Backpacking trips give an excellent boost for humans to go out and enjoy the beauty of nature. But usually, it involves hiking for a few days, so you have to take proper meals and snacks. However, it isn’t easy to carry heavy food, so you have to plan appropriately and take food that is not only high in nutrition but also lightweight. We will share a few practical tips based on our backpacking experience. These we have learned over the years of camping and hiking experiences.
Determining the Duration of the Backpacking Trip
So how many days are you going to stay on the trail? This is the number one question that you should know the answer.
This will give you a good idea of how much you should pack. If you know that small food shops are on your trail, it will also be handy as you will carry less weight. A weekend trip will require less food than a week-long trip, so plan accordingly and avoid overpacking.
As you know, hiking usually burns more calories, especially strenuous hiking, so we suggest you take healthy and nutritional foods.
Calculate how many calories you need daily based on your activity level, and pack foods that balance carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats to energize and satisfy you.
To be honest, it’s not easy to carry fresh food in hot weather hiking trips as it will spoil quickly. But it’s also heavier to carry.
Bring foods that won’t spoil quickly in hot and humid areas. In colder climates, opt for high-calorie meals that provide extra warmth. We usually take dates in cold weather hiking trips.
Choosing the Right Foods for Backpacking
Choose lightweight foods that offer a high calorie-to-weight ratio. So, this means you should take enough food but still lightweight to carry it easily. If you take bulky food that does not provide enough calories, then it’s not worth it. You will weigh down on the trail due to additional weight.
We always take nutrient-dense foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals. Opt for dehydrated fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and lean protein sources like dried meats.
While relying solely on trail mix and energy bars is tempting, adding variety to your backpacking meals can make a difference. You can take the best hiking snacks that mix carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
Quick and Easy Backpacking Food Recipes
Dehydrated meals are our best friend, like every other backpacker’s. You can also prepare them at home like cooking pasta, rice, or soups and dehydrate them for easy on-the-go consumption. You need to build and add the water, and you’ll have a delicious and convenient meal.
You can also combine ingredients like oats, dried fruits, nuts, and almonds to make a healthy snack for extended backpacking trips.
While fresh food may last less time, you can still include it in your backpacking menu for the early days of your trip. Consider bringing lightweight fruits, such as apples or oranges, and use creative cooking techniques like foil packet cooking to enjoy fresh vegetables or fish.
Storing food for the Trail
Opt for lightweight containers or resealable bags when packing your food to save space and reduce weight. Look for collapsible bowls or containers to store your food. You must take a bear canister to keep your food if there are bears.
Distribute the weight of your food evenly throughout your Backpack to maintain balance and prevent strain on your back. Place heavier items closer to your back and at the bottom of your pack, while lighter items can be placed towards the top or on the sides.
We also suggest separating perishable and non-perishable foods to prevent spoilage. Keep perishables like fresh fruits and deli meats in a designated cooler or insulated bag with ice packs.
You should drink water frequently throughout the day to avoid dehydration issues. Taking water is challenging as it’s heavy, but you can use a water filter to clean and drink it on the trail.
We also suggest taking collapsible water bottles instead of hard bottles for space saving during the backpacking trips. The hydration bladder is another excellent option but requires more work to clean properly.
We have seen people drinking soft drinks and other sugary drinks on the trails, which can even increase dehydration. Also, pack electrolyte tablets or powders that can be easily added to your water. Bananas and coconut water also help during warmer weather.
Lightweight and High-Energy Snack Options
Having lightweight and high-energy snacks is key when you’re out on a long hike. Some great options to consider include:
Trail mix: A mix of nuts, dried fruits, and chocolate or granola can provide a good balance of healthy fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
Energy bars: Look for bars that are high in protein and fibre to keep you feeling full and energized.
Jerky: Beef, turkey, or even vegan options can be a great source of protein and can be easily stashed in your Backpack.
Nut butter packets: Individual peanut butter or almond butter packets are convenient and provide a quick energy source.
Cheese and crackers: These durable snacks can pack a punch in terms of flavour and provide both carbohydrates and protein.
Apples or oranges: These fruits are sturdy and can withstand the rigours of backpacking.
Dried fruits: Lightweight and easy to pack, dried fruits like apricots, raisins, or mango slices can provide a natural source of sweetness.
Dehydrated vegetables: These can be rehydrated with hot water and added to meals to boost vitamins and minerals.
Chocolate bars: A small treat can go a long way in lifting your mood.
Marshmallows: Perfect for roasting over a campfire and adding a touch of sweetness to your camping experience.