When you’re out on a backpacking trip, it’s important to pack light and bring only the essentials. However, one thing you can’t afford to overlook is food. Choosing the right meals for your backpacking trip is crucial for staying energized and healthy while on the trail.
The good news is that there are plenty of options for backpacking meals that are lightweight, easy to prepare, and nutritious. Whether you’re planning a multi-day trek or just a day hike, having the right meals can make all the difference in your overall experience.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best backpacking meals available, as well as tips and tricks for preparing and packing them. From dinner options to breakfast ideas to high-fat foods, we’ll cover everything you need to know to plan your meals for your next backpacking adventure. So grab your backpack and let’s get started!
Best Backpacking Dinner Meals
When it comes to backpacking dinner meals, you want something that is both lightweight and filling. Here are some of the best options to consider:
- Instant noodles or pasta – There are plenty of instant noodle and pasta options that are perfect for backpacking. They are lightweight, easy to prepare, and come in a variety of flavors. Plus, they are a great source of carbohydrates, which can help fuel your body for the trail.
- Dehydrated meals – Dehydrated meals are a popular choice for backpackers because they are lightweight and easy to prepare. These meals typically come in a pouch and just require you to add hot water. They come in a variety of flavors and are a great source of protein and other essential nutrients.
- Couscous – Couscous is a great option for backpackers because it is lightweight and cooks quickly. It also has a mild flavor, so you can easily add spices or other seasonings to customize it to your liking. Plus, it is a good source of carbohydrates and fiber.
- Rice and beans – Rice and beans are a classic backpacking dinner meal because they are both filling and nutritious. They are a great source of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber, which can help keep you full and energized on the trail.
- Tuna or salmon pouches – Tuna or salmon pouches are a great source of protein and can be easily added to other meals like pasta or couscous. They are also lightweight and don’t require refrigeration, which makes them a convenient option for backpackers.
No matter which dinner option you choose, be sure to pack out any trash and follow the Leave No Trace principles.
Daily Food to Bring Backpacking
When planning your backpacking trip, it’s important to consider what food you’ll be bringing for each day. Here are some ideas for daily food to pack:
- Breakfast – For breakfast, consider packing instant oatmeal, breakfast bars, or granola. These options are lightweight and easy to prepare, which is important when you’re on the trail.
- Snacks – Snacks are important to keep your energy up throughout the day. Some good options include trail mix, energy bars, dried fruit, jerky, or crackers with cheese or nut butter.
- Lunch – For lunch, consider packing wraps, sandwiches, or tortillas with peanut butter, cheese, or other toppings. You could also bring dehydrated soups or meals that just require hot water.
- Dinner – As we discussed earlier, instant noodles or pasta, dehydrated meals, couscous, rice and beans, and tuna or salmon pouches are great options for backpacking dinners.
- Hydration – Don’t forget to bring enough water or water purification systems to ensure you stay hydrated throughout your trip. You could also consider bringing electrolyte tablets or powders to help replenish your body’s salt and mineral levels.
It’s important to pack enough food to keep you fueled and energized for the entire trip, but you also want to keep weight in mind. Consider packing lightweight, high-energy foods that won’t take up too much space in your pack. Additionally, be sure to pack out any trash and follow Leave No Trace principles.
Best Food to Eat While Hiking
When you’re out hiking, you want to make sure you’re fueling your body with the right foods to keep your energy levels up and avoid bonking. Here are some of the best foods to eat while hiking:
- Fresh fruits and veggies – Fresh fruits and veggies like apples, carrots, and celery are great snacks to pack on a day hike. They’re lightweight, hydrating, and full of vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
- Nuts and seeds – Nuts and seeds are a great source of protein and healthy fats, which are essential for long-lasting energy. Consider packing almonds, cashews, or sunflower seeds.
- Energy bars – Energy bars are convenient and easy to pack, and there are many different types to choose from. Look for bars that are high in protein and low in sugar, and that contain complex carbohydrates for sustained energy.
- Beef jerky or turkey – Jerky or turkey is a great source of protein, and it’s easy to pack and carry. Look for varieties that are low in sodium and free of preservatives.
- Hard cheeses – Hard cheeses like cheddar or gouda are another good source of protein and healthy fats, and they’re easy to pack and carry. Plus, they won’t spoil as quickly as softer cheeses.
- Dark chocolate – Dark chocolate is a great source of antioxidants and contains a small amount of caffeine, which can provide a nice boost of energy.
Remember, it’s important to stay hydrated while hiking as well, so be sure to bring plenty of water or water purification systems with you. Additionally, consider packing electrolyte tablets or powders to help replenish your body’s salt and mineral levels on longer hikes.
Best Backpacking Breakfast Foods
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and this is especially true when you’re backpacking. You want to start your day with a hearty and nutritious breakfast to fuel your body for the day ahead. Here are some of the best backpacking breakfast foods:
- Instant oatmeal – Instant oatmeal is a backpacking staple because it’s lightweight, easy to pack, and requires minimal cooking. Plus, it’s high in fiber and complex carbohydrates to provide sustained energy.
- Breakfast bars – Similar to energy bars, breakfast bars are a convenient and easy-to-pack option for breakfast. Look for bars that are high in protein and fiber, and that contain complex carbohydrates for sustained energy.
- Trail mix – Trail mix is a great option for those who prefer a quick and easy breakfast. Look for varieties that contain a mix of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits for a balanced breakfast.
- Instant coffee or tea – For many people, a cup of coffee or tea is an essential part of their morning routine. Instant coffee or tea is lightweight and easy to pack, and it can provide a nice boost of energy to start your day.
- Dehydrated eggs – Dehydrated eggs are a great source of protein and can be easily rehydrated with hot water for a quick and filling breakfast. Look for varieties that are low in sodium and free of preservatives.
- Pancakes or waffles – If you have a little more time and equipment, pancakes or waffles can make a delicious and satisfying breakfast. You can pack pre-made pancake or waffle mix and simply add water, or you can make your own mix from scratch.
If you’re camping with kids, be sure to check out our article on Camping Meals for Kids for some fun and easy meal ideas. And if you’re looking to upgrade your RV setup, our article on Solar Panel Installation on RV can help you get started.
Are Backpacking Meals Really 2 Servings?
If you’ve ever purchased a backpacking meal, you may have noticed that they are often labeled as serving 2 people. However, if you’re backpacking alone or with only one other person, you may be wondering if these meals are really 2 servings.
The truth is, it can vary. Some backpacking meals are indeed large enough to serve two people, while others are designed to be a single serving. Additionally, serving sizes can be influenced by factors such as calorie content and serving size regulations.
It’s important to read the serving size and nutritional information on the packaging carefully before purchasing a backpacking meal. If you’re unsure whether a particular meal is suitable for one or two people, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and assume it’s a single serving. You can always pack extra snacks or other foods to supplement your meal if you need more calories or nutrients.
Another thing to keep in mind is that serving sizes can vary depending on your level of activity and energy needs. If you’re backpacking for several days and burning a lot of calories, you may need more food than the recommended serving size. On the other hand, if you’re doing a shorter trip or not expending as much energy, you may not need a full serving.
Ultimately, the serving size of backpacking meals can be a bit subjective. It’s important to consider your own needs and preferences when deciding how much food to pack. If you’re unsure, it’s always better to pack a little extra than to run out of food on the trail.
High Fat Backpacking Foods
When it comes to backpacking, high-fat foods can be a good source of energy and can help keep you feeling full and satisfied. However, not all high-fat foods are created equal, and it’s important to choose healthy options that will give you sustained energy without weighing you down.
Some high-fat backpacking foods to consider include nuts and seeds, nut butters, cheese, avocados, and fatty fish like salmon. These foods are all relatively lightweight and easy to pack, and they provide a good balance of protein, healthy fats, and other nutrients.
It’s also important to pay attention to the quality of fats in your backpacking foods. Aim for healthy unsaturated fats, like those found in nuts, seeds, and avocados, rather than saturated or trans fats found in processed foods and some meats.
While high-fat foods can be a good addition to your backpacking menu, it’s important to balance them with other foods to ensure that you’re getting a variety of nutrients. Pair high-fat foods with carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to create a balanced meal that will give you sustained energy for your hike.
Some examples of high-fat, balanced backpacking meals include peanut butter and banana sandwiches on whole-grain bread, trail mix with nuts and dried fruit, cheese and crackers with apple slices, and salmon jerky with whole-grain crackers.
Remember to pack your high-fat backpacking foods in airtight containers to prevent spoilage and to pack out any trash or food scraps to minimize your impact on the environment.
In conclusion, choosing the right backpacking meals is essential for any successful outdoor adventure. By selecting nutrient-dense, lightweight, and easy-to-prepare options, you can ensure that you have the fuel you need to power through long hikes and challenging terrain. Remember to also consider your individual dietary needs and preferences, as well as the environmental impact of your food choices.
We hope that this article has provided you with some helpful suggestions for your next backpacking trip. Remember to pack plenty of water, stay safe, and have fun exploring the great outdoors! And don’t forget to check out our list of internal linking resources to help you plan the ultimate camping experience.