Kenwood backpacker writes cookbook for many who love tenting


After Aksamit bought a dehydrator, she started mixing her own meals, mixing ingredients that she had dehydrated with plain, freeze-dried vegetables and meats that she had purchased. The DIY pouch meals were healthier and more filling, with less salt and chemicals, and more protein and flavor.

“When I was hiking the High Sierra Trail, I found that I needed more protein so I could control that and make it flavorful by making my own tomato powder,” she said. “It still looks like an MRE (ready-to-eat meal), but it’s of better quality.”

To be inclusive, the author provided vegetarian / vegan variations for almost all of the recipes in the book, as well as suggestions for dairy-free substitutions.

In the 10 appendices at the end of the book, Aksamit provides background material, including lists of other recipe sources, nutrition tools, information on dehydration, general food safety guidelines, and social media resources.

It also names the main suppliers of freeze-dried and other backpack food, a list of high-calorie foods for hiking, a high-calorie meal plan for a day, vegan protein sources, keto-friendly backpack foods, and an explanation of how to read a nutrition label and breakdown the top 15 backpacking foods.

“I am a proponent of the ‘everything in moderation’ philosophy and I don’t subscribe to any particular diet,” she said. “You will see a section at the beginning of the book where, as a general overview, I will address certain options for different types of diets.”

Each recipe provides nutritional information for the ingredients in the main recipe, including a breakdown of calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat, and sodium. However, these are only approximate amounts and will vary depending on how each person prepares each recipe, she said.

“My main dietary focus has been to maximize calories, increase protein wherever possible (since hiker diets are usually high in carbohydrates), include fats where it makes sense (usually by adding olive oil along the way), and Contain sodium, ”she explained.

Aksamit also added a disclaimer to the book about the risks of preparing food for long-term storage at ambient temperatures, warning readers that traces of food are only as good as the care each person takes in handling, preparing and storing them.

“A lot of people don’t realize the importance of keeping clean hands and a scrupulously clean work area,” she said. “Food dehydrated at home must adhere to the basic principles of safe drying. Careless storage in non-airtight containers protected from heat and light can increase the risk. “

Walking leads to writing

An adventurer at heart, Aksamit hiked the Chilkoot Trail, a 33-mile hike from Skagway, Alaska to Lake Bennett, British Columbia, a route gold prospectors embarked on their way to the Klondike Fields in the late 19th century to have.

She has followed paths along the Cordillera Blanca in the Andes of Peru and around Mont Blanc, a 103-mile circuit of mountain peaks that crosses three European borders.

But it was the John Muir Trail, which runs through Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks that inspired her to write her first book, The Ups and Downs On The John Muir Trail, in 2015, at the Outdoor Writers Association of California in 2016.

“That was a narrative of my hike, but I mentioned what we ate,” she said. “My writer’s group said I should write a brochure on food to promote my books.”

In 2017, this “brochure” became their first self-published cookbook, “The Hungry Spork: A Long Distance Hiker’s Guide to Meal Planning” (Pacific Adventures Press).

“It was about the food strategy, from nutrient levels to dehydrators to canisters,” she said. “It contained 12 recipes and strategies for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. … With these 12 recipes you could go indefinitely. “

Over the next few years, Aksamit kept developing new recipes, often by converting a regular recipe into a backpack recipe. Then she set about doing a nutritional analysis for each recipe and sent them to recipe testers. This led to the publication of their latest cooking guide, The Hungry Spork Trail Recipes, which includes their 12 original recipes from the previous book.

“I worked a lot on the Senegalese peanut soup recipe,” she said. “It was really hard to refine. I ended up replacing the curry with ginger and it was a huge hit, especially with vegetarians. “

Through her private Facebook group (Healthy Gourmet Backpacking Food) and website, Aksamit has connected with her readers and recipe testers, from RV hoppers and paddlers to busy moms.

As a hiking guide and instructor, Aksamit specializes in teaching beginners how to overcome their fears of backpacking.

“I started late and I know what it feels like,” she said. “Some women don’t like to be dirty, but I tell them I wash myself every night. So I help people find out what their barriers are.

“We started an all-women journey,” she added. “We all help each other and find out together.”

Aksamit cookbooks are available in print and as e-books at or


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