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Who are the Experience Arizona Adventurers?

Matt Marine

Matt Marine is an Arizona resident who loves exploring Arizona's wonderful outdoor adventures. To find out more about Matt, click the link below.

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Cat-Dog is my faithful trail companion. Her real name is Cammie. Why do I call her Cat-Dog?

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Sara Harelson

I’m Sara! I’m 21, a senior in college, and a journalism major.  I love to read, write, travel, and listen to music.  I’m always on to my next adventure.


See Intern Page for previous interns

Going camping? Better not forget this delicious meal! (How to Make Pizza in the Backcountry)

By Tobey Schmidt

Folks who spend a considerable amount of time in the outdoors like myself, know that food always tastes one hundred times better in the backcountry. Maybe it’s because of the beautiful views bringing out all the senses or maybe it was a difficult hike and we’re just hungry.  Either way, food is better than normal in the backcountry. What’s even better? Pizza.

Here are a few steps and advice on how to make gourmet personal pan pizzas from my experience cooking them in the backcountry of Lake Powell on a kayaking expedition.

1. Prep the (simple) toppings

The two most important toppings to remember are cheese—typically pre-shredded—and pizza sauce. These two don’t need much prep, unless you have a block of cheese. Since we were on an expedition-type trip we had many meals planned with cheese, which is why we had the block and brought a grater.

Some other good toppings to have are mushrooms, broccoli, pepperoni, black olives and pineapple. I recommend rinsing and cutting these topping before heating the stove so it’s all ready before you start cooking.

2. Prepare the stove with oil (or water)

We used a backpacking stove since we needed as much room as possible in our kayaks. You can also use a two-burner camping stove. Don’t forget the propane! After prepping the toppings, pour a little olive oil—or even water could work—onto the pans.

3. Create personal pizza

Instead of bothering with making our own dough, we brought packages of pita flat breads (Papa Pita Greek Pita Flat Bread). However, the pizzas can also be made on flour tortillas, English muffins, or bagels… it’s really up to you! This way each person can have their own personal pizza and customize it how they want it.

Have each person create their pizza just like they would a pizza they’d buy at the store. If there’s a big group of people, create a line-up of the toppings to make it easier. Try to use minimal amount of silverware, as washing dishes in the backcountry can be kind of a hassle.

4. Cook each pizza one at a time, check & don’t burn the bottom!

It’s not necessary, but it’s a good idea to have a spatula with you to move the pizza from plate to pan and back. Put the pizza in the pan then cover it with the lid. Check the pizza every couple of minutes to make sure you don’t burn the bottom. For us it was a little difficult to fully cook the top while not burning the bottom, but I think the key is keeping the heat low and waiting a few extra minutes.

Another key, but not necessary, is to have a pair of pliers with you. Potholders can be a little bulky to carry on a backcountry trip, but sometimes it’s hard to get the pizza off of the pan without picking up the pan, especially if it’s on a wobbly backpacking stove.


5. Enjoy!

Making gourmet meals in the backcountry is actually a little easier than most people would think. The hardest part is not the cooking, it’s the actual planning, like getting all of the ingredients and the cooking materials together. After that, it’s as easy as pie—we’ll save pie for another backcountry cooking tutorial!




Backcountry Pizza
Package of pita flat breads, flour tortillas, or bagels (your choice)
Jar of pizza sauce
Bag of shredded cheese (if block of cheese, must have grater)
Mushrooms, broccoli, pepperoni, can of pineapple, black olives (suggested toppings)
Olive oil
Backpacking/camping stove with propane
Pan with lid
Pliers (optional)


  1. Prepare the toppings—rinse and cut any vegetables.

  2. Create personal pizza complete with a spread of sauce and topped with cheese and other ingredients.

  3. Heat stoves and add a little olive oil to the pan. Keep heat at medium.

  4. Put pizza inthe pan and cover it with a lid. Check back periodically and spin the pizza with the spatula to prevent burning.

  5. Lift the pan with the pliers before moving the pizza to a plate—those stoves can be wobbly.

  6. Enjoy!

Pizza Making Video


More Photos


Have you been on this adventure? What did you think? Comments and updates welcome by clicking here.

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