How To Plan Food for a Backpacking Trip [Complete Guide]
If you’ve ever wondered how to plan food for a backpacking trip, or how much food you need to pack, this post is for you!
In the video below, I show you exactly how I plan my food for a backpacking trip.
Planning backpacking food can feel overwhelming, especially when you’re going out on trips that are a few nights long - it’s hard to think that far ahead.
With the food planning tips below, you’ll be organized and confident when you hit the trails!
Tips for Planning Backpacking Food
Write It Out
This will make your life so much easier - especially on longer trips.
I recommend actually writing down what you’re going to eat for for breakfasts, lunch, snacks, and dinner.
Then, have that list next to you as you lay everything out and pack it up.
I don’t pack my list into the backcountry and stick to a schedule, I just use it as I’m packing to make sure that I have enough food and that I don’t forget anything.
How Much Food To Pack
How much food to pack on a backpacking trip depends on a few things.
The distance of the hike, duration of the trip, elevation changes, and my personal appetite all factor in to how much food I pack on a backpacking trip.
If I’m expecting to go on a challenging backpacking trip with long hike days, I know that I’ll need more food than I would on a relaxing day at camp where I’m not hiking a lot.
In addition, I factor in my appetite. For example, in general my boyfriend eats a lot more food than me. If we’re going on the same trip, he’s usually packing a lot more snacks that I am.
As you go on more backpacking trips, you’ll get a really good sense of how much food you usually need and you can adjust on future trips.
Keep in mind that backpacking is a physical challenge and you burn a lot of calories carrying that extra weight around all day. When in doubt, pack a few extra snacks.
Example - What Food I Packed For a 2-Night Backpacking Trip
What I Packed: 1 oatmeal packet + 1 granola cereal packet + lots of ground coffee
For breakfast, I pretty much always go with oatmeal and/or granola cereal - one serving for each morning I’m in the backcountry.
I make both of these options at home because it’s so easy and cheap to do!
If you want to make your own backpacking breakfasts, I have a FREE cookbook with 4 oatmeal recipes and 1 granola recipe.
It shows you exactly how to make and package everything at home and then prep it at camp. Download it below:
What I Packed: 2 Safe Catch Tuna/Salmon Packets + 1 bag of cheddar crackers
I don’t like to eat big lunches on hike days, so that’s why I absolutely love these Safe Catch tuna packets with crackers.
It’s a simple no-cook backpacking lunch that’s full of protein. It keeps me full, but doesn't weight me down.
It also balances nicely with some of the other sweet snacks that I usually pack.
What I Packed: 2 Epic bars, 3 RX Nut Butter Packets, 3 Larabars, 1 bag of beef jerky, 2 Power Crunch bars, 1 packet of olives, 3 cheese sticks, 1 “sharing size” pack of peanut M&M’s , 2 Purely Elizabeth granola bars
Throughout the day, I load up on snacks.
Like I mentioned above, the amount of snacks I take varies per trip depending on the distance, duration, and elevation change of the hike.
There’s no cut and dry rule or guide for how many snacks I take, but personally, I’d rather pack a little more than I think I’ll need.
It’s always a good idea to have a few extra snacks just incase you need to stay out longer than expected.
Some of my go-to snacks mentioned in the video:
What I Packed: 1 homemade Basil Pesto Quinoa w/ Chicken + 1 homemade Spaghetti w/ Marinara Sauce
I love to make my own backpacking food.
I have a dehydrator at home, so it’s a lot of fun for me to make up new recipes and control the quality of ingredients that I use.
But don’t feel overwhelmed! You don’t have to make your own food if you’re not into that.
There are some really great options on the market nowadays. The ones I really like are by Good To Go.
I always plan for 1 dinner per night that I’m in the backcountry.
These are some of my favorite pre-made backpacking meals:
Food Prep for Backpacking - You’re Ready!!
Now you’re ready to plan all your backpacking food like a pro!
When in doubt, write everything down and have that list by your side while you’re packing.
If you’re organized, you’ll be a lot more confident when you’re packing and hiking.
If you have any other questions about planning backpacking food, just ask me in the comments below!
See you out there ✌️
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