Do It Yourself: Homemade Gourmet Expedition Food


Ever since Adam and I met in the military service as rangers in arctic Sweden, we have been quite engaged in arranging better food for our outdoor adventures. We simply had enough of the constant supply of freeze-dried packages with cod-stew. These were never heated enough, and the bits of cod always had the consistency of an old rubber sole. There had to be another way!

In turns out, we found a better way. At this moment, we are very busy drying our own expedition food for the upcoming Wilderness Cabin Trip in Padjelanta National Park, Sweden. We have learnt a lot during the years, and would love to share our best practices and tips. We hope that this information will be useful :)

Some of the obvious advantages with drying your own (vegetarian) food we have listed below:

  • Weight savings. Depending on the water content in the specific type of food you dry, you can decrease the weight by 50-95%. This makes your trip much more enjoyable as there is less weight causing your shoulder straps to dig into your flesh!
  • Tastyness. Freeze-dried food has a tendency to have a very strange consistency and/or taste. Like every kind of food, unprocessed and home-made always tastes better!
  • Healthy and nutrious. When you dry the food yourself, you can easily make sure that most of it is organic and with a good balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
  • Environmentally friendly. We dry only lacto-vegetarian foodstuffs, which means no red meat, no chicken/fish, and no eggs. Lactose products are however OK. Such a vegetarian diet has up to 50% less green house gas emissions (such as CO2) than a meat diet!

But hey, wait, If we just rehydrate everything, how are we even saving any weight?
Simple, we have the luxury of camping in an environment with clean water all around us in the form of snow so why bring water with us? Also, for each liter of fuel we carry, we can melt about 17 liters of water depending on the temperature. Pretty good ratio of water to fuel!


And what about the mix of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats in a vegetarian expedition diet?
You need around 15% protein in your diet, a quota which is easily attained by remembering to have some kind of protein-rich legume (dried beans or lentils) or milk product (such as dried feta-cheese) in the daily meals. But remember that even potato contains 10% proteins! The other issue is with fat; most fatty foods are hard to dry. Therefore the best way is to make and bring butter-oil (ghee) to put in the food. This you make by melting butter and filtering out the water. That way you reduce the weight of the butter of 20% (which is its’ water content). Try also to have fatty foods in the evening which leaves a lot of time for metabolism, and carbohydrate-rich foods in the morning when fast energy is needed. Don’t give cheese to someone who has severe hypothermia; it will consume their last energy to be metabolized and they won’t be around to enjoy the long-term energy gain... Instead give them hot drinks and maybe some of the below snacks ;)


Here are our 3 favorite recipes for yummy vegetarian expedition meals :)

General description: Mix dried ingredients with remaining ingredients except and store in a bag. When you wish to prepare the meal, soak the contents in enough water to cover them completely for several hours and then boil for 10-15 minutes or until the consistency of the ingredients is pleasant. Pour off any remaining water and enjoy!

Banana Pancakes

  • 1 dl pancake mix
  • 1 dl water
  • 25g chopped chocolate
  • Some dried bananas
  • Butter for frying

Prepare pancake mix and mix in chocolate and bananas. Heat up skillet and make pancakes!


Paella 1 serving

  • 200g tomatoes
  • 50g zuchini
  • 50g spinach
  • 100g grean peas
  • 60g onions
  • 3dl water
  • 10g butter
  • 1dl rice
  • Some buillon and garlic powder

Slice tomatoes, zuchinni and onions in 5mm slices and dry on baking sheets in oven at 50 C with circulating air. Peas and spinach are dried in same way but not sliced. Follow general description above the recipe, and enjoy :)


Minty Couscous
1 serving

  • 0.25 dl cashes
  • 2 dl water
  • 20g butter
  • 1dl couscous
  • 80g feta cheese
  • 60g corn
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp diced dried apricots
  • Buillon
Slice feta cheese in 5mm cubes and dry on baking sheets in oven at 50 C with circulating air. Corn is dried in same way but not sliced. Then follow the steps of the above general description. Bon apetit!




Sign up for trip and mountain news!

* indicates required
Language of newsletter / Språk för nyhetsbrev
Email Format