Camping on a Budget with Pesto Tortellini

Richard Orth from BakPocket Hammocks is an entrepreneur, college student, and avid outdoorsman.  As you can imagine he spends a lot of time outside testing BakPocket’s lightweight camping and hiking gear in all backcountry conditions.  Rich has also spent many years working in restaurants, which taught him how to cook amazing food.  According to Rich, “just because you’re on a budget, doesn’t mean you have to compromise taste and comfort when camping”.  We agree, which is why we’re brining you Richard’s top 3 tips for camping on a budget.

Top 3 ways to camp cheap and eat gourmet on a college budget


Save money on a tent, buy a hammock

#1: Save money, buy a hammock

The cost of a hammock is significantly lower than most lightweight tents.  Lightweight hammocks from BakPocket cost $78, compared to a NorthFace one person tent which will run you $129.  Another benefit to a hammock is they get you off the ground, which means you save money on a pad, and stay warmer than you would on a cold floor.  If you’re worried about being in a place without trees, Richard recommends using climbing nuts and carabiners in rock cracks to support your hammock line.

A $7 backpacking stove

#2: Buy an ultralight, inexpensive one pot stove

Believe it or not, this Ultralight Backpacking Stove is only $6.31, and it has a lot of great reviews from happy customers.  Add an MSR IsoPro fuel canister for $4.95 and a lightweight pot for $10.99, and you’re entire cooking setup will cost only $22.25!!

Backcountry kitchen for Pesto Tortellini

#3: Cook with cheap, versatile ingredients

Interchangeable ingredients are essential to saving money when camping and backpacking.  Bring ingredients with you in the backcountry that can be used for more than one meal.  For example, Richard used 1/4 block of cream cheese to make his Pesto Tortellini, and he used the leftover cheese on bagels for breakfast, on crackers for a snack, and with cocoa powder for a creamy dessert.  He spent $2.24 on a food that will last many days and be used for several meals.  In total Rich spent $9.83 on his 4 serving Pesto Tortellini, which comes out to $2.45 person.  Plus, he has leftover pepperoni, sun dried tomatoes and cream cheese to use for other meals.  Share this recipe with college students, first time campers, or friends on a budget to help make their next adventure gourmet!

BakPocket's Pesto Tortellini
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins

This affordable backcountry meal was invented by Rich Orth, because even though he's out roughing it, he still likes to eat good food. Cream cheese is of Rich's favorite backcountry ingredients because it last for many days without refrigeration and it can be use on or in many different recipes. (Store pesto and cream cheese into plastic bags for lighter travel).

Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: One Pot
Servings: 2 People
  • 1 package Cheese Tortellini
  • 1/3 block Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 jar Pesto
  1. Bring water to boil and add tortellini
  2. Turn town stove to just below a boil and cook tortellini for about 7 minutes or until tortellini has soft shell and squishy pocket
  3. When pasta is ready; turn off stove, strain water into a hole
  4. Cover hole to protect from creatures invading your strained water.
  5. Turn the stove back on low
  6. Cut cream cheese into small squares, and add to tortellini.
  7. Stir while cheese melts
  8. Next add pesto, stir until creamy and ingredients are all mixed together.
  9. Feel free to "beef up" your tortellini by adding salami, pepperoni, sun dried tomato.....have fun with it!
  10. When you're done eating, be sure to clean eating and cooking area, and always leave no trace!

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