You’ve checked the forecast, figured out your route, and maybe scored some permits for that bucket list weekend backpacking trip. But there’s still one daunting task left before you can hit the trail on this epic adventure: you’ll need some food to bring backpacking! With so much backpack camping food on the the market, there are options for even the pickiest of eaters, including vegetarian backpacking food, vegan backpacking food and gluten free backpacking food. Read on to learn about some of the best homemade backpacking food, the best dehydrated backpacking foods, and the best no-cook backpacking foods.
Best homemade backpacking food
Knowing your way around a kitchen can pay off big when it comes to backpacking food. Not only is homemade backpacking food most likely your cheapest option, it also has the potential to be among the healthiest, and tastiest food to bring backpacking. Finally, homemade backpacking food gives you absolute control for making vegan backpacking food, and vegetarian backpacking food. Here are three homemade ideas for backpacking food.
Deli Slice Tortilla Wrap
If you’re looking for a quick and easy backpacking meal idea, look no further. The deli slice tortilla wrap is by no means sophisticated, but it’s absolutely foolproof to put together, and generates almost no waste that needs to be packed out. It’s also very durable and calorically dense. To make this backpacking meal, just cut up your cheese into 1 oz pieces, and wrap those in about 3 slices of hard salami. Then, wrap this meat/cheese combo in a 7” flour tortilla. This can be seran wrapped, and should keep for up to a week outside of a refrigerator.
Hard cheese like parmesan, hard salami, flour quesadilla
If you make 2 rolls, they should be about 740 calories, 57g of carbohydrates, 37g of fat, 43g protein, 2170mg of sodium, and 3.2g of fiber
$5.00 for a pair of rolls
Smoked Salmon Bagel
A smoked salmon bagel with cream cheese, dill, and capers is a brunch classic. This rendition brings the fun to the wilderness, with a few omissions and substitutions. To throw this backpacking meal idea together, cut about 1oz of cheese into slices, which you’ll place on your bagel. Drizzle some lemon juice on top, before sprinkling salt, pepper, and dill over the top. Slice up cucumber to taste, before adding 4oz of lox to complete the ensemble.
Smoked salmon (lox), parmesan, bagel, cucumber, capers, dill, salt, pepper
1 fully stacked bagel should contain 514 calories, 56g of carbohydrates, 13g of fat, 40g protein, 2958mg of sodium, and 2g of fiber
$11.35 per bagel
Quinoa, Chickpea Buddha Bowl
We had to include at least one vegan backpacking meal option. Without further ado, here’s the quinoa, chickpea, buddha bowl. Start by boiling ⅔ cup of water, and adding ⅓ cup of quinoa. Cook until excess water has evaporated. Then, add ½ cup of chickpeas that you previously drained, and packed in a ziplock back at home. Add ¼ cup of walnuts, a splash of lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and 1 tsp of olive oil. Finally, tear up an orange and add to your liking.
Quinoa, chickpeas, walnut, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon, orange
691 calories, 73g carbohydrate, 40g fat, 19g protein, 161mg sodium, 15g fiber
$2.45 per bowl
Best dehydrated backpacking foods
When it comes to easy backpacking food, it doesn’t get much easier than freeze dried or dehydrated meals. These pouches have long shelf lives, so you can save a stache to be ready for your next adventure. They also prep quickly with the addition of just hot water. Even if they don’t taste like meals out of a Michelin star restaurant, freeze dried backpacking meals are some of the easiest backpacking food available.
PackItGourmet Dehydrated Backpacking Meals
Made in the hill country of Texas by the Mullin family, you won’t find much better food coming out of a pouch than what’s offered by PackItGourmet. Most of their flavors are inspired by the comfort foods they’re accustomed to cooking for their family. Our favorite flavor is the Austintacious Tortilla Soup.
Fernweh Food Co. Dehydrated Backpacking Meals
Fernweh Food Co. is based out of Portland, OR, and has been developing a cult-like following for their dehydrated meals since “opening their doors” in 2019. In addition to making great tasting meals outright, Fernweh is also tackling the issue of sustainable packaging, in addition to offering some meals in bulk to reduce the packaging required to distribute. Our favorite flavor is the Green Tamale Pie
Good To-Go Dehydrated Backpacking Meals
As a co-owner of Annisa in New York’s Greenwich Village, Jennifer Schism may have been overqualified to start a dehydrated food company. With that said, Good To-Go whips up some seriously tasty pouches of food. Our favorite flavor is the Spicy Yellow Coconut Curry.
Best no-cook backpacking food
Stopping to pull a stove out isn’t always a great option, especially if you’re trying to crank out some miles to get to your next campsite. Read on for some of the best no-cook backpacking foods available.
Range Meal Replacement Bars
Range Meal Bars makes 700 calorie, gluten free meal replacement bars that are just a bit bigger than a deck of cards. They have vegan and vegetarian options, and all of their flavors are made with all natural, whole ingredients. Range bars also don’t freeze, so they’re ideal as an alpine backpacking meal, where cold temps would render other bars useless. The crowd favorite tends to be the Alpine Start flavor.
Trail Butter makes pouches of nut butter based food that come in very convenient packets. Each packet is about 725 calories. Although Trail Butter might not constitute an entire meal, they could make up a substantial portion of one, and they’re about as convenient as it gets. Our favorite flavor is the dark chocolate and coffee flavor.
Knowing some easy backpacking food makes getting out the door for your next adventure so much easier. Whether you prefer the cost savings of homemade backpacking food, the convenience of dehydrated backpacking food, or the efficiency of no cook backpacking food, we hope these backpacking food options were helpful.