There’s nothing quite like the hunger that washes over you the first evening of a backpacking trip. Maybe you just put in a 12-mile slog, maybe you drove all day to get to the trailhead, and only hiked 4 or 5 miles. It doesn’t matter. That first meal on the first night of a backpacking trip is heaven.
It’s even better if you don’t really have to cook anything. Just bring a burrito. Your friends will be setting up camp stoves and boiling water, waiting for freeze dried meals to rehydrate, dicing up little garnishes, and that’s great—on day two. But if they didn’t bring a burrito, they will generally not be sitting on a clever little backpacking chair, bare feet on a log, gorging themselves on foil-wrapped deliciousness without having had to do anything other than retrieve the burrito from your backpack.
Now, this trick only works on night one, unless you are a gambler with an iron stomach. But a burrito bought at a roadside taqueria on the way to the trail will easily last a day in a backpack without getting too nasty, depending on condiment choices. You wanna avoid sour cream if you worry about mushiness. I usually keep it real simple: beans, rice, a meat, hot sauce, guac. Because nothing is more filling than a tube of solid starch and protein, and your friends with their boil-in-bag pasta alfredo will look longingly at your burrito. And because the only thing that might be better about a burrito is not having to clean up after cooking when your feet ache and it’s your first night in the backcountry, they will look even longingly-er at your lack of dirty cooking equipment.
Then they will also become burrito-bringers.
Bonus: The next morning, your backpack weighs like 2 pounds less, depending on burrito size.
• Burrito (veggie, carnitas, it’s up to you)
*note: if burritos can’t be found, a sandwich can be substituted, though it’s not remotely the same thing, no matter what you tell yourself.
• Unzip backpack
• Retrieve burrito
• Tear open foil
• Notice the first looks of envy among your friends, hunched over boiling pots
• Say: “Oh, hey, I just brought a burrito, didn’t feel like cooking”
• Turn away from friends to hide your gluttonous glee
• Go ahead, pour on some of the hot sauce you squirreled away for this
• You have guac on your chin, use a bit of the tortilla for clean up.
• Pack away your foil, kick back, enjoy your surroundings, you’re all done. Look! See that shooting star! Epic, your campmates didn’t because they were too busy cleaning their pots.