101: The Ultimate Pancake Challenge

Show Notes: Episode 101

Today on the First 40 Miles, we’ve always wondered why people make pancakes on the trail…so today we face The Ultimate Pancake Challenge.  We’ll also share the top 5 ways to make your pancakes worth the extra effort.  On the SUMMIT Gear Review, we have  three pieces of gear that all contributed to the success of the Ultimate Pancake Challenge.  And we’ll leave you today with a little trail wisdom from someone believes that pancakes equal love.


  • Are pancakes worth making on the trail? Is it possible to make pancakes while backpacking?
  • Episode 009 flashback (audio sound effect provided by Marcus Horndt and can be found at https://www.freesound.org/people/schluppipuppie/sounds/13279)
  • What is the ultimate pancake challenge?
  • Here are the rules:
  • SIMPLE: They must be easy to put together on the trail—just add water would be nice.  They have to be equal to, or less of a mess than a pot of oatmeal.
  • HEALTHY: They have to be more than just white flour—some substance and nutrition would be nice.
  • DELICIOUS: The pancakes must not burn.

We’ll share the results of The Ultimate Pancake Challenge at the end of today’s SUMMIT Gear Review.

Top 5 Ways to A-Game Your Pancakes On the Trail

Make them multigrain

  • For today’s Backpack Hack of the Week we’ll be giving you a recipe for do-it-yourself, just add water, multigrain pancake mix!
  • Multigrain will stick with you longer than plain old white flour pancakes. Plus, with multigrain you can have a good balance of calories, fiber and nutrients

Coconut oil

  • Helps the pancakes not stick, gives them a crispy brown exterior, adds tons of flavor, and adds calories

Real maple syrup

  • Untapped Maple Syrup:  1 ounce of pure maple syrup in a sport gel type package.
  • Homemade Spiced Honey Syrup: vanilla, a pinch of cinnamon and thinned a little with water. Store in a leak-proof container.

Bacon baked inside the pancake

  • Pre-cooked slices or bacon bits

Freeze dried strawberries

  • Rehydrate in the bag with a little water and put them on top of your pancake.

 Great thing about pancakes is that you can repurpose them—pancakes aren’t just for breakfast anymore!—if you’re going to take the time to make pancakes, then make a fresh batch in the morning and use them  as bread for your pb and Nutella sandwich, or for dinner to sop up your soup.

SUMMIT Gear Review™: The Snow Peak Pancake Trifecta

Snow peak has three piece of gear that contributed to the success of our Ultimate Pancake Challenge:

Snow Peak Folding Turner

  • Weighs .7 ounces (20 grams)
  • Folds down into a tiny little spatula
  • Flipped 6 inch pancakes easily
  • $10

Snow Peak Aluminum Nonstick Cooker 1000

  • Comes as a set of 1 quart pot, a lid with a silicone knob, a frying pan, a handle which can be used on the pot or frying pan. Everything can be stacked together
  • Set comes with a sack and felt to separate the pans so they won’t rub against each other –either in storage or while hiking.
  • Nonstick is made of fluorine and the outside of the pans is hard anodized aluminum
  • The entire set holds fuel
  • Scale marks on pot
  • The pot, lid, skillet and handle together weighs 13.5 ounces (382 grams)
  • $65

Snow Peak Gigapower stove

  • Adjustable flame
  • Performs well in the wind
  • Piezo igniter
  • Weighs 3.7 ounces (103 grams)
  • Comes with case (weights 0.6 ounces)
  • $50


  • Every challenge has obstacles—and our Ultimate Pancake Challenge was no different
  • First obstacle: Finding the perfect balance of the frying pan on the stove
  • Second obstacle: Pancake batter thickened and had to add more liquid to batter in plastic bag.  So while mixing the pancake mix with water in the plastic bag worked great, but we’ll cut hole in top by ziptop next time so we can add more water if we need to.
  • Third obstacle: Rewarming the pancakes that cooled down while we cooked the others…
  • Still took a long time for a family of 6, but for just one or two hikers, this could be a really great breakfast option.
  • Time: 30 minutes for about twelve 6 inch pancakes.
  • It was a chilly day so everyone enjoyed being huddled around the low flame.
  • Filling, delicious, warming
  • Used 1.6 ounces for a dozen 6 inch pancakes.

Backpack Hack of the Week™: DIY Multigrain Pancake Mix (Just add water!)

This recipe is from our new cookbook that will be coming out this December.

1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup oats
2 Tbs. flax seeds
¼ tsp salt
1 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbs. oil

Makes about 12 six-inch pancakes

At home: Mix all ingredients in a blender and store in a quart freezer zip top plastic bag.

On the trail: Add about 1 1/2 cups water to the zip top bag and mix well.  Heat up nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Snip off top corner of bag to dispense pancake batter.  Flip the pancakes when small bubbles start to form on top.  Serve with toppings.

Trail Wisdom

“I don’t have to tell you I love you. I fed you pancakes.”
-Kathleen Flinn