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Embracing Winter Adventures: Exploring the Culinary Side

family in snow
Photo by Vika Glitte

Winter is more than just frosty air and snowy landscapes; it's an invitation to experience the outdoors in a new light. And what better way to elevate your winter adventure than indulging in gourmet meals cooked over a backpacking gas stove?

A Family Winter Hiking Trip

You and your family should embark on an adventure into the heart of a snow-draped wilderness on snowmobiles or by foot along a trail. The crisp air will fill your lungs as you move through the powdery path, and you and your family will leave imprints on the fresh snow canvas. With your backpacks snugly strapped to your backs, you will venture into a landscape transformed into a winter wonderland. Upon arriving at your destination, you can enjoy the fun activity of building snow people to keep you company on this snow-venture. With giggles and enthusiasm, the kids will gather mounds of snow, sculpting a family of snowmen at your trail destination. Amidst laughter and playful banter, they will craft their whimsical features, adorning them with hats and sticks. 

Once your frosty companions stand proudly, you might decide it is time to prepare a warm meal. Soon, the simmering aroma of a hot meal will dance in the cold air, enticing the family with the promise of warmth and comfort. Bring your trusty camping stove and the ingredients below to whip up some delicious winter treats. You can set up a small cooking station with the snowy expanse as your kitchen. I suggest starting with hot chocolate. It'll warm you up as you cook the rest of your food. An excellent hot chocolate should mix together effortlessly - cocoa powder, sugar, and powdered milk all stirred into boiling water. You will notice the sweet aroma wafting through the chilly air, and your family will cozy up with your BASECAMP mugs while watching the snowpeople bask in the morning light.

The first course on this winter feast is Hearty Oatmeal with Dried Fruits and Nuts! The preparation will be simple. You will boil water in the pot, pour it over oats mixed with dried fruits and nuts, and let it simmer on the stove. Add some cinnamon or a dash of pumpkin pie spice mix, and you will notice the comforting spice filling the air as your morning hot meal takes shape. It is a wholesome breakfast that has warmed bellies and fueled spirits for ages. Get out the bowls and spoons you brought so everyone is ready for their winter breakfast. After you devour your oatmeal, I suggest hiking or doing other winter activities. Be sure to wash down the oatmeal with a thermos of water.

Pack up your food and trash and explore the winter wonderland. Before long, someone will ask, "What's for lunch?". I suggest a backpacker's pizza. Your family will laugh at the idea of crafting a pizza in the wilderness but embrace the adventure. The ingredients should be laid out on a flatbread - tomato sauce, dehydrated toppings, and cheese. Fire up the stove again and set it over the flame with an oiled-up skillet. The flatbread will be transformed into a delectable lunch as the cheese melts over the tomato sauce and savory toppings. Again, bellies full and spirits high, you should embrace the ethos of 'Leave No Trace,' ensuring every crumb of our delicious pizza is responsibly managed. Be sure to drink plenty of water too. Dehydration can happen in the winter, too. 

Some afternoon activities could be sledding, more hikes, animal track identification and following, or crafts. Later, after everyone has had fun, you can make a yummy Creamy Mushroom Risotto for dinner. This one will be a new family favorite! Dehydrated mushrooms, onions, and rice sizzled in the pot, releasing a delightful aroma. Water should be added gradually, and then stirring can begin. The rice will soak up the flavors, creating a creamy concoction that is a delight to your taste buds.

Days are short, and the snowpeople will be your silent companions, witnessing your joyous feast in the wilderness as the sun sets. The stars will start to paint a mesmerizing spectacle above as you relish your creamy risotto. 

Your winter cooking adventure is a testament to simplicity and togetherness. With minimal equipment and ingredients, we can conjure gourmet meals amidst the snow-laden landscape. As the winter night stars flickered around you, be sure to clean up diligently, leaving no trace of your hearty feasts behind. With contented hearts and full stomachs, you can head back to your car in a night hike outfitted with headlamps. The remnants of your culinary adventure fade into the embrace of the dark, snowy wilderness night, leaving only the memories of a day well spent in nature's embrace.


  • Hearty Oatmeal with Dried Fruits and Nuts

A simple blend of instant oats, dried fruits, nuts, and a dash of cinnamon. Just add boiling water and let it simmer for a few minutes. Top with honey or maple syrup for sweetness.

  • For the more adventurous, Scrambled Eggs with Veggies and Cheese

Whisk eggs with dehydrated veggies and pack cheese in a separate ziplock. Cook the veggies in a pot, add the eggs, and scramble until fluffy. Sprinkle cheese on top for an indulgent morning treat.


  • Backpacker's Pizza: Flatbread Delight

Spread tomato sauce on a flatbread, sprinkle with dehydrated toppings (peppers, mushrooms, and pepperoni), and finish with a sprinkle of cheese. Heat on a skillet until the cheese melts.

  • Alternative meal: One-pot lentil Soup

Combine lentils, dehydrated veggies, spices, and water in a pot. Let it simmer until the lentils are soft and the soup thickens.


  • Creamy Mushroom Risotto

Saute dehydrated mushrooms, onions, and rice in oil until golden. Add water gradually and stir until creamy. Garnish with parmesan cheese for a rich finish.

  • Need some more spice? Try Spicy Chickpea Curry

Mix dehydrated chickpeas, veggies, curry powder, and coconut milk powder in a pot. Simmer until the curry thickens, and serve over rice.


  • Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows

Mix cocoa powder, sugar, and powdered milk. Add boiling water and top with marshmallows.

  • If you need to switch it up, try Mulled Cider with Spices

Heat apple cider with cinnamon sticks, cloves, and a slice of orange. Let it simmer for a few minutes for a warm, spiced beverage.

With some preparation and creativity, winter outdoor cooking can transform a cold adventure into a gastronomic delight. Whether starting the day with a warm breakfast or relishing a flavorful dinner under the starry sky, these simple recipes will make your winter outdoor escapade unforgettable.

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