Best Backpacking Food – simple and nutritious

Keep it simple, nutritious and save weight: I take inexpensive trail foods which are both tasty and nutritious. Specifically, foods that give you calories, protein, good fats, vitamins and other micro nutrients. This keeps you healthy and cruising along the trail with a spring in your step. Just as important are foods (and meals) that can be quickly prepared. My outdoor time is precious and I prefer to spend it hiking and enjoying my natural surroundings rather than food prep. What I show below incorporates all of these qualities and therefore is “the best backpacking food.”

Quick Links to Best Backpacking Food Resources on this Site

What types of food should I take?

  • I minimize freeze-dried backpacking food (but do use some like this). Be sure to read the labels carefully. Compared to homemade, many freeze dried foods while easy, are expensive, low on nutrition, & have tons of sodium.
  • Instead, I prefer healthy, natural foods: dried fruit & vegetables, nuts, whole grains like these tasty crackers, soybean jerky (veggie protein), vegetable oils, nut butterswhole-fat powdered milk, etc.
  • Therefore, while it takes a bit more upfront time, I mostly make my own uncomplicated & delicious meals out of the same heathy ingredients. Meal Recipe are here.
  • Finally, I do take some “healthier” energy bars like PROBARs.
Best backpacking food

While we make most of our own meals, there are some simple and healthy freeze dried meals like this Black Beans & Rice  that we do use. We doctor it up into one of our favorite dinners by adding grated cheddar cheese and corn chips. Recipe is here.

How much food should I take?

It is actually quite straight forward. Here is primer on: How to calculate your pounds of food per day.” You can probably save more weight on food than almost anything if you follow the primer!

  • My nutritious food weighs about 30% less than a typical backpacker’s food. This could save me 5 pounds or more of food on a trip (my 11 lbs of food for a 7-day trip vs. a typical backpacker’s 16 lbs).
  • How many pounds of food per day? 
    • Although it may vary, the short answer is around 1.5 lb/day for 2-5 day shorter mileage trips. The majority of the clients I guide for trips up to 5 days get by fine on around 1.5 lb/day.
    • The slightly longer answer is 1.4 to 1.7 lb/day for backpackers covering 10+ miles a day or for trips up to a week long.
  • A good target to balance calories and nutrition is 120 to 125 calories per ounce of food. In comparison, most backpackers don’t average above 100 cal/oz for their food.
  • Maintain nutrition: Try to get the most calories per weight in your food but not at the expense of a poor diet. You want a balance of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins & other nutrients.
A simple and quickly assembled set of food for a 6 to 7 day trip. Aligning food in rows per/day helps to organize and provides a useful check that you've packed correctly.

A simple and quickly assembled set of food for a 6 to 7 day trip looks like this. Aligning food in rows per day helps to organize while providing a useful check that you’ve packed food correctly. Link to a detailed 7 day food packing list for the above.

Some quick ways to reduce food weight – but still eat healthy!

Best Backpacking Food

Convenient pouches of my favorite, almond butter 

  • Take calorie dense but nutritious food. As noted, food at 125 calories per ounce will weigh 30% less than a typical backpacker’s food for the same calories and probably has better nutrition.
  • Don’t carry extra food: The standard advice to carry an extra day of food is not as set in stone as others profess. I figure I can make it at least 3 days without any food. (I’ve had to do this before and feel comfortable with my choice.) This is not a recommendation for others to do the same. You’ll have to make your own decision on extra food. Maybe bring just a bit less extra food on your next trip.
  • How to “Skip” one day of food: I eat a huge breakfast or lunch before I start hiking the first day and I eat a huge meal when I get out. By boosting my off trail calories on the first and last day I eliminate carrying a whole day’s worth of food in my pack. So for a weekend trip (three days and two nights) I might carry 3 to 4 pounds of food. That’s about 1/2 the weight of the standard recommendation of 2 lb per day + an extra day’s food = 8 pounds.

Getting Protein

Getting protein is always a challenge on the trail. A creative strategy of cheese, powdered milk, powdered soy protein, nuts, whole grains, dried beans and the healthier high-protein trail/energy bars (and dried meats if you aren’t veggie) will get you most of the way there.

The protein in these meats along with cheese will complement the proteins in grains (rice, grape nuts, crackers, grains in energy bars, etc.) and other vegetable protein sources like soy and dried beans. Many dried meats like the hard-dry salami are also high in fat, increasing your calories per ounce.

Best Backpacking Food

Bison Jerky is another backpacking favorite of mine.

What types of food should I take for each meal?

Snacks

  • GORP: In the past, my basic food was the old standby GORP. Today, I custom mix my own, getting most of my ingredients from Trader Joe’s (TJ’s) and the bulk bins of my local food coop. When hiking with others I mix to their specifications. Feel free to get creative with your GORP!
  • Un-mixed GORP fixings: Now, more often than not, I take my GORP unmixed. Some favorites are whole raw almonds and walnuts, organic Thompson seedless raisins (TJs) unsweetened dried mango, apricots, papaya (all unsweetened & unsulfured) dried apricots, sweetened and unsweetened nuts, and honey sesame sticks (all from TJ’s, also found in natural food stores and food coops).
  • Honey sesame sticks: are 150 calories per ounce and a staple of my backpacking food (reliably from Whole Foods and online). I sometimes mix 50/50 with candied nuts (many nut options from TJ’s) for variety.
  • Peanut M&M’s (or even better almonds) are still great. Cheap, melt proof, and available almost everywhere (even on the GR20 in Corsica!) they are tasty, high in calories, easy to pack and eat. The advent of the dark chocolate version of the plain M&M’s into my GORP has changed the way I think about GORP.
  • Energy Bars: The best energy bars are compact and have reasonable caloric density and nutrition. They are easy to procure, no effort to pack, and easily unwrapped and eaten on the trail (even while hiking). They are expensive though. I like many varieties of Pro Bars, Kind Bars and Lara Bars. These have healthy, natural ingredients, less sugars and good nutrition. The Pro Bars and Kind Bars are close to 125 calories per ounce.
  • Protein Bars: Recently to increase my trail protein, I have been taking some higher protein versions of energy bars like ProBar’s Base Protein Bars or Cliff Builder’s Protein Bars (usually enhanced with soy protein). There are other manufacturers making good protein bars.
  • Nut Butters (peanut or almond butter–a personal favorite, from TJs or Costco) significantly boost caloric density. They are cheap and easy to pack. They are also a healthy fat, especially the almond butter. Get them in the healthier, un-hydrogenated variety. If you get them in a plastic jar you can take them on a plane or put them directly in your pack without having to repackage. They can also be added to hot meals, making a lovely Asian style sauce.
  • *Soy jerky: soy jerkies (Primal & Stonewall) 1) Stonewall’s Jerquee (the overs and unders for a discount) and 2) a the moister Primal Strips Vegan Jerky. Soy jerky is not the highest in calories but it is veggie, tasty, and adds protein. Meat eaters may choose hard salami or meat jerky.
  • Dried Meats: For those that are not veggie, dried meats are another option for protein and food variety. I take meat jerky (my favorites are Bison Jerky and Turkey Jerky online or from TJs) and/or hard, dry salami (I take locally made salami without nitrates). Pacific Gold brand Beef and Turkey jerky that Costco sells doesn’t have a bunch of additives. Much cheaper than alternate sources.
  • Tuna in olive oil: Get the tuna in the plastic packages that is packed in olive oil . The olive oil adds calories and healthy fat. If you can’t find it, there is a more common canola oil version.
  • Freeze dried meats and soy”meats”: The following protein sources can easily be added to most meals (your preference) (Soy) Textured Vegetable Protein – chicken flavor, and (Real meat) – freeze dried chicken or turkey (1 oz per serving).
  • Vegetable Oils: Packets or small bottles of extra virgin olive oil (my favorite) or canola oil add healthy calories to my dinners. I usually add an ounce or two to most meals.
  • Cheese: is a treat and adds calories, some protein and calcium. Note that cheese doesn’t keep as well as some other foods, we always eat the cheese first. Cheddar cheese is around 115 cal/oz and keeps better than other types. Parmesan is around 130 cal/oz and keeps very well. However, these are not healthy fats.
  • Crackers or Dense Breads add whole grains. They are good vehicles for eating the nut butters and cheese for dried meats. Some crackers can be quite high in vegetable fat (good) and approach 130 calories per ounce. Dr. Kracker crackers online or at Whole Foods are high in fat and almost indestructible on trail. In France, I rediscovered Petit Beurre crackers that are delicious and high in calories. They go wonderfully with a strong cheese. Breads (and tortillas) have lower caloric density (higher water content and little fat), rarely getting over 85 calories per ounce. Use them sparingly for variety. When carrying a bear canister, tortillas are a favorite hiking substitute as they are more compact.
  • Dried Fruits, e.g. Dried mango, un-sweetened/unsulfured add important fiber, variety, minerals and vitamins. I use them with some discretion since they are lower in calories per ounce (around 80 calories per ounce). I try to get ones that are un-sulfured and unsweetened, and preferably organic. If you are on a budget, Costco has huge bags of inexpensive, high quality mixed fruit. Unsweetened mango slices from TJs and unsweetened papaya from WF and food coops are favorites.
  • Chocolate (as needed), to add fat and calories. I prefer small pieces of very dark chocolate (70% or higher–with nibs even better) for dessert. Chocolate lovers will understand.
  • You can add Cocoa Nibs with your chocolate for a delicious crunch and a lot of phytonutrients.

Breakfasts

  • Whole Fat Powdered Milk: *Nestle Nido is a staple in my backpacking diet. This whole-fat powdered milk is 140 calories per ounce and tastes great. It can usually be found at Hispanic markets or online. I also use it to mix my own hot chocolate, as well as add it to breakfast cereals. Powdered milk is an animal protein that will complement vegetable proteins like soybeans and grains. And, it’s wonderful in coffee. In addition to the Nido, I add a scoop or two of Plain Soy Protein Powder (cheaper when you buy it at TJs!) for additional protein (vegan) in my breakfasts.
  • Whole Grain Cereals: I usually alternate between two breakfast cereals mixed with Nestle Nido whole-fat powdered milk and soy protein powder.

Caffeine

Caffeine is important! Nothing can get folks grumpier and harder to get along with than not getting their caffeine the way they like it.

  • Coffee: Those that prefer coffee may choose to use Starbucks VIA packets (which have pretty much taken over backcountry coffee). Downside to the VIA is that it is expensive, but can be as little as $0.72 per cup at Amazon! Via packets can also be found slightly discounted at *Costco in bulk packages.
  • For better and less expensive coffee, although heavier and more fuss, use a *MSR MugMateTM Coffee/Tea Filter in a 16 oz mug (MLD 475 ml mug is my favorite). Pre-grind your coffee before the trip and package it into individual servings in ZipLok snack bags
    • The brewing technique suspends the gold filter in the mug. From there, add the coffee then slowly pour boiling water in allowing it to drain through the filter with each pouring. At the end you will have water almost to the brim of the mug and the filter mostly submerged in the water. After 3-4 minutes slowly pull the filter out of the mug allowing it to fully drain. You may wish to top the cup up with more hot water after removing the filter. This will be a full rich cup of coffee similar to a french press.
  • Tea: I make loose leaf tea, connoisseur style. See the Tea Section. Real tea doesn’t need to be ground, keeps longer, and is easier to cleanup (with the exception of SB Via). Tea bags are a less complicated alternative if  they are in individually sealed envelopes, and are reasonably fresh.
  • No Stove Caffeine: The no-stove alternative is chocolate-covered-coffee-beans. Yumm!

Dinners

  • For most meals try to make your own simple dinners based on ingredients like instant rice, freeze dried beans, whole wheat couscous (my favorite and from TJ’s), or instant mashed potatoes
  • Freeze dried dinners can be tasty, but most are bulky, expensive, extremely high in sodium and low in caloric density. It is probably best to minimize their use on a trip unless
    • 1) you really like them
    • 2) want hot dinners, and/or
    • 3) are very limited on time and inclination for pre-trip food prep
  • If you need to take freeze dried meals, try to use the simpler meals that are lower in sodium and higher in fat (e.g. Backpackers Pantry Mac and Cheese). If I bring them, I will usually add freeze dried veggies from JustTomatoes.com to spice up meals and then add olive oil to boost the calories.
  • If you are limited in pack volume (e.g. using a bear canister, or just a very full pack) freeze dried meals may not be a good choice. Taking them out of their Mylar packaging and putting them in quart, heavy duty, freezer baggies will help reduce volume. (Once you do this tho they will not keep for years like the mylar sealed ones.)
  • Most of my dinners get a liberal dose of hot pepper flakes, or ground cayenne pepper. I also use Dave’s Insanity Sauce (Please be careful it is the only sauce ever banned from the National Fiery Food Show. The NYT calls it the hottest culinary experience known to man.)
  • I rehydrate many of my meals by pouring hot water directly into a quart baggie that contains the dinner. I wait for 10-20 minutes and share the meal with my partner using long handled spoons. When you are done eating, zip up the baggie and KP is complete!
  • If you are doing the rehydrate in the bag, you may consider a Anti Gravity Gear Cozy.
  • Hot Chocolate: I make my own with Ghirardelli Double Chocolate mix and Nestle Nido. High in calories and delicious! [4 Tbsp cocoa mix + ~¼ cup Nido]

Miscellaneous

  • I do not bring vitamin supplements. I believe that well selected foods should provide ample nutrition.
  • Fresh food, although attractive, is not a good choice. It weighs a ton, and doesn’t keep well. I don’t take it, even for the first day.
  • Canned foods. A disaster! Why carry a metal can around with you? Ultra low caloric density, and you have to carry the empty can back out. Ouch! The exception is tuna in foil packets but only if it is packed in oil.

Cooking and Stoves

  • See: Best Backpacking Stove Systems for pro’s and cons of the best canister and best alcohol stove systems.
  • For green reasons, I am not fond of non-refillable, non-recyclable canister stoves. When I solo on short trips, I may skip the stove, eat cold food and take caffeine pills for my morning buzz (or make a cold powdered milk and instant coffee shake). Not cooking limits my food choices but makes for speedy meals on the trail and simplifies pre-trip preparation.
  • *Trail Designs Caldera Cone Stove System: Since the introduction of greener, easy to use, extremely efficient, and very light alcohol stoves, I have warmed to stoves and usually take one—even when I solo.
  • One of the advantages of the Trail Designs Caldera is that I can light it and leave it unattended while I perform camp chores.

How to make Backcountry Tea (loose leaf, connoisseur style)

 

tea-video-image

Backcountry Tea using the Trail Designs Caldera Cone Stove cooking system

By | 2017-05-25T12:52:46+00:00 May 24th, 2017|Backpacking Food, Beginners|53 Comments

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53 Comments

  1. Leslie December 1, 2015 at 2:34 am - Reply

    Hey Alan — enjoying your re-launched site. I’d like to pin some of your articles in Pinterest. Are you going to add that to your social share buttons.

    Also, I’ll be bringing a group from Indiana out to AT next May. Going to try the Front Royal to Harper’s Ferry section. Any suggestions?

    Still remembering the Escalante trip with such fondness. I hope you’ll add some post about hikes in that area. I want to go back.

    • Alan Dixon December 1, 2015 at 3:01 am - Reply

      Hi Leslie. Pintarest is on the to-do list. Right now just Facebook and Twitter social share buttons. Been a crap-load of work to do a complete makeover on the site, still chasing down bugs and skeletons.

      Harper’s Ferry to the PA line is very nice and a classic section of the AT. And yes, some posts about Escalante and Utah will be in the works for future trips. Stay tuned. All the best, -alan

  2. john brokx January 1, 2016 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    Regarding Cannister Stoves: They have a tool now that empties and punctures used cannisters so that they can be recycled.

    • Alan Dixon January 1, 2016 at 9:18 pm - Reply

      Correct John, they do have such a tool. But it’s not as simple and ideal as it seems. It only punctures but does not empty the canister. And there’s a lot of work to be done to “recycle” a fuel canister. Chances are good that one will still end up with a box of partially used canisters. I discuss this in this in my Best Backpacking Stove System – Trail Designs Caldera vs. Jetboil post.

  3. Robbie Z January 7, 2016 at 4:41 am - Reply

    Starbucks….smarbucks…..there are plenty of other inexpensive quick coffee solutions out there. ..

    • Alan Dixon January 8, 2016 at 6:21 pm - Reply

      Yes the VIA is definitely expensive and you can make better on trail Coffee. My favorite is to pre-grind coffee (whatever is your favorite) into individual serving baggies. And then use a MSR Gold filter in a 16 oz titanium mug. Just keep slowly pouring hot water in until it almost reaches the top of the mug/filter. Then slowly pull the filter out while you let it drain. You will likely need to top off the mug with a bit more hot water. This filter is a coffee option on my 9 Pound Gear List in the Cooking Gear Section. -a

      And apologies for the the late posting and reply to your email.(I am just out from doing the Torres deal Paine Circuit in Chile). -a

    • Brian L August 3, 2017 at 2:04 am - Reply

      I have started using loadable tea bags. Fill with your desired amount of your choice of coffee grounds, add a staple or cotton string to secure it, and dunk! Just like you would a regular tea bag. Leave it in till you reach your desired strength and then dispose. NO MESS!!!! Unlike the MSR Gold Filter.

  4. Cameron February 2, 2016 at 6:45 am - Reply

    Do an online search for Starkist Yellowfin Tuna in Extra Virgin Olive Oil Pouch. The best.

    • Alan Dixon February 2, 2016 at 2:53 pm - Reply

      Thanks Cameron,
      Had been trying unsuccessfully to find this for the last few years. Thought it was out of production. But you are correct, I can order on Amazon. Good deal!

    • Dogwood December 21, 2016 at 4:16 am - Reply

      Notice the Yellowtail in EVOO regularly in large grocery stores.

      FWIW, the foil packed tuna has a 30-35% higher cal/oz ratio than canned tuna because the canned contains more liquid(broth, mostly water) than the foil packs. Plus, the wt on the package does’t include the packaging wt. i.e. the tin can weighs more then the foil packaging in itself in the same serving size. Double wt whammy. It adds up to more wt less calories to haul cans in the same foil product packed in the same liquid. Do a side by side comparison involving same serving size wt, same product packed in the same liquid and the stats are clear.

      • Alan Dixon December 22, 2016 at 1:12 am - Reply

        Yes, tuna in in foil packets with Olive Oil has far more calories per oz!

  5. Mike February 12, 2016 at 3:35 am - Reply

    if using FD meals, using a thumb tack i will poke a hole in the bag and squeeze out excess air, then place a piece of tape over the hole. This greatly helps reduce space as well without repackaging.

  6. James February 22, 2016 at 3:26 am - Reply

    Hello Alan,

    Ever backpack the New York section of the AT?

    • Alan Dixon February 24, 2016 at 12:43 am - Reply

      Sadly, I have only day-hiked sections of it in NY. A joy yet to come!

  7. David March 15, 2016 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    Do you have a menu section on your site for how to make DIY dehydrated meals? Can you recommend some links?

  8. Jenn March 16, 2016 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    Thanks for such awesome info. Its a big help. Im planning to hike part of the trans canada trail soon with the kiddos. Andu have given so many great ideas and info. Ever tried holy crap cereal on ur treks? Ive been looking at that as an option it doesnt take much to fill u for a long time and is lightweight and full of good stuff but i think it will require extra bits added to help it meet a hikers dietary needs not sure exactly what tho. Lol i actually wrote them and asked but apparently i stumped them.

  9. Joan April 12, 2016 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    Love your post. Where can I find your recipes? Thanks for your info!

    • Alan Dixon April 12, 2016 at 7:48 pm - Reply

      Working on it Joan. Been backpacking too much and writing too little 😉 Sorry! -alan

  10. Alan Dixon June 13, 2016 at 3:53 am - Reply


    Nutritious Backpacking Meal Recipes Have Posted

    http://www.adventurealan.com/nutritious-backpacking-meal-recipes/

    These tasty and nutritious backpacking meal recipes are healthier, have more calories and cost less than commercial, freeze dried backpacking meals. Keep it simple — there are enough nutritious backpacking meal recipes here to provide sufficient daily variety to keep meals fun and interesting. But there aren’t so many recipes that I spend too much time buying ingredients and assembling a large inventory of gourmet meals. I’d rather spend my time hiking than fussing with food.

  11. Steve June 16, 2016 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    Hello Alan, after looking at the above photo it seems that the majority of the items are snacks. Can you help me understand your thought process on consuming the items. It appears that the top two items are breakfast and dinner. Are you just snacking the rest of the day? Thank you

    • Alan Dixon June 16, 2016 at 4:30 pm - Reply

      Yes Steve, there is a fair amount of snacking going on 🙂
      But If you look at the sample food list and my newly posted Nutritious Backpacking Meal Recipes (and especially the “Meal Rotation Planner”) you should have a fairly good idea of where stuff fits. Let me know if you have more Q’s after you have digested those two posts. All the best, -alan

  12. Lane Taglio June 19, 2016 at 5:34 am - Reply

    Hi Alan, Great site! Have you ever had Golden Trout RAW? I’m hiking the JMT in Aug and plan on supplementing my diet with raw Golden/Brookie Trout and wondered if you think this would be safe? I actually prefer trout raw but do not want to get sick or take on any parasites! I’ve “poached” trout on past trips but want to keep fuel weight to a minimum. Thank You!!

    • Alan Dixon June 19, 2016 at 11:42 am - Reply

      Hi Lane,
      I haven’t had Golden Trout raw. And I am not remotely an expert on fish borne diseases so I couldn’t advise you on this. I do know people who eat cooked trout in the Sierras. Most just eat Brook Trout since they are a non-native species. They practice catch and release for the Rainbows and especially for the rarer Golden Trout. Obviously some streams and lakes have a larger and heather population than others, and that might factor into this. But that’s a decision each hiker makes for themselves.
      Have a great trip on the JMT. All the best, -alan

    • Willow February 7, 2017 at 7:38 am - Reply

      I’m not an expert on fish born diseases either, but I do know that fresh water fish carry parasites that when cooked, smoked or dried are killed and rendered harmless, and when eaten raw ARE harmful to humans. (I don’t suppose the parasites bother the bears much though.) I don’t think the fish species makes any difference to the risk of parasites either. That’s why no one serves uncooked freshwater fish sushi or tartar. Hope this helps.

  13. Steve June 29, 2016 at 6:04 am - Reply

    https://www.dollartree.com/Nescafe-Taster-rsquo-s-Choice-Single-Serving-Instant-Coffee-Packets/p353974/index.pro

    Caffeine without Starbucks expense. You have to get thrifty in this day nad age

  14. John July 10, 2016 at 6:25 am - Reply

    Love your site, Alan! Thanks for all the useful info.

    I’m doing the 4 Pass Loop trail in Colorado next month with a group. Yay! We are doing it in four nights with half days in front and back. Bear canisters are required and the plan is I’m sharing the largest Bearikade with a claimed volume of 900 cubic inches.

    I have not done any multi-day trips and have never used a bear canister. Is this going to be big enough for two? Could we use a smaller one? (I’m using your information regarding what food to bring. I don’t know about the other guy.)

    • Alan Dixon July 10, 2016 at 8:22 pm - Reply

      John,
      It should work but will be close. I would definitely go for low volume, compressible, and moldable food like gorp, tortillas, etc. And for sure, no freeze dried meals in their original mylar packaging! IDEALLY, you’d like to see if all the food fits a few nights before your trip so you’ll have time to make adjustments in case it doesn’t fit the first time. Have a great trip, -alan

  15. Dogwood December 21, 2016 at 4:05 am - Reply

    Good piece Alan. Looks just like what I do for each resupply.

  16. Dogwood December 21, 2016 at 4:26 am - Reply

    Might consider Coconut milk powder added to b-fast and dinner entrees. Use it a lot. Native Forest brand is the best I’ve seen as it’s not high content maltodextrin as many brands are.

    Unsweetened Coconut flake or Trader Joes or Bare Coconut Chips are another tasty high cal/oz treat.

    If you’re carrying EVOO bring along some dried powdered hummus to reconstitute. All kinds of things can be added to make unique on trail hummus versions. chives, fresh green onions(ramps), crushed garlic, dried tomatoes, fresh diced red peppers, pinch of pine nuts, pinch of chia or shelled hemp seed, etc. Pair with some crackers or to extend mashed potatoes with a twist. c.

  17. Dogwood December 21, 2016 at 4:27 am - Reply

    Hummus goes great on tortillas.

  18. The Bearded Hiker January 29, 2017 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    Enjoyed the post Alan! New here and loving your site so far.

    Dogwood….I never ever considered dried hummus before! Brilliant and definitely coming on my next hike.

  19. Toni May 25, 2017 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    Great post! Thanks for all the helpful info in the article and comments.
    1. Ever consider using resuseable baggies https://rezip.com/

    2. F the haters VIAs is where it’s at (you can usually find them half off at discount supermarkets)

    • Alan Dixon May 25, 2017 at 1:44 pm - Reply

      Haven’t but will need to check them out. But we do use most of our freezer bags many times. Thanks for the tip! Best, -alan

  20. Pat Gioko May 28, 2017 at 7:47 am - Reply

    Great information there. As an aspiring hiker, I will follow you on Facebook for more tips.

    • Alan Dixon May 28, 2017 at 9:46 am - Reply

      Thanks Pat! Have a great season hiking, -a

  21. Gary June 3, 2017 at 7:32 am - Reply

    Kiva coffee cubes have worked really well for me.

    • Alan Dixon June 4, 2017 at 6:32 am - Reply

      Thanks Gary!

  22. David Adams June 5, 2017 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    I once got Dave’s insanity sauce in my eye. After rolling in the floor crying in pain for thirty minutes I asked my friend to shoot me because I’d lost the will to live. Be sure to wash your hands well if you take this camping.

    • Alan Dixon June 5, 2017 at 10:14 pm - Reply

      Sorry about that dave. But now duly warned. Be safe out there! Best, -alan

  23. Jarral Ryter June 16, 2017 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    Successfully completed as short trip on the colorado trail (section 17) with wife and kids. Short because wife is recovering from broken leg and 10 and 14yr kids. I wanted to thank you for your great tips. I am from the age of heavy gear. Getting new gear and swapping old heavy gear for all of us takes time and we love the advice. We loved your food ideas and the kids loved the food as well. We live in rural Colorado so some ingredients aren’t available but we made due. Thanks!
    Oh one comment above on reusing zip locks. We wash them out with hot water and I made a drying rack with dowels. Going on years with some bags I think.

    • Alan Dixon June 16, 2017 at 6:44 pm - Reply

      My pleasure… and thanks for the kind words Jarral. Glad your trip worked out well. Sounds like you have many more great ones in your future. Warmest, -alan

  24. Pier-Alexandre Aube June 28, 2017 at 1:24 am - Reply

    Hi Alan, I have a question about the Nestle Nido. As I live in Canada, we do not have that product and it won’t be shipped here. Powder milk in stores is 0% fat, which is better for health, but not so great for hiking. So, I would stop in a store after my next trip in the Dacks. But I don’t know any Hispanic store. Is it available in grocery stores or at Wal-Mart ?

    Thanks for you’re help !

    • Alan Dixon June 28, 2017 at 1:33 am - Reply

      It is available in the “international foods” section at my regular local supermarket (Giant) about 1/4 mile from my house. For Wal-Mart you can always check their online inventory. But I am not familiar with the inventory of supermarkets near the Adirondacks. Let me know how you make out. Best, -alan

  25. king August 10, 2017 at 12:46 am - Reply

    ok….

  26. Lange Jorstad August 19, 2017 at 12:43 am - Reply

    Alan – my new favorite trail meal is your black beans and rice recipe – just trialed it on the JMT. The corn chips give it a great texture and taste (I used salted for taste, as there was low sodium in most of my other ingredients). I also brought along single serve packets of Tapatio for pep – I could have eaten that every day in place of all other meals (except of course, trout!).

    • Alan Dixon August 19, 2017 at 8:36 pm - Reply

      Thanks Lange. And amen to the brook trout! Warmest, -a

  27. Neil.P August 30, 2017 at 8:55 am - Reply

    Great list Alan, i really like the image how you lay out all the food in rows

    • Alan Dixon September 7, 2017 at 3:16 pm - Reply

      Neil, Sorry for the late reply. Alison and I did 132 miles of the Appalachian Trail in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains over this holiday weekend. But glad you like it. We used the same technique to lay out 7 days of food for two people. It worked perfectly. Warmest, -alan & alison

  28. Robert September 11, 2017 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    About coffee, I’m from Czech Republic and coffee backpackers use to do is “Turek”. It’s simple, you put ground coffee into your mug and then pour the hot water over it but just enough to fill ~1/3 of the mug. Then stir the coffee – it must be all wet. Now pour another 1/3 of water there, wait few seconds and fill the rest of the mug. Doing this the coffee stuff stays at the bottom of the mug and you can enjoy nice clean drink. One disadvantage is that the longer the coffee soaks the longer it releases some not so healthy stuff in the drink, but nothing too dramatic. See here for better English than mine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_coffee#Czech_Republic_and_Slovakia

    • Alan Dixon September 11, 2017 at 2:55 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the brewing info Robert. And had never thought of just making “Turkish” coffee but it does make sense, especially if you intend to drink it fairly quickly. Warmest, -alan

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