Delicious Kayak Camping Recipes

10-minute read

When you kayak camp, you have some flexibility with food freshness and weight that you don’t in other outdoor adventures like backpacking and canoe camping with multiple portages.

 two kayakers prepare a meal on a rocky beach

Meal prep during a backcountry kayak camping trip (photo courtesy of Rachel Kellen)

That’s because your kayak carries the weight instead of you. That opens doors to some great possibilities for backcountry meals!

We asked a couple friends if they had favorite recipes they’d be willing to share with the rest of us.

Thanks to them, we have kayak camping recipes from our home state of Wisconsin and from the coast of Norway…

Kayak Camping Recipes from Wisconsin

LeaAnn Schroeter and her husband Neal run Whitecap Kayak in Wisconsin. They’re both ACA-certified in multiple kayak areas. On their kayak camping trips around Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, they specialize in meals with fresh ingredients and adapt easily to the various dietary needs of their guests.

I (Sharon, author of this blog) was on a 4-day trip with LeaAnn a couple of summers ago with a bunch of women friends. Our meals were delicious, so LeaAnn was the first one I asked to contribute here. One unique requirement for our trip was that one of our team members has Type 1 diabetes, is lactose intolerant and allergic to most nuts.

As it turned out, not an issue for the Whitecap crew! We had ten different meals altogether, two of which I’ll include here. Both of these were for six people:

Wild Rice Blueberry Salad

1 large can wild rice
1 pint blueberries
1 square feta cheese
1/2 cup nuts or seeds
2 cups raw kale or spinach
1 can corn
1 stalk rhubarb
Raspberry vinaigrette dressing

First, I had no idea wild rice came in a can already cooked. (Another option is to cook raw rice at home and bring it in a Ziplock bag.) Second, while I love rhubarb in pie and jam, none of us had ever heard of it in a salad. It adds a delicious tartness and crunch.

Chop all the ingredients and mix together. It’s as easy as that.

 wild rice blueberry salad, kayak camping recipe

Wild rice blueberry salad (photo courtesy of Rachel Anderson)

LeaAnn shared: “The Wild Rice Blueberry Salad is a nod to our local Ojibwa culture—they call themselves the Anishinaabe, or First Nation people. When this area was discovered  (not by the Voyagers, but in the mid-1800s) they found abundant natural fruit on the islands and wild rice in the sloughs of the South shore. 

“When, sadly, America chose to isolate the indigenous people into groups, they thought to divide them so they at least had resources. Both had fish. So the Bad River tribe got the wild rice and the Red Cliff tribe got the wild berries. This recipe is a good opportunity to pay homage to the first people that live in our area.”

African Peanut Stew

2 cloves garlic
1 large onion
2 cans black beans
2 red peppers
3 large sweet potatoes
Chili powder
1/2 cup peanut butter (or some type of ground nut butter that works with your group)
2 Tb vegetable broth powder
2 cans diced tomatoes
Fresh lime and bacon bits for garnish

Peel the sweet potatoes, chop the other veggies and mix together in a pot over the fire or stove, stirring occasionally. Let it simmer for a while and serve.

Full disclosure here: I can’t eat sweet potatoes. They make me nauseous. But it never occurred to me to put them on Whitecap’s list of “Foods you don’t like” because who brings sweet potatoes on kayak camping trips? Well, Whitecap Kayak does, so now I know better!

But when you’ve been kayaking all day and have but one option on the menu for dinner, you eat it! And this was so flavorful I had seconds—the sweet potatoes didn’t get to me. Everyone else raved about it because, naturally, everyone else loves them.

“This stew is just good,” said LeaAnn. “And it’s a great way to remind people they can eat deliciously without having meat in their mouth.”

Campfire Nachos

This recipe was contributed by our own Kate Wright, Aqua Bound’s Marketing Manager.

Kate said, “While I enjoy the ease of bringing dehydrated meals on many adventures, there’s just something extra fun about cooking a from-scratch meal to share with your buddies while enjoying the outdoors.

“My husband especially loves the title of Camp Cook. We enjoy trying out new recipes whether kayak camping or traveling to new places in our camper converted from an out-of-commission ambulance. I've been fortunate enough to participate in a NOLS expedition as well, where they heavily focus on the art of camp cooking for camaraderie and creativity.”

Kate often takes inspiration from the Fresh Off the Grid blog. She said, “They have a wide selection of recipes that make my mouth water and are the perfect end (or beginning) to any day outside. Fresh food helps me avoid the salt bloat on trips and is a good way to use up any lingering fridge food before heading out of town.”

She likes to make these Campfire Nachos in her Dutch oven, although they tend to make them at the put-in or take-out landing so they’re not hauling the extra weight on their trip. For a smaller batch, a cast iron skillet with a lid or aluminum foil to cover works too:

Shredded cheese of your choice
Fresh or canned chiles, peppers, onions, tomatoes, olives, black beans or corn
Grilled chicken, browned ground beef or pulled pork
Your favorite tortilla chips
Garnishes like diced avocado, fresh lime or salsa

 campfire nachos, kayak camping recipe

Campfire Nachos (photo courtesy of Kate Wright)

Line the pan with parchment paper or foil for easy cleanup. If you use fresh ingredients you’ll need to saute any veggies and cook any meat beforehand.

Layer tortilla chips then toppings then cheese. Continue to layer until you have the amount you want. Cover and place over campfire coals or a camp stove until the cheese is melted.

“You can make them as bright and colorful as you like or keep it simple for picky kiddos,” Kate said. “If you’re feeling brave, ask each friend on the trip to bring one special secret ingredient!”

Kayaking Camping Recipes from Norway

Laila Johanne Reigstad is a member of our Ambassador team. She lives on Norway’s west coast and takes people kayaking through her company Reigstad Unlimited. (Several folks from our Osceola headquarters went on one of her kayak tours in Greenland in July 2023 and raved about the meals she and co-leader Christian provided!)

All of these recipes from Laila are baked using the Swedish Omnia® oven with its silicone inner mold which, she said, is “revolutionizing outdoor cooking!”

Pizza Buns

Pre-made pizza dough
Pizza sauce
Favorite pizza spices and toppings

 Pizza buns coooking in an Omnia oven

Pizza Buns (photo courtesy of Laila Reigstad)

The dough Laila finds in Norway comes with baking paper underneath (do we have that here in the US?). If your dough does not, bring along a flexible rolling mat to put underneath the dough as you roll or press it out flat. You can use a broad rock, kayak hull or whatever works for you at your campsite.

Spread the pizza sauce and add the spices and toppings. Loosely roll up the dough to form a log and slice off one pizza bun at a time, about 3 cm thick (~1.25 inches). There’s room for eight pizza buns in one Omnia mold. Let them rise a bit, either in the sun or about 10 minutes over a hot water bath using a gas burner.

Bake on medium heat for about 15 minutes in the Omnia oven and enjoy!

Two-Layered Oreo Marshmallow Brownie

Laila said, “This is my absolute favorite treat for trips when you want to surprise everyone with freshly baked brownies on a smooth rock during a paddle trip or when you arrive at camp and want to enjoy the evening.”

1 Brownie mix
Butter/oil and eggs as needed with your mix
Package Oreo cookies
Package marshmallows (large or mini)

 Oreo marshmallow brownies in the Omnia oven, kayak camping recipe

Oreo Marshmallow Brownies (photo courtesy of Laila Reigstad)

Prepare the brownie mix as directed on the package. Pour just under half the batter into the silicone mold in the Omnia oven. Layer Oreos on top of the batter. Fill up with almost all the remaining batter, covering the cookies (don’t use all the batter as it could overflow under the lid while baking). Sprinkle or place marshmallows on top.

Bake at medium heat for about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it so the marshmallows don’t burn!

Italian Treccia (3-Ingredient Chocolate Cake)

“If you think brownies are easy,” said Laila, “you’ll love this! The chocolate cake is perfect to make on a trip because you only need three ingredients. And these ingredients can withstand being jostled and squeezed, and even lie at the bottom of a kayak hatch!”

Here’s the way she discovered this easy and delicious dessert:

“Does the word treccia mean anything to you? Me neither. Well, not until one late afternoon when I was sitting at a street cafe in a small Italian mountain village. The climbing day was over, and now it was time to enjoy city life at this cafe with six seats on the narrow sidewalk where the world hustled by just a meter away. We ordered strong espresso and the cake of the day. And then it happened that treccia, the world's easiest cake to make, dangled into my life!”

Laila said, “Treccia (pronounced tretsja in Italian) means braid and is ridiculously easy to make”:

Pre-made pizza dough
Jar of chocolate spread (like Nutella)
Bag of small marshmallows or cashews (or both!)

Roll or press out the pizza dough (see the Pizza Buns recipe above for more explanation). Spread the chocolate spread over the dough to cover it completely. Arrange the marshmallows or cashews densely over the top.

 Italian Treccia, laid out and braided

Italian Treccia (photo courtesy of Laila Reigstad)

(The marshmallows become soft and sticky and almost carmelize along with the chocolate spread. If you prefer less sweetness, use cashews instead for a sweet-salty flavor.)

Roll up the pizza dough from the long side. Using your kayak knife, split the long dough roll down the middle to get two halves. Turn the cut surfaces up. Quickly and loosely braid the two halves together, making sure to cut surfaces stay upwards. Join the treccia ends together to form a circle.

Place inside the Omnia oven’s silicone mold and bake about 15 minutes on low-to-medium heat. Keep an eye on it so you don’t overbake. This cake is at its best when lukewarm so the dough stays soft. It’s especially tasty with espresso coffee!

About the Omnia® Oven

Developed in Sweden, the Omnia is a portable oven that you can use with any heat source including your stovetop at home or camp stove in the backcountry. It’s easier and more reliable than a covered skillet or pan for outdoor cooking because of its open middle. The heat cooks your food from all sides instead of just the bottom.

 Omnia oven and skillet side by side, each with Italian treccia ready to bake

The Omnia Oven (left) allows the heat to surround the food vs cooking in an open or covered pan (right) (photo courtesy of Laila Reigstad)

The Omnia and its accessories are available worldwide, including in the US and Canada. The oven itself retails for about $80 (2024 price).

Do you have paddle questions our friendly Customer Service Team can help you with today? Contact them: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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