8 Things Being a Backcountry Cook Says About You

8 Things Being a Backcountry Cook Says About You

8 Things Being a Backcountry Cook Says About You


Though anyone can cook outdoors, it takes experience and skill to be able to get it right. Although it doesn’t take much to light a portable stove in the wilderness, it does take a little more to be able to cook a meal like a master chef. Being able to treat a kitchen in the outdoors like it’s a kitchen in your home is something to certainly be proud of. In fact, if you can cook in the backcountry, then you’re pretty much able to do anything.

1. You’re Creative

Creative, Cooking, Backcountry

Being able to whip up excellent meals over a campfire or a tiny portable stove means that you are definitely a creative person. Your amazing chef skills have led you to even surprise yourself. You’ve found ways to throw together some of the dullest ingredients to make something you actually look forward to after a day of hiking. If you’re able to do all that while you’re on the trail, imagine what you can do off of it.

2. You’re Handy

Backcountry Cook, Cooking

Your friends and family should just call you Mr. or Mrs. Fix-It. After all, you can seriously just put together anything sitting in a tool shed and create your backcountry grill. No project is too difficult for you. Anytime you can’t get a fire started or something’s not going according to plan, you always have a backup method. Whatever you’re able to handle in the outdoors, you can handle anywhere. Seriously, people rely on you for their food. That’s an important job.

3. You’re Patient

Patience, Cooking, Outdoors, Cook

Cooking in the backcountry is not always easy. It can be stressful if weather conditions aren’t right, or if you’re just too tired to be confronted with the task. Sometimes, you secretly wish you could call your favorite delivery or take-out restaurant and just have it come right to your tent. Unfortunately, that’s not an option. Instead, you’ve learned to cope with the time it takes to make your food (which is sometimes not long at all), cleaning your dishes, drying your dishes, and taking care of all your trash after each and every meal. You don’t complain about any of it either, and that’s a truly admirable quality in the non-backpacking world. 

4. You’re Resourceful

cooking, cook, outdoors

Being able to cook up a fire in the outdoors takes a lot of learning and practice. You’ve learned how to use any resources you have around you to make what you need to make. Tinder? Kindling? Firewood? You know all about those, thank you very much. You’ve learned to make things last a long time, and how to substitute some of the strangest ingredients for others. You’ve learned to pack things into small spaces, and to still have a use for even the tiniest of wrappers when you’re done with it. You don’t let anything at all go to waste.

5. You’re Open-Minded

cooking, outdoors, open-minded

Being a backcountry cook means that you’re up for anything. Pre-packaged chicken with Minute Rice? Why not? Of course, you’ll be able to turn that into something much more desirable. There’s a new recipe online? It’s not quite what you would order at your favorite Indian restaurant, but it doesn’t sound so bad. You like to be the guy in charge of the stove, but you’re happy to give others a go at it. You know your campfire food is better than anyone’s, but you’ll give anything a try at least once.

6. You’re Grateful

cooking, backcountry

You’ve learned the hard way the pain and suffering that goes into cooking a delicious backcountry meal. Okay, so maybe it’s not that difficult. But, the first few times you were leaning over that stove praying that cooking in the wilderness was as easy as it sounded, you were kind of shocked that it actually was as easy as it sounded. Nevertheless, you’ve learned to appreciate food and other things that we often take for granted, that much more. You are thankful for the strangest things, like having a utensil you’ve dropped on the floor of a restaurant instantly replaced. (Because that would never happen outdoors).

7. You’re a Quick Learner

cook, backcountry, cooking, hard-working, quick-learner

Sure, you didn’t master the skills of being an outdoor chef overnight, but you have to admit, you picked up on things rather quickly. Anytime you read a new recipes or tips and tricks about cooking in the outdoors, you remember it after one glace. Learning how to apply new strategies to cooking in the outdoors, whatever they may be, really helps you to be a more well-rounded and intelligent individual overall. Bring on the backpacking challenges. You can handle them. 

8. You’re a Survivor

cooking, backcountry

Maybe Beyoncé would disagree, but the fact that you’ve proclaimed yourself as a backcountry cook means you can do just about anything. You’ve made so many meals in the wilderness that you can practically do it with your eyes closed. This will certainly come in handy if you ever get lost or run low on food resources. So you’re not God, but people rather be stuck in a crisis with you around than anyone else.

And, DAMN. Are you a good chef, or what?!


hanalarock I'm Hana- a freelance travel writer and teacher who currently lives in South Korea. I'm originally from New York, but have spent the last two years traveling and living abroad. My first time hiking in the US was when I traveled around the country as a teenager. Though, my first adult backpacking trip was a year ago, when I hiked from Thailand down to Singapore for a month. I'm looking forward to many more adventures in the future. Visit my site for more information.