Hungry Hiker: You Can Plan Your Own Food
No matter where you go, who you are with, or how long you are out for, the one thing about camping and backpacking that stays the same is the food, and how great you feel when you eat it.
After a long day on trail the only thing I want to do is set up my stove and cook a meal. My favorite part of planning a trip is buying, repackaging, and packing the food. I’ve gone on several trips as part of my coursework in college, and there were parts of the menus that stood out to me from each trip.
Fried bagels and breakfast sandwiches, Gado Gado, tofu scramble, M&M pancakes, and other dishes that I’ve had have stayed with me, reminding me of all the great memories I have on trail. These memories inspired me to think about my menu, making sure to keep my morals and palate happy.
I don’t eat meat besides fish, and in addition to that stipulation on my diet, I also care about supporting local businesses as much as possible when I shop. When I was at college I shopped at the local co-op, and continued that when I got home. Luckily, I was able to get good quality and organic dehydrated fruits and granola.
I was also able to dehydrate some fruit and vegetables on my own using my professors’ dehydrator. (Thanks Paul and Amanda!) Once I finished shopping the last thing I had to do was separate the food into meals.
Meal planning is exhausting, but it’s worth it. Below are some tips based on my mistakes and the other trips I’ve gotten to meal plan for.
Buy more than you think you need, or measure better
Instead of hoping that the food you purchased will stretch to fit all the meals, actually do the math. The alternative is spending more money than you meant to.
Consider buying in bulk
Most stores let you bring your own container so you will have less waste at the end of the day. Often, there are more options.
Test your portions
It’s always better to know if you need more food before you leave, not while you are on trail. Plus, you get extra practice cooking.
You are probably not going to cook a two-course meal each night. Keep that in mind when you buy your food.
Watch your protein
It’s important to have a good supply of protein on trail so you can get the energy you need. Beans and nuts are both great non-meat protein sources.
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