Backpacking Meal Ideas

Need some backpacking meal ideas? The best backpacking food is lightweight, tasty, calorie-packed and quick cooking. However, each meal type is different — lunch is usually heavier, more bulky, high energy, and no-cook. Cooked dinners are typically dehydrated so they are lighter. Good backpacking food for breakfasts consists of about half no-cook and half quick-cook. Most importantly is snacks these are eaten throughout the day between meals, and should consist of variety of items Energy bars, Fritos, trail-mix, dehydrated fruit etc.

You should repack food from bulky store packages into sizes that will pack easily, and minimize trash.

Keep it simple (little or no clean up) and always carry food that provides at least 100-150 calories per ounce of food carried.

Backpacking Meal Ideas

Here are some additional food tips


Troop 120 Backpacking Meal Ideas
Breakfast should consist of about half no-cook and half quik-cook.

Some ideas are: individually packaged Oatmeal, and Cream of Wheat.

Dry Cereal can be repackaged into ziploc bags along with dehydrated milk mixed in, once water is added these can be eaten straight from the bag.

Adding almonds, or eating Energy Bars can supplement any breakfast too.


Troop 120 Backpacking Meal Ideas
Lunch should be high energy, and no-cook.

Here are some ideas: Prepackaged Tuna, individual packages of Peanut butter served on Sandwich Thins, Pita Bread, or Tortillas.

Aged cheese lasts for several days. American cheese, mild cheddar and other soft cheese are not a good choice because they don’t keep. Aged Chedder, blue cheese, Swiss and other hard cheeses work well. As well as String cheese.

Antipasta – hard salami, pepperoni, proscuitto, etc generally do not require refrigeration and make an excellent cold lunch, especially when server with cheese and pita bread or wheat thins


Troop 120 Backpacking Meal Ideas
Cooked dinners are typically dehydrated so they are lighter.

Mountain House is a good standby – add boiled water to the pouch let stand 8-10 minutes and eat straight from the pouch.

If Mountain House is not for you a number of meals can be made cheaply from:
Instant potaoes, instant rice, instant beans, couscous, and angel hair pasta quick cookly.

Repackage as necessary into ziploc bags.

A favorite meal of mine is Top Ramen (minus the flavor pack), half cup Parmesan cheese & basil, Sun-dried tomatoes, and 1oz of Olive Oil.

Bean and Rice Burritos

Troop 120 Backpacking Meal Ideas
Another favorite is Bean and Rice burritos. Made from instant rice (add taco seasoning for taste) and Dehydrated Refried Beans (can be found at Winco, and Central Market in the bulk bin sections)

Stuffing and Gravy

Troop 120 Backpacking Meal Ideas
Another favorite of mine is Stuffing and instant gravy. This can be supplemented with shelf-safe vacuumed sealed chicken.


Troop 120 Backpacking Meal Ideas
Shelf safe meat that is vacuumed sealed can be added to many different ingredients to create a virtually infinite menu.


Backpacking Food Ideas
Bring small containers of olive oil, canola oil, or powdered butter flakes to add calories and taste.

Spices, especially red and black pepper, are nice. Sugar, salt, and pepper packets can be picked up at most fast food restaurants (along with ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, relish, tobasco, and many other sauce packets.)

Foods to avoid

* Juice boxes – they puncture and get sticky liquid all over your gear and other food.
* Anything that can spoil if not chilled.
* Canned food – too heavy to carry, and generates trash volume that no one wants to carry.
* Fresh fruit. It’s heavy, doesn’t stay fresh and bruises easily in your pack.

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