Backpacking Foods: What to Put in your Pack

November 17, 2014

Backpacking can be hard work. When burning 5,000 calories or more a day, it’s important to have a good supply of lightweight, high calorie meals that are easy to prepare.

You’ve probably already planned for the amount of water you’ll need to bring on your trip (a good rule of thumb is to drink a liter and carry a liter at all times). Maybe you’ve even planned to bring along a water filtration system like the LifeStraw® Water Purification device that comes in the Lansky Survival Kit (T.A.S.K).

That’s great. With your water needs covered, the next step is to focus on what kinds of foods you’ll want to have on hand.

Food for the Weekend Hiker

To keep things simple, we’re going to focus on the weekend hiker. There are, of course, hikers who go out on the trail for months at a time, but discussing their needs is beyond the scope of this post. This post is geared more toward the beginning hiker. That excited person who can’t wait to get out there for their first weekend hike, but isn’t quite sure what they’ll need.  

Breakfast Options

  • Bagel with peanut butter. The peanut butter will supply you with a good dose of protein and fat, and the bagel will provide your carbohydrates.
  • Instant Oatmeal. It’s an old standby because of its simplicity. To boost the calorie/fat/protein content, add dry milk.
  • Breakfast pastries. These can include Pop Tarts, fruit pies, danishes, and other snack cakes.



  • Tuna, SPAM, salmon, and other sources of packaged protein. Add it to a wrap with a drizzle of olive oil (to get all those healthy fats) and you’re good to go.
  • Instant mashed potatoes. Mix this with SPAM and olive oil and it will provide over 900 calories. Instant mashed potatoes don’t even have to be cooked. Just add water to rehydrate. These can be eaten for lunch or dinner.
  • Dried fruit and jerky.



  • Freeze dried dinners with a good amount of olive oil.
  • Cup Noodles, or other instant soups.
  • Refried beans with instant rice or spread on a tortilla.

refried beans.JPG

When planning your weekend hiking trip, don’t forget to bring snacks. You’ll need plenty of calories to keep you going throughout each day. Try bringing easy-to-eat, high calorie snacks like candy bars, nuts, energy bars, and trail mix.

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Category: Food


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