How to make Walker’s Risotto

Whilst on our five-month trek across Europe, my brother and I conjured up a number of recipes perfect for hikers camping in the wild. We named one such dish, Walker’s Risotto.

Perhaps a far cry from a Michelin star mushroom risotto, this dish does at least have a couple of similarities; it’s stodgy and it fills you up! Here’s how to do it:


Settling down for the night with a Walker's Risotto

Settling down for the night with a Walker’s Risotto

  • a handful of couscous (weighing scales are ill-advised on a long distance hike)
  • a sachet of soup powder
  • two glugs of water


  • heat water until it begins to simmer.
  • turn off burner to save fuel (couscous cooks very quickly, so water doesn’t need to be continually heated)
  • pour powdered soup into water and mix
  • throw in the couscous. Stir and then cover
  • wait two minutes

And it’s as simple as that. Enjoy!

What’s the best food for a multi-day hiker on a budget?

Every hiker is different

Every hiker is different

Every hiker is different. Some walk at unfathomable speeds, addressing the many gadgets that swing from their bodies – satellite phones, altitude watches, GoPros – packing light, breaking records and forever under the strain of burning thighs and beading foreheads. Whilst others step slowly through the landscape, barely breaking sweat and ill-prepared in the event of a storm with an ancient cagoule that lost its waterproofing a decade ago, if indeed it ever had any.

I like both, though I must admit, I’ve never used a satellite phone, altitude watch or GoPro, let alone owned one. What I mean to say is, both have their values (another story altogether).

One aspect of this crude categorisation, however, that appears to linger at a constant, is my diet. No matter what the distance, the number of days, the environment or the weather, the food I bring with me seems to remain the same. The reason? I tend to veer on the side of frugal. Put bluntly, I’m a tight-arse. For those of you repelled by expensive, pre-made, dehydrated meals as much as I am,   here is a list of the items that usually find their way into my pack:

  • a cured sausage – for a few grams of protein this is perfect, and doesn’t require refrigeration
  • trail-mix, or as I know it, scroggin – high energy, dense and delicious
  • instant noodles – not on everyone’s list, but great as a quick means to relieve hunger and warm up once you have set up camp
  • powdered soup – very light, high in salt and a must for warming worn-out bodies
  • cereal bars and biscuits – bursting with energy and yummy
  • couscous – packs small, only requires water to cook and is an essential ingredient to Walker’s Risotto
  • instant mash – again, quick and easy, and remarkably light for the stomach space it fills
  • bread – I don’t like cooking my lunches. Bread lasts for days, though its morphology may alter
  • Jam – yes, I know, anything in glass should be heavily scrutinized, but think of the sugar!
  • tins of fish – packed with protein and omega-3
Five days of food - French Alps

Five days of food – French Alps