Easy Backpacking Food Ideas for Multi-Day Hikes
I’m always looking for different food ideas for my hiking trips but really, all it comes down to is:
3 Basic Things
- Don’t take food which is heavy
- Bring something easy to prepare
- Bring food you know you like
Refrigeration is one of those luxuries you leave at home when you’re out on the trail, so bringing food you’ve dehydrated at home or a commercially prepared freeze dried meal, is a tasty, lightweight option. For a lot of us, it’s always surprising how much of an appetite you can develop after a long hiking day. So having something you can look forward to, can really get you up that last hill knowing you’ve got an enjoyable meal and some yummy treats at the end of the day.
A quick trip to you local supermarket is a great place to start for all your goodies. Shopping for a hike and knowing what to take doesn’t need to be difficult. With some planning and remembering those 3 Basic Things, you can be in and out of the supermarket in a flash. But if you really want an easy “ I don’t want to have to think about it option” there is Campers Pantry.
As a general rule, 700g – 900g of food per day is what you should be aiming for. So for a 4 day hike you might be carrying 2800g – 3600g of food, depending on your choices, plus water.
Just get yourself some Ziploc freezer bags, enough for each morning you’ll be on trail and add powdered milk along with your muesli or porridge. All you need to do is add hot/cold water to the bag in the morning and there’s no washing up. It’s clean, simple and quick.
- Powdered Milk
- Tea / Coffee
Sticking to about 100gms a day for snacks is a pretty good guide. There are all sorts of yummy goodies you can choose from.
Snacks can vary from muesli bars or fruit to your own special mixture of “scroggin”. Scroggin (Some Chocolate Raisins and Other Good Grub Including Nuts) is the name given to a mixture of very interesting nibbles, usually high in calories and energy and also delicious.
Snacks provide energy while walking and are often found to be a welcome relief during a rest stop. Every bushwalker has their own special recipe for “scroggin”, but here are a few suggestions:
- nuts, (almonds, cashews, brazils, macadamias, peanuts)
- dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, currants, apples, apricots, peaches)
- fresh fruit (bulky and heavy but worth it)
- vegetables (carrot and celery sticks, snow peas, radishes)
- fruit leather
- health food bars
- rice crackers, biscuits
- chocolate (sugar coated chocolate like Smarties and M&Ms don’t melt in hot conditions)
- jelly sweets such as jelly babies, jelly beans, snakes, raspberries etc
The list is endless, but be sure to weigh it.
- Vitawheat or other cracker biscuits
- pitta bread or mountain bread
- cheese/cheese spread
- salami, mettwurst, kabana, fritz
- jam, honey, peanut paste
- small tins of fish, meat paste
- fresh fruit
- dried fruit
- chocolates and nuts
If it’s cold and you have the chance to boil some water, a cup of soup, tea or coffee does wonders.
You local supermarket has a huge variety of Pasta & Sauce type dehydrated meals, which are really cheap and somewhat tasty. You can simply add a packet of tuna or some sort of salami/jerky type meat to kick up the protein and calories and help fill you up. Or if you prefer something other than this, DIY dehydrated meals in a freezer bag
- Fast cooking rice
- Tuna, salmon, in a packet (not a tin)
- Jerky, salami, or other dried meat
- Cheese such as gouda or cheddar
Something to do with CHOCOLATE ….. I just can’t resist. Usually for me it’s a mini snickers bar but really anything you love as a treat will do. I usually like to top it off with a Hot Chocolate just before I switch my headlamp off.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO PACK IT ALL
Ziplock bags are your friend. They are super lightweight and form a tight seal which won’t leak. Here’s my way of packing food for a hike:
- Organise all the food for each day into the order you will eat it
eg. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, desert
- Load your food bag in reverse for each day so when you open it - breakfast for day one is on top, then the snacks, lunch, snacks, dinner, desert.
If food is packed in portions, you do not risk the chance of over-eating or running out.
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