Hiking Tips: Breakfast Doesn’t Have To Be Boring

There is something about a hot breakfast on a chilly morning with the sun rising that bring a smile to my face and strangely enough even a sense of peace and calm. As I sit enjoying a simple meal, nothing spectacular, I think about the day and trail ahead.

Breakfast does not have to be boring or bland on the trail. I hear all the time from hikers who “suffer” for the hike all in the name of “toughing it out” and saving ounces by eating only a granola bar in the morning. For me a granola bar is a mid-day snack. In the morning I want something hot and with more substance. I want my breakfast to say “hey, it’s going to be  great day. Let’s get moving!”

So what kind of breakfast recipes are easy to make, light to carry, filled with nutrition, and is not bland and boring? Below are some recipes to try from the Backpacking Chef.

Cook dried fruits in the oatmeal to soften them up and to release some of their sweetness. Dried bananas will nearly disintegrate while other dried fruits like apples, peaches, and berries will hold their texture. Go ape and combine several fruits together!

Quaker® Old Fashioned Oats cook sufficiently with a minute of boiling but retain a little chewiness which I like better than pure mush. Stir frequently and add more water if needed to prevent scorching. Remove from stove after one minute of boiling and wait five minutes before topping with granola.

I top my oatmeal with Cascadian Farm® Organic granola, but any granola will do. Choose a variety of granolas with different combinations of sweetened oats and other grains, nuts and seeds, bits of chocolate, raisins or dates – and create different oatmeal recipes for every day of the week.

I tried adding peanut butter and other creamy ingredients like Nutella® to oatmeal but the result was an overload of creaminess and a dilution of the nut butters. I’d rather spread peanut butter over a bagel.

Oatmeal goes well with NIDO® Instant Dry Whole Milk. Add two tablespoons of milk powder to ½ cup water in a separate cup and stir briskly. I pour half over the cooked oatmeal and drink the rest.

Apples & Raisins with Cinnamon

Serves 1


  • ½ Cup old fashioned oatmeal
  • ¼ Cup dried apples
  • ¼ Cup raisins
  • ¼ Cup granola
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1¼ cups water

Large Portion:

The recipe above has 382 calories. A ½ cup of milk on the side (2 Tbsp powdered milk) adds 76 calories.

To make a larger portion with 537 calories use ¾ cup oats, ⅓ cup dried apples, ⅓ cup raisins, ⅓ cup granola, 1½ tsp sugar, ¾ tsp cinnamon, pinch salt, 1¾ cups water to rehydrate. A ¾ cup of milk on the side (2 Tbsp powdered milk) adds 114 calories.

Fruit & Nuts with Chocolate

Serves 1


  • ½ Cup old fashioned oatmeal
  • ½ Cup dried fruit – any kind (banana & mango shown)
  • ¼ Cup granola with nuts & chocolate pieces
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)
  • Pinch salt
  • 1½ cups water

At Home:

Pack milk powder, granola, and raisins in separate small bags and enclose in larger bag with other ingredients. Raisins are packed in their own bag to keep their moisture from migrating to the other ingredients.

On the Trail:

Combine all ingredients except milk powder and granola with water in pot and soak for five minutes. Light stove, bring to boil, and cook for one minute. Stir frequently and add more water if necessary. Insulate pot and wait five minutes. Top with granola.

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