Eating the same lunch over and over again can get pretty boring while backpacking. On the flip side, being able to take a mid-day break and refuel with some food that you actually love could restore your hiking motivation and morale for the rest of the day!
Read on for more lunch ideas for backpacking trips, from classic backpacking staples to some out-of-the-box backpacking lunch ideas to keep you going even on difficult hikes. Most of these lunches are no cook, and a few are cold soak or just add water.
Super Easy No Cook Backpacking Lunch Ideas
1) One of the easiest backpacking lunches out there is simply a cheese stick or small block of cheese; a meat stick or beef jerky; nuts; and crackers or pretzels with plenty of water and electrolytes. Not only does this pack well and last several days on the trail, but these are things that you would find in any grocery store, so are readily available for resupply on long-distance hikes.
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2) For something sweet, you could bring tortillas or wraps of your choice with peanut butter and honey or even Nutella. Add in some munchies like banana chips, nuts, or granola and call it a lunch.
3) For something more savory, try a wrap stuffed with a packet of tuna salad, or any other tuna/salmon/chicken packet you like. Add in some hot sauce for a kick or some olive oil for an extra energy boost.
4) Uncrustables actually make for pretty sweet and easy backpacking lunches. Pack them from frozen and enjoy either the first or second day of your trip. If you’re long-distance hiking, split a box with a friend on the trail.
5) Another easy, grab-and-go option is your favorite protein or meal bar with something crunchy like nuts, M&M’s or wasabi peas.
6) If you have access to plenty of water, you could drink a protein shake and even add in some fixings like hot cocoa powder, instant coffee, or avocado oil for an extra calorie boost.
Dried fruit also makes a great addition to any backpacking lunch, or you could even sneak in a fresh apple or two if you wanted to have them early on in your trip, especially with a Justin’s nut butter packet.
Fancy, Yet Delicious Backpacking Lunch Recipes
8) Make some trail burritos with your favorite tortillas, refried beans, cheese, and a packet of Tuna Creations with Rice and Beans in hot sauce. Pack dehydrated refried beans for a lightweight, backpacker-friendly option.
9) Get fancy with some everything bagels and lox. Pack your favorite bagels, individual packets of cream cheese, and ready-to-eat salmon for a special treat while hiking or backpacking.
10) You could make a (cold) pita pizza or tortilla with cheese and pepperoni. Mozzarella cheese won’t last terribly long on the trail, but if you wanted to pack some to make this the first day or two, that would be great! You could even dehydrate some of your favorite red sauce to mix with some water and add to this pizza wrap.
Extra Backpacking Meal Planning Tips
You generally want to aim for packing ~1.5 pounds of food per person per day and at least 2,000 calories per day. Probably closer to 4,000 calories per day (or more!) for long-distance trips or harder, longer mile days.
My kitchen scale is my best friend when packing food for backpacking trips and helps keep the weight of my food bag in check.
I find lunches and snacks are usually the heaviest items so I try to also make sure they’re some of my highest fat and calorie-dense food items – because there’s no sense in packing heavy, low energy food on a backpacking trip.
Let us know what your favorite backpacking lunches are in the comments below!
For more backpacking meal and hiking snack ideas, check out:
- 10 Easy Hiking Snacks
- 4 Ways To Make Coffee On The Trail
- Backpacker’s Pad Thai Recipe
- Quinoa & Summer Sausage Backpacking Dinner Recipe
Best Backpacking Lunch Ideas
About the author, Mallory Moskowitz:
After studying Recreation, Park & Tourism Management, Mallory spent several years teaching environmental education, guiding hikes, and leading backcountry trips. Her life-changing trek from Georgia to New York on the Appalachian Trail is what sparked the creation of Your Adventure Coach, to share backpacking tips and resources with as many new hikers as possible.