Simple Backpacking Food Ideas

Backpacking Food Ideas that are Light and Tasty

Backpacking takes an enormous amount of energy and you need to replace that energy by filling up with high calorie foods that will not only re-fuel but give you energy as well. As a rule of thumb, hikers need a calorie intake of somewhere between 2,500 – 5,000 a day, depending on the season which equates to roughly 2 pounds of food (or about 900 grams) per person, per day.

Depending on how long you are planning to backpack, your backpacking food ideas need to consist of foods that are light to carry, as well over a quarter of your total backpack weight and bulk, is likely to be made up of food.

Pack Right not Light

If you are just setting out for a few hours on a hike, then you can probably get by on a few foods grabbed from your fridge, but if you are planning an actual backpacking trip, then you need to organise yourself from the outset and pack enough meals to last for the duration of your trip. Some people invest in freeze packed meals, which are expensive, but there is a lot of variety to choose from, but you can just as easily eat well and cheaply by following some of the backpacking food ideas included below.

Reduce Weight Where Possible

To keep weight down it's always best to pack dehydrated foods such as pasta, grains, noodles, dried fruit and vegetable and oats. In addition you will need a supply of dried spices and herbs and salt and pepper to jazz things up a bit. Don't forget to pack a jar of instant coffee, sugar, dried milk and tea bags. I find it easiest, if backpacking for a week, or longer, to portion out all my meals into plastic bags and then put each type into another bag. This way I have a bag full of breakfast meals, lunch meals and dinner. This offers versatility on the day, as you can simply take out which meal you fancy from the relevant bag.

The Most Important Meal

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so don't be tempted to skip this one. One of the best backpacking food ideas for breakfast is instant oatmeal. They come in several varieties and all you need to do is add hot water. They're ideal because the oatmeal is released slowly into the body providing fuel and energy as you go through the day. Try adding some dried fruits for even more variety.

It's also well worth taking a dose of protein powder each day which will ease your muscles. Lunch just needs to be something light, as you're probably only half way through your journey so things like trail mix or snack bars should suffice. Once you've reached your destination, it's time to sit back and relax and enjoy a well deserved, nutritional and tasty dinner. Pick something simple, like flavoured noodles which are prepared in minutes or pasta that you can add some dried vegetable too. You certainly don't want to be labouring over a hot stove and scraping out pots at the end of a long, tiring day.

There's more camping food ideas here, and campfire cooking recipes here.

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