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Best Backpacking Food: List and Meal Planning Tips

backpacking food
John C. Porter
Written by John C. Porter

When you’re outdoors, backpacking, and involved in energy consuming activities all day, you need the best backpacking food for nourishment and to revitalize your strength. Taste matters a lot too, because if the food isn’t tasty enough, you’ll not each much.

Food is one of the essential things that you need to carry in your backpack. Extra food will always come handy, but don’t overdo it because you are going to carry that backpack and you don’t want to exhaust yourself with too much weight.

The amount of food you need to carry depends on your weight, size, and energy level. A reasonable amount is 2500 to 4500 calories for an individual for a day.

Product NameWeightDimensionsVegetarian-friendlyPrice
Sincerely Nuts Honey Roasted Sesame Sticks2 lbN/AYesCheck price on Amazon
Probar Fuel Energy Bar0.11 lb6 x 5 x 4 inNoCheck price on Amazon
Primal Strips0.95 lbN/ANoCheck price on Amazon
Bob’s Red Mill Muesli Cereal10.5 lb13 x 6 x 7.5 inYesCheck price on Amazon
Healthworks Cacao Nibs2 lbN/ANoCheck price on Amazon
Starkist Yellowfin Tuna0.97 lbN/ANoCheck price on Amazon
Chicken Textured Vegetable Protein2.5 lbN/AYesCheck price on Amazon
Backpacker’s Pantry Macaroni and Cheese0.44 lb9 x 1 x 6.5 inYesCheck price on Amazon
Gerbs Dried Mango2 lbN/ANoCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider

The most important things that you need to give consideration to when packing food are following.

Dehydrated Food

Dehydrated or frozen food is a really good option for a backpacking trip. Though it’s a little expensive but it tastes good and requires little effort. Dehydrated food is lightweight this easy to carry.

Canned Products

You can avail canned products only when you are going on a short backpacking trip and you want homemade food with you. You can take rice or fish with you if you must but avoid taking bulky canned products.

Fresh Food Items

Fresh food items won’t last long because you don’t have the luxury of a refrigerator during the trip so it’ll probably last for a day or two. Carrots are a good option, though.

Orange Carrots on Table

Dry Food

Dry food like pasta, instant soup, instant noodles, is lightweight and easy to make so they can be convenient to carry and eat.

Spices

Spices can add taste to even boring food so you can take black pepper, salt, basil, red pepper, cumin, cinnamon or some other spices that you use in everyday cooking with you.

Flavored Drinks

Flavored drinks can serve as refreshment during your backpacking trip and you’ll have something except water to drink.

Nutrition

It seems really convenient to have a toffee during your backpacking trip, but you need carbohydrates and proteins for energy.

dry fruite

Dry fruits and nuts can serve the purpose of a quick snack and are a good source to provide the much-needed energy to your muscles requirements.

Calories

For a long trip, you need a fair amount of calories to function properly during a backpacking trip. To overcome a headache and weariness you’ll need those calories.

Taste

Take what you like with you. Don’t try to taste developing a new type of food during a backpacking trip. You need energy so need to eat properly and that can happen only when the taste of the food is according to your liking.

Amount of Food

Pack food which is light weight and low bulk as much as possible, especially on long backpacking trips. Try packing food into plastic bags so you can dispose of them off as you eat them.

food in plastic bags

Read the cooking instructions carefully and put a label on the bags for convenience.

Water Availability

Water availability is a really important factor is food packing. This mostly depends on where you are going and what are the water availability conditions there. You need to pack food accordingly.

Ready to Cook/No-Cook Food

Prefer ready to cook food because it’ll cook quickly or no cooked food which will save you the time and effort it takes to cook.  It will also save you the extra trouble and effort of carrying a stove. And in case your stove stops working due to some reason, you’ll have something to eat.

Cost

Frozen food is quite expensive, but if you can afford it then it’s a really good investment because at the end of a really tiring day, you don’t even have the energy to boil water this seems a really good decision.

Top Products on the Market

Sincerely Nuts Honey Roasted Sesame Sticks

The Sincerely Nuts Honey Roasted Sesame Sticks

Price: Approx. $13

Weight: 2 lb

Dimensions: N/A

Specific features: Honey roasted, vegetarian-friendly and mineral rich, Kosher certified

Best use: Ultralight backpacking, hiking

Description: The Sincerely Nuts Honey Roasted Sesame Sticks are filled with minerals, proteins, and fiber, which make it a reliable energy source during a backpacking trip. With the price of around $13, they are quite affordable. Magnesium in it will keep your blood pressure in check and the fiber will make the digestion easy.

Honey and sesame are quite a delicious combination that adds to the taste. This product has it all freshness, quality, and healthiness. The rich minerals like calcium, zinc, and phosphorus in the product are really good for your bones and the taste is mouthwatering. The crunchiness makes it all more delicious.

The product is ultra-lightweight so it is perfect for backpacking. If you need a quick snack during your trip to get your energy this is the product you should take with you. The sesame seeds used in the product are the finest of the USA available ones, and the healthy plant protein makes it vegetarian-friendly.

PROS:

  • It is affordable
  • It is fresh
  • Vegetarian friendly

CONS:

  • None

Check the price on Amazon

Probar Fuel Energy Bar

The Probar Fuel Energy Bar

Price: $30

Weight: 0.11 lb

Dimensions: 6 x 5 x 4 inches

Specific features: Sweet and juicy flavors with seeds and nuts, gluten free, omega rich chia seeds, contains antioxidant, usda organic

Best use: Marathon Training, Backpacking, Hiking

Description: The Probar Fuel Energy Bar is intended for an action packed days. The price of this product is $91. The Chia seeds help in regulating hydration and raw oats makes the digestion process easy.

The product is gluten free and is packed with energy with super fruits like oats and cashews. The product provides energy boost quickly during the exhausting trip. The soft and juicy flavor makes it easy to chew. The product has 12 bars in one pack so it’s durable.

They taste good and are healthy which makes a good combination. The product gives you the necessary fuel you need to keep moving. If you are allergic to peanuts or dairy then this is a great combination for you.

They are tasty, easy to digest and quick and easy to eat. The texture of the product is a bit dry so try to drink some liquid with it.

PROS:

  • It is affordable
  • Easy to digest
  • Gluten free

CONS:

  • None

Check the price on Amazon

Primal Strips

Primal Strips

Price: $15

Weight: 0.95 lb

Dimensions: N/A

Specific features: Made from Soy, Seitan and Shiitake mushroom, No cholesterol, no preservation and no artificial colors, all natural

Best use: Hiking, backpacking, camping

Description: The Primal Strips are a really good investment if you are a fan of meat. The price of the product is $15 which is quite reasonable. They provide you an alternative to meat.

The quick snacks are full of healthy ingredients like Seitan, Soy and Shiitake Mushrooms all with the added benefit of meaty pleasure. The product is known for being one of the best alternative meat products.

There a lot of varieties of flavors available, including Texas BBQ, Hot and Spicy, Thia Peanut, Teriyaki, Hickory Smoked and Mesquite Lime. The product is all natural with no added preservatives and no artificial colors. The product has a pack of 12 strips containing 2 of each flavor.

Even if you are a picky person you will definitely love this product because of its many tasty and interesting flavors. Fans of meat will definitely enjoy them and it is also very unique affordable.

PROS:

  • It is affordable
  • Tasty
  • Diverse

CONS:

  • None

Check the price on Amazon

Bob’s Red Mill Muesli Cereal

Bob’s Red Mill Old Country Style Muesli Cereal

Price: $26

Weight: 10.5 lb

Dimensions: 13 x 6 x 7.5 inches

Specific features: Vegetarian, no added sugar, 100% whole grain, dietary fiber, 4g of proteins per serving

Best use: Backpacking, camping, hiking

Description: Bob’s Red Mill Muesli Cereal is one of the bestsellers backpacking foods. With the weight if only 40 ounces and very reasonable of the price of $26, it’s a great choice.

The products recipe is inspired by a Swiss nutritionist Dr. Maximilian’s original recipe of the 19th century. The Muesli is packed with healthy ingredients. You can eat the cereal with cold or hot milk, juice or even water.

If you want a soft texture, then you can leave it in the liquid to soak.  Also, you can eat the directly out of the bag for a quick and fulfilling snack.

Therefore, if you are a vegan this product is ideal for you because it does not have meat nor sugar but it has dietary fiber and protein. It would be a great source of energy. You can eat it hot or cold according to your preference.

PROS:

  • It is tasty and for vegans
  • It is affordable

CONS:

  • None

Check the price on Amazon

Healthworks Cacao Nibs

cacao nibs

Price: $20

Weight: 2 lb

Dimensions: N/A

Specific features: USDA certified organic, contains high amount of the obromine, rich supply of antioxidants

Best use: Ultra lightweight backpacking, hiking

Description: Healthworks Cacao Nibs are basically cacao beans that are roasted then chopped into very small broken pieces. Cacao Nibs are the base of all chocolate things. The price is between $18 and $33 depending on where you buy it.

Cacao Nibs can be combined with yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, ice cream and can be a good chocolate alternative. It gives you an energy boost with its powerful ingredients during tiring backpacking days.

The obromine present in the product has similar effects of caffeine to give you head start for the day. They offer a full refund or replacement within 30 days if you are not satisfied with the results.

These Cacao Nibs are rich in antioxidants, magnesium, potassium, dietary fibers and have low carbohydrates and sugar. The product is grown on small Peruvian farms and is USDA certified pure, organic and raw.

This product is a great energy boost and provides you with great nutrients.

PROS:

  • It is affordable
  • An energy boost
  • Good nutrients

CONS:

  • None

Check the price on Amazon

Starkist Yellowfin Tuna

Starkist Yellowfin Tuna

Price: $19

Weight: 0.97 lb

Dimensions: N/A

Specific features: 2.6-ounce pouch, pack of 6

Best use: Camping, backpacking

Description: Starkist Yellowfin Tuna is by Starkist with the price of $19 which is quite affordable. The product provides 190 calories per serving and serving size is 1 pouch. The tuna is packed in extra virgin olive oil that means it’s full of nutrients and high in proteins.

Omega 3s present in tuna joined with the rich flavor of extra virgin olive oil makes the product perfect for your desired recipes. The product has 230 mg of EPA and DHA omega 3s combined per serving. The ingredients include extra virgin olive oil, light tuna fish.

The taste is delicious and the health factor makes it all more desirable. What makes it so tasty is definitely yellowfin tuna ingredient that is put into extra virgin olive oil. This also means that it is packed with proteins. The product also contains the omega 3s. This is a great product filled with very strong nutrients.

PROS:

  • It is cheap
  • Tasty

CONS:

  • None

Check the price on Amazon

Chicken Textured Vegetable Protein

Chicken Flavored Textured Vegetable Protein

Price: $20

Weight: 2.5 lb

Dimensions: N/A

Specific features: 100% vegetable product, has real meat texture and taste, made for chicken replacement

Best use: Camping, lightweight backpacking

Description: Chicken Textured Vegetable Protein is a meat analog product which has 100% vegetable contents made by an extrusion process. A perfect blend of soy flour and Honeyville flavored chicken makes it healthy and tasty.

The product provides you 52% of proteins and 18% dietary fibers which make it perfect for a backpacking trip when you need all the energy you can get. The price of the product is from $14 to $19 depending on where you buy which is reasonable enough.

The low moisture and low-fat content make this product perfect for long term storage and emergency vigilance. What makes this product unique and tasty is the fact that many users who are not even vegans enjoyed it. They praised the smell and taste of the protein in the comments.

You can try adding it to the noodles, which might spicy up the taste and make it even more delicious.

PROS:

  • It is affordable
  • Tasty

CONS:

  • None

Check the price on Amazon

Backpacker’s Pantry Macaroni and Cheese

Backpacker’s Pantry Macaroni and Cheese

Price: $8

Weight: 0.44 lb

Dimensions: 9 x 1 x 6.5 inches

Specific features: Vegetarian option, awesome treats for kids, shelf life of 84 months, makes 2 twelve oz servings

Best use: Cycling, backpacking

Description: The Backpacker’s Pantry Macaroni and Cheese by Backpacker’s Pantry is a sure way to keep the kids happy during a family outdoor trip. With the price ranging from $6 and $8, it’s a great choice for the backpacking journey.

The shelf life of 84 months makes it reliable during a long trip. You just need to add boiling water and you can enjoy the Macaroni and Cheese with little effort.

The two 12 oz servings will leave you with a full stomach and energy. They are also available in vegetarian option.

There are many people who have bought this product praised it for how tasty it is but also said that it is very simple to use. You can bring it with you wherever you go, even camping trips. The pack fits nicely into your bag and it is also a great option for children, they will love it.

PROS:

  • It is affordable
  • Great for children as well

CONS:

  • None

Check the price on Amazon

Gerbs Dried Mango

dried mango gerbs

Price: $30

Weight: 2 lb

Dimensions: N/A

Specific features: 100% all natural, Rich in amino acids, No added colors or preservatives, freshly harvested mango slices

Best use: Ultralight backpacking, hiking, camping

Description: Gerbs Dried Mango is a 100% natural with no added colors, preservatives, NonGMO, and chemicals.

The product is fairly priced between $29 and $49 depending on where you buy. Mango is called the king of fruits for a reason; it is enriched with amino acids, calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin C & E and beta carotene.

The digestive enzymes present in mango, make the digestion easy. Mango also has the ability of relieving pores, thus effective for acne. The fibers in mango will help with constipation.

For anemic people mangoes are a really beneficial because of the iron available in them and vitamin C helps in the absorption of iron from vegetables. It’s really great for the skin too. The product is available in 28 amazing flavors.

You can rest assured that all of the ingredients are GMO free, organic and there are no artificial preservatives in them, which makes them to be of great quality.

PROS:

  • Non GMO
  • No artificial preservatives
  • Tasty

CONS:

  • The price

Check the price on Amazon

What Have We Learned?

No matter what you decide to take with you, make sure that it’s reliable and according to your taste. If you want to try something new, make sure that it’s something you’ll enjoy eating.

meal 2 go

Always pack extra food with you because you never know when you may need it. There are a lot of choices for you available in the market so choose wisely and make sure you’re not missing out anything.

We hope that you found our article useful and informative, and if you think that we left something out, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John C. Porter
John C. Porter

John is passionate about hiking long distances. His record is over 65 miles in one day with backpacking gear. John hiked over 10 thousand miles, tried over 100 hiking shoes and visited 56 countries so far. His favourite hiking route is West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

  • Frank Meyers

    I used to pay so much attention to my backpacking gear and not enough to the food I carry with me. After many years of backpacking, I have changed for the better and now I pack lots of ready-to-eat meal packs and easy to cook meals like pasta. I also supplement with whatever I can find on the trail like fish or whatever game we can find. MRE ready to eat meal packs are one of my favourites.

  • John C. Porter

    I also make sure I have my buddies with me who love to cook…haha! I’m no help in that department so I do bring a lot of easy meal packs, hydrated food and small canned wieners. Most often, I just eat whatever the group is cooking!

  • Sam Parker

    I have eaten the cereal from Bob’s Red Mill both at home and while camping and it has been really filling and nice. My only issue with it is that the very strong taste of sunflower overpowers all the other ingredients. Does anyone know a cereal I can substitute it with that has the same qualities but with a more mellow taste?

  • John C. Porter

    There are a lot of whole grain cereals in the market that you can take a look out. Just make sure you get one with less or no sugar at all for a healthier fare. Although Bob’s Red Mill is still the choice of many adult cereal lovers. 🙂

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