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Smashley's avatar

Have any great ideas for backpacking food?

Asked by Smashley (6580points) August 14th, 2010

I’m headed off on a grand four week adventure soon, and I was wondering if anyone out there would share their tips for easy, light, high nutrient, backcountry food.

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21 Answers

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Trail mix can get old really quickly. I’m fond of dried pineapples or mangoes during backpacking trips. And if you have time to make something before you head out for the day, you might consider a wrap with some humus, a bit of cheese, and some fresh veggies. It makes for a quick, tasty, and healthy meal.

jazmina88's avatar

peanut butter….

Smashley's avatar

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities – good tips, but I’m definitely going to be in the backcountry too long to have any hope of keeping fresh stuff edible. It might be fun for the first day, but after that, it’s all got to have a long shelf life.

lilikoi's avatar

Here is my answer from this old thread:

Lot’s of good suggestions here. Four days isn’t really that long. You could not eat a thing and probably still survive. I don’t recommend that, just to put things in perspective.

I’ve done Backpacker’s Pantry before, and it is fine, but you have to pack out the trash. Remnant trash kind of eats away at my wilderness experience so I prefer to avoid packaging that can’t be reused. REI has ratings on their BP selection that was real helpful to me.

I always do oatmeal for breakfast, and bring raisins to mix into it. On a longer trip, I’ll bring sugar just to keep things interesting. Sugar can be dual purpose (put it on peanut butter and bread to make a sandwich or in tomato sauce to cut the tartness). It’s fast, healthy, lightweight, and filling.

For lunch, I do sandwiches (bread and peanut butter and sugar), citrus fruits (citrus I always crave after a couple of days so it is worth the weight for me), dried fruits. I mix dried fruit into oatmeal, too, to mix things up, and dried coconut is nice in oatmeal as well as in rice (creamy).

For dinner, I do pasta, couscous, risotto, rice, beans, and bring spices and tomato sauce. Spices are pretty light, and pack tons of flavor.

Some dried meats will last a long time without refrigeration.

Is there anything growing where you’ll be going that you could scavenge? If so, you could plan on collecting some food along the way.

I wouldn’t want to lug gatorade in a pack. It isn’t multi-functional, and only tastes good to me under extreme physical fatigue. Will you be hiking near water? If so, just pack a 1L bottle and plan to refill (boil or filter). Water is the heaviest thing I pack so I don’t want to carry a lot of it at any given time.

MREs are okay, but again lots of packaging.

Pack as light as possible. The lighter your pack, the more enjoyable the trip.

Frenchfry's avatar

What about dried meat like jerkey!! Didn’t they eat that in the olden days.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I make my own beef jerky and dried fruit, they’ll keep for several weeks in ziploc bags. If I take MRE items, I field strip all but the inner layer of packaging and take only the entree portion with me.

Tobotron's avatar

I took some of these to Croatia, two weeks in a bag, no worries…they don’t need a fridge or anything and oh my god its like eating at home no need to eat gross junk. All you need is a mini trangia or gas burner.

http://www.lookwhatwefound.co.uk/

UScitizen's avatar

Above is all good advice. The enemy is carrying water. Too heavy. Anything freeze dried is the best. Freeze dried vegetables are good. For the first night out, I prefer my own home made beef stew, frozen in a seal a meal bag. Yes, not freeze dried, so I carry some water in the bag, but it’s worth it. Simmer it down on the home stove to remove as much water as possible.

Cruiser's avatar

Freeze dried all the way. Expensive but your only option. Study up on native edible plants and maybe how to set traps or snares and or compact fishing gear if there are lakes and stream where you are going! Have an awesome time!

Smashley's avatar

@Cruiser – freeze dried the “only option?” Personally, I can’t stand the stuff and the price is enough to make me cry. I can arrange resupplies every 8–10 days or so, so it’s not like I’ll have a month of food on my back from the start. I was thinking more like high calorie “real” food that wouldn’t spoil.

Fishing and scavenging is definitely in order, but I think traps and snares are a no-no through the parks and forests I’ll be in. Thanks so much for the input though!

john65pennington's avatar

Baked biscuits. they last forever.

El_Cadejo's avatar

As others have said, freeze dried/dehydrated is the way to go. Anything that is instant just add water to cook is great. Freeze dried is retardedly expensive though so I tend to stay away from it and opt to either buy instant add water stuff, or fresh fruits and dehydrate them myself before hand. Making jerky is a great idea as well.

Gatorade would be a bitch to carry because the weight as someone said above, but you can get the powder gatorade that you can just add to your water and mix it up.

As others have also noted, gathering food from the wild is a great idea to help cut weight and give you stuff to eat.

I dont know how culinary inclined you are, but its pretty easy to make bread. I made it on one of my class trips, came out great. All you need to carry in is some flour, yeast, and salt. If you want to get really creative with this, make some pizza.

On another camping trip I brought some oranges with me and some cake mix. When I ate the oranges i just cut the top off and scooped out all the fruit. I think mixed the cake mix and poured it into the orange shells. wrapped it up with aluminium foil and threw it in the fire. ~20 min later I had some delicious orange flavored cake.

Where ya goin on your trip?

lilikoi's avatar

I am gonna have to try that orange peel trick…

Coloma's avatar

Nuts, homemade jerky, apples, raisens, granola, energy bars, peanut butter, crackers, bananas, smoked salmon, hard boiled eggs. I hate to cook anything when hiking, keep it simple. :-)

Rarebear's avatar

Four week adventure or four day adventure? Do you like to cook or do you just boil water and rehydrate (that’s what I do). What are your water sources? If it’s a 4 week trip, how many caches are you setting up?

deni's avatar

Mangos definitely. And since I can seriously live on beans, while backpacking this summer we bought dehydrated refried and black beans and ate a ton of them. Mostly we brought tortillas and made burritos and sometimes we made rice too if we were really starving. It was delicious. And those dried refried beans were GOOD. Better than the ones you’d make at home sometimes!

Rarebear's avatar

OK, I just saw, 4 week adventure, and you’re setting up caches. I’m an ultralight backpacker so I just do dehydrated meals, but you said you don’t want that. I don’t cook—I just boil water and rehydrate. No pots to clean (or carry).

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Also, remember to get one of those tiny stoves that use solid alcohol tablets. Less weight and mess than gasoline stoves, no need to make a campfire unless you need it for warmth.

jaytkay's avatar

Eggs Eggs do not need refrigeration. Surprising to most Americans, but true. Great camping food.

And I really like Tasty Bite foil pouch Indian food for camping. (Indian MREs LOL!)
http://www.tastybite.com/

Trader Joe’s has their own version (which I suspect is Tasty Bite with a different label).

El_Cadejo's avatar

@jaytkay eggs seem like theyd be a pain. i know id have broken egg bits all over everything in my bag after about 10 min of walking lol

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