Two Kinds of Backpacking Food Ideas!

With backpacking food ideas, backpacking meals reviews tell me you could get freeze dried backpacking meals but at terribly high prices. Or, you can get a wide variety of tasty choices with cheap food at your local food store.

Backpacking the Appalachian Trail
Backpacking the Appalachian Trail, backpacking food ideas

Planning menus isn't hard for a weekend trip. Whatever you happen to have on hand, that will keep unrefrigerated, will work. You might take some luxury items that usually would be too bulky or heavy.

For trips a week or longer, backpacking foods become much more important. This web page talks about backpacking food for such trips.

Backpacking Food
Backpacking Food, backpacking food ideas

Best Backpacking Food Ideas

The best lightweight backpacking food is quick cooking, tasty, and high in calories. Lunch is usually no cook, heavier and high energy. Dinners are usually dehydrated and are lighter. Good backpacking food for breakfasts consists of about half and half quick cook and no cook. Don't forget to bring hot cocoa, etc.

A critical consideration of the best backpacking food is that you like it! Food is important to your well being mentally on long trips. Good tasting backpacking food helps improve the scenery and keep your spirits up during physical stress!

Lightweight Backpacking Food Ideas

You'll want to use dehydrated food to save weight, unless you can afford to buy freeze dried food. Already dehydrated foods include dried potatoes, breads, grains, pastas, etc. You can also easily dehydrate fruits and vegetables yourself, or you can also buy them dehydrated. It's well worth a small investment to get a food dehydrator, if you are serious about backpacking. You can try Walmart for small cheap ones or find professional dehydrators. Dried vegetables can add more choices to your dinners. Dried fruits can be added to breakfast rice or eaten alone. Check out this great book: Trail Food: Drying and Cooking Food for Backpacking and Paddling.

Dehydrated Food
Dehydrated Food, backpacking food ideas

Plan Your Hiking Food Ideas

Food for backpacking needs to balance weight against not having enough. Food can be the most time consuming and complicated part of trip preparation!

Measure out and package individual meals in plastic bags to save yourself a lot of hassle in camp. Put cooking instructions on with labels. Wide mouth bottles or squeeze tubes of a variety of sizes are good for portioning out exact amounts of peanut butter, syrup, etc. It's a good idea to double bag hot cocoa or potato flakes.

A good meal organization system:

  • put all breakfasts, lunches, and dinners into one bag

This way you can find the correct backpacking meal.

Backpacking takes an amazing amount of physical stamina and energy. Backpacking food needs to supply your body with about 2,500 - 5,000 calories per day, for easy summer hiking to intense mountaineering in cold weather. 3,000 to 4,000 calories, is right in line with the 1.5 to 2 pounds of backpacking food.

Intense Mountaineering
Intense Mountaineering, backpacking food ideas

Backpacking food for short term, quick energy are breads, cereals, pasta, crackers, etc (carbohydrates, starches, and sugars). You also need canned meat, cheeses, dried eggs, dried milk, cheddar cheese, chocolate and nuts (proteins and fats) for long term energy.

breads, backpacking food ideas

Backpacking Food Ideas

Breakfast Foods

Pancakes (need small pan, spatula, low heat, fuel, syrup in small container), rice (add raisins and dried milk), granola (add dried milk), fruit cocktail (small cans), and MaltOMeal® (add raisins if desired).

Pancakes, backpacking food ideas

Lunch Foods (many of these can be for no cook breakfasts)

Lunch meat, Tuna (in pouches), Cheeses (string cheese, blocks of mozzarella, etc), trail mix (nuts, M&M's, raisins, yogurt peanuts, crackers, dried fruit, etc), dried fruit, granola bars, Bagels (cream cheese), Pita bread, Logan Bread, candy bars, Pringles, crackers (from health food stores), and Wheat Thins.

Trail Mix
Trail Mix, backpacking food ideas

Dinner Foods

Canned soups, spaghetti with dried veggies (6oz can of tomato paste for sauce), potatoes and peas, potatoes and gravy (gravy mix), vegetable soup, Lipton Rice or Noodles, Cup O Soup, Cup Noodles/Ramen, couscous with dried veggies, ramen with dried veggies, burritos (tortillas, refried beans, cheese, peppers, salsa, onions), etc (watch the weight).

Ramen, backpacking food ideas


Crystal Lite or powdered lemonade, Hot cocoa (add marshmallows), teas, and apple cider.

Hot Cocoa
Hot Cocoa, backpacking food ideas

What you end up adding to your grocery list depends on the backpacking food ideas you use. Have fun and enjoy your meals!

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.