Meal Time: Fastpack Pad Thai w/ Spiced Olive Oil

I recently watched the video above by Matthew Kirk (from Fool on the Hill) in which he presents the fastpack Pad Thai meal. I was immediately impressed due to the simplicity as well of low-cost of the meal. So, I made a note of the (few) items that he included in the recipe and then headed into town…

Preparing my food to eat while on the trail has been the hardest part of my backpacking experience. I like simple and easy (which is why I was drawn to the above video). For a while I had been a fan of the freeze-dried meals such as those offered by Mountain House and Backpacker Pantry. Then a little while later, I was introduced to Hawk Vittles, which offers the same simplicity of the aforementioned freeze-dried meals, but without all the additives to “preserve” the food. (Hawk Vittles is actually prepared by a retired professional chef, and immediately afterwords he throws the fresh cooked food into a dehydrator and then into a sealed bag and delivered to your door. Good stuff I tell ya!)

So, when I watched Matthew’s video, I knew that I had to give this fastpack meal a try. I had actually been working on some of the recipes from Mike Clelland’s book Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips around this same time, however, the fastpack Pad Thai meal looked even simpler and less expensive! So, as I said above, I headed to the store and came back with 3 of the 4 ingredients that Matthew used in his video…

When I left the grocery store I had the Ramen Noodles (any flavor is fine as all that is needed is the noodles) and the salted peanuts easy. The Knorr Vegetable Mix took me a minute to track down, and I never did find any of the True Lime (although a friend has found some at a Publix and has offered to send me a few packets. Thanks Jim!)

Making the fastpack Pad Thai is relatively easy. I simply break up the Ramen Noodles and pour them into a Ziploc bag (and don’t forget to dispose of the flavoring pack…it is not needed in this recipe). Then I measure out 3 oz of peanuts and add to the noodles. (You can break the peanuts up a little too if so desired, but I choose not to cause it’s easier.) Next I add about 1/2 the package of the Knorr Vegetable Mix to the bag with the noodles and the nuts. If you happened to track down some of the True Lime, then now would be the time to add it too. (Without the True Lime, I ended up with a total measured weight of 6.4 oz and 920 total calories, or 143.75 calories per oz.)

Next is the easy part. Just boil some water and then add it to the bag. Next, place the meal in a cozy and wait about 5 minutes and then enjoy!

Boiling water in the Snow Leopard Cooking System by Flat Cat Gear

However, it didn’t stop here! As I said above, I have also been messing around with some of the recipes from Mike Clelland’s book Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips. One of the recipes I made from this book was the Spiced Olive Oil. This is actually a “sauce” that Mike uses to add a boost of both flavor and calories to meals. Of course the Spiced Olive Oil uses Olive Oil as its base, but there are also a number of different spices that are mixed in with it…all I can say is that it is indeed awesome! This is one recipe that I will continue to make and keep some ready to go at all times. (I highly suggest getting Mike’s book to check out this recipe as well as the few others that are in his book…and of course all the other UL Backpackin’ Tips too.)

So, it dawned on me to see how this fastpack Pad Thai meal would taste with an oz of the Spiced Olive Oil added to the top…and well, it did indeed boost the flavor. What was once good is now better. And lets not forget, that the Spiced Olive Oil also added another 240 calories to the 920 calories that were already there! So, now it looks a little something like this:

  • Ramen Noodles: ~2.9 oz & 380 calories
  • Knorr Vegetable Mix: ~0.7 oz & 60 calories
  • Peanuts: 3 oz & 480 calories
  • Spiced Olive Oil: 1 oz and 240 calories

When combining the oil with the Pad Thai, this gives me a (measured) total of 7.4 oz and 1,160 calories! This equals out to 156.75 calories per oz. Not to bad, especially considering how inexpensive it is, how easy it is to make and of course how good it tastes!

So, I am extremely happy that I came across both Matthew’s fastpack Pad Thai meal as well as Mike’s Spiced Olive Oil. The combination of the two is one that I plan to enjoy often while on the trail. The ingredients are easily found as well as quite inexpensive. The results are an easy meal to prepare that both tastes good and provides high calories. In my book, this is a winner!

So, even as easy as this is, I had to make a video about it. So, please enjoy this short video in which I prepare the meal from start to finish…

Thanks for watching!


About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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19 Responses to Meal Time: Fastpack Pad Thai w/ Spiced Olive Oil

  1. sixtoe says:

    For those curious about the spiced olive oil, it’s basically a cup of olive oil, 5 or 6 garlic cloves, a tablespoon each of dried basil and dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon mild paprika, and a little salt and pepper mixed in a blender or food processor.


  2. Kurt says:

    Hey Stick, took me forever to get the ingredients but finally got to try this. I did not make the spiced oil but or use peanuts. I instead used red pepper flakes some sugar and chunky peanut butter. Everything else was the same. Awesome, cheap and easy dish. Thanks


  3. ruaskater says:

    You mentioned this is the measured weight. What is the packed weight?


    • Stick says:

      When I say “measured” weight, I mean by weight, not volume. I say “measured” to imply that I have actually weighed it as opposed to going with something that is listed. I get this from gear because I actually measure the weight of gear before listing it as opposed to simply repeating what the manufacture said since 9 out of 10 times, the listed weight in inaccurate…

      However, let me point out that since I am adding in numerous items, the weight will still likely fluctuate +/- 0.5 oz or so per batch…

      Hope this helps!



  4. David Noll says:

    Great recipe. My wife doesn’t like ramen noodles so I used 3 1/4 oz of dried rice noodles(for 2) from an Asian food store and added 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes. We will be making this meal for our upcoming trip to Patagonia.


  5. Adarius69 says:

    This is a great recipe, recently tried it on a short overnight trip. Made a few changes though. The Knorr mix has MSG in it so I went to Wal-Mart and bought a #10 can of Augason farms vegetable stew mix for 11 bucks(which tastes great btw, and will last 1 year after you open it) and used 1/4 cup of that instead, also swapped out the ramen noodles with orzo noodles which were like 100 or 105 cal per ounce if I recall. Thanks for sharing this recipe!


  6. mamamia says:

    Stick, great recipe, but about the quality of calories specially the ones coming from the Ramen noodles 🙂


  7. Matt Wolter says:

    Hi Stick,
    I just discovered your blog today and have enjoyed what I’ve seen so far. This recipie is similar to one I’ve been making for the trail for years but the Knorr veggies look like a simple and tasty addition. One thing you might try is adding a one ounce single serving package of peanut butter and reduce (or not) the peanuts to 2 ounces. This adds some body and more peanut taste to the dish. I also add some red pepper flakes to taste (after all, it is Thai).

    Happy trails,


    • Stick says:


      Glad that you have enjoyed my blog so far! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. As well, thanks for the alternate recipe, I will give that a try sometime!



  8. Jesse says:

    How much water do you use for this meal?


    • Stick says:


      Honestly, I kind of eyeball it. I would imagine it is somewhere around 1.25 cups though… I like for the Ramen to soak up just about all of the water, but I have to be sure there is enough. It may even depend on the pot I am using. It seems like I may need a little less when making this in my Heine pot as opposed to my shorter, wider 0.9L Evernew pot. Of course, if you are heating it in the Ziploc, then I would add a cup and let it set for a few minutes and then check it. Add more if desired…

      Hope this helps some.



  9. Matt says:

    Thanks for sharing the idea of adding the spiced olive oil. I’ll have to give that a try. Sweet video. Happy trails.


    • Stick says:


      Hey, glad that you found the video. Man I appreciate your video. This was a great find for me. I appreciate you taking the time to share your ideas! As far as the Spiced Olive Oil, I definitely suggest to try it out!

      Thanks again,



  10. beechcreekproject says:

    More great information and tips. Your blog is one that I can always expect to learn something new. Great work.


  11. See, I knew eventually you would post a video without you talking at all 😉


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