[TOP 12] Best No Cook Backpacking Meals For Camping Trip

12 Best No Cook Backpacking Meals For Camping Trip Reviews, Tips & Guides


If you’re planning to hike the long trip and you were hoping to do No Cook Food to save weight on fuel or you tend to offer the snack to meals, read this article and full fill your menu and read some suggestions here with Dried Fruits, cheese, sausages, dried meat or fish.etc. Make sure you really understand what is the best No Cook backpacking meals and find out how to prepare your menu.

Yes, it is not so weird if you are not a big fan of hot food and do not carry any kind of stove with you when you go camping or hunting. You should always do that because of these advantages:

– You will have more time to enjoy with your friend or family and do another thing. For example, You boil water to make instant noodle is much quicker than make a wild strawberry pie in an oven (have you ever see backpacker eat like kings?). No cook meal means you will have more time to watch wildlife in the night.

– Man needs to have two or three big meals and snacks, but a woman will happy with simply snack all day whenever she wants to eat. And sometimes we do not buy a stove, cookware, etc, may be we can save a good deal of money.

Another side, it depends on where you camping. For example, you go camping in the mountains, cooking in the mountains can be very exciting and enjoyable even cooking in the high winds can be very frustrating for you.

When you are tired you need a hot meal, it can really perk you up. It means if you choose no cooking backpacking meals you need to be more creative in your meals.

It means you always keep an emergency meal/food in case your body fever or when you feel a little homesick then you will need something hot. I recommend you carry a spoon, a stainless steel cup, sugar, and tea. For what? When you use these, a fire is required.

Anywhere we go camping, make sure we eat three times a day: Breakfast, lunch and dinner. How you choose the right meals/foods? Let’s find out in 12 best no cook backpacking meals ideas for awesome trip.

12 best no cook backpacking meals ideas


For breakfast you try to make sure you full of fat to get the calorie density high enough. If no-cook meal I will take:

  • Chia Seeds with Instant Breakfast

Especially, here’s a meal for the serious ultralight hikers. One packet of Carnation Instant Breakfast powder mixed with a cup of water, then add a tablespoon or two of chia seeds, then you have got a super food breakfast include beverage packed with a few hundred calories, omega 3-fatty acids, protein, antioxidants, and more.

Do you know about the chia seeds, they will actually soak up the liquid to help provide more food mass.

No cook backpacking meal

Chia seed with instant breakfast

Tip: You could even prepare this in the night before, you just only put chia seeds in your water bottle. Then when you wake up, your camp-made energy drink will be ready for you to say good morning.

  • Granolas and Cold Cereals

Cereal or granola is very convenient food for a breakfast on the go. So easy, even your kid can do that, to add milk powder and cold water in it then …EAT!

Tip: Granola- It is a breakfast and snack food consisting full of rolled oats, nuts, honey or other sweeteners such as brown sugar and bring to you nutritious, lightweight, high in calories.

Granola is the top cake that is carried by people who are hiking, camping, or backpacking. It depends on your favor, you can eat granola with yogurt, honey, or fresh fruit (example: bananas, strawberries or blueberries), or milk.

No cook backpacking meal 2

Granolas and milk

  • Dried Fruits, Nuts, and Berries

Pros: dried fruits and nuts are lightweight, easy to store, and nutritious.

It is an ideal snack food for hikes because of the taste and aroma of freshly-picked berries. On the trail during the summer period, there are lots of berries so, you can pick: blueberries, raspberries or blackberries, cranberries and marsh berries.

No cook backpacking meals ideas

Dried Fruits, Nuts, and Berries

  • Breakfast Bagel

To make sure your full up, Bagel is the one you look for. You can eat it bagel with much peanut butter and honey, or you can eat it with tuna, ham, or cheese, etc. You will feel satisfied when you have protein, carbohydrates, and fat to start your long day.


In afternoon, we shouldn’t eat a large meal because it makes us slow down. Recommend you should have a light meal for your lunch. It is easy to make, quick and high energy but delicious.

  • Wraps and Burritos

Someone said this is an idea to fill in your stomach. Mix materials to enjoy with banana and peanut butter or Tuna. Other kind is cream cheese and smoked salmon. We recommend here is chicken and pesto/ chicken and canned pineapples, etc.

No cook backpacking meals

Wraps and Burritos

  • Canned Beans and Vegetable Salads

Live in the natural environment and taste great with corn, tomatoes, avocado, and tortillas. Without any meat? Yeah! But do not worry, these food are very high in vitamins and fiber.

  • Sausages

Many kinds of sausages, you can pick Salami, pepperoni or mini summer sausages. All are good for your backpacking.

No cook backpacking ideas

Sausages is awesome for camping trip

  • Dried meat or fish

No cooking meals

Dried meat or fish is favorite food of many campers



The meal you have been waiting for all day has finally arrived.

  • Cheese

Here is the best cheese for a backpacker: hard cheeses such a Parmesan and Cheddar (9.5 g/ounce) – is good fuel for cold or hard hikes. Both of them are the best for extended trips, snacking, and meal topping.

  • Pizza Wraps

Spare a little time to prepare materials: tomato powder, some water, salt or pepper and herbs if you need. Now you have done for the base of pizza wraps. Add in cured meats and sliced cheese, meat to your pizza like salami, pepperoni.

Pizza Wraps

  • Crackers

Feel free to eat and enjoy with crackers. If you feel bored, combined with cheese or other food items as tuna, dips, soft spread with a little honey or butter. Eat crackers and drink tea, wow! Wonderful!

  • Cold Soups

When you feel tired and hot in your throat, we show you this meal that we called Cool down Gazpacho – 113 Cal/Oz. This cold soup will refresh and fill Spanish inspired cold soup quenches your thirst and prove the nourishment of a fresh salad.

no cook backpacking meals

Cold Soups is not bad idea

Well, you have got meals enough for your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, even snacking for all day. So, how do you think if we recommend you about chocolate, corn chips, or Tsampa with olive oil? Why is Tsampa? It is a traditional Tibetan pre-roasted barley flour dish eaten by Sherpas. We mix the tsampa flour with nuts and spices (our favor taste) such as cinnamon and ginger and finally add olive oil and water on the trail.


Buying Guides – How To Choose The No Cook Backpacking Meals?

1. Calories

When you’re exercising, your body needs a lot of energy to move around with all that heavy gear. Calories from fat are the most filling and provide long-lasting energy. In contrast, sugars have a quick impact but their effects will leave you hungry soon after eating them again. So foods high in sugar may not be best for when you need a lot of fuel on a hike!

2. Texture

How does it feel? Some people want crunchy food while others prefer mushier options so think about what kind of textures you like when making your choices.

3. Weight per serving

The lighter the better! Check out how much weight one item weighs per serving and compare this information to other options (e.g., is it more/less than an apple?)

4. Flavoring

This is important to consider if you want your food to taste good. There are several options available but the two most common are regular and spicy.

5. “Healthiness”

If you need carbs, proteins, fat, vitamins, etc., look for these properties in your foods. Note that not all items will list this information on their packaging so you may have to do some research online before making a purchase!

6. Grocery store or gas station?

The ideal place to buy the no cook backpacking food is at your local grocery store. This is because you can buy the foods already in the correct portions that work for a meal and typically these items will be less expensive than gas stations or convenience stores.

7. Gluten-free

Some people (e.g., those with celiac disease) are gluten-intolerant so having the option to buy gluten-free no cook backpacking meals is a bonus!

8. Nutritional value

Check the items you are eating to make sure they have a good combination of vitamins. I suggest using this website if you want to learn more about selecting food with vitamin content in mind.

9. Recipe-specific adjustments (optional)

This is not absolutely necessary but sometimes certain recipes require small changes to the recipe before preparing it (e.g., adding heat, removing an item entirely). Paying attention to these minor details can improve your meal quality significantly!

10. Try out different foods at home first! (Optional)

Before investing money in any no cook backpacking meals, try them out at home first! This way you’ll know whether or not you like the flavor and how it fits within your meal.

11. Freeze-dried vegetables? (Optional)

Some people swear by the taste and convenience of freeze-dried foods and claim that they can be eaten right out of the package if necessary! If you try these, keep in mind that they’re considerably more expensive than your regular grocery store items (and don’t forget to add hot water!).

12. Watch out for high-protein alternatives (optional)!

Some recent trends in backpacking food include high-protein meat alternatives. I personally dislike these items because I don’t like “fake” tasting foods and also find that they’re overly processed which is bad since you need to carry the extra weight of this stuff! Don’t be tricked just because it has a lot of protein, think about all other factors too before purchasing one of these items.

13. Add-ins to your meal

The beauty of choosing no cook backpacking meals is that you have the opportunity to add in other foods before hitting the trail. For example, if you buy a box of apple sauce, why not mix in granola or peanut butter with it? By doing so, you’ll be able to carry less food overall since these ingredients are already combined together!

14. Save money by buying in bulk (optional)

If you’re looking for cheaper no cook backpacking meals then head out to your local wholesale club! Costco and Sam’s Club are great places to purchase pre-packaged items at cheaper prices; just make sure they will fit into your backpack because some things might be too big/heavy. Drawbacks: less selection and the items might be hard to divide into personal servings.

15. Use trial and error to determine what you like (optional)

It’s really up to your personal preference whether or not you’d like to try out different foods before purchase. The more adventurous you are, the easier it will be for you to find options that are yummy!

16. Add variety to your meals (optional, but important!)

If you’re planning on repeating the same meal several times in a row, I suggest adding some sort of variation. For example, buying a few bags of instant oatmeal and topping it with different ingredients will help prevent you from getting bored with this food source!

17. Packing multiple foods together (Optional)

Sometimes there are items that have similar preparation methods so why not combine them together before going on a trip? For example, if you buy instant mashed potatoes and hot chocolate at the same time then just mix these two things together as opposed to carrying both separately! This way you’ll save space in your pack by eliminating extra packaging material.

18. Make sure they taste good!

It sounds simple but this is by far the most important factor. If your meal tastes good, you’re more likely to want to eat it again on your future trips. It’s also easier to get excited about what you’re eating if they taste good, which makes for a better camping experience overall.

19. Check for salt content (optional)

If you are on a low-sodium diet or have high blood pressure, make sure that you check food labels beforehand because some of these no cook backpacking meals will definitely have some added salt! Some companies even sell items sweetened with sugar instead of salt so consider checking their labels as well if that’s something that bothers you.

20. Avoid anything with eggs (optional)

Eggs are great for regular backpacking meals but unfortunately, you won’t be able to prepare them if they’re not cooked (and no one wants to eat a raw egg). Therefore, I recommend going with something else because it’s just too risky… plus the taste of an egg defeats the purpose of trail cooking!

21. Consume your meal within a reasonable amount of time after preparation (optional)

I suggest eating a meal as soon as possible after preparing it since some no cook ingredients might start to spoil quickly even if you keep them cold inside your backpack. The taste and nutrient content will also decrease over time so this is another advantage that comes from cooking instead of buying these kinds of items. 

22. Save time with no cook backpacking meals (optional)

Sometimes it takes a long time to prepare a meal, especially if you’re using wet fire starters. No cook backpacking meals also take less time to consume so this is another reason why you should consider purchasing them.

23. Avoid heavy items (optional)

I recommend buying lightweight food sources because you’ll have to carry everything inside your backpack. If your no cook meal is too heavy then most likely it won’t be enjoyable for you on the trail. Therefore, choose wisely and I hope that these tips helped!

24. Use freeze dried meals for breakfast instead of dinner

Breakfast foods are the best option because you won’t be able to cook them over an open flame. Therefore, consider buying items that contain protein (eggs, meat) or cereals/oatmeal since they’re good for your body’s metabolism.

25. Use pre-made dehydrated backpacking food (optional)

If you prefer using dehydrated backpacking food then make sure that the ingredients were properly prepared before drying out. The ingredients should also be easy to rehydrate by simply adding water since there is less preparation involved with these kinds of products!

26. Keep track of expiration dates (optional)

I don’t think this one needs any explanation but I’ll just say it anyway: make sure that you check food expiration dates as well as the best before date! If this information isn’t mentioned then assume that they’re fresh and follow my guidelines above.

27. Do not use high-acid fruits (optional)

Some people like adding lemon or orange slices to their meals; however, I don’t recommend using them because these foods will lower your water’s boiling point if added in large amounts. Therefore, avoid overloading your meals with citrus products since it might ruin the taste of everything else. This is just a precaution so there’s no need to worry too much about it.

28. Buy items from reputable businesses (optional)

I know that some products are sold through resellers but always check their source first! I’ve made this mistake before so don’t be like me… buy directly from the company if possible. That way you’ll have peace of mind that there are no hidden ingredients or chemicals being used in your no cook backpacking meals.

29. Search for natural products (optional)

Look for natural foods that are devoid of any added chemicals or additives since these will probably give you some nasty side effects! I try to make my own items at home all the time but sometimes it’s just easier to purchase them instead especially when on a budget. 

30. Try new things! (highly recommended!)

I know there are plenty out there but always remember this tip: find unique no cook backpacking meal recipes and experiment with them because they might end being one of your favorites!

31. Drink plenty of water after finishing a meal (highly recommended)

Drink extra amounts of water after consuming a no cook backpacking meal since it’ll help you to digest your food better, especially if dehydrated. You should be doing this anyway but I figured that I’d mention it here as well!

32. Try cold packs for keeping items fresh (highly recommended!)

Cold packs are very useful for keeping food cool during the day and maintaining its original taste. 

33. Eat an entire batch at once or separate it into smaller portions? (optional)

If using heat-and-serve meals then consider eating everything right away because they tend to spoil faster than other products. It’s up to you though since you can always freeze leftovers for a future meal as well!

34. Homemade vs freeze dried no cook meals? (highly recommended!)

Freeze dried products are definitely more expensive but the taste is usually better and they’re easier to prepare. I’ve tried both kinds so I’ll let you decide which one works best for your needs.

35. Use a waterproof bag or food storage container to keep foods fresh

For especially humid days, you should store your homemade no cook backpacking meals in plastic bags that are tightly closed with a rubber band. This will prevent them from becoming soggy due to rain or excess water from nearby lakes/streams. Please note that this isn’t necessary if using vacuum-sealed foods or ready to eat items.

36. Try using a lightweight pot with an insulating liner

A kit can be purchased from stores such as REI for around $25 and will come with some sturdy cookware (pictured below). This is ideal if you like to make your own soups and stews!

37. Preserve nutrients by avoiding overcooking

Since these meals don’t need to be cooked, the food item’s original nutritional composition will stay intact; however, it’s still recommended that they’re consumed at room temperature (or right away) since over-cooking them will result in significantly lower amounts of vitamins and minerals! 

38. Improper storage method can cause problems (highly recommended!)

Some people like putting their homemade ready-to-eat meals in plastic bags and storing them towards the bottom of their packs. This is a bad idea since it might cause the food to get soggy and lose its original taste/texture. Use something like an insulated container instead!

39. No cook items do not need to be shaken (optional)

Since these products don’t contain solid matter, you’ll never have to shake or stir them while they’re being consumed. It’s up to you though, I personally prefer shaking my soups before drinking them just for easier digestion.

40. Try using resealable containers

Always remember that airtight containers will prevent your no cook backpacking meals from going bad, especially if stored for longer periods of time (e.g: a few months or more). This is especially true for food items that require the use of a cold pack!

41. Prepare your meals using a stove

We all know that stoves can take up space and add quite a bit of weight to our backpacks but if you want to make some awesome tasting no cook backpacking meals then this is an excellent option. It’ll also allow you to boil water in less time even while it’s raining outside. I plan on buying one myself soon since I love cooking my own food while camping/backpacking.

42. Try dehydrating your own foods

You don’t have to purchase these products from stores, just buy bulk dried foods at the supermarket then dry them out by placing them in the sun or using a food dehydrator. I’ve never tried this before since the products sold in stores taste good and are usually easier to prepare but if you want another alternative then go ahead! Just remember, preparing these meals require lots of time and patience so don’t rush anything.

43. Use no cook backpacking recipes (optional)

If you need some ideas, here’s a list of tasty foods that can be eaten without any heat: dried fruit, nuts/seeds, coconut flakes, beef jerky, tuna packets, energy bars, hard cheese such as cheddar cubes/slices or pepperoni sticks, granola or muesli, deli meat slices or pouches (turkey is best), oatmeal, regular pasta or rice. 

44. Try making some hot drinks

While these items don’t require heat to be eaten, consuming them will warm you up and provide extra energy (especially important if the temperature is below freezing). All you have to do is boil water then pour it inside your insulated container/container of choice, add contents of your choice (e.g: make tea with dried fruits, chocolate powder, sugar ) and wait for it to cool down before drinking!

45. Use DIY backup methods (highly recommended!)

If you want more reliability in case one of the above-mentioned meal fails you can always back up with a bag full of ready-to-eat snacks such as granola bars, nuts/seeds, chips, beef jerky, deli meat slices, or pouches (turkey is best), crackers, candy bars, granola/muesli. Not only will these items provide you with the necessary calories and energy, but they’ll also help prevent your stomach from growling!

46. Never heat no cook backpacking meals directly in their original container

Store all of your ready-to-eat products inside a container such as an insulated container or regular Ziploc bag then place it inside another container; one that’s capable of holding hot water (e.g: Nalgene bottle, metal mug ) along with any other necessary ingredients like sugar/pepper/salt). If you’re using a hot water bottle then make sure to get rid of the water and remove it from your backpack otherwise you’ll end up with a soggy bag.

47. Remember to pack any necessary cold packs (optional)

Cold packs will help keep your no cook meals cool for longer periods of time, especially if they’re inside a container which can’t fit ice (e.g: insulated container). Just remember that cold packs can cause irritation or burns so make sure to place them somewhere where nothing else is packed tightly! If you decide not to use these products then remember to store your foods in an airtight container and make sure they’re sealed as tightly as possible (e.g: regular Ziploc bags work well for this purpose).

48. Avoid eating directly from the bag

Try separating your ready-to-eat products from the bag they came in and store them inside a container such as an insulated container/metal mug or just regular Ziploc bags. This will prevent food from getting scattered around your backpack and it’ll probably taste better that way too.

49. Make sure to properly dispose of any leftovers after use

If leftovers aren’t cleaned up then insects are likely to be attracted into your pack along with bears, skunks, or other predators! I recommend keeping all unused foods inside their original bag then placing them inside another container (e.g: metal mug, plastic bag ) before placing it at the bottom of your backpack beside some trash. Don’t keep anything for more than two days since bacteria might start growing on it! If you want to be extra cautious then double bag any leftovers before placing them inside the main trash bag.

50. Don’t forget your water bottle

If you don’t have a reliable source of water around then make sure to bring an extra 1-2 liters with you just in case there’s none when you arrive at your destination. Besides helping prevent dehydration, a lot of backpacking meals require one or two cups of water per serving so if that’s the case then this step will save you from having to buy bottled water or rely on natural sources for everything which can lead to stomach problems and/or dehydration!

51. Keep food warm by using hot hands hand warmers (optional)

This is pretty much what they’re called. You can always use chemical hand warmers to keep your food warm but they might not last long enough for everyone’s tastes. Therefore I recommend getting a pack of hot hands which are refillable and reusable heat packs that will keep your meals toasty throughout the day or night.

52. Never eat directly from the pot/pan unless cooking

If you want to make sure you don’t burn yourself then wait till all water has evaporated before eating, avoiding using metal utensils since these could scratch the surface!

53. Don’t forget to bring along some napkins

These items can come in handy if you end up with something on your face during lunchtime or if you need to wipe off insects during dinner! As an added bonus, it’ll prevent you from having to use toilet paper (if you don’t already carry sanitary wipes ).

54. Don’t forget the coffee!

If you like your morning cup of coffee then make sure to bring some with you or purchase it at a shop along your way. You could just buy instant coffee but I prefer real stuff since it tastes better and is guaranteed fresh! As for where to get this delicious beverage, here are my recommendations:

55. Keep salt in an airtight container if possible

Salt tends to attract moisture which will cause it to clump together into one solid mass so if that happens then it won’t be very useful when cooking up something tasty in camp! Personally, I keep mine inside my metal mug with any other spices that I might use so they don’t roll around and get mixed with everything else.

56. Stay away from salty foods such as most freeze-dried meals

Freeze-dried meals rely on a lot of salt to preserve the food OR enhance the flavor since they’ll be rehydrating it with boiling water which will wash out most of its flavor if you’re not careful. If possible do some research and read reviews before making your purchase since low quality ingredients like these tend to result in bland dishes that can lead to hunger pangs or worse – an upset stomach!

57. Don’t eat anything directly from the bag unless cooking

Before eating, make sure all water has evaporated (or been drained as much as possible) and that you’re using a container that’s microwave safe. Otherwise, it’ll explode in the oven and make a mess which is more than likely going to end up on your food!

58. Eat all of your cheese before it spoils

Like most foods, the cheese will eventually go bad but it can happen much quicker if left out in the sun or stored at warm temperatures. If possible keep cheeses wrapped inside wax paper separated from each other so they don’t stick together and break apart easier. For those storing unused portions within a Ziploc bag then place them as far from any heater vents as possible since this could be where the spoilage occurred from originally!

59. Bring some apple cores with you on long hikes

If you bring along some fruit then you’ll be able to eat them later if they’re still fresh enough and not bruised. That way, you could save some space inside your pack and won’t have to worry about buying more food along the way!

60. It’s okay to go hungry as long as it’s worth it

When backpacking or hiking for multiple days, there will likely come a point where the next town is far off in the distance (sometimes too far), and/or it might be easier to simply stop at camp early for dinner. In either case, bring only as much food as you think that you need since that should last several hours which will give time for your body to digest and/or start feeling hungry again.


No Cook Backpacking Meals FAQs

What Are The No-Cook Backpacking Meals?

No-Cook Backpacking Meals are meals consisting of foods that don’t require any cooking. They can be eaten cold or after they’re rehydrated with cold water.

The no-cook method of carrying and eating backpacking food is simple. Buy dehydrated backpacking food, put it in a Ziploc bag, add cold water and wait about 10-20 minutes – it’s ready to eat! No heating is required. No cooked meal means less weight and pack volume so more room for other gear like clothes, sleeping bags, and maybe beer (for the grownups).

While there isn’t one ‘no cook’ method to prepare backpacker meals, you can choose from many dehydrated backpacking meal options: Packet style meals (just add water)

Meal bars and brownies

Scrambled egg mixes

Instant potatoes mixes

Drinking yogurts

The Advantages of No-Cook Backpacking Meals:

Weight Savings: Freeze-dried and dehydrated backpacking meals are extremely lightweight, which means you can carry more food in your pack. If you’re trying to cut ounces from your weight, then these kinds of no-cook backpacking meals should be considered.

Variety: For many people, variety is the spice of life, and that’s what they get when choosing a mixed assortment or variety packets to create their own custom concoction for each meal.

Ease of Preparation: Simply add cold water, let it sit for an allotted amount of time (depending on the product), and voila – instant meal! There’s no need to worry about cooking temperatures or simmering times.

The Disadvantages of No-Cook Backpacking Meals:

Taste: Many people find that freeze-dried backpacking meals are quite bland in terms of taste since so much salt, sugar, and other additives are used by manufacturers to increase flavor. It can also be difficult to rehydrate some dishes with just water. The results vary depending on how tough/elastic the food is. For example, beans may stay hard even after longer boiling while al dente pasta may appear overcooked. However, there are ways around this – just remember to bring along an extra seasoning pack or two!

Precooked Backpacking Meals: With Backpacker’s Pantry, you can prepare your backpacking meals ahead of time using our precook method (cooking at home). You simply cook the meal in advance and dehydrate it to remove the water weight; then when you’re ready for rehydration, you can add cold water (no cooking required) during your trip. This is a great option if you like tasty food that has been cooked right inside your backpack!

Cooked Backpacking Meals: It still sounds odd to “cook” backpacking meals while camping, but many people find they prefer warm food that’s been cooked right in their camp kitchen. If you’re looking for a quick and easy meal that has been prepared ahead of time, this is the way to go (just add hot water and wait)!

Cooking at Camp: Allowing for more variety, cooking backpacking meals can be an enjoyable outdoor experience so long as your surroundings are clean and accessible. The only downside is having to deal with additional pots/pans/utensils while camping, but if you plan smartly, you may only need one pot or pan (like with our MealSaver Kit ).

Other Tips: Some people take the time to cook dehydrated meals by rehydrating them first in cold water before them in a pot. From experience, this is the best way to get decent-tasting meals – if you’re not using precooked backpacking meals.

What Makes For Good Backpacking Food?

The best backpacking food is lightweight, high in calories, and easily digestible for long trips.

High Calorie: Calories keep you going through the day by giving you energy. Good calorie sources include nuts, nut butters, dried fruits, candy bars (be careful about chocolate melting), and honey or molasses.

Easy to Digest: Packaged meals with lots of carbohydrates and protein work well since they’re not as tough on your stomach as fats and other more dense foods. If you choose to eat a freeze-dried meal before bedtime, make sure it’s from a reputable brand that doesn’t give you an upset stomach since this can be difficult to manage when camping far away from civilization

Lightweight: Whether dehydrated or precooked, lightweight foods are easily portable. However, dehydrated backpacking meals can be heavier since you’re also carrying water weight.

Raw Meals: Since raw food isn’t processed to take out the water weight, it is usually lighter than cooked food (especially if you bring along a dehydrator to help you dry out your food). Most people quickly realize that raw backpacking meals aren’t very tasty due to the fact that they lack many of the other ingredients typically used for hiking foods – i.e., salt, sugar, spices, etc. While hiking in Iceland last year during our semi-annual trip around Europe/Middle East , we brought along some natural nuts and berries just for fun – but even this was kind of gross!

How Much Food Should You Pack For Backpacking?

For a 3-day hike, plan for about 4,500 calories (men) or 2,500 (women). This is roughly equal to 1.5 lbs (680 grams) of food per person per day. Nuts and other calorie-rich food may weigh more than you think because they’re packed with calories!

Generally speaking, it’s better to overestimate how much food you’ll need rather than underestimate. It’s always better to have too much left over at the end of your trip than not enough. You can always take out what you don’t eat so long as it isn’t damaged from being crushed in your bag .

Meal Planning For Backpacking: The Best Foods To Bring On Your Trip

To help you get started with meal planning for your next camping trip, here are some tasty food options to consider:

Trail Mix – Made from dried fruits and nuts, trail mix is a great way to boost calories while enjoying a sweet/salty treat. It’s also easy to pack dehydrated fruit along with the rest of your ingredients so you can add layers that will separate into different foods once mixed together. You can then either eat this whole or take them out at night before bedtime (i.e., dates + peanuts).

Oatmeal Packets – Packets of instant oatmeal make a filling breakfast without the clean-up since you add hot water, not boil it in a pot! Also add other like honey or nut butters for extra calories and protein.

Nuts (Brazil, Walnuts, etc.) – Very calorie-rich and easy to eat while on the trail.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches – This is a classic food that’s easy to make at home before your trip by putting it together in a Ziploc bag (just add ice!)

Note: It would be best to avoid bringing bread since it can get crushed easily or won’t work well if you need to toast something for breakfast/lunch.

Crackers – Besides being easy to pack and lightweight, these are good sources of carbohydrates and salt.

Dehydrated Meals – You can buy commercially made camping food or simply bring along dried veggies and fruits from home to create your own meal mixes.

Instant Oatmeal – Great for breakfast, you can mix it with dried fruits and some chocolate powder to give it a sweet taste if needed. For dinners, you can add freeze-dried meats as well as dehydrated vegetables. If these are not available, simply bring along a spice kit so you can salt your food as needed!

Cheese – High in protein and fat, cheese is a great addition to any long-distance backpacking trip. It has a more dense flavor than peanut butter so it’s easier to eat without feeling sick at the end of the day (i.e., hiking during mid-day).

Dried Meat & Jerky – While beef jerky isn’t exactly lightweight, there lots of options that will help you pack on the calories without too much weight.

Dried Pineapple – A naturally sweet food, dried pineapple offers a nice respite from bland backpacking foods!

Dark Chocolate/Chocolate Powder – High in antioxidants and a treat to help you get through a hard day of hiking.

Bananas & Apples – They’re both hearty fruits that don’t go bad quickly while hiking in warm weather. You can also use them as ingredients for trail mix or add them to oatmeal.

Cereal – If you feel like bringing along some cereal, try looking for granola-type cereals since they won’t turn soggy from the extra water added by hot cereal.

Froot Loops/Frosted Flakes/etc. – Not a great source of calories, but these will help you enjoy a sweet treat for breakfast or hiking during the day.

Tip: Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables can be found in most camping stores. These are lightweight, pre-cooked, and nutrient rich so you can simply add boiling water to eat them as such or mix them with other ingredients as part of your meal!

What Kind of Food Should I Take Backpacking?

If I was you, I would bring eat both sweet and savory foods. Believe me, eating dried fruit and meats all day can get old fast. Here’s a list of some good choices:

– Granola bars (preferably low sugar) for breakfast

– Some kind of salty food like peanuts or crackers to snack on during the day

– Dried fruit and/or jerky as a treat before bedtime

– High calorie food options such as cheese, nuts, nut butters, chocolate powder, etc. as snacks throughout the day

As an example, let’s say you’re going to be out for 8 days. Then you should plan to pack enough food at until Day 5 or 6 so you can resupply. I would recommend that you eat at least 3-4 packets of oatmeal per day. You should aim for around 100 grams (~3 oz) of protein and 600 calories per meal; you can divide this by 4 to get your calorie goals for each snack/meal. By the end of each day, you might feel like eating something like 2 bananas or 1 cup (150 grams) of trail mix mixed with dried fruit (such as raisins). The choices are endless here, but know that it’s easier to go overboard than not have enough food! One last thing: don’t forget about all that water you will need! So bring plenty along or find a way to purify more when needed (most hiking areas have clean water sources so it’s not too hard to find).

What Should I NOT Bring Backpacking?

Sure, Peanut M&Ms might taste great but they aren’t exactly lightweight nor nutritious. And having a lot of the same food every day will get old fast. So you’ll want to avoid bringing things like this:

– Processed foods (e.g., chips)

– Junk food (candy, cookies)

– Foods with high sugar content (Snickers bars …okay, maybe that’s just me!)

How To Plan Food For Backpacking?

Of course, the best way to figure out how much food you need for backpacking is to actually go on a few shorter hikes first. This will give you an idea of what your average day looks like in terms of both distance & elevation gain. And then use this information to plan ahead when doing long-distance hiking trips!

You’ll likely eat more at certain times (like in the morning) and less during others. Also, pay attention to all that water you are drinking so that you can plan accordingly. Just remember not be shy about carrying lots of snacks with you since it’s easier to carry them than have nothing when your body is screaming for fuel!

Always keep in mind these golden rules when planning calorie intake: – Aim for 100 grams (~3 oz) of protein per day – Get 5-6 parts carbs and 1 part fat (you can use olive oil for this!) – Try to lighten the load by choosing high-calorie snacks over bulky food!

How Can You Lighten The Load Of Food When Backpacking?

By using high-calorie foods…whatever those are. Keep in mind that there isn’t a specific type of food that magically has lots of calories; as such, your best bet is to simply pack lots of snacks. The more calories the better!

If you have canned items, you can drain out some of the water so that they take up less volume. Crackers and cookies are also good filler foods if you want to lighten your load. Finally, consider packing one or two luxury items (such as a candy bar) but reserve these for when you really need them: for example, at the summit of your hike after all your hard work!

Where to Buy Food for Backpacking?

The easiest way is to just buy food that comes in lightweight and non-perishable packages! These are typically the most calorie-dense foods you can find. You’ll also want to avoid any extra unnecessary items that only add volume. Some good examples are bottled water, silverware, cooking gear, etc. So when shopping for backpacking food, try to be as efficient as possible with what you pack. After all, you’re trying not to haul around too much weight so why bother bringing along things that will only weigh you down? And same goes for your shopping list: avoid food items with lots of spices or other filler ingredients since these take up space without providing any nutritional value.

Of course there are many other options besides packaged food, but you’ll need to do your research before heading out on the trail. For example, dehydrating fresh produce (e.g., fruit) requires specialized equipment and can be quite time-consuming; plus, there’s less variety this way since you’re limited to whatever happens to be in season locally.

Either way, it’s all relative here. The most important thing is that your food provides sufficient calories, protein & carbohydrates for the day ahead of you! So even if it takes some work or money to make these meals, know that they are worth it in the end when you don’t have to carry so much weight!

What Are The Benefits of Cold-Soaking Backpacking Food?

Besides saving time in the morning when preparing food (since you can just leave it out overnight), cold-soaking is also an effective way to reduce cooking times when boiling water. While you could wait until the next day to boil your food, this method will save you time in the long run since some foods (like oatmeal) cook fairly quickly when soaked overnight.

The drawback here is that not all foods can be cold-soaked (e.g., pasta, potatoes). If possible, freeze your leftover ingredients so that they don’t go bad and then keep them stored away for a future backpacking trip! You’ll still want to thaw these items before putting them in your pack so they don’t ruin from heat exposure while hiking.

What Are The Different Types of Food You Can Bring Backpacking?

There are many different types of backpacking food you can bring on your next hiking trip! It all depends on what type of meal you’re looking for, how much time & money you have to spend on it, and what equipment is available in the outdoors.

Breakfasts: oatmeal cereal bars granola fruit instant coffee tea eggs in a bag (just add boiling water) hot cocoa powdered milk French toast mix pancakes Nutella sandwiches peanut butter with jelly bananas mashed potatoes pre-cooked bacon cheese burritos/quesadillas ramen noodles cups of noodles freeze-dried fruit

Lunches: crackers/cheese pretzels jerky trail mix fruit (especially apples, oranges and pears) granola bars beef jerky string cheese sticks tuna/salmon packets ham & brie freeze-dried meals fruit leather dried soups trail mix peanut butter crackers rice balls with miso soup or curry

Dinners: hot dogs chili macaroni & cheese spaghetti instant mashed potatoes cup of noodles refried beans portions of ravioli precooked bacon freeze-dried meals lobster bisque Thai green curry stuffed baked potatoes burritos instant ramen oatmeal bowls of cereal instant lentils cold soba noodles

Drinks: water coffee hot chocolate tea lemonade Gatorade powder juice mixes orange juice Tang powdered milk iced tea Cool Aid Crystal Light Kool-Aid stick packs Bundaberg (Australian soda) root beer

How Can I Maximize the Nutritional Value of These Meals?

The following table shows how to maximize the nutritional value of backpacking meals:

High carbohydrate: instant noodles, oatmeal, mashed potatoes, hot cereal and granola bars

High protein: tuna packets or powdered egg whites, beef jerky/jerky sticks, string cheese and string cheese sticks

High calorie-dense: peanut butter with jelly sandwiches & gorp (trail mix), Nutella sandwich, pancakes with syrup/jelly/powdered milk & fruit

Low fiber: precooked bacon or ramen noodles

High-fat content: nut butter (e.g., peanut butter) with crackers, burritos, cheese sandwiches and quesadillas

Moderate calorie density: trail mix, tuna packets, ravioli & spaghetti in a bag with sauce or oil/butter, beef jerky sticks

Low sodium: precooked bacon

High sodium content: salted peanuts for trail mix

What Kinds of Dishes Can You Prepare Ahead Of Time?

You can prepare these simple dishes ahead of time to easily increase your backpacking food variety and pack more calories! Just remember the following tips when preparing these yourself.

Cooked rice is best brought frozen so that it retains its caloric value and does not spoil or turn soggy while hiking. Rice is also an inexpensive carb source for backpacking meals since you can get regular white rice from almost any supermarket or bulk food section for very cheap (e.g., 10 lbs of rice costs only $10).

Cooked pasta like spaghetti and macaroni & cheese can be brought frozen as long as you bring the ingredients to cook them with (salt, pepper, oil/butter and water or milk). You’ll need a small pot to prepare these backpacking meals.

Cooked potatoes (e.g., instant mashed potatoes) can be brought frozen as well as long as you bring an appropriate amount of milk/water/butter! Alternatively, you could just slice up some raw potatoes instead since they cook fairly quickly even without oil/butter.

You can also pre-grill or turkey jerky at home (just remember to bring the spices with you!) or toast bread/crackers by holding them over an open flame with tongs.

How Can I Increase My Caloric Intake?

Spaghetti squash is a great way to increase your caloric intake since it can be cooked with no extra cooking equipment (e.g., you can just cut it in half and throw it right into the coals of a fire). It’s also cheap (~$3 for ~2 lbs) and adds variety to your backpacking food storage! In addition, 1 cup of spaghetti squash contains nearly 3x as many calories as 1 cup of cooked regular yellow rice.



If you plan for long-distance hike, maybe uncooked meals make you feel bored, but you can mix and match ingredients and try to add to your meals some fresh vegetables as carrots, broccoli, or green beans. They will help you have got a balanced meal to keep you fueled for all day long. Yes, no-cook backpacking meals is for campers.

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