The Backcountry Kitchen Story

It's science, it's art, and sometimes it's a bit of Chef's culinary magic!


Backcountry Kitchen

  Yamnuska Backcountry Kitchen dehydrated dinner entrées and food programs were developed during four decades of experience in the backcountry. Like anyone else who spends a day or a month in the wilderness, we know that food is one of those things that can make or break a trip.

  Over the course of these many years, we developed specific meals, menus and packaging that works for all kinds of wilderness and backcountry adventures.  From multi-day outings to long alpine routes, or, day tripping from a base camp, every meal and menu has been tried, tested, refined and perfected to suit the specific attributes of every trip. Oh yeah, it also tastes fantastic!

  Yamnuska Backcountry Kitchen recipes are cooked in small batches in our commercial kitchen in Canmore, Alberta, Canada. We use high quality ingredients in our recipes which are designed to balance nutrition, calories & flavour with dehydrated meal weight.

  Fresh from the stove, the batch of sauce, curry or stew is loaded into the commercial dehydrators to dry using gentle heat for many hours, under controlled and food-safe conditions.

“We are an adventure company who has a wonderful dehydrated food product …

… not a food company that never gets outside.”


  We do not freeze-dry our food and no preservatives are added to any of our dehydrated dinner entrees.

  We believe you will appreciate this focus on quality when you prepare and eat one of our dinner entrees in the field. Each batch is tested to ensure just the right moisture level is achieved to balance storing safely outside of the fridge and freezer, with rehydration performance in the field.

  • The Yamnuska Backcountry Kitchen operates under a permit issued by Alberta Health Services as determined and approved under the Alberta Public Health Act. Our kitchen cooking staff are professional cooks and our kitchen is subject to the same inspections and food-safe requirements as all Alberta restaurants.
  • Our commercial kitchen, professional renovated in 2020, is located within our office and education facility in Canmore, Alberta.


Food Allergies?

We take food allergies seriously. Visit our Diet & Alllergies page for important information about how we work to keep you food-safe in the backcountry.


Canadian Backcountry Food Services

“Yamnuska Mountain Adventures has been in business since 1977. Starting out as a mountain school and mountain guiding company, you wouldn’t think that has much to do with food … at all … except that it has a LOT to do with food!”


About Our Food

Our dehydrated dinners entrees are lightweight and ideal for use any where a pot and a suitable cooking heat source is available. We offer individual or group servings in a variety of flavour to satisfy all tastes.

The advantages commonly cited for dehydrating food is that it packs up smaller and doesn’t negatively impact taste or nutritional content. Freeze dried food generally rehydrates quicker given the process that is involved in removing the moisture. We sample a lot of freeze-dried foods for taste and while there are some decent boil in a bag freeze dried foods on the market, we only dehydrate our backcountry dinner entrees.

We start with exceptional meals hand-made in small batches, and in our opinion that’s the most important attribute of our product and what distinguishes us most from products from the international freeze-dried pre-packaged meal companies.

When comparing Yamnuska Backcountry Kitchen dinner entrees to freeze-dried packaged options, please look closely at the caloric values of each meal. Many of the packaged freeze-dried products advertise that a package contains enough for two people.

Read product labels carefully because in our experience in the field, what some packaged meals advertise as enough calories for two people, is barely enough to satisfy one hungry person after an active day.

Our single meal dehydrated portions and full trip catering assume you are active and hungry. We rarely get quantity complaints. Check out our calorie planning entry in our blog for great information about calorie needs while active in the backcountry

Also, each of our packaged dehydrated dinner entrees has a Nutrition Facts table with all of the information you require to make the best food decision for your caloric needs.

Yamnuska Backcountry Kitchen’s delicious dehydrated backpacking and camping meals are crafted from fresh high-quality ingredients in our own commercial kitchen by our own chef. Our dried food for backpacking is designed to balance weight, taste and nutrition to meet the needs of the specific trip that you are undertaking.

You can enjoy Lamb Curry, Shepherd’s Pie, Chili, Seafood Stew and many other backcountry dehydrated meal choices that have been carefully prepared and customized for your specific food needs, while others are eating a freeze-dried meal in a bag most probably manufactured in a bulk production factory and imported to Canada.

As with all moisture removed food, proper re-hydration prior to consumption is very important. In high impact or long endurance activities, keeping your body properly hydrated is challenging and can on its own create issues with energy levels, strength and concentration. Keeping hydrated is even more critical when you consume dried or dehydrated foods.

About Recipe Ingredients

It seems pretty straight forward to us that high quality ingredients yield high quality real food. The ingredients of our meals are carefully selected by our Chef and are constantly being reviewed based on feedback from the field. We buy locally and regionally as much as possible.

Alberta is arguably North America’s beef capital and with an abundant and diverse agricultural industry we have access to exceptional organic and non-organic fresh foods. Spices and dry herbs are purchased through our food distributor and come from all over the world.

A Nutrition Facts Label is shipped with every dehydrated dinner entrée.

About Our Company

Our company has been in business for 44 years.  Starting out in 1977, we have been a strong presence in the backcountry of the Canadian Rockies ever since, becoming the oldest and largest mountain school in Canada.

From our home office in Canmore we do guiding, training and instruction for civilian and military clients from all over the world.

During four decades of running guided and instruction trips, our guides and guests have travelled all over the world, and our food has gone along for the ride.

Then, many years ago we introduced our full food program on some of our local public trips, when eating logistics became too complex with all participants packing and preparing their own meals.

Sometimes people brought too much food, or not enough, or brought the wrong kinds of foods needed for the nutrition and calorie demands our bodies have while active in the backcountry.



We also recognized the benefits of group meal time as a highly social component while experiencing one of our backcountry adventures!

With this in mind, we applied our decades of knowledge with our in-house recipes and officially opened the kitchen to design and provision group menus for our mountain school and for our guiding programs.

Fast forward to today and Yamnuska Backcountry Kitchen offers a diverse menu of flavourful & nutritous dehydrated dinner entrees in our online shop, and a range of professional backcountry food services from our kitchen in Canmore.

We remain a premier provider of mountain skills training and adventures in the Canadian Rockies. Our guides and guests go everywhere with our food so we have a continuous feedback loop after field testing what works and what doesn’t.

We live in the mountains and spend all of our time in the backcountry. We combine that experience with high quality ingredients prepared by our professional chef, using our delicious & nutritious recipes.

As a result, we are able to offer to you a menu of flavourful dehydrated dinner entrees to satisfy a wide range of tastes and diets.

They are field tested and ready for the demands that your backcountry adventures places on your body for calories and nutrients.

We hope you enjoy them all

 We can help!

Whether you are looking for a few dehydrated dinners to compliment your own backcountry menu, or you are looking for the hassle-free convenience of one of our full food service programs.

“We are an adventure company who has a wonderful dehydrated food product …

… not a food company that never gets outside.”


About Our Clients

In addition to our hiking, mountaineering and semester students, the following is a sample of current and past clients who have purchased individual dehydrated meals or full trip menus.

  • 21-day Youth Backcountry Expeditions
  • Military Training Exercises
  • Military Expeditions
  • Mountaineers
  • Hikers
  • Kayakers
  • Canoers
  • Cyclists
  • Motorcyclists
  • Fishermen
  • Backcountry Ski Expeditions
  • Arctic Ultra Marathoners
  • Hunters in large and small backcountry camps
  • Survival Minimalists
  • Backcountry Ski Lodge Guests
  • Emergency Planners
  • International Mountaineering Expeditions
  • High Arctic Geological Surveyors
  • Car Campers visiting the Canadian Rockies


Yamnusk Backcountry Kitchen Blog

Backcountry Adventure Resources

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