Easy Campfire Cooking

Dan Nash and Judy Davis

We talked to Dan Nash, the owner/founder of Hiking the Ozarks and the organizer of the Ozark Mountain Trailblazers, and Judy Davis, teacher of a local woman-only backpacking class, to get a few tips for eating and drinking while you’re on the trail.


  • Make sure you have water
  • Cook by the campfire
  • Add variety with dehydrated food

Make sure you have water. A couple of bottles of water per person is sufficient for a short hike, but you’ll need more for longer trips in the wilderness. Lucky for us 417-landers, many of our local trails have springs and creeks where we can get drinking water. Nash says to research your trail before heading out to see if there is water available, and if there is, invest in iodine tablets or a small commercial water filter so you can filter your water before you drink it.

Cook by the campfire. If you’re going out for a day and you want to enjoy a good campfire-cooked meal for dinner, you can. And I’m not talking about hotdogs roasted on a stick. Nash says you can buy any fresh veggies you like, chop them up and combine them with a little butter and seasonings, then wrap them in a couple of layers of aluminum foil and cook them right on top of the camp fire. Nash recommends pairing your veggies with steak on a rock. To do this, simply place a large rock right next to the fire, allow it to heat and then cook your steak on it.

Add variety with dehydrated food. Just because you’re going on a longer trip doesn’t mean you have to eat the same food every day. Davis says you can buy everything from beef stroganoff to Chinese food in the dehydrated form, or you can cook your own favorite recipes (including meat, pasta, veggies, eggs… basically anything you like!) and dehydrate the food yourself. The key is spreading the food into flat, thin layers before you dehydrate it. Simply divide your recipe into portion sizes, spread them on to the dehydrator trays and then dehydrate them, which takes approximately five hours for a main meal. Pack it in a Ziploc bag when it’s finished. When it’s time to eat on the trail, place the food in a pot, cover it with water, let it sit for approximately an hour and then heat it by the fire.

—Savannah Waszczuk 417 Magazine