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Our Wilderness Stew Recipe for Camping

The type of food I like to prepare when camping completely depends on the type of camping I’m doing. If I am out car camping or RV camping, I like to prepare more elaborate meals. For backpacking, bike camping, or canoe camping, I like easy and filling meals.

Wilderness stew is the perfect camping meal that can be prepared and enjoyed on any type of camping trip. You can bring along the ingredients and prepare it on-site, make it ahead of time and freeze it, or even dehydrate the ingredients and reconstitute it in the backcountry.

Why Wilderness Stew Is Perfect For Camping

Wilderness stew is full of all kinds of benefits for campers who are working hard such as hiking for miles, paddling, or biking all day.

First off, beef is full of protein, fat, and is a calorie-dense food. All things that you are going to need after a hard day.

Wilderness stew is also full of great vegetables. The Kidney beans (I’m counting them as a veggie for simplicity sake), bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes are full of fiber, protein, minerals, vitamins, and carbs.

The potatoes have health benefits as well, but more than anything, they are incredibly filling and help the stew feed more people.

Last, salting to taste is actually important when your body is working hard. Keeping sodium in your diet is essential when you’re working hard. When you sweat, your body loses sodium, and maintaining sodium in your body helps your body rehydrate better, prevents cramping, and perform better overall. So don’t be shy about adding in the salt when you’re working hard.

How To Prepare The Recipe

Wilderness Stew


  • 1 Lb Ground Beef
  • 1 Can Kidney Beans
  • 1 Can Black Beans
  • 2 Potatoes Diced
  • 1 Red Pepper Diced
  • 1 Green Pepper Diced
  • 1 Onion Diced
  • 5 Tomatoes Diced or 1 Can of Tomatoes
  • 2 Cups Water (16 ounces)
  • Salt To Taste


  1. Start by browning the beef in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Once the meat has started browning, add 2 cups of water (16 ounces), diced potatoes, peppers, onions, and tomatoes.
  3. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add in black beans and kidney beans, return to a boil and simmer 1-2 more minutes while salting to taste.
  5. Let cool and enjoy.

Packing Options

While you can bring the ingredients and prepare wilderness stew during your trip, the real beauty of this recipe is that it is very easy to prepare ahead of time and easily enjoy anywhere.

Make It Ahead Of Time and Freeze It

If you are planning on a car camping trip, or a trip where you may need to hike in, then making wilderness stew ahead of time and freezing it into a solid block is a great option.

Make it ahead of time and place it into a container for each meal you plan on eating it for. This will have the added benefit of keeping your cooler colder longer.

Simply place to frozen block of stew into a dutch oven over the fire, or put it in a pot over your favorite camping stove and bring it to a boil

Dehydrate It & Reconstitute It

Dehydrating wilderness stew is a bit more complicated, but it is a great option if you need to keep you pack light and keeping food cold and fresh isn’t an option.

Dehydrating the vegetables (the onions, peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes) is incredibly easy. Simply dice everything and place the vegetables onto your dehydrators trays, place heat on medium and dehydrate for roughly 8 hours until fully dehydrated. Check out this post for more info on dehydrating tomatoes.

Beans are actually quite simple to dehydrate as well. You do want to avoid buying dried beans from the store though. These take way too long to reconstitute and will cause you to burn through your fuel. To make dried beans the rehydrate quickly, take canned beans, rinse them off and place them in your dehydrator for 8 hours.

Lastly, in order to dehydrate beef, simply cook it at home and place it in the dehydrator for 8 hours. You will read online that you need to have low fat beef like 93/7 or else the fat will cause the beef to spoil. This is true, but there is more to it. If you plan on storing your dried beef for a long period, then yes, you need to do everything in your power to make it last. But personally, I make my camping meals the week before I go camping, so a self life of months isn’t usually necessary.

Once everything is dehydrated, place it into a zip lock bag and pack it in your food bag. You can even add a teaspoon of salt into the bag to keep it really simple or season it in the backcountry.

When it comes time to rehydrate your meal, just scoop a cup of dehydrated stew and add as much water as you want (usually one cup of stew to two cups of water) and boil it for 8-10 minutes until everything is tender and enjoy.

Perfect Side Dishes

When I’m in the backcountry, I don’t worry much about side dishes, usually I pack a main course and something sweet to finish with. But, dehydrated bread is AMAZING to dip into this stew 😉

Wilderness Stew

Wilderness Stew

Yield: 5 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

The perfect stew to make in the wilderness, or to prepare ahead of time and freeze or dehydrate.


  • 1 Pound Ground Beef
  • 1 Can Kidney Beans
  • 1 Can Black Beans
  • 2 Potatoes Diced
  • 1 Red Pepper Diced
  • 1 Green Pepper Diced
  • 1 Onion Diced
  • 5 Tomaotes
  • Dash of Salt
  • 2 Cups Water


  1. In a large pot, brown the beef.
  2. Add in water, peppers, onion, potatoes, and tomatoes.
  3. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add in beans and salt to taste.
  5. Return to boil and simmer for 2 minutes.
  6. Let cool, serve, and enjoy.


This meal can be made ahead of time and frozen so you can simply reheat while camping. Or you can individually dehydrate the ingredients to save weight and extend shelf life. Simply reconstitute them in the backcountry for 10 minutes with two cups of water for every one cup of stew.


Thursday 11th of February 2021

This article went from good to great when you started writing about dehydrating this meal... Awesome! I added this one to my spreadsheet "best dehydratable camping meals", thanks! -Storm

Allison Gonzalez

Wednesday 4th of November 2020

I love how you note about dehydrating. I RV, hike and backpack so I love a great fresh recipe but one for out back too! Thanks! Saved to my Pinterest for future recipes.

Happy Trails!

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