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What’s the Best Food to Bring Backpacking?

ftd-backpackfood

What’s for dinner on your backpacking trip?

What’s for dinner, you ask? Typically, as a backpacker, we make those decisions days, weeks, and even months ahead of setting foot to the woods.venison-mrec

While it’s important for us to maintain proper hydration when we’re packing, it’s also important to provide adequate nutrients for our quest to the outdoors.

The National Outdoor Leadership School suggests that the estimated backcountry traveler burns between 2,500 and 4,500 calories, depending on their individual physiology and their activity. That translates into roughly 1.5 to 2.5 lbs. of food per day.

Refrigeration is one of the commodities that we tend to leave behind when we head to the backwoods, which means that we have to find other alternatives for our food sources. One of the best forms of food on the market today are dried foods.

With all of the options for dry foods in today’s backpacking market, one of the best is pasta and noodles. They are both very light and take up minimal volume in the pack, which is one of the most important aspects in backpacking.

Pasta and noodles come in varying sizes and weights alongside an abundant number of flavors. With the small camping stoves, such as the MSR Dragonfly or the Jetboil, these pastas and noodles are a convenient meal in the backwoods. And, with a kill shot from a wild animal such as a wild boar, mule deer, elk, or antelope, the pasta and noodles can become even more tasty.

Add a little protein to the carbohydrates of a pasta or noodle source and you’re guaranteed to survive in the deep country. While pasta and noodles are a good source for the backpacker, other alternatives also exist.

Freeze dried/dehydrated foods are a quick option for the packer that takes a short break from their hike. Canned foods, as well, can provide adequate nutrients for the avid backpacker. However, canned foods are fairly heavy in weight and can be a nuisance for the packer traveling many miles.

Related links:

What I Learned: Treating Dehydration When You’re Miles from Camp

12 Survival Products for the Ultimate Emergency Kit

10 Reasons to Date an Outdoor Lady

Recipe for Cooking Chicken Fried Backstrap in Camp


Many spices and herbs are also lightweight and can be essential to the proper flavoring of the backwoods traveler. Throw in salt, basil, cumin, cinnamon, or even cayenne pepper, and you’ll be eating as if you were sitting at your kitchen table.

With only a few spices and herbs, the backpacker can eat with almost the same commodities as at home. Some would even suggest that backwoods cooking is far better than at the dinner table at home.

If you’re heading to the backwoods and are looking for a lightweight meal plan for that long hike, check out these options at SectionHiker. All these ideas will be beneficial when you start to put together your backpacking meals for that big outing.

What do you eat in the backcountry?

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What’s the Best Food to Bring Backpacking?