13 Smart Backpacking Food Ideas - Fire Maple

13 Smart Backpacking Food Ideas

When it comes to packing food for a backpacking trip, you want to make sure that your food is light, yet nutritious and tasty. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 13 smart backpacking food ideas that will fit that bill. From trail mix to energy bars, these recipes will provide the sustenance you need without weighing you down or costing too much. Whether you’re hitting the trails by yourself or joining up with friends on a multi-day hike, these recipes are sure to come in handy.

Choosing the Right Type of Backpacking Food

When it comes to packing your food for backpacking, there are a few things to keep in mind.

The first is that you should always pack as much variety as possible. This means packing foods that can be eaten raw, cooked over a fire, or frozen and thawed on the trail.

Another thing to keep in mind is how much weight your food can carry. Some lightweight options include dehydrated meals and pre-packaged food items like trail mix bars or energy bars. However, these options can also be expensive and May not contain all the nutrients someone may need on the trail.

If money is no object, then foods like hearty breakfasts or dinners can be packed with plenty of calories and fiber to provide lasting energy throughout the day.

Ultimately, it's important to weigh your options and decide what will work best for you on your particular hike.

What should you pack for a backpacking trip?

When packing for a backpacking trip, it's important to think about what you will need to sustain yourself on the trail. This includes food, water, and equipment. Below are some smart ideas for packing food for a backpacking trip.

  1. Take snacks and drinks with you on the trail. This includes energy bars and sandwiches as well as bottled water and energy drinks. You will be tempted to stop frequently to eat or drink, but keeping your hunger at bay will help extend your hiking time.
  2. Pack a lightweight camping stove that can boil water or cook meals. A good option is the MSR Hubba Lite 2-Burner Stove with Side Tables. This stove weighs just 3 ounces and has an integrated cup holder making it easy to take with you on the trail.
  3. Make sure to pack enough food and water for each day of your hike, as well as backup supplies in case of emergencies. Most backpackers carry between 8 and 12 pounds of food per person, so plan ahead! Consider packing items like granola bars, power bars, dried fruits and vegetables, nuts, individual packets of oatmeal, couscous packs or pasta sauce , Trail Mix , peanut butter packets etc., that can be eaten easily without having to prepare anything ahead of time.

One thing not to forget is sunscreen! Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can damage your skin while hiking in summertime even if you're wearing sunscreen applied before

How to make food while backpacking

If you're like most backpackers, you enjoy cooking your own food while on the trail. Backpacking food can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. Here are some tips for making delicious and healthy backpacking food:

1) Find a source of fresh water. This is essential for cooking and drinking, so make sure to always carries enough with you.

2) Pack a portable stove. Stoves come in all shapes and sizes, so find one that will fit into your gear list and pack size. Depending on the type of stove you choose, you may need fuel (propane, charcoal, wood), pots and pans, utensils, and a fire starter such as lighter fluid or matches.

3) Choose foods that will travel well. When packing your backpack, try to pack foods that can withstand both high heat and humidity (such as chili). And don't forget the condiments! For example, bring packets of ketchup or hot sauce with you to add flavor to your meals without adding extra calories or weight to your pack.

4) Plan your meals ahead of time. This way, you won't have to waste time rummaging through your backpack in search of something to cook when hunger strikes. Use meal planning software or an app to help plan out your meals ahead of time based on caloric requirements and preferences.

5) Avoid heavy items that will slow you down. When packing your backpack, try to pack as light as possible while still ensuring that your food will stay hot or cold. This means avoiding bulky groceries and cooking equipment and instead packing small containers or packs of food that you can easily access.

6) Make campfire cooking a breeze. Whether you're using a stove or an open fire, preparing your meals around the campfire can be a fun and easy way to spend your downtime. Just be sure to have all the necessary supplies, including kindling, logs, pots and pans, and spices.

7) Enjoy your outdoorsy cuisine! When cooking on the trail, don't forget to savor the moment and take in all the natural beauty around you. After all, what better way to turn a day of hiking into a memorable experience than by enjoying some delicious home-cooked food?

Top 13 food ideas for backpacking trips

Whether you're hitting the trails for a weekend hike or planning a month-long trip, packing your own food is key to maximizing your time outdoors. Here are thirteen smart food ideas for backpacking trips that will not only keep you nourished but also save you money.

  1. Trail mix: combine nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and chocolate chips to make a healthy snack that will keep you satisfied on long hikes.
  2. DIY dehydrated meals: choose from dehydrated fruits, vegetables, and meat options to create custom snacks and meals that are both nutritious and budget-friendly.
  3. Pre-made meals: many backpacking stores carry ready-to-eat meals that are perfect for quick and easy packing.
  4. Fresh fruit: pack a variety of fruits to enjoy on your hike, whether they're eaten fresh or stored in a sealed container for later.
  5. Canned goods: pack cans of food that you can open easily without having to wait for cooking time in outdoors.
  6. Energy bars: energy bars are an easy way to refuel on long hikes, providing you with lasting energy and sustenance throughout your journey.
  7. Spicy lentil soup: make this hearty soup packed with fiber and protein to stay nourished on long hikes.
  8. Granola bars: make your own granola bars using healthy ingredients like oats, nuts, and seeds for a quick and easy snack that will last throughout your trip.
  9. Canned fruits and vegetables: pack cans of diced fruits and vegetables to add flavor and nutrition to your meals without having to bring any cooking gear.
  10. Instant oatmeal packets: store-bought instant oatmeal packets are a budget-friendly meal option that can be customized with added spices and nuts for a unique taste.
  11. Instant mashed potatoes: instant mashed potatoes are an easy and fast meal option that can be customized with different toppings like cheese, bacon, and sour cream.
  12. Instant soups: many backpacking stores carry a variety of instant soups that are perfect for a quick and easy meal on the go.
  13. Soft pretzels: soft pretzels are a classic backpacking food that can be enjoyed with a variety of toppings like peanut butter, cheese, and jelly.

These food ideas for backpacking trips will help you stay energized and satisfied on your next outdoor adventure.


Backpacking is an amazing way to explore new places and get a true taste of the local culture. However, it's also hard work carrying all of your food with you on your trip. This list of 13 food ideas will help you pack light and still enjoy great meals while backpacking. From easy-to-make snacks to hearty entrees, these recipes are sure to please even the most picky backpacker.