The Best Backpacking Food from Trader Joe’s

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A guide to finding lightweight, calorie-dense snacks and meals for your next backpacking trip at your local Trader Joe’s.

A comprehensive list of the best backpacking food ideas from Trader Joe's.

Meal planning for an extended backpacking trip can sometimes feel more daunting than the actual hike itself. Sourcing enough lightweight, calorie-filled foods can be a challenge, never mind comparing labels to determine which option gives you the best nutritional bang for your buck.

While there are many backpacking food products available online, all of them are useless if you decide midweek you want to go on an impromptu weekend getaway. In the past, we’ve had to postpone trips or settle for boil-in-bag meals just because we didn’t order the right supplies ahead of time.That is until we discovered the bounty of backpack-ready food at our local Trader Joe’s.

That is, until we discovered the bounty of backpack-ready food at our local Trader Joe’s.

This article is not sponsored or endorsed by Trader Joe’s. We just love shopping there. Although Mr. Joe (or is it Captain Joe?), if you’re reading this, we would love to talk.

We have been shopping at Trader Joe’s for as long as we can remember buying groceries as adults. But it wasn’t until recently that we realized just how many of their products can be used for backpacking.

Dehydrated fruits, nuts & seeds, jerkies, energy bars are only the tip of the iceberg. They also carry things you wouldn’t expect: like individual packets of coconut oil, freeze dried vegetables, and baked cheese bites. When you put it all together, it’s a backpacker’s bonanza.

But where to start? What products have the best Calorie to weight ratio? What about protein to weight ratio? Are there any good vegan options? What about gluten-free?

Well, you’re in luck because in this article we’re going to break it all down for you. Here’s our comprehensive backpacker’s guide to shopping at Trader Joe’s.

Looking for something specific?
Jump right to the category you’re looking for:

Breakfast // Lunch & Snacks // Dinner Building Blocks
Fruits & Vegetables // Nuts & Seeds // Energy Bars // Jerky

Want to see the foods with the best calories and protein per ounce? We round up the top performers at the bottom of the post.

V – Certified Vegan, GF – Certified Gluten Free (although many more are “unofficially” vegan or gluten free)

A comprehensive list of the best backpacking food ideas from Trader Joe's.

Backpacking Breakfast Foods

Set yourself up for a successful day on the trail with a good backcountry breakfast. Whether you like crunchy granola or a warming bowl of oatmeal, Trader Joe’s has a variety of lightweight options to start your day off right.

Instant Coffee Sticks
Calories per oz: 116.7 | Fat per oz: 2.3 | Carb per oz: 23.3 | Protein per oz 0.0
Editor’s Note: These individually packaged instant coffee sticks make it super easy to ration, so you only bring the coffee you need. They even include the cream & sugar.

100% Colombian Instant Coffee (V)
Calories per oz: 0.0 | Fat per oz: 0.0 | Carb per oz: 0.0 | Protein per oz 0.0
Editor’s Note: For those of us who enjoy our coffee black, this instant coffee can be repackaged in a baggie so you’re not stuck carrying around the jar.

Apple & Cinnamon  Instant Oatmeal (V)
Calories per oz: 104 | Fat per oz: 1.2 | Carb per oz: 21.6 | Protein per oz 2.4
Editor’s Note: These come individually packaged and you can use the packaging to cook the oats. Tear the top, add hot water, and let sit for two minutes. No bowl required.

Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal (V)
Calories per oz: 104.2 | Fat per oz: 1.3 | Carb per oz: 20.8 | Protein per oz 2.6

Unsweetened Instant Oatmeal  (GF, V)
Calories per oz: 112 | Fat per oz: 2.5 | Carb per oz: 18.9 | Protein per oz 3.5
Editor’s Note: Enjoy as is or doctor up with freeze dried fruit & seeds or nuts.

Grainless Granola (GF, V)
Calories per oz: 137.7 | Fat per oz: 7.3 | Carb per oz: 15.1 | Protein per oz 2.8

Almond Butter Granola
Calories per oz: 123.2 | Fat per oz: 5.0 | Carb per oz: 16.8 | Protein per oz 2.8

Organic Toasted Coconut Granola (GF, V)
Calories per oz: 121.3 | Fat per oz: 4.7 | Carb per oz: 16.8 | Protein per oz 2.8

Caramel Coffee Granola
Calories per oz: 112 | Fat per oz: 2.3 | Carb per oz: 21.4 | Protein per oz 3.1

Super Seed & Ancient Grain Oatmeal (GF, V)
Calories per oz: 112 | Fat per oz: 4.2 | Carb per oz: 16.8 | Protein per oz 4.2

Ancient Grain & Nuts Granola
Calories per oz: 120.8 | Fat per oz: 5.5 | Carb per oz: 15.9 | Protein per oz 2.7

A comprehensive list of the best backpacking food ideas from Trader Joe's.

Nuts & Seeds

Lightweight, calorie dense, and shelf stable. Nuts and seeds are classic staples for backpackers. But these days, a handful of almonds can cost you an arm and leg. While we can’t say they’re always the cheapest, we’ve consistently found Trader Joe’s to have very competitive prices for nuts and seeds. Many of which are offered raw, preserving their macronutrients.

Roasted Unsalted Peanuts (V)
Calories per oz: 160.0 | Fat per oz: 14.0 | Carb per oz: 5.0 | Protein per oz 7.0 

Thai Lime & Chili Cashews
Calories per oz: 168 | Fat per oz: 13.1 | Carb per oz: 4.7 | Protein per oz 4.7
Editor’s Note: 
Also comes in an almond variety.

Coffee Glazed Almonds
Calories per oz: 152.0 | Fat per oz: 12 | Carb per oz:  8.8 | Protein per oz 4.8
Editor’s Note: Also comes in a cashew variety.

Candied Walnuts
Calories per oz: 200 | Fat per oz: 17 | Carb per oz:  10.0 | Protein per oz 3.0  
Editor’s Note: Also come in a pecan variety.

Raw Pecan Halves (V)
Calories per oz: 196 | Fat per oz: 20.5 | Carb per oz:  3.7 | Protein per oz 2.8 

Raw Almonds (V)
Calories per oz: 158.7 | Fat per oz: 14.0 | Carb per oz: 6.5 | Protein per oz 5.6

Sweet & Spicy Pecans (V)
Calories per oz: 190.0 | Fat per oz: 17.0 | Carb per oz: 8.0 | Protein per oz 2.0

Raw Sunflower Seeds (V)
Calories per oz: 169 | Fat per oz: 14.4 | Carb per oz: 5.9 | Protein per oz: 5.9
Editor’s Note: These come pre-shelled, so you don’t have to worry about packing out any shells.

Hemp Seeds (V)
Calories per oz: 168.0 | Fat per oz: 13.1 | Carb per oz: 1.9 | Protein per oz 9.3

Organic Chia Seeds (V)
Calories per oz: 140.0 | Fat per oz: 9.3 | Carb per oz: 9.3 | Protein per oz 4.7

Super Seed & Ancient Grain Blend (GF, V)
Calories per oz: 121.1 | Fat per oz: 4.7 | Carb per oz: 15.9 | Protein per oz 3.7

Organic Unsweetened Flake Coconut (V)
Calories per oz: 186.7 | Fat per oz: 17.7 | Carb per oz:  6.5 | Protein per oz 1.9

A comprehensive list of the best backpacking food ideas from Trader Joe's.

Fruits and Veggies

While the most neglected part of most backpackers’ diet, we believe in getting our fruits and veggies in for the day – even if we’re out on the trail. The key, of course, is making sure that produce weighs as little as possible. Thankfully and somewhat inexplicably, Trader Joe’s hosts a range of freeze dried and dehydrated options.

Inner Peas Green Pea Snack
Calories per oz: 130 | Fat per oz: 4.5 | Carb per oz: 17 | Protein per oz 4.5
Editor’s Note: While “green peas” and “delicious snack” might not be words you generally associate together, you’ve got to give these a try. We can’t not eat the whole bag in one sitting.

Inner Bean Black Bean Snack
Calories per oz: 130 | Fat per oz: 4.5 | Carb per oz: 16.0 | Protein per oz 5.0

Organic Banana Chips
Calories per oz: 149.3 | Fat per oz: 10.3 | Carb per oz: 12.1 | Protein per oz 0.0

Just Mangos
Calories per oz: 88.4 | Fat per oz: 0 | Carb per oz: 20.6 | Protein per oz 1.5
Editor’s Note: Remember that Lay’s potato chip ad “Bet You Can’t Have Just One?” Imagine that, but with mangos.

Dried Banana
Calories per oz: 91 | Fat per oz: 0.0 | Carb per oz: 21.7 | Protein per oz 1.4

Freeze Dried Blueberries (V)
Calories per oz: 107.1 | Fat per oz: 0 | Carb per oz: 25.5 | Protein per oz 0.8

Freeze Dried Raspberries (V)
Calories per oz: 107.1 | Fat per oz: 0.4 | Carb per oz: 23.9 | Protein per oz 1.6

Freeze Dried Mango (V)
Calories per oz: 110.8 | Fat per oz: 0 | Carb per oz: 25.7 | Protein per oz 0.6

Freeze Dried Banana Slices  (V)
Calories per oz: 105 | Fat per oz: 0.0 | Carb per oz: 25.2 | Protein per oz 1.4

Freeze Dried Strawberries (V)
Calories per oz: 107.1 | Fat per oz: 0.4 | Carb per oz: 23.9 | Protein per oz 1.6

Freeze Dried Fuji Apples (V)
Calories per oz: 107.1 | Fat per oz: 0.0 | Carb per oz:  26.4 | Protein per oz 0.8

Just Beets (V)
Calories per oz: 105.9 | Fat per oz: 0.4 | Carb per oz: 21.9 | Protein per oz 3.0 

Crispy Crunchy Broccoli Florets (V)
Calories per oz: 154 | Fat per oz: 10.5 | Carb per oz: 77 | Protein per oz 4.9
Editor’s Note: 
These would be great to throw into mac & cheese. We haven’t tried rehydrating them, so we can’t speak to what that would do texture-wise, so add them at the end as a topping.

Packaged Olives (V)
Calories per oz: 46.7 | Fat per oz: 4.7 | Carb per oz: 1.9 | Protein per oz 0
Editor’s Note: The salty, savory taste of olives can be a welcome change of pace from typical trail food. Have them as a snack or cut them up and toss them in your pasta for dinner (like we did in this backpacker’s chicken marbella).

Sun Dried Tomatoes (V)
Calories per oz: 70 | Fat per oz: 0.0 | Carb per oz: 14 | Protein per oz 2.0 
Editor’s Note: These make a great addition to any pasta meal.

A comprehensive list of the best backpacking food ideas from Trader Joe's.

Lunch and Snacks

When we’re out backpacking, lunch is less of a distinct meal and more of an all-day grazing event. There’s no main course. We just take a little from here and little from there. Trader Joe’s offers a variety of trail food and more substantive meats & cheeses for when you want to sit down to refuel mid-day.

Turkey Summer Sausage (GF)
Calories per oz: 45.0 | Fat per oz: 2.0 | Carb per oz: 1.0 | Protein per oz 5.5

Salami (selection typically varies by region)
Aprox. Calories per oz: 114 | Aprox. Fat per oz: 9.4 | Aprox. Carb per oz: 0.4 | Aprox. Protein per oz 6.3

Babybel Cheese
Calories per oz: 93.3 | Fat per oz: 8.0 | Carb per oz: 0.0 | Protein per oz 6.7

Unexpected Cheddar
Calories per oz: 120.0 | Fat per oz: 10.0 | Carb per oz: 0.0 | Protein per oz 7.0

Cuckoo For Coconut Trek Mix
Calories per oz: 156.3 | Fat per oz: 11.1 | Carb per oz: 12.0 | Protein per oz 2.6
Editor’s Note: 
Pre-portioned bags make it easy to stash these in your hip belt pockets for snacking on the move.

Handfuls of Tempting Trail Mix
Calories per oz: 143.3 | Fat per oz: 9.8 | Carb per oz: 12.4 | Protein per oz 3.9
Editor’s Note: Need a little help in the self-control department? After you try this trail mix, you just might. Thankfully it’s pre-portioned, so you don’t end up devouring the whole bag in a single go.

Oven Baked Cheese Bites (GF)
Calories per oz: 158.7 | Fat per oz: 11.2 | Carb per oz: 0.9 | Protein per oz 14.0
Editor’s Note: These are a fairly new offering at Trader Joe’s and they are maybe the single best snack in the whole store.

Bite Sized Everything Crackers
Calories per oz: 130.7 | Fat per oz: 4.7 | Carb per oz: 19.6 | Protein per oz 2.8
Editor’s Note: While there are lots of cracker options at Trader Joe’s, we really like these because they are pretty sturdy and won’t turn to dust in your bear barrel.

Gluten Free Savory Thin Mini Cracker (GF)
Calories per oz: 121.3 | Fat per oz: 2.3 | Carb per oz:  22.4 | Protein per oz 2.8
Editor’s note: While not as durable as the aforementioned crackers, if you’re in need of a gluten free option, these will work.

Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels
Calories per oz: 130.7 | Fat per oz: 7.5 | Carb per oz:  13.1 | Protein per oz 4.7

Organic Mini Cheese Sandwich Crackers
Calories per oz: 140 | Fat per oz: 7.0 | Carb per oz:  16.0 | Protein per oz 3.0 

Organic Mini Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers
Calories per oz: 140 | Fat per oz: 7.0 | Carb per oz:  17 | Protein per oz 2.0 

Roasted Coconut Chips (V)
Calories per oz: 160 | Fat per oz: 10 | Carb per oz:  15.0 | Protein per oz 1.0

Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans
Calories per oz: 154 | Fat per oz: 9.1 | Carb per oz:  15.4 | Protein per oz 2.1 
Editor’s Note: These bite-sized caffeinated espresso beans make for a great afternoon pick-me-up to get you back on your feet after lunch.

Chomps Snack Stick (GF)
Calories per oz: 100 | Fat per oz: 6.0 | Carb per oz: 0.0 | Protein per oz 9.0

A comprehensive list of the best backpacking food ideas from Trader Joe's.

Energy Bars

Love them or hate them, energy bars are often an essential part of a backpacker’s diet. They are definitely not a meal but can work in a pinch. While Trader Joe’s has a pretty good offering of bars, what’s remarkable about them is how cheap they sell big name brands. Clif bars for 99 cents, yes, please!

TJ Nutty Seedy Fruity Bar (GF, V)
Calories per oz: 176.8 | Fat per oz: 16.2 | Carb per oz: 5.9 | Protein per oz 3.2  
Editor’s Note: We were blown away by this bar. Hands down the best calories per oz of all the energy bars we tested, naturally sweetened, vegan, and gluten-free. It does have a lot of fat, but it’s all coming from nuts, seeds, and coconut (you’re going to burn it all off anyway).

Clif Bars Peanut Toffee Buzz
Calories per oz: 102.9 | Fat per oz: 2.5 | Carb per oz: 17.3 | Protein per oz 4.1 
Editor’s Note: We’ve eaten a lot of Clif bars over the course of our lives, and this one is far and away our favorite flavor (although variety is the spice of life).

Clif Bar Chocolate Chip
Calories per oz: 102.9 | Fat per oz: 2.1 | Carb per oz: 18.5 | Protein per oz 4.1 

Clif Bar Crunchy Peanut Butter
Calories per oz: 107.1 | Fat per oz: 2.9 | Carb per oz:  16.9 | Protein per oz 4.5 

Clif Bar Raisin Walnut
Calories per oz: 102.9 | Fat per oz: 2.1 | Carb per oz:  18.1 | Protein per oz 4.1 

Clif Bar Coconut Chocolate Chip
Calories per oz: 102.9 | Fat per oz: 2.5 | Carb per oz:  17.7 | Protein per oz 4.1 

Clif Bar Peanut Butter & Chocolate
Calories per oz: 107 | Fat per oz: 2.9 | Carb per oz:  16.9 | Protein per oz 4.5

Clif Bar White Chocolate Macadamia
Calories per oz: 107.1 | Fat per oz: 2.9 | Carb per oz: 17.3 | Protein per oz 3.7 

Lara Bar – Cashew Cookie (GF, V)
Calories per oz: 134.2 | Fat per oz: 7.6 | Carb per oz: 13.4| Protein per oz 3.5 

Lara Bar – Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip (GF, V)
Calories per oz: 136.9 | Fat per oz: 6.8 | Carb per oz: 16.2 | Protein per oz 3.7 

Lara Bar Peanut Butter Cookie (GF, V)
Calories per oz: 128.3 | Fat per oz: 7.0 | Carb per oz:  13.4 | Protein per oz 4.1 

Epic Bar Bison (GF)
Calories per oz: 91.2 | Fat per oz: 5.2 | Carb per oz:  6.5 | Protein per oz 5.2 

Epic Bar Chicken (GF)
Calories per oz: 65.1 | Fat per oz: 2.6 | Carb per oz:  0.7 | Protein per oz 9.8 

GoMacro Protein Pleasure (GF, V)
Calories per oz: 117 | Fat per oz: 4.5 | Carb per oz:  15.0 | Protein per oz 4.5 

GoMacro Protein Purity (GF, V)
Calories per oz: 112.0 | Fat per oz: 3.4 | Carb per oz: 16.4 | Protein per oz 4.3

RX Bar Coffee Chocolate (GF)
Calories per oz: 107.7 | Fat per oz: 4.3 | Carb per oz:  12.4 | Protein per oz 6.5 

Rx Bar Chocolate Sea Salt (GF)
Calories per oz: 113.1 | Fat per oz: 4.8 | Carb per oz:  12.9 | Protein per oz 6.5 

Rx Bars Blueberry (GF)
Calories per oz: 113.1 | Fat per oz: 3.8 | Carb per oz: 14.0 | Protein per oz 6.5

Rx Bars Coconut Chocolate (GF)
Calories per oz: 113.1 | Fat per oz: 4.8 | Carb per oz: 12.4 | Protein per oz 6.5

A comprehensive list of the best backpacking food ideas from Trader Joe's.

Jerky

It’s easy to hyper-focus on overall calorie count, but if you want long-lasting energy you’ll need to make sure you’re getting enough protein, too. Jerky is lightweight, shelf stable and protein-packed. Trader Joe’s offers a range of jerkies that will give you plenty of variety on your trip.

Beef Jerky
Calories per oz: 70 | Fat per oz: 1.0 | Carb per oz: 5.0 | Protein per oz 11.0 

Buffalo Jerky
Calories per oz: 60 | Fat per oz: 0.5 | Carb per oz: 6.0 | Protein per oz 11.0

Salmon Jerky
Calories per oz: 80 | Fat per oz: 2.0 | Carb per oz: 2.0 | Protein per oz 13.0 

Bacon Jerky
Calories per oz: 140 | Fat per oz: 10.0 | Carb per oz: 6.0 | Protein per oz 6.0
Editor’s Note: If you have been looking for a way to get some more protein into your breakfast routine, your search is over.

Turkey Jerky
Calories per oz: 60 | Fat per oz: 0.0 | Carb per oz: 6.0 | Protein per oz 11.0 

A comprehensive list of the best backpacking food ideas from Trader Joe's.

Dinner Building Blocks

While boil-in-bag meals have their place, sometimes you just want a home-cooked meal – even if you’re in the middle of the woods. Trader Joe’s has a lot of lightweight and calorie-dense building blocks to allow you prep your own meal. Check out our archive of backpacking recipes to see how you can incorporate real ingredients into your backpacking meals.

Organic Black Bean Pasta
Calories per oz: 100 | Fat per oz: 0.8 | Carb per oz: 17.5 | Protein per oz 7.0
Editor’s Note: With 7 grams of protein per oz, this black bean pasta is a lot more than just a bowl full of carbs.

Organic Red Lentil Pasta
Calories per oz: 95.0 | Fat per oz: 0.3 | Carb per oz: 16.0 | Protein per oz 6.5 
Editor’s Note: Cooks in 5 minutes.

Capellini (Angel Hair) Pasta
Calories per oz: 100  | Fat per oz: 0.3 | Carb per oz: 20.5 | Protein per oz 3.5 
Editor’s Note: Cooks in 4 minutes.

Orzo
Calories per oz: 100 | Fat per oz: 0.3 | Carb per oz: 20.5 | Protein per oz 3.5
Editor’s Note: Cooks in less than 10 minutes and is excellent for building one-pot pasta dishes.

Garlic Basil Linguine Pasta
Calories per oz: 105 | Fat per oz: 0.3 | Carb per oz:  21.5 | Protein per oz 4.0 
Editor’s Note: Cooks in 2-4 minutes.

Spinach & Chive Linguine Pasta
Calories per oz: 105 | Fat per oz: 0.5 | Carb per oz:  21.5 | Protein per oz 4.0 
Editor’s Note: Cooks in 2-4 minutes.

Wisconsin Cheddar Macaroni
Calories per oz: 108.0 | Fat per oz: 1.6 | Carb per oz: 18.8 | Protein per oz 4.0

Organic Shells & White Cheddar Mac
Calories per oz: 102.5 | Fat per oz: 1.4 | Carb per oz: 18.5 | Protein per oz 3.9

Rice Pasta & Cheddar (GF)
Calories per oz: 106.5 | Fat per oz: 1.4 | Carb per oz: 20.5 | Protein per oz 2.4 

10 Minute Farro (V)
Calories per oz: 97.8 | Fat per oz: 0.5 | Carb per oz: 19.9 | Protein per oz 3.4

Couscous
Calories per oz: 99.4  | Fat per oz: 0.5 | Carb per oz: 19.0 | Protein per oz 3.6 
Editor’s Note: Perhaps the fastest cooking grain of the lot, couscous only needs about 5 minutes in boiling water to fully fluff up.

Organic Tricolor Quinoa (GF)
Calories per oz: 106.7 | Fat per oz: 1.7 | Carb per oz: 20 | Protein per oz 4.0 

Chicken Broth Packets
Calories per oz: 58.3 | Fat per oz: 2.9 | Carb per oz: 8.8 | Protein per oz 1.5 
Editor’s Note: These single-serve chicken broth concentrate packets are an awesome way to boost the flavor of couscous, farro, quinoa, or even pasta.

Nutritional Yeast (GF, V)
Calories per oz: 112 | Fat per oz: 0 | Carb per oz: 11.2 | Protein per oz 16.8 
Editor’s Note: Nutritional yeast, or “nooch”, lends a cheesy kind of flavor to foods and is a complete protein in addition to being packed full of B-12.

Coconut Oil Packets
Calories per oz: 210 | Fat per oz: 24.5 | Carb per oz: 0.0 | Protein per oz 0.0
Editor’s Note: We are big fans of carrying olive oil packets while backpacking, but sadly TJ’s doesn’t carry them. But, imagine our excitement when we saw that individual coconut oil packets are now on the shelves! This is a great way of stuffing extra calories into oatmeals and dinners.

Tomato Paste
Calories per oz: 32.7 | Fat per oz: 0.0 | Carb per oz:  6.5 | Protein per oz 1.9
Editor’s Note: We’ve yet to try this idea, but we imagine that a little tomato paste plus water and oil would make a pretty tasty pasta sauce.

Taco Seasoning
Calories per oz: 93.3 | Fat per oz: 0.0 | Carb per oz: 9.3 | Protein per oz 0.0

Chili Lime Seasoning Blend
Calories per oz: 0 | Fat per oz: 0.0 | Carb per oz: 0 | Protein per oz 0
Editor’s Note: 
While it really doesn’t offer much nutritional value, this seasoning has a great tangy, slightly spicy kick that would be great in mac & cheese, pasta, or couscous.

A comprehensive list of the best backpacking food ideas from Trader Joe's.

Top 5 Calories Per Ounce

Of all the ingredients we examined, these were the top performers in terms of calories per ounce. Could you eat only these items on a backpacking trip? Maybe? Should you? Absolutely not. But they are good ones to know about and incorporate into your future backpacking diet.

  1. Coconut Oil Packets – 210 Kcal per oz
  2. Candied Walnuts – 200  Kcal per oz
  3. Raw Pecan Halves – 196 Kcal per oz
  4. Sweet Spicy Pecans – 190  Kcal per oz
  5. Organic Unsweetened Flake Coconut – 187.7 Kcal per oz

A comprehensive list of the best backpacking food ideas from Trader Joe's.

Top 5 Protein Per Ounce

These are the top performing ingredients in terms of protein per ounce. If you find yourself getting hungry on the trail after eating a meal, consider incorporating some of these long-burning, protein packed fuels into your diet.  

  1. Nutritional Yeast – 16.8 grams per oz
  2. Oven Baked Cheese Bites – 14 grams per oz
  3. Salmon Jerky – 13 grams per oz
  4. Turkey / Buffalo / Beef Jerky – 11 grams per oz
  5. Epic Chicken – 9.6 grams per oz

Any other Trader Joe’s fanatics out there? What are some great meal combinations you’ve come up with? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @freshoffthegrid!

PIN FOR LATER 

A comprehensive list of the best backpacking food ideas from Trader Joe's.

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16 Comments

  1. Omg this is an aaaamazing list. I'm live in Vancouver, BC... that's in Canada ;) and I often go backpacking in Washington state. You can't bring most foods across the border so each time I cross the border to go backpacking I have to shop for my entire backpacking trip in Washington. I like to go to Trader Joes to get a few things (mostly jerky and trail mix) but since they are a smaller grocery store, I'm never confident that they will have everything I need. This list is a great planning resource for me. Thanks! (Also cute video!)

    • Shopping for an entire backpacking trip right before heading out sounds stressful - so happy to hear that this will be useful to you!!

      I think it's a bit more of a novelty than a practical option (pretty expensive, comparatively), but have you been to Pirate Joe's? We stopped in when we were traveling through Vancouver and it's a pretty funny place.

    • I have been to Pirate Joe's! It's such an interesting idea for a business and I followed their story when they were involved in the lawsuit. It's on the other side of town from me so I don't go often - and also it's (obviously) more expensive than actual Trader Joes. My husband travels to Seattle and SF for work often so he can bring TJ things back to Canada on those trips - you can't get teriyaki turkey jerky that's better than theirs! :)

  2. Good to see all these items included in one TJ's trail food article.

    Forgot the TJ's Coconut Macaroons and Chocolate Covered Espresso beans.

  3. […] The Best Backpacking Food From Trader Joe’s […]

  4. This is GOLDEN. Such a treasure trove of info, WOW! Seriously, you guys went so above and beyond and I'm so happy you did. Talk about a solid resource to have on hand. We have our go-to's just for camping foods but sometimes it IS something we have to order in advance online and navigating the shelves of an actual store can feel overwhelming. Particularly loving the breakdown of the protein by ounce top performers, we always find it so hard to keep our protein intake up on the trail and it's SO NICE having this to reference.

    We still have yet to go on our first backpacking trip but are slowly getting up the supplies (and the gumption) to do it, so this will really come in handy for us knowing what will fit in the bear barrel.

  5. Great list, thanks for sharing! TJ's used to have a roast beef hash in a foil bag that was awesome for backpacking, but I haven't seen it in years.

    • That's too bad. We love us some hash! TJ is notorious for cycling through new products. We'll try to keep this list updated as new products are released and old ones are discontinued.

  6. This is such a wonderful and informative post! We're planning a road trip this summer and this info will come in super handy. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  7. They also have dried mini-cheese Tortellinis that are great for backpacking! THANKS for an awesome list.

  8. This list, while incredible, just makes me frustrated that the nearest Trader Joes is 1400 miles (Anchorage to Bellingham,WA). Time to call on friends and family to send care packages!

  9. When we camp we usually make tin foil meals and get alot of quick heat and serve items from TJ's and the xfer to foil packs.

  10. I have been using TJ's for backpacking the last 15 years, with many of the items in your listing being perineal favorites. Often, I camp at the trailhead the evening beforehand and treat myself to an easily prepared frozen offering at TJ's like the cioppino or fettuccine with clams. They even keep my drinks cold on the drive and help fuel me for the workout to come.

    • Thanks! We might have to do a whole article about ways to use TJ prepared meals at a campsite. They taste so good, are easy to prepare, and (relatively speaking) pretty cheap. Sounds like you've got a good system down. Never had it before, but we'll have to try the fettuccine!

  11. What do you use for milk?

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