One of my favorite breakfasts to eat on a backpacking hike is oatmeal. While the little flavored oatmeal packets are convenient and I’ve definitely purchased them in a pinch, I generally pack a large ziploc bag filled with plain quick cooking oats so that I can be in charge of the flavorings and can cook as much or as little as I want depending on the size of our group and how hungry we are.
Lightweight, filling, nutritious and delicious, oatmeal is the perfect camp breakfast and a bowl along with our morning coffee or hot chocolate keeps us full for miles. But eating the same thing day after day can get boring so we’ve come up with several yummy combinations of add-ins for backpacking recipes to keep our oatmeal breakfasts interesting and satisfying. If you try these out, you can use the usual oatmeal like we do, or even consider oatibix oatmeal cereal biscuits which can also taste great when combined with any of your favorite toppings and flavorings.
Backpacking Recipes: Making Better Oatmeal
Start with a pot of regular oatmeal. We use quick cooking oats while camping to save fuel and basically just bring a pot of water to boil, turn off the gas and add the oats plus a pinch of salt. It takes just a couple of minutes to cook and thicken. We then each doctor our bowl of oats with whichever add-ins appeal to us that morning and every one is happy. (Which is not easy with 4 kids!) There are countless combinations of ingredients that go well with oatmeal, so use your imagination to come up with new flavors for you own favorite backpacking recipes. Here are a few of our favorites.
1. Dried Blueberries, Sliced Almonds, Brown Sugar and Melted Clarified Butter
The earthy crunch of the almonds and sweetness of the dried blueberries and brown sugar are a delicious combination. The addition of melted clarified butter (Click here for the recipe) is what brings this oatmeal over the top and the added fat makes this especially energy dense.
2. Chopped Walnuts, Dried Cranberries and a Drizzle of Blackstrap Molasses
This combination is perfect for when you want an especially hearty breakfast. Crunchy walnuts combined with sweet and tart cranberries is delicious and the rich, dark blackstrap molasses adds an abundance of flavor and as an added bonus is rich in iron, vitamin B6, calcium and potassium. A little goes a long way too, which makes it a perfect addition to backpacking meals.
3. Dried Mango, Pineapple and Golden Raisins, Pine Nuts and a Drizzle of Honey
Sweet and crunchy, this combination is a perfect oatmeal add-in. Sweet and chewy dried fruit is packed with complex carbs and pine nuts are full of satisfying monounsaturated fat, protein and iron. The drizzle of golden honey adds welcome sweetness and complexity. Yum!
4. Hot Chocolate Oatmeal: Hot Chocolate Powder and Marshmallows
A classic sweet combination, this recipe is the result of one of the kids being too lazy to wash both their bowl and their cup so decided to combine their hot cocoa (we especially love Starbucks® Gourmet Hot Cocoa for both this recipe and drinking on cool mornings, but any hot chocolate mix works) with their breakfast oats. And a new breakfast favorite was created!
5. Reese’s Cup: Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chips and a Sprinkle of Chia Seeds
For me, there isn’t a better flavor combination than peanut butter and chocolate so this is my all time favorite oatmeal add-in recipe. I add the peanut butter to the oatmeal and mix it well before topping with the chocolate chips and chia seeds. Our favorite peanut butter to use is Justin’s Peanut Butter Squeeze Packs as it delicious and their one ounce packs are super convenient. The peanut butter adds a rich, creamy texture and the chocolate makes it sweet and decadent. The addition of chia seeds is what gives this recipe its nutritional punch. Full of fiber, protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and antioxidants, these tiny seeds are the perfect addition to backpacking meals as a lightweight and nutritious add-in.
6. Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, Shredded Dried Coconut and Toasted Flax Seeds
Rich and creamy, chocolate hazelnut spread makes this breakfast seem more like dessert. We love to pack individual packets of Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Blend to use both in our oatmeal and spread on tortillas as a sweet snack. Lightweight, calorie dense and portable, all of Justin’s butter blend varieties make it in our food bag on backpacking trips. Shreds of unsweetened dried coconut add texture and crunch and I like to add toasted flax seeds as they are high in omega 3 fatty acids, B1, fiber and minerals, elements of nutrition not easily found in trail food.
7. Chopped Walnuts, Raisins, and Honey
There’s a reason this combination is a classic oatmeal flavor- it’s delicious! Sweet honey, crunchy walnuts and chewy raisins add up to a delicious and satisfying breakfast full of fiber, complex carbs and protein.
8. Dried Apples, Cinnamon and Brown Sugar
Easy to make yourself (click here for the recipe), dried apples are lightweight and flavorful and combined with a sprinkle of cinnamon and brown sugar, make a delicious oatmeal combination.
9. Almond Joy: Sliced Almonds, Chocolate Chips and Dried Coconut
The combination of coconut, almonds and chocolate make Almond Joy one of my favorite candy bars, and also make this one of my favorite oatmeal recipes. Sweet coconut and savory almonds with bits of decadent dark chocolate make this a tasty oatmeal that is definitely not boring. I could eat this just about every day!
We hope you enjoy some of our favorite backpacking recipes for oatmeal add-ins to make your trail oatmeal more interesting and satisfying. Use your imagination and whatever ingredients you love to make your own combinations! Click here to read more about dehydrating food and other backpacking recipes to take on camping trips and backpacking hikes.
I’m a huge fan of this! I make up quick cooking oatmeal for work everyday. I just mix up my own to fit my dietary needs (no added sugar) & add hot water. My fave flavor combos: strawberries & cream (freeze dried strawberries & dehydrated milk powder), mango & cashew ( freeze dried mango & unsalted, not roasted cashews), strawberry-coconut, pina colada ( milk powder, pineapple, coconut, freeze dried banana), banana-nut, apple-cranberry-walnut. Trader Joe’s is my goto spot for freeze dried fruits. The freeze dried fruits come out mushy & are usually sweeter with no added sugar. Using dried fruits gives a chewy texture. Of course, the most amazing combos include many textures. All of the ingredients are shelf stable, so I can make up a ton & then grab and go. Yay oatmeal! I’m glad to see others doing the same.
I’m going to try your versions! And I love Trader Joes for all kinds of backpacking foods. Happy Trails!
I eat oatmeal all the time well backpacking, with family while camping. It is one of my favorite foods, being light so my pack isn’t heavy, easy to make, and it still has a good taste. Dried Apples, Cinnamon and Brown Sugar is my favorite flavor while backpacking.
Glad to hear that Garrett!❤️