One of the highlights of any backpacker’s day is mealtime! You’ve hiked long miles all day and now you get to sit back, kick up your feet, and tuck into a hearty meal.
Packing the right food for backpacking is also critical for ensuring that your body stays properly fueled and your pack isn’t overloaded with heavy ingredients.
One way to estimate how much food to pack for a backpacking trip is to multiply your body by 25-30. This is a rough estimate of how many calories you will need per full day of hiking with a loaded backpack on strenuous terrain. If you’re only hiking short days or over less strenuous terrain, you can scale that down to 21-25 calories per pound of body weight, per day.
Your food should be stored in a way that will protect it from animals (not just big ones like bears, but critters like squirrels and marmots too!). Many areas have regulations that will tell you the specific way to store your food. In many places, you’ll be required to store your food in a hard-sided bear canister. Be sure to check the local regulations in advance of your trip by calling the ranger station or Google “[area] food storage requirements”
The basic cooking equipment you’ll need to bring backpacking is a lightweight backpacking stove, a pot to boil water and cook in, a utensil, and fuel. You can check out this post detailing the best backpacking cooking gear for a full rundown, which will give you a few different options to customize your kit.