DIY Backpacking and Camping Instant Meal

Summer is in full swing here in Seattle!  These are the months of adventure and enjoyment under the warm sun; hiking, biking, barbecue’s, front porch sitting, and weekend getaways.  Young people and families alike flock east and west to experience the joys of backpacking/camping in the Pacific Northwest summer beauty.

I recently completed a two night backpacking trip in the Olympic’s with a few friends.  We experimented with preparing homemade “just add water” meals to save a few bucks and have a bit more control over flavors.  Most ingredients were already in my pantry, however I did purchase a blend of freeze dried vegetables for a lighter pack.  Please substitute fresh veggies from PCH box if you’re car camping and have the storage space!

Backpackers Gumbo

Serves 4


  • ½ cup quinoa
  • ½ cup red split lentils
  • ½ cup dried vegetables
  • 3 teaspoons chicken broth powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 3 cups water
  • summer sausage cut into chunks
  • 2 oz tomato paste


  1. Combine all dry ingredients in a quart-sized ziplock bag labeled “Gumbo – 3 Cups water”.
  2. Hike a mountain or drive to campsite.  Set up camp. 😊
  3. In medium pot, bring 3 cups water to a boil and add dry ingredients.
  4. Chop sausage into bite sized chunks.
  5. Add sausage and tomato paste to gumbo once it begins to thicken.  Stir frequently.
  6. Gumbo is ready when most liquid has been absorbed.

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About Devon Dodgson

As a past Pacific Coast Harvest customer, and current Pacific Coast Harvest contributor, Devon shares recipes and wellness content to benefit the families we serve speaking as someone who’s “been there, done that”. Devon teaches music lessons, raises chickens with her husband, and loves cooking for family and friends.