How to Plan Freeze Dried Backpacking Food for a Week

How to Plan Freeze Dried Backpacking Food for a Week
Planning your food for a seven-day backpack should be at the top of your checklist. Without proper food stores you can find yourself fairly miserable halfway into your trip. Eating properly will keep you in good energy and prevent fatigue and injury. While freeze-dried food can get expensive, its light weight and reduced heating time makes it a favorite for backpackers. Make sure you have plenty of fuel and a good working trek stove for heating your meals.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Freeze-dried meals
  • Freezer bags
  • Permanent marker
Step 1
Plan to consume approximately 4,000 calories every day you are on the trail, keeping in mind your fitness level, which season you are hiking in and the difficulty of the terrain. A 150-pound person carrying a 50-pound pack can burn about 5,000 calories a day. If the weather is extremely cold, or the hike is a strenuous all-day uphill battle, hikers can burn an extra 500 calories a day. Packing 4,000 calories will equal 1.5 to two pounds of food per person per day. Adjust your caloric intake according to your body weight, pack weight and wilderness area.
Step 2
Choose meals that you will enjoy and look forward to eating. If you are not a meat eater, or have an underlying disdain for lentils or beans, don't purchase meals that include these foods. A variety of freeze-dried meals are on the market for vegetarians and carnivores alike. Ethnic-themed dishes such as Indian, Asian and even Jamaican Jerk chicken are available along with meat and potato standards, so concentrate on purchasing foods that appeal to your particular tastes.
Step 3
Mix and match the food groups so you are getting complete nutrition. Eat plenty of carbohydrates for immediate energy, fat for energy storage and protein to help keep muscles fit. Brenda L. Braaten, a nutritionist and backpacker, recommends that weekend backpackers follow a plan of eating 50 percent of their calories in carbohydrates, 35 percent in fat and 15 percent in protein. Long-distance hikers should add five grams of fat to their daily diet to sustain a consistent energy store and lighten their protein intake by an equal number. Also remember to include some foods out of the vegetable and fruit groups to round out your meals.
Step 4
Organize foods according to meal or day. Some people prefer to have three bags that contain breakfast, lunch and dinner meals, while others like to arrange their meals by the day. Use a gallon-sized freezer bag and prominently label the outside of the bag so you don't have to spend a lot of time digging through your pack trying to find what you want for each meal.
Step 5
Remove any unnecessary packaging before storing it in your pack. If the directions to the meal are printed on the cardboard box surrounding the meal package, cut out that portion of the box and discard the rest. Every ounce of weight counts when you are backpacking, and you don't want to be hauling around anything you don't need to.
Step 6
Buy in bulk to save money. Some freeze-dried products are available in large cans and can be cheaper to purchase than individual serving sizes. If you are a frequent backpacker, this could be a prudent investment. Remaining foodstuffs can also be stored away as emergency food preparation.

Tips & Warnings

Pack bulk meals in double plastic bags to prevent spillage. Lightweight freezer bags with a sturdy seal are your best bet.

Article Written By Nikki Jardin

Nikki Jardin began freelance writing in 2009 and focuses on food and travel articles. She has been a professional cook and caterer for more than 20 years. She holds a degree in environmental science from Humboldt State University.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.