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  • Writer's pictureTeam Backcountry

Campfire Cooking: Backcountry Pad Thai

Break out of your camping food routine with this simple Pad Thai recipe.

Whether you’re looking for a new meal to spice up your home cooking routine, or planning an outdoor adventure after quarantine, this Backcountry Pad Thai hits the mark. Prep for your summer camping season by learning how to whip up a quality meal in the woods...beyond the standard hot dog over an open flame (no judgment). This recipe is perfect: it's adaptable and sure to please everyone’s taste buds. Cooking a great meal while camping doesn’t have to be a messy chore, it can be a relaxing, fun and creative experience. Just make sure you are prepared and have everything you’ll need! Due to COVID-19, we prepped this delicious meal at home. But, it's easy to pre-prep all of these ingredients in your kitchen to bring them out on the trail with you!

Backcountry Pad Thai Ingredients

  • 16 oz rice noodles

  • ¼ cup lite soy sauce

  • 2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds

  • ¼ cup peanut butter

  • 1 cup water

  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil

  • ¼ cup brown sugar

  • ⅓ cup onion chopped

  • 1 cup carrot chopped

  • ¼ tsp garlic powder

  • black pepper to taste

Servings/Ingredient Quantities depend on group size

Optional ingredients:

  • hot sauce to your taste (I highly recommend adding this ingredient if you like spice. Sriracha is my favorite for this recipe!)

  • meat and/or additional veggies

  • extra spices of your choosing

  • green onion and/or cilantro for garnish

Backcountry Pad Thai Cooking Instructions

  1. Cook the rice noodles in boiling water (al dente). When done, drain and set aside.

  2. Heat the oil in your frying pan, then add onions, carrots and sunflower seeds. Cook over medium heat for two minutes.

  3. Next, add the brown sugar, garlic powder, water and soy sauce.

  4. Then, add the peanut butter and stir to combine. Be careful not to burn the sauce!

  5. Finally, stir in your pasta, serve and enjoy!

  6. This dish can be fairly salty, so to reduce saltiness, you can reserve some soy sauce and add to your liking at the end.

Make it your own!

This recipe is super flexible and you should adapt it to your own taste! You could try peanuts instead of sunflower seeds, use a different type of nut butter, add Sriracha or another hot sauce, or a different type of oil. The possibilities are endless!

If you are car camping (or making at home!) you can add more fresh veggies such as broccoli, bell peppers, and celery. Just sauté lightly and mix into the pasta. You can also add tofu or another protein! If you’re backpacking, you can skip the carrots and bring dehydrated onions instead of the fresh stuff.

Happy eating!


Jess Fangman is a Backcountry Wilderness Area Environmental Education Coordinator. She grew up in Ohio, lived in California and Hawaii for a few years, but fell in love with the Rockies and moved to Colorado. Jess loves to go backpacking and aims to explore all of Colorado’s hidden gems! She'll also challenge anyone to dethrone her during a movie trivia game night!

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