Like your mother told you — a good breakfast is a must. Whether you wake up with the first loon cry breaks the silence, or long after the sun has risen, a filling, nutritious meal before you hit the water is a must.

These five Boundary Waters breakfast ideas run the gamut, from quick and easy for when you want to break camp and hit the trail, to those slow, lazy mornings when you want to cook up something more surprising.

1. Granola or other cold cereal

Is there an easier, more American breakfast than cereal and milk?

Because bringing milk on an overnight camping trip isn’t really an option, you’ll need to bring some powdered milk (you can find Carnation powdered milk or other varieties at most super markets). Add the powder to the appropriate amount of water in your bottle, shake, and you’ll be set.

For those looking for a hearty start to the day, it’s hard to beat granola. Crapola, a manufacturer based in Ely, makes a variety of delicious blends – we recommend you check them out.

Otherwise, if there’s a favorite cereal you want to bring, do so!

As far as serving size, 1 to 1½ cups of cereal and 1/4 – 1/3 cup of powdered milk per adult should suffice.

2. Hot cereal

Hot cereals tend to be healthier, more filling and stick with you better than their cold cousins. Though cooking up a hot breakfast is slightly more involved and requires you to light a fire (or stove), boil water and clean more dishes, it doesn’t really require that much time. Here’s a look at some of the most common options (all of which can be found in your grocery store’s bulk section, or from companies like Bob’s Red Mill)

  • Oatmeal – A quick option that is common on canoe trips. The “quick oat” varieties are especially easy. All you need to do is add boiling water. Serving suggestion: 1 cup (dried) per person.
  • 7-grain, 10-grain, 12-grain cereal – In the package, these look like bird seed, but are loaded with whole grains and other goodness. In addition to their nutritional value, this breakfast packs up really small, so if space is an issue, you might want to pack some 10-grain. However, they take a little longer to cook (10-20 minutes). Serving suggestion: 1/2 – 2/3 cup (dried) per person.
  • Malt-O-Meal – A Minnesota Original! Serving suggestion: 1 cup (dried) per person.

You can take a Spartan approach and just eat your hot oats plain, but it’s not recommended. Get creative and pack some of these condiments to make

  • Sugar
  • Peanut butter (if you’ve never mixed peanut butter into your hot cereal, your life is about to change)
  • Freeze dried or dried fruit (such as coconut flakes, apples, bananas, dates, raisins, etc.)
  • Seeds and nuts (sunflower seeds, walnuts, almond slivers, etc.)

3. Pancakes

Especially in August, when the blueberries are at their peak, you really need to set one morning aside for pancakes. Find a mix that requires you only add water. Stir in those blueberries you picked the other day and you’re in for a treat.

One important to note about maple syrup. Glass containers are not allowed in the BWCA (for good reason) so be sure to transfer your syrup into a smaller Nalgene or bring it in a plastic container.

4. Camp omelet

Eating an omelet in the wilderness is a treat, a novelty and a welcomed change from the usual grain-based meals. It’s also surprisingly simple. Here’s what you need:

  • Powdered eggs. You can find these in some stores, or order them from Hoosier Hill Farm Powdered Eggs or OvaEasy Egg Crystals. These will last indefinitely, on your shelf or in your pack.
  • For the carnivores out there, pick up some Bacon Jerky, smoked summer sausage, or whatever variety of shelf-stable meat you prefer.
  • Bring a small amount of vacuum-sealed cheese, which can last last a week or more out of the refrigerator.
  • Pack in some fresh veggies, such as a pepper and onion.
  • Oil or margarine for the fry pan

Simply mix the egg powder as directed, fry up the bacon and vegetables in the oil and pour in the eggs.

For an extra bonus, pack in some English Muffins or bagels to make a breakfast sandwich.

5.  Breakfast Burrito

Few things in the culinary world are more versatile or more perfect than the mighty burrito. Sure, making one for breakfast might be a little more involved, but the best things in life are always a little more difficult, right?

Here are the basic ingredients:

  • Tortillas
  • Cheese (again, vacuum-sealed cheddar lasts out of the refrigerator for at least a week)
  • Potatoes. Bring whole potatoes from home that you cut up and fry.
  • Dehydrated beans, such as made by Santa Fe Bean Co (about 1 cup of dried beans for 3 people).
  • Powdered eggs (see above)
  • Oil or margarine for the fry pan
  • Hot sauce – It can be hard to find non-glass varieties, but Huy Fong’s indomitable Chili Garlic sauce comes in plastic.

Essentially, you simply boil water to mix with and reconstitute the dehydrated beans, as directed. Fry the potatoes then add the egg mixture and you’re all set. Dish it out into the tortillas, top it with cheese and hot sauce and enjoy!

Added bonus: If you make extra, just save it for lunch or dinner.

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