Meals and Backcountry Hygiene

Adventure Treks is an outdoor adventure camp, meaning we spend most of our time playing in the woods. However, even though we camp in tents every night and cook over backcountry stoves, we still maintain good hygienic habits and eat GREAT food throughout the entire trip—no matter where we are!

Meals at Adventure Treks

One of our parents’ and students’ most frequently asked questions pertains to meals at Adventure Treks. Fear not: We eat well, and we eat often; no freeze-dried packets here! We can cook almost anything you might prepare at home with our backcountry stoves (unless it requires an oven or microwave). One of our instructors is the dedicated “food person” on each trip, meaning he/she is in charge of menu-planning, portion sizes and quantities, shopping, etc.

We buy many non-perishable items (like rice and pasta and snacks) before each trip starts, and we restock “freshies” (fruits, meats, veggies) at grocery stores every few days. When we’re staying in established campgrounds and have access to coolers, we’ll always include fresh food. We’re slightly more limited in the backcountry, but we still add veggies, proteins, spices, and condiments and make every meal super tasty.

We include protein in every meal, we have fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible, and we always have “seconds” (and often thirds) for our hungriest students. Meals are served buffet-style, and meats are cooked separately from carbs and starches, which are cooked separately from vegetables; condiments are always served on the side. While we all sit in a circle and eat the same food, students are able to “choose their own adventure” when going through the buffet line.

At every meal, we cook additional portions, which we call “seconds.” When everyone has finished their first helping of food, we’ll ask the group who’s ready for seconds. Any student who’s still hungry will go back through the meal line, and we’ll divy out another helping.

We can easily accommodate vegetarians and many food allergies, including peanuts, tree nuts, soy, dairy, sesame, and gluten. And we always have a wide variety of snacks available throughout the day.

Example breakfasts:
  • Cereal, milk (including dairy-free alternatives), yogurt, and fresh fruit
  • French toast
  • Breakfast sandwiches (English muffins, eggs, bacon or sausage and veggie patties, cheese, and spinach)
  • Breakfast burritos (tortillas, eggs, salsa, veggies, beans, cheese) and hash browns
  • Bagels and cream cheese
  • Oatmeal and granola, dried fruit, nuts, and brown sugar
  • Muffins and fresh fruit
  • Breakfast couscous
Example lunches:
  • Cold-cut and PB&J sandwiches (turkey and ham, hummus, cheese, and veggies)
  • Chicken caesar wraps
  • Summer and veggie sausage pitas with cheese and veggies
  • Chicken salad sandwiches
  • Turkey wraps
  • Pasta salad
  • Asian-style chicken wraps
  • Taco salad
Example dinners:
  • Every trip has our traditional “Yahoo!” dinner on night one, which includes chicken, steak, potatoes, veggie burgers, and fruit salad (so named because we are SO EXCITED that our students have arrived!)
  • Pizza
  • Veggie and chicken/tofu stir fry
  • Jambalaya
  • Mac and cheese with veggies
  • Pesto pasta
  • Burritos, tacos, or quesadillas
  • Orzo with chicken and veggies
  • Thai curry
  • Spaghetti
  • Hamburgers and hot dogs (with vegetarian dogs and pattie)
  • Gado gado
Example snacks:
  • Fresh fruits like grapes, apples, or oranges
  • Peanut butter pretzels
  • Goldfish or Cheez-Its
  • Granola bars
  • Trail mix
  • Dried fruit
  • Carrots and celery with hummus
  • Chips and salsa
  • String cheese
  • Beef jerky
Example desserts
  • Fruit salad with pineapple, watermelon, grapes, and berries
  • Berries and cream
  • Cookies
  • Skittles, Snickers, M&Ms, or Oreos
  • Ice cream sandwiches or popsicles
  • “Worms in dirt” (chocolate pudding, crushed Oreos, gummy worms)
  • Cake to celebrate birthdays

See a few of our front and backcountry recipes here

Backcountry hygiene

We know one of our students’ biggest concerns is how they’ll stay clean without showering. The great news is, it’s surprisingly easy! You’ll get to shower about once a week at Adventure Treks, and we’ll teach you everything you need to know to maintain your hygiene when we’re out in the woods, including how to use the bathroom when there are no toilets around. We’ll also do laundry once or twice throughout each trip; pay attention to the quantity of each item on your packing list, as that will ensure you have enough clean clothes to get you through laundry day. We plan our showers for when they’re most needed, like after our backpacking sections.

The first thing to know is that if you’re stinky, that means everyone else is stinky, too. When you’re outdoors and away from your normal routine, you realize you can still have a ton of fun even if it’s been a few days since you’ve washed your hair. Each trip’s packing list has a comprehensive and detailed section on toiletries, and we encourage students to bring travel wipes to help them stay clean between showers.

Most of our trips spend a lot of time near water, whether it’s an alpine lake, a freshwater pond next to the Pacific Ocean, or a meandering river. This means we get to splash around and rinse off in fresh water almost every day. Regardless of our location, we will always have hand sanitizer, soap, and water on-hand, as students will wash their hands before and after every meal and after each trip to the bathroom.

Find more information on backcountry hygiene here