63 Easy Backpacking Food Ideas

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Meal planning for your next backpacking trip? We’ve compiled our favorite backpacking food, ingredients, and meal ideas to help you get started. Find out what food is best for hiking, discover new ingredients, and get inspired by some of our delicious DIY backpacking meals.

Michael sitting with backpacking gear around him and mountains in the distance

Backpacking is a great way to unplug, immerse yourself in nature, and challenge yourself both physically and mentally. While there’s a lot of natural beauty to take in, experienced backpackers know that no matter how spectacular the scenery is, much of the day is spent thinking about the next meal! 

But figuring out what food to pack can a be challenge all on its own! Since you’ll be carrying all of it on your back, backpacking food needs to strike the right balance between nutrition, weight, and ease of preparation. 

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In this post, we share our favorite backpacking food ideas from hundreds of miles hiked over the past few years. From freeze-dried options to homemade meals, you’ll find all kinds of filling and lightweight trail food to help keep your energy up and your taste buds satisfied.

Megan sitting at a campground making coffee

Best backpacking breakfasts

A good day on the trail starts with a solid breakfast. If you want to get through the morning without running out of steam, it’s best to start with some calories in the tank.

Seasoned backpackers will be familiar with the tried-and-true instant oat pouches, but thankfully there are a lot more options to try out!

Here are some great backpacking breakfasts to check out.

Ovaeasy Packpaging

OvaEasy Eggs

If you don’t mind cooking in the morning, OvaEasy’s powdered egg crystals are surprisingly close to the real thing! Enjoy scrambled eggs on their own, with dehydrated hash browns, or as a veggie scramble.

Megan holding a blue bowl with yogurt, granola, and fruit, and a yellow spoon

DIY Yogurt Parfait

This easy DIY meal uses freeze-dried “yogurt melts” (you can usually find them in the baby food aisle), granola, and dried fruit. Get our recipe here!

Strawberries and cream quinoa porridge in a bowl on a rock

Dehydrated Quinoa Porridge

Loaded with protein and packed with calories, our Quinoa Porridge dehydrator recipes are a great option if you have access to a food dehydrator. Start with one of these or customize it with your own favorite flavors!

Instant oatmeal package

Instant oatmeal

Instant oatmeal is quick, easy, cheap, and totally customizable. Just add hot water. Pro Tip: Use the packet as your bowl. Just tear off the top, pour the water in, and stir. The bag will get hot, but won’t leak. Up the calories by adding coconut or whole milk powder, or stirring in a packet of nut butter.

Bobo breakfast bars product image

Bobo’s Oat Bars

A no-cook “breakfast” bar is a great grab-and-go option for anyone who wants to streamline their morning routine. It can also be nice for people who don’t wake up hungry and want to get a little hiking done before eating. We particularly like Bobo’s Oat Bars for breakfast, which pack 340+ calories into a 3oz bar.

Three instant coffee packets

Instant Coffee

There has been a huge improvement in the QUALITY of instant coffee in recent years. Our top go-to favorites are Mt. Hagen and Alpine Start

Cusa instant tea product image

Instant Tea 

Prefer tea over coffee? No worries. Check out Instant Tea from Cusa, with flavors like English Breakfast, Chai, and Earl Grey. These tea packets dissolve entirely into the water, so there’s no soggy tea bag to pack out with you.

Michael sitting at the top of a mountain pass eating lunch

Backpacking lunches, snacks, and bars

When backpacking, the goal is to consume a constant stream of calories throughout the day. This slow drip offers your body a consistent and stable fuel source, preventing your blood sugar from taking a nosedive (i.e. bonking). 

So we like to think of hiking as one long, moveable feast. Lots of little snacks here and there, a big snack in the middle of the day (otherwise called lunch), and then more snacking throughout the afternoon. The key to making this work is variety. Don’t get burnt out eating the same thing over and over.

Greenbelly Meals

Greenbelly meal bars

Greenbelly meal bars boast 650 calories per serving and come in a bunch of flavors. They are basically a full meal that requires zero cooking—perfect for lunch on the trail!

Lazy lentil salad packaging

No-cook meals

There are a variety of no-cook meal options available, such as Outdoor Herbivore’s Waldorf Salad and Lazy Lentil Salad, and Packit Gourmet’s Curry Mango or Cajun Ranch Chicken Salads.

Megan holding a plastic container full of pasta salad. She's picking up a spoonful.

DIY Cold Soak Meals

If you have access to a food dehydrator, try making your own cold-soak meals using a variety of pasta, beans, and veggies. Check out these recipes to start: Pasta Salad or Cowboy Caviar.

4 chicken and tuna pouches

Chicken, tuna, or SPAM packets

These might not be the most weight-efficient items in your bear canister, but they do a great job of providing protein. Buy them plain and doctor them up with condiments, or buy some of the many flavor options. Our favorites were Buffalo ChickenChicken SaladDeli Style Tuna Salad, and Lemon Pepper Tuna.

Tuna, spam, and salmon packages

These wild-caught tuna packets are packed in oil for extra calories.

If salmon is more your speed, Patagonia Provisions has some awesome options.

SPAM also comes in a foil packet and can be a nice change of pace from seafood. We were hesitant about this one, but it’s actually very tasty.

NB: Make sure you’re buying the foil packets, not cans!

Packaroons package

Packaroons

These macaroons pack in 170 calories per ounce, so they definitely pull their weight (pun intended) in your pack. They come in a few flavors including Amaretto, Blueberry Almond, and Sweet Coconut.

Vegan Bars

Energy Bars

Our best advice when packing bars is to go for VARIETY. Don’t just load up on your favorite bar for a multi-day hike. Because after your trip, it won’t be your favorite anymore. There are more energy bar companies out there than we can keep track of, but here are some of the top brands that we’ve tried: Bobo, RX BarsMunkpack Nut & Seeds, Kate’s Real Food barsGoMacro, Lara BarBearded Brothers, and Aloha.

Cookies product image

Energy Cookies & More

If you prefer your energy bars in a circular shape, then may we suggest the burgeoning energy cookie scene. We are fans of MunkPack Cookies, Lenny & Larry Cookies, and 2Betties (GF, grain-free, dairy-free).

A variety of nut butter packets

Nut butter

On a tortilla or straight from the packet, nut butter is a great addition to trail lunches. Our favorite on the JMT was RX Vanilla Almond Butter. Justin’s and TrailButter are other good options.

Assorted Wild Zora bars

Jerky and meat bars

Jerky and meat bars tend to be a little low on calories, but high in protein — which is critical for muscle repair. We like Epic Provisions and Wild Zora. On longer multi-day hikes, these are good to eat towards the end of the day to help your body repair. Primal Spirit Food and Louisville Vegan Jerky Co are good vegan options to try.

Beef jerky stacked on a piece of parchment paper

DIY Jerky

If you have a little bit of experience using a dehydrator, try your hand at making your own jerky! The flavor combinations are endless! Here’s our basic beef jerky recipe, and one for teriyaki beef jerky.

Honey Stinger Waffles

Honey Stinger Waffles 

A quick hit of energy, Honey Stingers Waffles are a great little maintenance snack. Perfect for when you’re feeling a little low-energy and need a little extra zip to get you up the next hill. They have a variety of flavors to choose from, and some even have a bit of caffeine for an extra little boost.

Honey Stinger Energy Chews

Energy Gummies 

The solid, chewy form of a gel, there are a variety of energy gummies like Honey Stinger Chews, Clif Shot Bloks, GU Energy Chews, and Scratch Lab Chews These are great to have on hand if you ever start to feel yourself bonking. We think of these as a “Break Glass If In Need of Calories” type of emergency snack.

Quinn Peanut butter pretzels

Quinn Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels 

We love peanut butter-filled pretzels! What mad hatter came up with the crazy idea, we don’t know. But they’re amazing. Quinn has a variety of flavors worth checking out like Maple Almond Butter and classic peanut butter.

Oloves packet

Oloves 

We absolutely love olives when backpacking. Not only are they loaded with calories, but they offer a momentary burst of savory refinement that is hard to compare. Instant morale booster. We are big fans of Oloves packable olives.

Whisps packaging

Cheese

Hard cheese and cheeses that are individually packaged are great options. We also LOVE the Trader Joe’s Baked Cheese Bites as well as Parmesan or Cheddar Whisps (the latter are a bit less sturdy though).

Nuts, apricots, and banana chips

Trail mix, nuts, and dried fruit

Packing an assortment of trail mix, nuts, and dried fruits is a great way to have some calorie boosts on hand to eat while hiking (there’s a reason GORP has been handed down through the generations!). Our favorite places for nuts and dried fruit in bulk are Nuts.com and Trader Joe’s. You can find some of our favorite trail mix recipes here.

Dried apple chips in a bowl

DIY Dried Fruit

Drying your own fruit is a great way to cut costs and take advantage of seasonal produce when it’s on sale. We love dried apples, dehydrated bananas, pineapple, and kiwis!

Organic gummy bear packaging

Candy

The snack we didn’t pack for the JMT but we wish we did: Candy! We’re not candy people normally, but the calorie and mid-day sugar boost would have been awesome. Black Forest Gummy BearsSwedish Fish, or Jelly Belly’s “Sports Beans” are all good picks. Whatever you pick, make sure it won’t be too melty.

Michael sitting on the ground with a camp scene and sunset

Best backpacking dinners

After a long day on the trail, one of the best things is taking off your pack, finding a comfortable stop to sit, and enjoying a hot dinner! This is why it’s so important to find a meal that will end your day on a happy and satisfying note. 

While there are more backpacking dinner options to choose from than ever before, our suggestion is to stick to your pre-existing food preferences. If a meal sounds good to you now, you will likely love it after a long day of hiking. But if you’re not an adventurous eater at home, then you’re likely not going to magically become one on the trail. 

Here’s a list of the best backpacking food brands along with a few of their top-rated entrees:

Backpacker's Pantry packaging

Backpacker’s Pantry

Backpacker’s Pantry is one of our favorite freeze-dried meal brands. Not only do they make one of our favorite freeze-dried backpacking meals of all time (Chicken Pad Thai), but their production line runs 100% on solar energy, which is pretty cool. Just add boiling water to the pouch, and dinner will be ready in just a few minutes!  Here are a few favorites: 

Bushka's Kitchen meal packaging

Bushka’s Kitchen 

Newer to the freeze-dried backpacking meal scene, San Francisco-based Bushka’s Kitchen has some meal options that feature large, easily identifiable whole ingredients. Many of their meals are made with eclectic protein sources to keep things interesting. Meals to check out: 

Fernweh foods dinners

Fernweh Food Company

Producing dehydrated backpacking meals with low-impact packaging and seasonal local produce, Fernweh Food Company is another recent addition to the backpacking meal market. Meals to check out:

Good to Go Thai Curry package

Good-To-Go

Producing dehydrated meals from quality ingredients, Good To-Go has really expanded its lineup in the past few years. We’ll be honest, in our personal experience, we’ve had some winner and loser meals from them. Nothing was bad, we just found a few meals to be tragically undersalted. Meals to check out: 

Heathers Choice Packaging

Heather’s Choice

Based in Anchorage, Alaska, Heather’s Choice uses high-quality, whole foods ingredients to create packable, dehydrated provisions. We have not personally tried these meals yet, but they get good reviews online. They are gluten and dairy-free and have a diverse range of flavors. Meals to check out:

Mountain House packaging

Mountain House

The OG of backpacking meals, Mountain House has been making freeze-dried food since the 1970s. Over the years they have developed some absolute classic meals that remain some of our favorites: 

Nomad Nutrition backpacking meals

Nomad Nutrition

Based in British Columbia, Canada, Nomad Nutrition offers an entirely plant-based line of dehydrated backpacking meals. Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or just looking to scale down your meat consumption on the trail, this is a great company to look into.  Meals to check out: 

Peak refuel vegan dinner

Peak ReFuel 

Even though they are relatively new to the space, Peak ReFuel feels like it’s been around for a while. That might be because their founder spent nearly a decade in the freeze-dried world before branching out to launch Peak ReFuel. They offer a lot of comfort food classics that are sure to hit the spot. Meals to check out: 

Gastro Gnome meals product image

Gastro Gnome

Founded by a formally trained chef, Gastro Gnome boasts a menu of legit freeze-dried meals like Indian Yogurt Braised Chicken, Mushroom Ragu Farfalle, Chicken Pozole, and Bison Chorizo Hash.

Outdoor Herbivore meal

Outdoor Herbivore

Vegetarian and vegan hikers will find tons of options at Outdoor Herbivore. The Basil Walnut Penne and Switchback Burrito Stuffer sound great.

Packit Gourmet packaging

Packit Gourmet

This is a small company out of Texas that specializes in dehydrated fare. We’re looking forward to trying the Beef BologneseCajun Gumbo, or Texas State Fair Chili on our next trip!

Wild Zora packaging

Wild Zora

Based in Colorado, Wild Zora specializes in low-sugar, high-protein, gluten-free, and Paleo backpacking meals. They also offer a line of AIP (autoimmune protocol) meals. If you have any dietary restrictions, this is a great company to check out. We’ve heard great things about the Bedrock Beef Chili.

Save some cash! If you buy 8 or more backpacking meals at a time from REI, you’ll automatically get a 10% discount on all of them!

Minestrone in a grey backpacking pot with a purple spoon

DIY Backpacking Meals

The sky’s the limit if you’re up to making your own homemade meals. While we’ve developed a lot of different backpacking recipes over there years, we’ll give you a shortlist of our some of our favorites meals (ssh, don’t tell the others!):

Dehydrator Recipes: 

No Dehydrator Required:

More DIY Backcountry Meal Resources:

Megan holding a bear barrel standing next to a backpacking tent

Grocery store backpacking food ideas

Whether you’re making your own custom meals or looking for a way to stretch a freeze-dried meal, there are a bunch of store-bought ingredients you can pack along.

  • Idahoan Potatoes: These are great to add to packaged meals that are on the saucy side (like beef stroganoff).
  • Stovetop Stuffing: Another favorite to have on hand as a “side” or in packaged meals. Combine it with instant potatoes for a Thanksgiving Bowl!
  • Ramen: Does it get more basic than ramen? It’s cheap, lightweight, and calorie-dense. Toss the sodium packet and doctor it up — see our Revamped Ramen recipe for ideas.
  • Knorr Pasta and Rice Sides: These are great (and cheap) building blocks for meals. Add chicken, tuna, or TVP for protein.
  • Annie’s Mac and Cheese: Add chicken, tuna, or TVP for protein, and throw in some dried veggies to make a full meal.
  • Bulk nuts & dried fruit: Build your own trail mix using the bulk bins at your grocery store!
Michael sitting on a rock with a lake and mountains in the background

Desserts

When developing your backpacking meal plan, desserts absolutely have a place! As a special treat to mark a notable day, a morale booster after a real doozy, or just a way to pad out your dinner’s calorie count, backpacking desserts are a great trick to have in the bottom of your bear barrel.

Assorted backpacking dessert packages

Freeze-dried desserts

There are a number of freeze-dried dessert options on the market, whether you prefer something homey like Cinnamon Apple Crisp, something fancy like Creme Brulee or Chocolate Cheesecake, or something totally space-age like this Neapolitan Ice Cream.

Treehouse coconut drinking chocolate

Treehouse Drinking Chocolate 

If you don’t necessarily want to eat dessert, consider drinking it! This drinking chocolate (AKA totally indulgent hot chocolate) is an absolutely lovely way to wind down at camp.

Nutella product image

Nutella

This chocolate hazelnut spread is packed with calories that are derived mostly from fats, making it well worth the weight. A scoop here and there will give your body plenty of long-lasting fuel to burn. Plus, it’s freaking delicious!

Stroopwafel packaging

Stroopwafels

A delicious Dutch treat, stroopwafels are soft, toasted waffles filled with caramel. They’re loaded with calories and pretty durable. Try spreading a little Nutella between two of them and make yourself an “ice cream” sandwich.

Condiments and extras

These are some of our favorite extras to add either calories or flavor to our meals.

Michael sitting at a backpacking camp site cooking dinner

Backpacking Food Strategy

In this section, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about making a backpacking meal plan—what to look for when choosing meals, packing the right amount of food you need, tips for planning and packing, and a few gear suggestions.

What makes for good backpacking food?

There are a few factors to keep in mind to determine the types of food that are good for backpacking: shelf-stable, weight, calorie density, and cook speed.

Shelf-Stable: It’s important that the food can be stored at room temperature. You can get away with bringing some things like cheese or salami if you eat them in the first few days, but for the most part, you want to skip anything perishable.

Lightweight: Since you have to carry it every step of the way, backpacking food should be as lightweight as possible. Dehydrated and freeze-dried foods tend to be lightest, though there are plenty of everyday grocery store items that fit the bill as well! 

Calorie Dense: Backpacking takes a lot of energy, so you need food that can properly refuel you. When we plan our backpacking food, we try to average 125+ calories per ounce to keep the weight down.

Cooking Time: Consider how much patience you have to cook your food and how much fuel you will be bringing. We highly recommend quick-cooking meals that are easy to prepare

Megan sorting through backpacking food that is spread out on a picnic table

How much food should you pack for backpacking?

Backpacker magazine suggests that backpackers who plan to hike long days with a heavier pack should aim for 25-30 calories per pound of body weight, per day.

If you’re going to do shorter days (less than 2 hours of hiking) or will cover less strenuous terrain, you can scale it down to 21-25 calories per pound of body weight, per day.

Instead of eating just three meals per day as you might at home, aim to eat snacks throughout the day and consume 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour (source) to keep your energy high and prevent you from hitting the proverbial wall.  

These, of course, are just a starting point and you should adjust based on your own experience.

How to plan food for backpacking trips

Meal planning for backpacking trips is one of our favorite things to do! It’s also super important.

Creating a detailed meal plan not only ensures you bring enough food for your trip but allows you to see how all your meals will work together. It’s a great opportunity to build in variety and double-check that you’ll be hitting your calorie count every day. 

Here are the steps that go into our meal-planning strategy:

1.) Figure out how many days your trip will be and how many meals you will need on the trail. 

2.) Determine how many calories per day you need to pack (see the previous section).

3.) Choose your breakfast and dinner for each day. Take note of how many calories are in each of these.

4.) Subtract the calories of your breakfast and dinner from your total calorie number. These are the remaining calories that you’ll need to pack in the way of snacks, lunch, drink mixes, or dessert. Plan for a variety of snacks, keeping in mind that to avoid losing steam during the day, you’ll want to eat 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour as you hike.

Three people cooking next to a backpacking tent with a mountain in the distance

Best backpacking meal tips

Bring salt and hot sauce: While most backpacking food on the market is made with more than enough sodium, occasionally you’ll get a meal that tastes undersalted (or under-spiced). A few salt and hot sauce packets don’t add much weight, and can really save the day.

Bring food you know you like:  Now is not the time to break out of your taste buds’ comfort zone. We understand the desire to want to eat healthy on the trail, but you will likely be burning more calories than you’ll be consuming while backpacking. So treat yourself. 

Shop for calorie density: The food you chose should be calorically dense, yet still lightweight. We personally try to choose food that provides 125-135kcal per ounce.

Pack a variety of flavors AND textures: For longer hikes, make sure to plan in a little variety, especially for your snacks. 

Bring extra food: Try to pack at least one extra meal for breakfast and dinner—just in case. Maybe you’re extra hungry, maybe something in the package spoiled, or maybe you just want the flexibility to rotate something out.

Megan is sitting on the ground and is reaching into a bear barrel

Packing & food storage tips

Proper food storage & critter protection: From field mice to grizzly bears, there are a lot of wild animals that are attracted to human food. How you need to properly store your food will depend on the area, but methods include storing food in a critter-proof bag, hanging your food from a tree, or using an approved bear canister. Be sure to check the local regulations before you head out. Read up on how to use a bear canister or do a proper tree hang

Repackage food: Wherever possible, try to repackage food to make it lighter and more compact (either replace bulky packaging or squeeze the air out of it). It can also be a good idea to portion out snacks so they are quick and easy to grab.

Organize food by day: When packing your bear canister or food bag, add your food in ascending order—your last day’s food goes at the bottom, and then work your way forward so your first day’s food is at the top. This way you won’t have to empty your canister every time you need to find this afternoon’s snack. It can also be helpful to pack all of each day’s food into one large zip-lock bag to keep things organized.

Plan for trash: Remember that you’ll need to pack all of your trash out with you. Bring a large zip lock bag to stash it all in.

Megan sitting with her backpacking cooking gear at a campsite with mountains in the background

Favorite backpacking cooking gear

We have whole posts dedicated to backpacking cooking gear and backpacking stoves, but here are some of our favorite gear items to prepare your backcountry food on the trail.

Backpacking pot and stove

Multi-Use Setup: Soto Windmaster Stove and 1.2L Pot

We use a Soto Windmaster Stove with this Sea to Summit pot when we plan on doing a mix of commercial freeze-dried meals and DIY meals. This combo can boil water efficiently and provides good simmer control for cooking our own meals. It’s fairly light at a total weight of 9.7 oz.

Green GSI mug

Backpacking Mug: GSI Infinity Mug

This insulated mug is just 3.5 oz and is great for morning coffee.

Backpacking spoons

Eating utensil

These Humangear GoBites utensils have served us well over the years, and they also have a fork end. This MSR folding spoon is also a good option and is a bit longer for reaching into a meal pouch.

Looking for more backpacking food resources? Check out our guides to vegan backpacking food, gluten-free backpacking food, these lightweight backpacking recipes, and our ultimate guide to dehydrating food for backpacking!

This post was first published on November 9, 2017, and was updated in 2023. There are a ton of new backpacking food products that we included!

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33 Comments

  1. Oh, I didn’t realize that Mount Hagen had single serve! Thanks for tip!

  2. Tom Haselton says:

    I want to go stoveless. Can you separate out the food that works without a stove?

    1. Thanks for sharing. That’s definitely a good idea for a future article. I think the stoveless movement is growing with backpackers, so perhaps creating a dedicated resource for them would helpful.

  3. Crawfather says:

    Great article. You have great suggestions.I like to take summer sausage, pepperoni, chorizo, single spam servings, ready bacon, Thai style fried beef jerky or salmon jerky. Then eat it with instant rice. Rice with fried pepperoni on it is great. I’m Asian, so give me a few ounces of protein and some rice, that’s a full meal.

    1. That all sounds great. So many different protein options. Add in some fast cooking instant rice (maybe some spices or sauce) and bam! You’ve got dinner.

  4. Good list.

    You should add Moose Goo in several categories.

    The best SS condiment I’ve ever found is chopped onions. Make ramen palatable.

  5. You should really include Tasty Bites. I know they’re kind of heavy, but they are amazing, there’s a ton of them, they’re vegetarian, and can be eaten cold, too. You can find them at Fred Meyers (North-West US)

  6. GMOs are totally safe? According to who? Weird how so many other countries which are not largely controlled by corporations have banned them…

  7. Totally agree! I will buy the brand that does not tote itself as “GMO Free.” GMOs are incredibly safe and important.

  8. What about cream cheese in the foil pouches. The box says to keep refrigerated but I’m wondering if it would remain stable for a couple days in your pack if the pouch is unopened?

    1. We’ve seen Philadephia cream cheese in condiment packets before. Basically personal sized foil packets. I bet those would last for a few days. Probably wouldn’t want them out sitting in the sun, but if they were kept reasonably cool I think they’d probably be fine.

  9. Timm Hines says:

    This was super helpful. Can’t wait to implement your suggestions. Thanks a bunch.

  10. I remember when the food looked and tasted terrible. I’m glad to see that there are better options.

    1. There has been a lot of improvement in the high calorie to weight genre of food. And we are very thankful for that.

  11. Harper Hatheway says:

    Thanks for the great suggestions.
    We have found that using Medi-Lyte tablets help maintain electrolytes. Easy to use packets keep frequent water drinking from washing out calcium, potassium and magnesium. You can order 100 tablets in 50×2 packets.
    Leukotape is now an essential in our group. This tape applied to a hot spot prevents blisters, and will not tear or peel skin when removing. Other first aid uses too. Great stuff, someone is always asking me for a few inches and I barter for chocolate.

  12. I’m an experienced thru hiker. And I’m always looking for ultra lite suggestions. In this case reviewing backpacking meals was spot on. Thumbs up!

  13. Great list! Ramen is always my go-to cause it’s so filling. It’s just that, all the sodium makes me dehydrated after. What your take on those type of salts that help store water in your body?

    1. After a long hot sweaty day on the trail, we definitely feel depleted of electrolytes (salts included). While some sodium is needed (along with a lot of water) to properly rehydrate, we doubt whatever is in those sodium bomb flavor packet would be considered healthy. We’re fans of electrolyte tablets by Nuun instead.

      1. Asian stores have round ramen noodle cakes, a little smaller than the square ramen cake packets. They do not have all the sodium and are not oil fried. They come in packages of usually 8 or 16 cakes, with no flavor packets, and cook in the same 3 min. You can add a little boullion (Orrington Farm), Celtic Sea Salt (mineral rich) etc.

        I take 2-3 round cakes and crumble them, drop in boiling water and add a little Chinese 5 spice powder, a good squirt of soy sauce, then when almost cooked, add 4-5 eggs, and about 1/2 tsp dark sesame oil, or other oil, cook till done, and that is a good meal for 2. A plastic bottle of soy sauce is always in my pack, along with other spices. I saw a picture of a large/XL one week pill holder with 7 compartments that snap shut, holding 7 spices, I need to try that.

    2. The Earth Online Catalog says:

      Have you tried any of the ramen with cleaner ingredients? Mike’s Mighty, Lotus Foods, Koyo, Thai Kitchen? They are yummy and ain’t as salty.

  14. Total wines and More has a nice assortment of cheese and salami. Plus small bottles of various liquor that are light weight.

  15. Great info and ideas. I had backpacked for years until a back injury. Now I am looking at adapting to using an ATV with the love of backpacking in mind. I have been out of the backpacking world for a long time. You gave me some great ideas and info to re-learn what I need to do.

  16. Bill Haps says:

    Awesome Site ! Great for beginners and seasoned vets as well. Thank you for posting, I’m going to add some of your meals to my rotation and recommend this site wherever I can.

  17. Your blog is incredible! easily the most helpful and thorough in all the articles i’ve read so far!

  18. Carole Spencer says:

    Thanks so much for your article–extensive resources of food. For the beginners, it is a treasure trove saving us a lot of hardships and dissappointments.
    Thanks again.

  19. Excellent info. Thank you for the research and sharing!

  20. Mick Flannigan says:

    Great article. A lot of good information there. Pack it gourmet has some nice no cook, cold water options.

  21. Mile High Mike says:

    This is a great list! I’ll use it to supplement my daily diet of Grape Nuts every meal, every day.

  22. Backcountry Wok is my favourite dehydrated meal brand for backpacking. They make yummy vegan Asian dishes and their packaging is 100% compostable.

  23. Sarah Majerus says:

    Thanks for all the great suggestions! I am a vegetarian looking to expand my options! Also, great pictures 🙂 I recognize many of them as camp spots on the JMT that I also stayed at on my thru-hike in August, 2019. Cheers!

  24. Total horse puckey/ hike with z grape Nuts, dried berries, milk powder for breakfast. Lunch is hot soup and crackers plus cheese and salami. Dinner is another dried soup, pasta and cheese, and fresh or dehydrated fruit. Hot cowboy coffee for breakfast and plenty of cold water. Your meal suggests are for pansies.