Mmmm! Paleo in the backcountry! What could be better?
Back in 2010, my boyfriend Max and I started the Paleo diet and we really enjoy the health and energy it has brought us. Cooking delicious Paleo food is easy when we have our home kitchen at our disposal, but we are the adventurous type. In an average year, we go backpacking, hiking, biking, rock climbing, snowshoeing, and more.

Of course what we had always eaten before the Paleo change was, like many backpackers, oatmeal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and rice and beans or pasta for dinner. We decided we didn’t want to compromise our diet for ease during our trips, so we searched the Internet for ideas. A Paleo lifestyle and outdoor excursions seemed like a natural fit. To our surprise, there wasn’t a single good source for pure Paleo backpacking food. So we decided to figure it out on our own.

Our first discovery was the home-cooked dehydrated meal. We borrowed my grandma's old dehydrator from the 1960's, got a dehydrating cookbook, and started experimenting, scouring the book for Paleo-friendly recipes, or recipes we could adapt a little. Each week we’d cook a big pot of something to dehydrate (which would make about 4 meals on the trail) and started building our backpacking pantry.

Cooking dinner at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.
Then, in September 2011 we went on a bike trip from Eugene, Oregon to San Francisco, and brought all those dehydrated meals along for our dinner. It was incredible to get to a campsite after riding all day and have a hot, pretty much gourmet meal ready in about 10 minutes.

I told myself that when I got back from the tour I was going to make a Paleo backpacking blog to share what we learned. Over the years, we've had (and continue having) a lot of trips to experiment with different foods. We've amassed many tried-and-true recipes and tips to make Paleo backcountry cuisine easier and more accessible, and we're always refining our technique. I love to hear new ideas, as well, so if you have any backpacking favorites, post them in the comments! I hope you enjoy the food and the energy it brings you!

Relaxing by the fire with some Paleo snacks and some cards. 

Fun Food Facts about Bri:
My favorite foods are lamb heart and radicchio (for reals), with dark chocolate at a very close third. I am caffeine-sensitive which means after even a single cup of coffee I feel like my body is going to explode. Herbs that I feel a close affinity to are sage, ginger, red clover blossom, and nettle. I get really excited when I find a good patch of thimbleberries in the woods. 

Fun Food Facts about Max:
Max eats butter by the spoonful. He feels a strong bond to his Nordic pastoral ancestors and eats lots of dairy products to show that. He doesn't like chocolate in his trail mix (fights have been had) because it melts (OK...fine, I get it). When I first met him on a backpacking trip, he had a tub of Kozy Shack tapioca pudding for breakfast and split an entire pie with one of the other trip leaders (pie is a favorite food). 

Special Notes:

There are some recipes or products posted here that are not 100% paleo (they might have some sugar, or something like rice starch in them). This is for convenience on the trail as we have recognized that it is difficult (not impossible, just difficult) to be 100% paleo while backpacking, especially when trying to plan a trip quickly.

Max and I do eat raw dairy and pasture butter, so there are some recipes that call for that. However, you can easily substitute coconut oil, olive oil, or ghee (still technically dairy, but since it’s clarified, it is OK for non-dairy eaters) for the butter, and just leave out the cheese.


  1. Briana,

    This is a wonderful blog. I read every word and you have given me some terrific ideas.

    It's so fun to read about things you and Max are doing.

    I love you,

    Aunt Pam

  2. Aunt Pam! I didn't even know you knew about this! Dad must have told you. I'm glad you're enjoying it! Good to hear from you, and I love you too!

  3. At 55, I am taking my first overnight backpacking trip. I'm a little chicken, so it's only one night with two of my adult, experienced sons. They normally buy meals, but I didn't think this would work with my paleo/primal lifestyle. I found your blog and read almost all of it. I dehydrating the chili as I type. I'm excited for the trip and not compromising my nutrition while I try a new adventure. Thank you! Lory

    1. Hey Lory, that's awesome! I hope you have fun on your trip, and I'm glad to be of help!

  4. Hi Bri, I'm writing to ask for your help in spreading the word about the freeze dried backpacker meals that my son and I make. Our company is called Paleo Meals To Go and we've been in business about 11 months, although I took off two months in Dec/Jan to be at the hospital for five weeks and at my mom's home for an additional three weeks following a surgery, so really only about 9 months in business. We're based in Denver and it's just the two of us working on this business idea.

    Our meals are formulated to adhere to the general principles of the Paleo diet and we've had really excellent feedback and comments from reviewers and our customers, but I still don't think most folks in the Paleo community know about us. Would you be willing to review our meals if I sent you some free samples? Or would you be interested in blogging about us or posting on your forum? Any mention of us on your site would really help inform the Paleo community that they have a healthy, Paleo option when they are hiking, traveling, competing, or even when they are too busy or can't leave the office to get a Paleo meal. One man wrote to us and said they are perfect for long airplane rides because he can always get hot water from the flight attendant and that's all our meals require. And many people who are not on, or who have never even heard of the Paleo diet, are interested in our products because our meals are free from additives, preservatives, and cheap filler ingredients. We use meat, vegetables and spices! Plain and simple.

    We're still operating in the red and any help with spreading the word to all the hunters, Paleo folks, backpackers and others would be greatly appreciated since our advertising budget is negligible.

    If you have time and are interested, I'd be very happy to talk to you on the phone whenever convenient for you. My number is 224-725-3652 and our website is www.paleomealstogo.com.
    Dawn Anderson
    Operations Manager
    Paleo Meals To Go
    Denver, CO

  5. Hello Briana,

    Thank you for sharing all of these great resources! I'm writing to you from Heather's Choice, a startup company dedicated to changing the way backpackers eat. We're bring dehydrated paleo meals to the masses using organic and sustainably sourced ingredients. We have breakfasts, snacks, and dinners ranging from Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon Chowder to Coconut Snackaroons. We would love to share our product and story with you! Please learn more at: www.heatherschoice.com.

    Thank you,