After a long day of backpacking, nothing hits the spot quite like a sweet treat! This DIY apple crisp is lightweight and quick cooking in camp.

Apple Crisp DIY Backpacking Dessert

This recipe was originally featured on the REI Co-Op Journal.

When it comes to backpacking, it’s all about the small things: a fresh pair of socks, switching into a new t-shirt, or preparing our favorite meal at the end of the day. And one thing, in particular, can really pick us up after a long day: dessert!

Most hikers tend to overlook dessert as a meal because they don’t want to carry any more weight than absolutely necessary. Especially for gram counting ultralight hikers – who look at food exclusively as fuel – dessert just doesn’t factor into the equation. Additionally, prepackaged boil-in-bag meals can be expensive, so including desserts into the meal plan just isn’t in the budget for many.

However, this apple crisp is both cheap, lightweight, and – in our opinion – totally worth it.

Woman pouring apples into a backpacking pot
Cooking a backpacking dessert in a small pot

By using ingredients we found at the grocery store – freeze-dried apples, granola, brown sugar, and spices – this two person dessert came out to about $2 a serving. You could do it for less if you dried your own apples. As for weight, it came in around 5.2 ounces total. Now, it might not be a trade everyone is willing to make, but at the end of a long, hard day, we would happily carry extra 5.2 ounces and pay a few bucks for the chance to enjoy a warm, cozy dessert like this.

So for your next overnight trip, consider treating yourself to this quick and easy dessert. It’s cheap to make, light to carry, and takes less than 5 minutes to cook on site. Life’s short, eat dessert!

Preparing a backpacking dessert
Apple Crisp Homemade Backpacking Dessert

Backpacker's Apple Crisp

Makes 2 servings
Recipe by Fresh Off the Grid
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes
Print Recipe     Pin Recipe      Rate Recipe


  • 1 ½ cup (1 oz) freeze-dried apples
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • cup granola
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts



  • Place the freeze-dried apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cloves in a sealable bag. In a second bag, place the granola and the walnuts.


  • Empty the apple mix into your cookpot. Add about 3 oz water to the pot and stir. Light your stove, then cook over a medium-low flame until the apples have softened, the sugar dissolves, and the liquid thickens a bit, stirring often and adding more water if needed.
  • Once the apple mixture is ready, remove the pot from the heat and sprinkle the granola and walnuts over the top. Grab your spork and dig in!



We used a package of freeze-dried Fuji apples from Trader Joe's for this recipe. If you don't have access to a Trader Joe's, you could sub with oven dried apples (just reduce the water a bit when cooking).


2 zip top baggies (check out these compostable baggies)
Cook pot
Backpacking stove

Nutrition Info (per serving)

Calories: 317kcal
*Nutrition info is an estimate based on information provided by

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.