fuels, bear canisters and water filters. All this is detailed in the first 18 pages of the digital version of the book.

In chapter 3, the author begins with Breakfast and Lunch recipes, starting with breakfast items, including several hot beverages, hot breakfast combinations, hot cereals, cold cereals, breakfast bars, drinks and moving up to lunch options such as breads, crackers, toasts, spreads and jerky.

Recipes for Sweet and Savory Snacks including nuts, beans, vegetables, dried fruit and fruit leather, trail mixes and bars and cookies make up the contents of Chapter 4.

This is followed by Soups and Stews including soups, chowders, stews, chilies, beans and pilafs in Chapter 5.

The final and longest chapter in the book is titled: Pasta Dishes and Casseroles which introduces meatless pasta dishes, pasta with meat or seafood choices, lasagna, casseroles and other combination dishes.

The book closes out with a short list of other suggested articles/books to read and the index to this book.

All of the dishes have the number of servings the recipe makes and the weight of one serving at the top of each page. This is a great help when planning backcountry meals! One small omission for metric users is the lack of metric conversions.

*** Note: For me and my trail mates, the serving sizes are quite a bit more filling than the "generous" portions the author indicates they are. We are generally over-stuffed. I have compensated for that by doubling the recipe and if, for example that would make eight servings, I bag it as three meals for three people thereby gaining one whole serving.

The recipes are clearly written in a chronological manner where the ingredients are not listed at the top of the recipe followed by the directions but rather the ingredients are introduced as the directions proceed. This took a bit to get used to for me as when I cook, I usually would read the ingredients and gather them all before starting the process. However, thanks to the fact that the ingredients are in bold type, I still am able to pick them out first. And I do like that the amounts are right there listed in the directions as I go along.

Digial Version Recipe
Breakfast To Go

For instance:

One of the simplest and most tasty breakfast recipes is the "Instant Oatmeal" which doesn't even need the process of dehydration and is written in the consistently used format as below:

1. Grind to a powder in a blender or food processor:
2 cups regular rolled oats
1/4 cup any variety nuts

2. Place the powder in a plastic bag and add:
1 cup instant dry milk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup any variety chopped dried fruit

3. In camp, cover with water 3 inches above level of food in pot. Stir while bringing to a boil. Serve immediately.

This is so good that I keep a container on hand even at home. So much better than the instant packets sold in grocery stores!

I have personally cooked, dehydrated, packed-in, rehydrated and eaten every single hot breakfast combination and hot cereal recipe in this book! I also can recommend the toasted bagels and hummus and bruschetta spreads for lunches.

Cooking Equipment on Trail
Cooking on the Trail
Dinner is Served!

Love the Cowboy Pasta recipe for a very hearty dinner as well. I haven't really experimented too much with the seafood dishes as I'm not sure I like the idea of fish smells in the bear-country I usually backpack in! Doesn't seem like a good idea to me though on one day hike in flat open desert, we did enjoy one of the tuna casseroles.

In closing, this is my go-to backpacking dehydrating cookbook. I have several but I use this one the most.


1.) Great tasting and nutritious recipes
2.) Easy to read and follow directions
3.) Lots of good advice and information for newbie dehydrators


1.) For me and my trail mates, the portions are too large.


Dinner is served
Trail Mate, Julia, Enjoying Lunch.
Since my most frequent trail mates are my son, a professional chef and my daughter-in-law, an amateur gourmet cook, I have never had to eat store-bought backpacking meals or subsist on food bars when I backpack. And since I try to pull my own weight, I make it a point to contribute my share of the grub on the trail. With Backpack Gourmet, I am confident my meals are nutritious and delicious as well. I use this book a lot - as a matter of fact, I have a Cowboy Pasta meal dehydrating right now as I type and as usual, the whole house smells wonderful!

I can heartily recommend this book (and I have - my daughter-in-law also has it now) to anyone who wants good food when hiking, backpacking and camping and doesn't want the high salt, preservatives and the price of pre-packaged, off-the-shelf dehydrated meals.

Kathleen (Kathy) Waters

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

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