High Country Haute Cuisine

By Eliana Osborn

July 11, 2016


Photograph courtesy of Harmony House


Many lightweight foods that are great for backpacking also carry a bit of baggage—in the production or consumption of waste. 

The next time you hit the trail, consider going lighter and going green. These options have all the calories and taste you need without requiring quite so much to pack. Even better? Many are made in the United States and use certified organic ingredients. 

1.      Heather’s Choice: Smoked Sockeye Salmon Chowder 

Bursting with omega-3 fatty acids, this hearty wild-caught Alaskan salmon, cold-smoked to lock in flavor, seems a little too tasty for only backcountry adventures. Heather’s Choice products come in eight-inch-tall, foil-lined stand-up pouches for now, but the company is working on burnable packaging that will leave no waste behind. Sustainably harvested ingredients treated with respect equals a product a bit more expensive, but absolutely worth it. $15

Photograph courtesy of Heather's Choice


2.     Pack It Gourmet: Santa Fe Breakfast Corn Pudding 

This spicy take on a hearty breakfast will perk you up quickly. Pack It Gourmet products are cook-in-the-bag, so the bags are sizable. Unlike many options, these packages are made from recyclable food-grade plastic. They are single-use and have to be carried out, but you can feel good about using something that won’t end up in landfill. $4.99


Photograph courtesy of Pack It Gourmet


3.     Outdoor Herbivore: Basil Walnut Penne 

Rehydrated food often suffers in the texture department, but that’s where this dish soars. The walnuts provide a welcome crunch. With Eco Light packaging, Outdoor Herbivore uses smaller, resealable bags so you can make just the amount you want in a separate pot. Food and bag waste is decreased. 85% of the ingredients are sourced from the United States, reducing the overall carbon footprint for production, and all foods are organic. $6.49

Photograph courtesy of Outdoor Herbivore


4.     Mary Jane’s Farm: Nick’s Organic Couch Potatoes 

Two sizes of packages from Mary Jane’s Farm are burnable—that’s right, throw it in the fire and say goodbye. “Outpost” and “Farmhouse” packs are both one-camper-size meals with zero-waste packaging. These comfort-food potatoes won’t put you to sleep in front of the television, and are perfect for when you’re worn out on the trail and need a little love. $6.60

Photograph courtesy of Mary Jane's Farm


5.     Harmony House: 18-Pouch Backpacking Kit 

Harmony House is ideal if you actually like cooking. This basic kit comes with 18 pouches, one cup of dehydrated product in each. Ingredients include carrots, celery, onions, and lentils—everything you need to create your own meal or fancy up other fare. The resealable pouches are BPA-free, with nice zipper tops to survive a week or two of jostling in your pack. If you bring all 18 bags, you’re looking at five pounds total weight. $44.96