Ideas on Food for Backpacking

Ideas on Food for Backpacking
A long backpacking trip doesn't have to mean subsisting solely on gorp. But it does mean striking a balance between weight, food safety (raw meats don't make for good backpacking fare because they must be kept cool) and convenience. Even so, you can bring home-cooked meals into the wilderness without sacrificing any of the above. Plan out how many meals you'll eat each day as you pack. Add at least two snacks each day and a couple of extra meals in case of emergency.


Canned chicken, turkey and fish meats---along with ubiquitous camping classics like Spam and Vienna sausages---make taking meat on the hiking trail easy. You can dice these meats and add them to canned beans, soups, stews or omelets and scrambles made with powdered eggs.

Jerky or dried meat gives you another way of getting your day's protein in, and can also be made into stew. Just cook jerky in hot water until soft, along with dehydrated vegetables and a cube of beef bullion.



Fresh vegetables don't travel all that well, and they're much heavier than their freeze-dried or dehydrated counterparts. You can purchase dehydrated vegetables in the "Healthy Foods" aisle of most grocery stores or in the camping food section. Or make your own with a counter-top dehydrator at home.

In camp, just add dehydrated vegetables to a little hot water and let them sit. You'll have not just vegetables but vegetable broth as well. The broth can be the base for an omelet or egg scramble, soup or stew. Just add the rest of your ingredients and heat until cooked through.


Don't forget the power of a ready-made snack to help you power through those last few miles of trail or sustain you while you're setting up camp. Trail mix is the classic example.

Use nuts or granola as the base for your trail mix, then add dried fruit like blueberries, cherries, cranberries or raisins. You can also go more exotic and include dried mango, pineapple, coconut, dates or even dried banana chips. For some, a touch of chocolate finishes the feast.


You can prepackage all the dry ingredients for a dessert mix---like cake or brownies in a box---at home. Then just add water at camp and let cook in your camp pot.

Or create your own cobbler desert by pouring half a box of yellow cake mix into the bottom of a pot or pan. Add a can or jar of fruit---peaches or apples do well---with juice on top of this, and finish with the rest of the cake mix. Cover and let cook until the cake mix forms a soft crust over the cobbler. Don't forget to pack the jar or can back out with you.


Article Written By Marie Mulrooney

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.

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