Many people like to eat freeze-dried backpacking meals on overnight trips or dehydrate their own food and make freezer-bag dinners because you just add hot water to them and they don’t require any cleanup. But I don’t mind cooking a hot dinner after a hard day of hiking, although I keep my meals simple to make and simple to clean up by eating GLOP.
What is glop? It’s the backpacking term used to describe a soupy, often high calorie meal, made in a cook pot. Mine are usually based on a grain or noodle, like wheat cereal, oatmeal, polenta, instant potatoes, spaghetti, shaped pasta, ramen noodles with nuts, fruit, pesto, thai food sauce, chunks of sausage, butter, olive oil, or butter thrown in.
- Glop meals are easy to clean up because they’re soupy and the ingredients don’t stick to the sides of the pot.
- Glop ingredients are often available pre-packed or easy to repackage in snack bags.
- It’s easy to mix and match different ingredients in real times, based on your mood.
- It’s easy to save and use anything you don’t eat for your next trip.
- Glop meals can be cooked with any stove or fuel type.
- Glop ingredients are easy to resupply on a long distance hike, even in convenience stores and gas stations
Here’s are some glop meal combinations that I typically eat on a backpacking trip.
- Wheat cereal, dried fruit, and nuts – 3 packets of instant maple wheat cereal (generic store version of Wheatina), dried cranberries, raisins, mixed nuts. I really load up on the berries and nuts for calories and to improve the “mouthfeel” of the wheat cereal so it’s not boring to eat. It’s not hard to eat 1000 calories like this for breakfast, which will power you for an entire morning.
- Oatmeal and berries – 3 packets of instant maple oatmeal and a 1-2 ounces of harmony house freeze-dried berries. Add butter in cold weather, when it won’t melt in your food bag before use.
- Ramen noodles, ramen soup mix, olive oil – as simple as it sounds. At 240 calories an ounce, olive oil is a great way to dramatically boost the caloric content of a ramen soup dinner. You can buy olive oil in 1/2 ounce packets or bottle it up in a small 2 or 4 ounce nalgene bottle that you refill at home between trips. Hint – the best way to ensure that a small bottle of olive oil does not open in your food bag is to wrap plumber’s tape around the threads to get a tight seal.
- Instant Mashed Potatoes – boring by themselves, but fast to cook. Mix in pepperoni or bacon bits, and grated parmesan to add calories and mouthfeel.
- Outdoor Herbivore favorites: Chunky Chipotle Chili, Switchback Soup and Stuffer. Add one cup of instant rice to bulk them out and add a few calories.
I usually only eat one hot meal per day, usually at dinner, so these meals provide me with plenty of variety for the two or three night backpacking trips I prefer taking, once or twice a month.SectionHiker is reader-supported. We only make money if you purchase a product through our affiliate links. Help us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.
Plumber’s tape on the threads. (Slaps head!) Genius idea that I wish I’d thought of.
Another good ramen meal: add powdered peanut butter to make a sort of mock peanut sauce, toss in some raisins and/or peanuts. I like it because all the ingredients are dry, so less worry about leaky sauces.
Good for getting a tight seal between a squeeze water filter and a platypus too. Have used it for years.
Love the plumbers tape idea! My add on for ramen is textured vegtable protein (TVP) available online or at health food stores and dried refried beans available at Walmart online. I will be trying peanuts to add too.