Breakfast Backpacking Meal Ideas

Backpacking breakfasts are usually quick to cook, because a long breakfast means you’ll be hiking in the hottest part of the afternoon. However, be careful of the temptation to make breakfasts nothing but granola bars — they’re handy when you need to get moving in a hurry, but they’ll get old fast.

Once useful trick is to hike a mile or two before cooking breakfast. The morning is usually the coldest part of the day, and having Scouts standing around camp waiting for breakfast is a good way to freeze. Instead, strike camp and have a short hike before stopping for breakfast. This will get you moving and help you to stay warm, as well as giving the temperatures an hour to rise.

Pancakes with Fruit Topping

Quick to prepare, tasty, and high in carbohydrates, this is a fairly quick trail breakfast. Doctor the pancake mix as you see fit — this meal lends itself to improvisation.


  • Complete (just-add-water) pancake mix, enough for your group
  • Small amount of oil for greasing the pan
  • Fruit topping ingredients (below). One batch of fruit topping will cover 12-16 pancakes, scale up or down as needed.


Make the fruit topping first, allowing it to cool from a boil while cooking the pancakes. Pancakes are best cooked over a medium-low heat, allowing them time to cook through without burning the outside. Use a small amount of oil in the pan to keep pancakes from sticking. On a cold day, you may want to serve the pancakes right off the griddle instead of making the whole batch first.

Doctored Oatmeal

When pancakes aren’t fast enough, oatmeal is a quick way to grab breakfast and get on the trail.


  • Instant oatmeal (2-3 packets per person)
  • Your choice of doctoring ingredients. Consider:
    • Brown sugar
    • Cinnamon
    • Nutmeg
    • Vanilla extract
    • Maple extract
    • Dried fruit (cherries, raisins, banana chips, etc.)


This is as simple as it gets – boil water and ladle it out to each person, letting them doctor their oatmeal as they see fit. Since you have boiling water handy, this is a great recipe to pair with hot cocoa, tea, or coffee.

Fruit Topping

Syrup is great on pancakes, but it’s a mess to pack and store on the trail. Dried fruits cooked with sugar and some spices make a great fruit topping, and can be prepared on the trail. To modify this recipe to have stewed fruit for dessert, halve the amount of sugar.


  • 1.5 cups of dried fruit
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 0.5 tsp cornstarch (thickener)
  • spices to taste (cloves, cinnamon, cardamom suggested)


  1. At home, combine all ingredients in a plastic bag or vacuum-seal pouch.
  2. On the trail, dump into a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil.
  3. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves, fruit plumps, and desired consistency is reached.
  4. Remove from heat and serve over pancakes.