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Backpacking 101 - Food for the Backcountry

Backpacking 101 - Food for the Backcountry

Deciding what to eat in the outdoors stumps even seasoned backpackers, but having a delicious meal when you get to camp can take your trip to the next level. It's also incredibly important to keep yourself energized while you're hiking, so hearty meals are essential. There are many good options for calorie-dense freeze-dried meals, but these can get expensive quickly, so we often opt for camp-cooked goodness. So wrap up in your Zenbivy by the camp stove and chef up some of these delicious meal ideas:


Camp coffee - Duh. Need we say more?
Dehydrated milk with granola - Delicious, fast, easy. No stove required!
Instant oats - A staple of mountain people everywhere and a hearty way to start the day. Just add water.
Granola bars - A great, quick way to start the day when you need to pack up and get going. 



Deli Sandwiches - Great for the first day of your trip. Make them at home and eat them on the trail.
PB&H - Peanut butter and honey sandwiches are a delicious trail treat. If you have a fresh loaf of bread, the whole sandwich will stay good for days, and the honey crystalizes in the bread and keeps it from going soggy. Prepare a few at home and enjoy on the trail.
Summer sausage, jerky, or salami - Filled with protein and will keep well for a few days.
Tuna packets - Single-use and convenient, they provide protein to keep you going on the trail. Good to pair with crackers or in a wrap.
Pita or tortillas - These are perfect bread replacement because they don't squish as easily. Eat them with peanut butter, cheese, or meats. 



Dehydrated meals - Tasty and filled with carbohydrates and protein.
Pasta and sauce - Pack pasta sauce in a small resealable container at home. Cook up pasta at camp and combine.
Instant mashed potatoes - Simple, but filling and warm.
Instant couscous - Cooks up quick for those times when you just want to EAT.
Mac & cheese - Most don't need milk or butter. Just cook the pasta and add the cheese packet. You can add water if it's too dry.
Ramen - Quick, flavorful, and easy. Add a spoonful or two (or three!) of peanut butter to add protein. Trust us, it's delicious! 
Instant rice - Bring soy sauce packets for flavor.
Instant/heat-up meals - Shelf-stable, ready-to-heat packet meals. You can often find a selection of curries or soups packaged this way. Pair with instant rice for a deluxe dinner.
Fresh veggies - Who says you can't eat fresh foods on trail?? Pack along an avocado, zucchini, or carrots on short trips. They're a little heavier but are delicious to add to meals!



Gummy candies - Sugar can give you the extra energy push to get to camp. Plus... it's fun! 
Dark chocolate - Dark chocolate is an excellent snack while hiking. It's packed with calories, good fats, and a bit of protein. Some also have caffeine which can keep you going a bit longer.
Chips - Great for snacking when you get to camp. Lightweight and you can strap them to the top of your pack. 
Power bars, energy gummies, etc - There are tons of bars, gummies & goos to give you energy while out and about. Make sure you keep track of the wrappers!  Tuck your trash back in your pack. 


When it comes to food, it's easy to get carried away! You'll want to make sure your food bag is as light and compact as possible, while still sustaining you through your trip. A good rule of thumb is 1.5-2lbs of food, per day you'll be out. When your packing your food, try to take off as much trash as you can and leave it at home. Does your pasta have a box and a bag? Ditch the box and pour the pasta into a ziplock. It's handy to pack your food near the top of your pack so you can access it for snack and lunch. Don't forget cookware, utensils, and a mug!

Outdoor food doesn't have to be boring or dehydrated. Get creative and play with recipes to make your perfect outdoor menu. Then cozy up with your campmates around the stove and eat well.

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