10 Simple Backpacking Food Ideas

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There are some incredible benefits to backpacking, but none are greater than the amazing views that you get to see when you get deep into the wilderness. From star and moonlit mountain peaks to high elevations with picture perfect views of the world around us. It is safe to say that these are the moments that every backpacker lives for. Check these backpacking food ideas.

The problem, all of these views are ones that you need to be on the trails for days at a time, sometimes even weeks. With that comes a certain level of preparation, one that you must adhere to if you want your travels to be memorable (in a good way).

 Backpacking food ideas


The chief point of concern? Nutrition.

Of course, there are other concerns, you are going to want to make sure you have a good sleeping system and some basic first aid items. But without the proper nutrition, you are sure to have a miserable time on your journey.

We’ve already looked at some excellent snack items for shorter hiking trips (and some of those will be on this list also), but I want to take some time to discuss meal ideas for longer duration hikes.

It’s been established that your nutrition levels are what is going to get you through the toughest moments, for that reason most of the foods in here will be high in fats, proteins, and complex carbohydrates. The result will be high-calorie meals that are nutrient dense, keeping your mind and body operating at its highest potential.

Meals for breakfast

Breakfast is going to be an essential meal; you will have had hours of zero nutrients so pack this meal with high levels of complex carbs and proteins to get your body ready for the day.

Whole grains

Let’s start with some wheat. Every hiker should be packing a good amount of oatmeal with them, it’s ideal for a quick meal, just heat up some water and mix. Even better is the bag acts like a bowl. If you want to sweeten it up a bit pour some honey in there and get the variety pack, so your taste buds don’t get fatigued of the same flavors over and over again.

Bagels are also a great way to start the day, and if you have some condiment packages, you have an unlimited possibility of flavors you can add to them (my favorite is jelly).


We all probably know by now that eggs are an excellent source of protein, but they should be refrigerated meaning they aren’t outstanding candidates for long hikes. There is an alternative though; crystallized eggs are perfect for adding your eggs some shelf-life. This is a complete game changer for me, being able to have oatmeal and eggs on a chilly morning in the mountains gets me so ready to start my day.


Caffeine is a staple in my morning routine, and that’s not going to change just because I don’t have electricity with me. You could opt for some instant coffee and just add hot water, but I’d recommend getting you some fresh coffee. The only thing you need is some hot water and an Aeropress, and you’ll have coffee that tastes nearly as good as it does at home.

You’ll want to have a few different types of snacks to munch on while you’re on the move.


One of my favorite snacks is sharp cheddar or Colby cheese. It is packed with nutrients and is a great source for your daily fat consumption. You should get them in block form (gives them more shelf life) you can cut them into cubes or even shred some for your eggs in the morning.

Beef Jerky

Beef Jerky is another excellent protein source, and it’s a snack you can eat on the move. This stuff is pure awesomeness.


Peanuts, walnuts, almonds (especially almonds) are all great on the go snacks. Lunch:  For lunch, you’ll want to have a good amount of nutrients without overloading on calories here are some good lunch ideas

Tuna / Salmon Packets

These portable packets are perfect for those times you want to sit down and have a good meal without a lot of preparation. They offer a significant amount of protein in a relatively small package, giving you the energy you need to keep pushing throughout the day.

Tortilla Shells

Pack some of that cheese and salmon in there for the outdoorsman’ version of fish tacos.

Dinner:  Dinner is going to be a crucial meal, and it is time you get to relax, enjoy the scenery around you, and have some conversation with your fellow hikers. Here are some ideas for dinner time


This small grain is so easy to carry with you; it’s lightweight and similar to rice expands when cooked. It is also a tremendous source of plant based protein and complex carbohydrates. Plus it goes well with those salmon packs you have packed.


Sometimes you aren’t going to have the energy to cook entire campfire meals for the group. In those moments there is nothing wrong with opting for a quick solution. All you have to do here is boil some water and enjoy.

Wrap – Up

As you may have noticed, you can eat any of these products at any time of day. And I’d recommend mixing up ingredients a bit to give the illusion of variety. Also, make sure you bring some spices with you.

The last thing I would recommend is this, bring a whiskey flask to carry with you. Some days will be entirely too stressful for you, and you’ll be glad you have your favorite adult beverage with you at those times. Besides, there is nothing better than enjoying beautiful scenery with your closest friends and a glass of whiskey.

But that’s just my opinion of course for backpacking food ideas. Do you have other ideas?

Read here about emergency food storage, and learn about exactly what you need to know!

Curious about canned food and how to store food long term? Check out this article here. 

Need some ideas for survival food lists? Learn about the foods you need to prepare for here. 

Meet the Author

'Mountain Man' John

'Mountain Man' John is a Survival and Preparedness enthusiast who loves everything outdoors. He has a passion for learning anything and everything to help sustain his and his families way of life post SHTF. He frequently shares his knowledge on a variety of topics from his hands on DIY projects, learning new skills such as hunting and trapping along with reviews on his Survival related purchases - Prepping has been in his family for generations, it's in his blood.