Backpacking Meal Recipes

It can be challenging to know what foods to take on a hiking or backpacking trip. One option is to buy all the food premade and then eat them, but it may be difficult to find food that you like, and it won’t taste nearly as good as the food you prepare yourself. Here are what can be your favorite foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner:


Your first meal of the day needs to be quick, tasty, and easy to eat. This is the meal that will have to keep you going for the first third or even more of your trip, so there needs to be plenty of calories in there, too. The first thing is to make sure that you have a good stock of your favorite hot drink. A good cup of tea or coffee can make all the difference to your morning, and will mean that you wake up feeling ready to face the day. We usually accompany this with something quick like an energy bar, trail mix, or instant oatmeal with peanut butter.

What to bring:

* Coffee
* Tea
* Powdered milk
* Pop tarts
* Granola
* Cereal bars
* Instant oats
* Peanut butter


If you have miles to cover between your two camping locations, and you’ll want to save time during lunch, we generally opt for a cold lunch rather than having to get the stove out and prepare a hot meal. Large sandwiches and wraps are a great option here, and having your lunch prepared means you can get back on the road quickly. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are one of the best as they have lots of calories and won’t rapidly spoil.

What to bring:

* Bread, bagels, or tortillas
* Peanut butter
* Jelly
* Hard cheeses
* Hard meats (salami, cured ham, etc.)
* Tuna
* Chicken


This will be your main meal of the day, and we like to have something hot to finish the day with. Once you’ve set up the camp, you’ll have time to decompress and prepare a more exciting meal. We recommend freeze-dried meals which you can just add water to, as they are quick, tasty, and don’t take too much preparation time. What to bring:

* Instant soup
* Instant ramen
* Easy mac and cheese
* Stuffing
* Chicken packet meals
* Tuna packet meals
* Freeze-dried meals (Check out army surplus stores and look for their ration packs. You’ll find tons of good options here.)


Are you hiking through the day? A good amount of your food will come from your snacks. The main thing for these is to make sure they are convenient, easy to eat, and high in calories to keep you going through the day. Try to avoid anything that will melt, such as foods that are covered in chocolate. We like nuts and seeds such as va peanuts that can be snacked on through the day.

What to bring:

* Trail mix
* Nuts and seeds (peanuts, almonds, cashews, etc.)
* Dried fruit
* Beef jerky or biltong
* Sweets and candies (Avoid chocolate if the weather condition is going to be hot.)

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