I can’t count how many times people ask me, “Oh so you’ll be foraging for food then?” when I tell them I’m going on a long backpacking trip.
Believe it or not, I do not forage for food, but do bring along some good hiking food on my backpacking trips.
So, what backpacking meals do I take with me on the trail?
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Here some things to consider when planning your meals for on the trail:
- Must not be *too* perishable. You’d be surprised how long hard cheeses and string cheese sticks last out of refrigeration. I sometimes bring fresh fruit or veggies to be eaten within the first day or two after resupply.
- Must be light enough to carry around with you for days on end. You don’t want to carry any food in bulk, or glass containers or bottles.
- Must be able to be either eaten raw or cooked in one tiny pot over a camp stove or fire.
- You should have about 2 pounds of food per person, per day.
- You should aim for about 3,500 calories per person, per day, while backpacking. (Give or take based on your caloric needs, physical condition, and activity level.)
I know, I know, you’re still asking, so what do you eat out there?
Here are a few of my favorite meals:
- Oatmeal loaded with peanut butter and/or dried fruit, for breakfast
- Cheesy grits, for breakfast
- Bagels and cream cheese, for breakfast or lunch
- Quinoa with dehydrated veggies and/or meat (beef jerky, turkey jerky, pepperoni, vegan primal strips, etc.) for dinner
- Annie’s Mac and cheese with tuna, for dinner
- Instant mashed potatoes with instant stuffing mix and chicken or tuna, for instant Thanksgiving dinner in the woods! I know, I know, it’s not nearly the same, but it still hits the spot after a long day of hiking.
All of the above are extremely simple, and the ingredients are easily accessible and easy to carry.
One more meal to try, if you want some really good hiking food.
It is a little more extensive – more like cooking than just adding hot water to dehydrated food! – So if you’re up for it, try:
- Thai noodles – ramen noodles, a little oil, a little soy sauce, peanut butter, minced garlic, spice of choice – crushed red pepper, sriracha, or anything else hot, add in any tuna, chicken, meat, or veggies.
I hope this gave you some ideas and a good starting point for planning your backcountry meals!
Share your favorite back-country meals in the comments – bonus points if they are 4 ingredients or less!
For more backpacking basics, check out these posts: