best backpacking food, low carb options are laid out at the base of a tree

Best Backpacking Food

Simple, Healthy, & Nutritious

We’re here to help with the best knowledge & thinking available on healthy, nutritious backpacking food. This article will touch on the amount of food you should bring, where you should get it, and basic trail nutrition ideas. We’ll discuss different diets; Low Carb, Omnivore, Gluten Free, Veggie, Vegan and Keto. Where to get natural fat, protein, and micronutrients. And finally we can save you a ton of food weight in the process. Let’s dig in!

Why Our Backpacking Food Strategy is Better

  1. Healthy Food | We have a focus on healthy backpacking food. And that makes sense. When you’re working hard on the trail you want to avoid low-nutrition, junk food and instead give your body the highest quality fuel and nutrition possible. Checkout our 7 Core backpacking foods.
  2. Low Carbs & Natural Fats! Every year more and more data is coming out that replacing carbs with natural fats makes a healthier diet. And it’s better food on the trail as well. Go ahead and checkout our Low Carb Backpacking Food List and our Keto Backpacking Food List | 3 Day.
  3. Our Food is Substantially Lighter | Saving you a bunch of pack weight while not sacrificing calories or nutrition.
  4. Advice For Every Diet | Omnivore, Gluten Free, Veggie, Vegan and even Keto… we a separate section for each with food suggestions and advice to make these work on the trail for you.

You make Adventure Alan & Co possible. When purchasing through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Here’s why you can trust us.

We Cover Everything You Need to Know About Backpacking Food

This is a comprehensive introduction to backpacking food. We address every important topic on backpacking food & hiking meals so that you’ll have all the information you’ll need to plan your backpacking food like a pro. Below is a list of the major topics covered. Feel free to jump to what topic interests you or just read the article straight-thru for the complete primmer on backpacking food.

The 4 Ways to Get Backpacking Food

Pack Less & You’ll Pack Better

No one wants to go hungry on the trail, so backpackers have a tendency to overpack food. here are a few tips to reduce food weight and not go hungry:

3000 calories / 1.5 lb per day | All our years guiding diverse clients has brought us to the conclusion that about 3,000 calories/day is the sweet spot for most hikers. And if you pack the right foods this should be around 1.5 lb/day for a conventional diet (1.2 lb/day for a “low carbohydrate” diet). Of course, this will vary by individual & on-trail factors, but this is a great starting point.

For more see: How much food should I take? The detailed answer

Tips to Pack Less Backpacking Food

Pack calorie dense foods | Many sources out there will tell you to bring 2 lbs of food per day, but why so much? Food that’s not high enough in calories per ounce is often the culprit. Spoiler alert but most high carb foods are low in calories per ounce. If you pack items that are at are on average at least 125 calories per ounce (e.g. higher calories food like nuts), you’ll be able to drop your daily food weight to just 1.5 lbs or less and still hit the 3,000 calorie / day mark. On a 7-day trip your pack just got 5 lbs lighter.

Pack Compact (low volume) Foods | Compact foods are also a low volume hack – when you ditch the bag of Fritos for a bag of cashew nuts, you’re able to fit way more food in less space. This means more time on the trail with less resupplies, and this also comes in especially handy when you’re stuffing everything into a bear canister — and the number of parks requiring bear canisters goes up every year!

Lay It Out & Weigh It | We lay out our gear before putting it in our backpack, and food should be no different. A standard kitchen scale (we like rechargeable) is an invaluable tool to easily split bulk food purchases and measure the weight of individual portions. For the final check, use a hanging luggage scale to weigh your food bag or canister before you leave. If you’re going out for a weekend, you should be under the 5 lb mark. If you’re going out for a week, you should have just over 10 lbs. Any more than that and you’ve probably overpacked.

backpacking food spread out in rows by day

Food Packing Hack

When spreading out your food it helps lay each day of food in its own row— that is, for a 7 day trip you’d have 7 rows each with breakfast, lunch and dinner food. This makes it super easy to visually inspect that you have the right amount of food, not only for the whole trip, but each day as well.

Why Low Carb is a Great Choice for Backpacking Food

Low carb is the way to go on the trail (and likely for your general health). Every year more and more data is coming out that replacing carbs with natural fats makes a healthier diet. Especially on trail and when engaged in endurance activities. Cutting carbs reduces sugar crashes and gives your mind and body the nutrients they need to sustain peak performance levels — and it has wealth of other health benefits. Finally, it is significantly lighter than traditional backpacking food for the same calories.

1/2 the Weight of Traditional Backpacking Food | Same Calories

1.2 lb of Low Carb backpacking food = 3,000 calories — Amazing, right?! That’s almost 1/2 the weight of the 2 lb per day most hikers carry. It’s nutritious and provides the same calories. Go ahead and checkout our Low Carb backpacking food List | 3 Day.

* What is Low Carb? While there is no definitive definition of a “low-carb diet,” many definitions of a low carb diet are under 150g net carbs/day for the 3,000 cal/day that we suggest for hiking (~20% of calories). But it is up to each hiker to make their own dietary strategy — some may choose to go moderate carb or even full carb.

jar of kirkland brand mixed nuts high calorie backpacking food

7 Core Backpacking Foods

The three major challenges for trail food are: a) getting enough protein, b) loading up on natural fats, c) while keeping carbohydrates reasonable

Here we give you some of the best foods to do this while still being tasty and satisfying. And we have offerings for every diet from omnivore, to vegan, to keto. And they are easy to procure. The vast majority of these can be purchased at your local supermarket, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or a natural foods store.

Load your pack with following calorie dense backpacking foods and you are almost guaranteed to dramatically lower your food weight.

1. Natural Nuts & Oils

Natural Nuts | Are the poster child for a low carb and natural fat food. Nuts are high in natural fats, mega high in calories, low in carbs, add protein and take up little pack space. In addition they are (allergies aside) perfect for all backpacking diets from omnivore, to gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, and keto. Our favorite is Costco’s lightly salted mix of macadamias, pecans, cashews, and almonds. But take whatever nuts you like, mixed or individual, salted or unsalted.

Unsweetened Nut Butters Whole Natural Nuts are best but nut butters (Kirkland Trader Joe’s & Whole Foods 365) are still great. You can slather them on crackers, eat the plain out of the jar with spoon, or put them in dinners to add a bunch of calories and flavor. Bring a few jars on every trip!

Olive Oil to add to meals. Natural fat, compact, and 200 calories per ounce.

2. Treats

Yes, there needs to be some joy on the trail and for many hikers dark chocolate may be the gastronomic highlight of the day.

When it’s over 90%, chocolate is a food! VERY Dark Chocolate is compatible with all diets it’s high in calories and satisfaction. One of our favorites is GHIRARDELLI Intense Dark Chocolate 92% with just a touch of sweetness. And Taza Chocolate Organic Amaze Bar 95% Stone Ground, Wicked Dark. And if you need it slightly sweeter Lindt Excellence Bar, 90% Cocoa Supreme Dark Chocolate.

Unsweetened Dried Mango or other dried fruit adds sweetness and flavor complexity to very-dark or even 100% dark chocolate. Or use Freeze Dried Strawberries to sweeten your breakfast without using sugar. Dried fruit is great for dessert or midday snack. Note that dried fruits should be used with discretion as they are not calorie dense and high in sugar.

Rawmio Vegan Hazelnut Spread – coming in at over 160 cal/oz this sweet spread has ⅓ the carbs of regular Nutella. Doubles both as a spread or dessert.

3. Meat Protein Options

Duke’s Original Sausages High in fat (150 cal/oz!), protein, and less than 1 g sugar, these tasty sausages are a trail carnivores dream food. Or try supermarket dry salami. Try and get it at 110 cal/oz or better and no added sugar.

Snake River Farms American Wagyu Beef Jerky is the clear winner for Beef Jerky. Its high caloric density (130 cal/oz) it blows away the competition that is in the 70-90 cal/oz range. It’s delicious and only has 2g of sugar.  It can be purchased at COSTCO for $15 per bag!

But in general, Meat Jerkies great source of protein. We prefer minimally processed, natural meats with little or no sugar added. Two other favorites are People’s Choice Beef Jerky – Old Fashioned – Original | sugar free, zero carb, gluten free, and keto Friendly. And if you want healthy grass-fed fats we like 365 Grass-Fed Beef Jerky | Super healthy, grass-fed fat profile, 11g protein and delicious at a reasonable price. Downside is it a bit heavy (80 cal/oz) and has 5g of sugar — but used with restraint this should not be an issue, even on a keto diet. And for a no sugar jerky try Made by True Smokehouse Biltong Slab – Grass Fed Beef Whole Jerky Slab altho it’s admittedly expensive!

Tuna in Olive Oil nice protein hit for lunch, a snack or to add to dinners. Not the highest in calories but nice for variety.

4. Vegetarian Protein Options

Moon Cheese & similar ParmCrips are about as high calorie as it gets at 170 cal/oz and providing 11-12 g of protein. This is 100% cheese that’s crispy with all the water removed. Only downside is that it’s a bit bulky.

Hard Cheeses are a fresh, and tasty treat on the trail. Compatible with all but the Vegan Diet, some of the drier and harder cheeses, cheddar cheese & parmesan cheese & , are 110 to 120 cal/oz, packed with flavor, low on carbs and a good source of protein. In addition, the harder cheeses keep well on the trail. Powdered parmesan cheese is exceptionally high in calories, and can be added to meals for extra flavor and calories.

Powdered Eggs can be made as a stand alone egg dish, or added to meals.

5. Vegan Protein Options

Both Soy and Quinoa are complete proteins, and while they have virtually no fat and come with a bit of carbs they are still good vegan options for protein. Obviously nuts have some, but not a ton of protein.

Soy Protein Powder. Fantastic source of veggie protein (complete protein) and low on carbs. Can be added to drinks and meals. (Just make sure you get the kind without added sugars!).

Soy Jerky | Good source of veggie protein (complete protein), low on carbs and some soy jerkies are as high as 120 cal/oz (just make sure you pick ones little or no added sugar).

Texturized soy protein, TVP can be added to breakfasts and dinners.

6. High Fat Dairy Options

Heavy Cream Powder and Whole Fat Powdered Milk at 200 cal/oz and 140 cal/oz respectively these are great to add to coffee, tea and breakfasts to boost calories. And the milk has 8 g protein per oz.

Butter, if you can keep it from melting, is a great choice to add delicious calories to breakfasts and dinners.

3 Backpacking Foods to Use with Discretion

The following foods are not calorie dense enough to make the A list of the 7 Core backpacking foods.

Trail Bars / Energy Bars

Choose wisely as most trail bars are loaded with carbs — sugars, or sugar alternatives like brown rice syrup. So read the label. E.g. one very well known energy bar has 40 g of carbs of which 18 g is added sugar.

Kind Bars | are the bright spot here and are about as healthy as trail bars get. Minimally processed, and lower in sugar than most trail bars (17g carb / 6g fiber), they are also high in calories and natural fats — 140 cal/oz. And of course they are delicious!

RxBars are good too — high in protein and 23g carb / 5g fiber.

Freeze Dried Meals / Prepared Meals

The serious downside of standard freeze dried or prepackaged meals is that they aren’t calorie dense and can be filled to the brim with cheap carbs. Fortunately, there are also great low-carb and keto options coming to market. Read the ingredient list and nutrition labels before purchasing.

Hacks to Improve Freeze Dried Meals

  • Hack 1 | Buy calorie dense, low carb hiking meals from companies like Next Mile Meals or RightOnTrek’s Broccoli Beef Stroganoff
  • Hack 2 | To make standard freeze dried meals more calorie dense and lower in carbs, try adding more fatty ingredients to them. That is, you might buy a single serving but make it work for two people by bulking it up with fat calories, like olive oil, nuts, peanut butter, regular butter; heavy powdered cream, or add high fat protein like salami. That way you’ll have a much higher fat, lower carb meal for two.
  • Hack 3 | Just use less of standard freeze dried or prepackaged meals — that is, use them sparingly to make up a smaller percentage your daily calories. And then bulk up on the 7 Core Low Carb backpacking foods, maybe using some of these foods as sides at breakfast and dinner. For example, look for a larger one person meal and share it with two and then use lower carb food as a side, or simply eat more low carb food (snacks or at lunch) during the day to add the extra calories.

Grain Products

Yup, grains are not calorie dense ~100 cal/oz and high in carbs. Even a “healthy” grain like whole wheat has per ounce 20.5 g of carbs. Breads and tortillas contain a fair amount of water further reducing calorie density to around 70 cal/oz. That’s why dried grain products like crackers, especially with fat added and in the 120 to 130 cal/oz range are preferred.

Plain Oatmeal is one of the best grain choices at 110 cal/oz and with 5g of protein. If you add a bunch of butter or powdered whole fat cream you can seriously up the caloric density of your breakfast. And use sweeteners with restraint, maybe adding just a bit of dried fruit.

Granola / Muesli Alternatives | Try our homemade, unsweetened granola alternative (recipe coming). Or get store bought “Keto” Granolas essentially nut-based “granola” nuggets with a non-nutritive sweetener like erythritol, stevia, or monk fruit.

ORGANIC PANTRY Flaxseed Crackers a better alternative to traditional crackers, these are 140 cal/oz, lower in carbs (5g net & no sugar) and have no nutritional gimmickry. They are mostly seeds and some quinoa which is a complete protein.

High Calorie “Traditional” Crackers like Wheat Thins Original Whole Grain that is, look for crackers that are in the 120 to 130 cal/oz range. And then to raise calorie density eat them with nut butter, or layer some cheese or salami on top to make a fast and delicious lunch. For gluten free try some tasty rice crackers.

Keto Crackers low carb crackers. Super high calorie at 160 cal/oz & no sugar added. These are a gluten free & veggie option as well. Downside is they are fairly processed with a long list of ingredients, so not exactly a cracker your grandmother ate.

Trail Coffee & Tea

Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Coffee took the hiking world over by storm and pretty much cornered the market — ending most discussions on cowboy coffee and other camp coffee brewing methods. So unless you are a gourmet coffee aficionado, it’s probably best to not overthink this one. Note: Starbucks VIA can be bought in bulk at Costco to save a few bucks.

Hack: if you use treated water you only need bring it to 160 deg F or so to brew the coffee, this saves you fuel, time and waiting for your scalding coffee to cool to drinking temperature.

If You Are A Gourmet Coffee Aficionado

If you want a cup of pour-over coffee to rival your best local coffee shop then check out our Best Camp Coffee | Backcountry Barista Pour Over Coffee using a Hario V60 01 Plastic Dripper – Red. This 2.2 oz marvel is the coffee dripper that Tetsu Kaysuya used to win the 2016 World Brewers Cup Championship!

How To Make Backcountry Tea (Loose-Leaf, Connoisseur Style)

making tea in the backcountry

Backcountry Tea using the Trail Designs Caldera Cone Stove cooking system

jetboil STASH backpacking stove system

Stove & Cooking Equipment We Bring

  • Jetboil Stash Cooking System New for 2021 and weighing and only 7 oz, the Stash is the lightest Jetboil-style stove on the market. Amazingly, it retains the famed Jetboil heat efficiency and fuel economy. We love how well it holds a pot, how quickly it boils water, and how astoundingly light it is.
  • TOAKS Titanium Single Wall 450ml Cup Strong, elegant, and weighing only 2.7 oz, this titanium mug is a killer deal for only $20.
  • TOAKS Titanium Long Handled Spoon Strong, lightweight, and long enough to dip into the deepest of freeze-dried meal bags.
  • Coffee Hario V60 01 Plastic Dripper This 2.2 oz marvel is the coffee dripper that Tetsu Kaysuya used to win the 2016 World Brewers Cup Championship. Pour over is a huge upgrade over Starbucks Via.

Camp Cooking Hacks

  • Pro Hack 1: We’re all about cooking directly in the pot. Compared to soaking, cooking is much faster, gives us more control over our meals, and our food almost always has better flavor and texture.
  • Pro Hack 2: If you’re concerned about scorching & food sticking, put a bit of beeswax on the bottom of your pot prior to cooking.
  • Pro Hack 3: Bring a small, GSI silicone spoon or GSI Outdoors Compact Scraper. They weigh just an ounce or less and help scrape your pot clean so cleanup is a breeze and you can get every last calorie out of your food.

Also see our: Best Backpacking Stove Post

The 4 Ways to Get Backpacking Food

Supermarket, Homemade, Freeze Dried/Ready Made, or Meal Planning Service

Where To Get Your Backpacking Food?

We Utilize Four Main Sources To Prepare Food For Our Trips.

  1. Buy ready-to-eat supermarket items
  2. Buy freeze-dried meals or pre-prepared meals
    (includes hacks to reduce carbs, and increase fat in these meals)
  3. Purchase ingredients in bulk and make your own meals
  4. Use a meal planning service

1. Buy Ready-To-Eat Supermarket Items

Stocking up at the supermarket is the most convenient and least expensive way to assemble your food for your next trip. It is possible to by all the food that you need at the supermarket. Thru-hikers do this all the time. And backpacking food costs can be kept low at the supermarket, especially if you buy items in bulk and repackage them into individual portions.

Make a Shopping List

Pre-shopping planning helps a lot as randomly walking the aisles often leads to overbuying and filling your cart with knee-jerk high-carb foods. So before your trip take a second to write each day of your meal plan and the food you’ll bring. Once you’ve got a shopping list it’s quick and easy to get what you need. Best yet, your list can be refined and used again and again.

Ideas for Supermarket backpacking foods

Our 7 Core backpacking foods are the best place to start. These are the some of the very best, most nutritious foods that are also low in carbohydrates. Get enough of them and you won’t go wrong with your healthy trail diet. From there, start filling out your daily plan. These items will create a great low-carb base that can be rounded out with your own favorite items.

Meal bases

See our Backpacking Meal Recipes our favorite low cost, nutritious, and easy to make meals, many of which are based mostly on supermarket foods. But get creative! Products like instant quinoa, minute rice, or couscous can be used sparingly as a base for meals, add in a tablespoon or two of natural oils for fat, freeze dried vegetables and spices to mix up your flavors, and grab some freeze-dried meat or tofu, or cured meats (even bacon bits!) to up your fats and protein.

Nuts, Seeds, Gorp Fixins

Pumpkin, chia, sunflower, hemp, seeds etc. Look for seeds that are calorie dense and not overly salty. You can eat them by themselves, mix them with your GORP fixins, or sprinkle them on your breakfast or dinner for added calories. When making Gorp try and stick to mostly nuts, and add dried fruit, M&Ms, etc. sparingly as these will quickly increase carbs and reduce caloric density of the Gorp.

Energy Bars

energy and protein bars like Kind Bars go a long way on the trail, and there’s so many options out there that you’ll never get bored eating the same brand and flavor. You do have to be careful with energy bars tho as most are super high in carbohydrates (both grains and added sugar). Try and stick with bars that are high in fat, calorie dense, and lower in carbs. Again around 125 calories per ounce or more is better! E.g. a 128 cal/oz Kind Bars which have lots of nuts (natural fats), low added sugar. RxBars are a second best — more processed, lower in calories and higher in sugars. We also like PROBAR Meal Bars which received Health Magazine’s ”Best In Food” award.

2. Purchase Freeze Dried or Other Prepared Meals

Prepared, often freeze-dried, meals are easy additions to any backpacking meal plan — yes they cost a bit more but their undeniable convenience is appreciated for those of us with busy lives! New brands are popping up regularly and these products are becoming more widely available in outdoor gear stores and even some grocery stores.

The serious downside of standard freeze dried or prepackaged meals is that hey aren’t calorie dense and can be filled to the brim with cheap carbs. Fortunately there are also great low-carb and keto options coming to market. Read the ingredient list and nutrition labels before purchasing! And the following hacks will help reduce the amount of carbs from standard, pre-packaged meals:

Hack 1

Buy calorie dense, low carb hiking meals from companies like Next Mile Meals or RightOnTrek’s Broccoli Beef Stroganoff

Hack 2

To make standard freeze dried meals more calorie dense and lower in carbs, try adding more fatty ingredients to them. That is, you might buy a single serving but make it work for two people by bulking it up with fat calories, like olive oil, nuts, peanut butter, regular butter; heavy powdered cream, or add high fat protein like salami. That way you’ll have a much higher fat, lower carb meal for two.

Hack 3

Just use less of standard freeze dried or prepackaged meals — that is, use them sparingly to make up a smaller percentage your daily calories. And then bulk up on the 7 Core Low Carb backpacking foods, maybe using some of these foods as sides at breakfast and dinner. For example, look for a larger one person meal and share it with two and then use lower carb food as a side, or simply eat more low carb food (snacks or at lunch) during the day to add the extra calories.

Cook in Bag or Cook in Pot?

Backpacking meals come one of two ways. Either they’re meant to be rehydrated in their packaging with boiling water or a cold soak, or they’re to be cooked in a pot on your stove. We prefer the cook on your stove meals as we find they tend to be more tasty and ready faster, and the packaging is lighter and often more eco-friendly.

The downfalls to these prepared meals is that they can be expensive and can create heavy trash to carry out. This is especially true of the soak-in-the-bag style products, as you’re bound to have some food bits and liquid left. Although a TOAKS Titanium Long Handled Spoon helps to get the last bits out.

A few of our favorite breakfasts & dinners

bulk backpacking food used to make your own meals

3. Purchase ingredients in bulk and make your own meals

One of the best ways to keep your meals low carb, healthy, nutritious, and inexpensive is to make your own meals. These don’t need to be complicated. Simply buying 1/2 dozen ingredients at your local supermarket is enough to make a great meal. One that isn’t super processed, and loaded with carbohydrates, sugar and sodium. As an example our homemead backpacking granola has 1/2 the carbs and is much higher in total calories and calories per ounce vs. a popular commercial, pre-made camping granola.

Backpacking Meal Ideas – Our Favorite Recipes

Some of our favorite recipes to make are:

For more, visit our post Backpacking Meal Recipes our favorite low cost, nutritious and easy to make meals.

4. Backpacking Meal Planning Services

All inclusive meal planning services are fairly new to the backpacking market. The nuts and bolts of each service is different, but in essence, you select products from their catalog and they ship your entire meal plan to you at once. This option is great for those looking to save time and leg work, and also for thru-hiker resupplies.

We recently had the opportunity to try out RightOnTrek, a company based outside of Glacier National Park, who provides this service along with their own line of trail-ready meals – a couple of which we mentioned above.

With RightOnTrek’s meal planner, you select the number of days you’re going out and your dietary and taste preferences. They assemble a plan for each day using their meals and a product catalog stocked with all-natural staples. Plenty of low-carb and keto options! Everything in the plan can be easily swapped and customized. Then all your food is shipped to your door (or trail resupply location) and arrives organized by day – just toss it in your food bag and go.

AlpenFuel is another company that offers a meal planning service. Their planner isn’t as intuitive as RightOnTrek’s, but they do stock prepared meals from a few different companies (including their own line of breakfasts). So if you like Peak Refuel or Bushka’s Kitchen then they’re worth checking out.

While these premium meal planning services are the most expensive option for food preparation, they’ll save you a ton of time and energy going out and assembling everything yourself.

The 5 backpacking food Diets

Omnivore, Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Vegan & Keto

Omnivore Backpacking Food

Protein and High Fat Food Options

Omnivore backpacking food is super easy as you have lots of low carb options for protein, and lots of high fat low carb options. Pretty much anything on the 7 Core backpacking foods is fair game. Animal proteins are easiest and best. Cheeses, Sausages, Meat Jerky, Tuna in OO. And of course Whole Fat Powdered Milk, and Heavy Cream Powder. Don’t forget whole nuts, and the very dark chocolate.

Gluten Free Backpacking Food

Protein and High Fat Food Options

Gluten Free backpacking food is almost as easy as Omnivore and you have lots of low carb options for protein, and lots of high fat low carb options. Pretty much anything on the 7 Core backpacking foods is fair game. Animal proteins are easiest and best. Cheeses, Sausages, Meat Jerky, Tuna in OO. And of course Whole Fat Powdered Milk, and Heavy Cream Powder. Don’t forget whole nuts, and the very dark chocolate.

What is off piste are wheat based products, but we do have non-wheat cracker options, like the rice crackers and Keto Crackers. And you’ll need to be careful about what’s in energy bars (Kind Bars are gluten free), and other processed foods. In case you haven’t guessed we are not fans of processed foods so that should help, since we don’t list many highly processed foods here.

Vegetarian Backpacking Food

Protein and High Fat Food Options

Vegetarian backpacking food is where things get interesting — but it’s still doable. In particular, protein is a bit harder to source. First, animal meat proteins are out. And second, keeping the diet calorie dense puts another kink in. That is, the standard rice/other grains & beans protein source is not calorie dense and high in carbs. Still, with cheese, soy jerky, soy protein power, and the protein in nuts you should be able to get adequate trail protein with decent calorie density. And don’t forget and the very dark chocolate! So in the end, much of the 7 Core backpacking foods is fair game.

Vegan backpacking food

Protein and High Fat Food Options

Vegan backpacking food (high calorie density version), is a challenge but don’t despair, it can be done. In particular, getting enough trail protein (complete proteins) takes a bit of effort. Soy and Quinoa are going to be your best bets for complete proteins that are plant based. So with soy jerky, soy protein power, (and other soy products like texturized soy protein, TVP) and the protein in nuts you should be able to get a significant amount trail protein keep calorie density reasonable. And in the end, to get enough protein you may need to supplement with some lower calorie density protein sources like rice and beans. As to fat, use Olive Oil liberally at meals to add fat and calories. And don’t forget and the very dark chocolate! So in the end, much of the 7 Core backpacking foods is fair game.

Keto Backpacking Food

Keto backpacking food has been my go-to trail food option over the last three years, and I have happily and successfully used it on trail for up to 3 weeks both on personal trips and guiding. I usually take less than 1 lb/day of keto backpacking food to get 3000 calories per day! I don’t foresee going back to another trail food diet. It is also the diet I follow at home.

Benefits of Keto Backpacking Food

For me, the on-trail benefits of keto backpacking food are the very low food weight (approx 1 lb/day) and that I have stable and constant energy levels. This leaves me free to enjoy my hike and be fully present without constantly thinking about food, feeling hungry and chasing blood sugar levels — wondering when to eat and what to eat. Since I am burning my own fat to make ketones for energy (a constant energy source) I feel alert and vital from when I get up to when I go to bed when I go to bed, independent from what I’ve eaten during the day. Also, since I have been fully keto (very happily so) at home for three years, I do not want to change my diet when I go out on the trail.

What is Keto?

Keto (short for ketosis) is another way for your body to obtain energy vs. glucose. So rather than using glucose for fuel, in ketosis your body metabolizes body fat to make ketones which it can use as an energy source (vs. glucose). One advantage of this is that as long as you have body fat, when you are in ketosis you have a constant energy supply independent of what you eat. So no low blood sugar crashes or bonks. E.g. I can go 18 hours without eating and still have plenty of energy for a long hike or killer workout. Read more...

Keto Challenges on the Trail

There are some distinct challenges to keto backpacking food:

  1. You need to be bonafide keto adapted before using this on the trail. This means you likely need to follow serious keto diet at home for at least a few months. And you need to test daily that you actually are in ketosis using a:
    1. Blood testing meter (Keto Mojo is the best and what I use) or
    2. Breath meter (Amazon) although I use the KEYTO Breath Meter
  2. Fair Warning: If your try keto on the trail for a 3 to 7 day trip without being adapted you are going to be a very, very unhappy camper. Trust me, I’ve seen this with clients.
  3. Limited food variety. While it’s easy to get the protein and high fat food in your diet. Keto requires that carbs be super low. So forget about eating 50% to 70% of foods that we are accustomed to & culturally feel is part of our diet (see Super Limited Carbs for Keto below). To put this in perspective the amount of carbs allowed to stay in ketosis for a 3,000 cal/day diet is about 75 g net carbs per day from all sources. So eating a bagel might put you over on carbs for the day.

Super Limited Carbs for Keto Backpacking Food

For Keto pretty much all of this is OUT:

grains (wheat products, oat products, rice products, pasta, couscous; crackers, tortillas, cookies, breakfast cereals, and grain based granolas), potato chips & potato products, most energy bars (super full of sugar and grains), and bean products (also high in carbs for the protein they contain), and dried fruit which is all carbs. But I do have a bit of dried fruit with very dark or 100% chocolate for dessert.

Protein & High Fat Food Options for Keto

High fat foods are in and great. Protein is best consumed with high fat foods like hard cheeses, fatty meats, etc. All animal proteins are in. And high fat foods like nuts are also good. And most of the foods on the  7 Core backpacking foods are fair game. Off piste are crackers (and any grain products or trail bars) and unless you are veggie or vegan, it’s best to avoid legumes (including soy) as a protein source.

Vegan Protein for Keto

Legume products including beans, soy, and soy jerky have limitations as a protein source.  They are low in calories and high(er) in carbs so should be used with discretion. The exception is Soy Protein Powder which is a good source of veggie & vegan protein. It’s a complete protein & low on carbs. It can be added to drinks and meals. (Just make sure you get the kind without added sugars!).

LeaveNoTrace & Proper Food Storage

Pack it Out | Even Food Scraps

Keep wild places wild, LeaveNoTrace! Food scraps, biodegradable, and compostable products should never be thrown out along the trail. They didn’t come from there and they shouldn’t be left there.

Bear Canisters

Don’t feed the locals! After eating human food, bears and other wildlife can become problems down the line. Secure your food and scented items properly using bear canisters, bear sacks, or a “proper” food hang (altho hangs are getting less effective each year and are not recommended). Some areas also have laws in place regarding this, so it’s always a good idea to check area regulations with rangers before heading out.

Quick Links to Other Backpacking Food Resources on this Site

a hiker smiles as he eats backpacking food in Alaksa

Eating dinner in the Alaskan Tundra north of the Arctic Circle


  1. To be very clear, I am not a Medical Doctor or a Nutritionist. What I share here is from my personal experience as a backpacker for over 50 years, professional backpacking guide, outdoor writer and an elite athlete. As such, this post should in no way be considered professional medical or nutritional advice. When in doubt, consult with the correct board certified professional.

82 replies
  1. Snow Cream
    Snow Cream says:

    Very well written article/post. I have been struggling with getting my pack weight down. I especially found the information on high calorie density low weight foods helpful. The only problem I see with that information by following your links is that most of it seems to be available only by buying in bulk. I do long distance hiking and would find it difficult to buy a variety of bulk foods and carry it. I also try to carry high calorie dense foods per weight. I agree that a lot of nuts and nut butters are important in that respect. To clarify, I once carried a backpack on a section hike of the Appalachian Trail starting at 82 pounds. BIG mistake. That was many years ago when I couldn’t afford lighter weight gear and my tent alone weighed 12 pounds. I have gradually gotten down to a 2 pound tent total trail weight. A Z Packs Duplex and goose down quilt as opposed to a sleeping bag and went with a ULA Catalyst backpack and currently have my pack weight for 5 to 7 days of cold weather hiking with food down to about 45 pounds. That’s consider very heavy by most folks but compared to previous years for me that is ultralight. I will subscribe to your blog and look forward to reding in the future.

    • Jaeger Shaw
      Jaeger Shaw says:

      Thanks so much for the kind note. Alan worked really on hard compiling of this info and we’re stoked you found it helpful!

      That’s excellent progress on the pack weight! Love to hear it! Fair point on the links to bulk food. But you can certainly extrapolate the ideas and find similar items in smaller quantities at local grocers. Alan and I would also both recommend keeping a backpacking pantry stocked, so you don’t have to go buy a full suite of food for every hike. It’s nice to keep staples on hand for faster prep/packing for the duration of hiking season, assuming you will go out multiple times.

  2. Taylor
    Taylor says:

    This resource you created was so incredibly helpful-thank you! My partner and I are trying to be as frugal as possible right now, so I made him diy lightweight backpacking meals. I tested them all and are delicious and light! They also have at least 20+g protien, and some globs of coconut oil. I made strawberry banana chocolate oatmeal, ramen and Shepard’s pie! So excited, thank you!

  3. Aubrey Bogard
    Aubrey Bogard says:

    Thanks for this update Alan! I find meal planning for backpacking to be a bit of a challenge, especially since most resources focus on traditional high-carb foods. I’m down 28 pounds since I hiked with you in Utah in Oct 2020 by eating a mostly Paleo diet, so many of your suggestions in your updated article resonate with me. I’m happy for you that keto is working for your needs.

  4. Robin Davis
    Robin Davis says:

    I am interested in knowing your resources of information concerning a low carbohydrate diet for a multi-day hike. We burn carbohydrates during higher intensity exercise, and fats more with lower intensity exercise…although there is likely a mix of both being used at some point. So if during your hike you are climbing at a higher elevation with elevation gain, I would assume more carbohydrates are necessary. In addition to physiological studies, I have found from my own experience that carbohydrates are necessary for a multi-day trip with varied changes in terrain.
    Additionally, proteins may help with fat metabolism, but are not an ideal fuel.

    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Robin, this is a great question! But it’s a far too long and complex topic to even begin to cover here. There is more detailed info on this in our Keto Backpacking Food List | 3 Day But in very short, carbohydrate is not a an essential nutrient. We need fat and protein, but we do not need carbohydrates. Your body is fully capable of metabolizing fat and protein to produce all the energy you need. I have done brutal week long trips with essentially zero carbs and have done just fine.

      But here is the big BUT. You need to be (low carb or keto) adapted to do this (or more specifically in your natural hunter-gatherer metabolic state). The average US person is eating 300g or more of carbohydrates so is in a insulin dependant/ high-carbohydrate metabolic state. And when a carb dependant person like this is deprived of carbs they are unable to quickly switch over to metabolizing fat to make ketones as an alternate energy source to glucose. Thus they feel like crap and have no energy. On the other hand, if you have been following a low carb diet at home for a while, then you should be adapted. In this case, limiting your trail carbs should not cause you any energy issues as you body should already be more efficiently burning fat for fuel vs carbs. And if you really limit carbs to say under 50 to 75g/day… then the statement “You need to be bonafide keto adapted before using this on the the trail. This means you likely need to follow serious keto diet at home for at least a few months. And you need to test daily that you actually are in ketosis using a [appropriate testing device]” is appropriate.

      But in the end it’s all about diet adaptation before you hit the trail especially for activities like backpacking which are almost 100% aerobic and therefore should be sustainable burning fat. All that being said, a bit of carbs to help you through a tough, non-aerobic period of activity is not necessarily a bad thing. Best, -alan

      • Robin Davis
        Robin Davis says:


        Please share the research and resources for this info. I have found some info on NIH website for endurance athletes. However, I am not confident that a low carbohydrate, keto diet is a good long term solution for an athlete. I am interested in reading the science behind this diet based on research.

  5. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    Regarding coffee options, there is a great in-between option if you are a coffee nerd – the new wave of specialty instant coffee, made by producers like Voilà, Swift, and Hasty (in Canada), who make instants for many third wave roasters and often with single origin bean. VIA is just hot garbage, suitable only for an emergency IMHO, but I’ve found that the specialty instant (I’ve usually had ones made by Voilà) is quite a good replacement instead of brewing my own when weight/space is at a premium.

    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Thanks for the coffee feedback Jeff. I will need to try them. For now, I have tried some other specialty brews like CUSA COFFEE, and Sollevato. In the end there is not huge enough of a difference for me to warrant the expense and effort to obtain them (vs. Via which I just bought today at COSTCO — 26 packs for $11 or about 45 cents a pack, and no additional effort since I was already there). So I either do VIA or I grind up some of my Favorite Klatch coffee (Panama Elida Natural Catuai) and do the Hario Pour Over. All the best, -alan

  6. Patrick
    Patrick says:

    I learned about pour coffee from you, but I have replaced my Haro with the Soto:

    It fold up nicely and fits in the bag with the Toaks 900 ml pot and stove.

    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Thanks Patrick. That looks quite elegant. My only thought would be heat loss in colder environments. With the Hario I get to preheat the cone and then the cone acts as an insulator. So if it’s cold I would definitely use fully boiling water with the Soto. Best, -alan

  7. Bret
    Bret says:

    GREAT article. So much on the web about gear so little about food. My snacks are pretty much spot on with yours but need to try your no-cook breakfasts and need to move away from mountain house. I’m ok with the cost for convenience but really don’t care for many of the meals and yes too much bulk, food coloring and salt. Regarding throw-away canisters I recently picked up a transfer/re-filler and it works great. Does not eliminate the concern altogether but saves tossing partially full canisters and enables buying bigger canister to top off small canister.

    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Hi Bret, one quick note about fuel transfer/re-fillers. Canisters are a mix of propane and butane. Propane has the higher vapor pressure and is the more desirable fuel. Because it has the higher vapor pressure it burns off faster than the butane. So what you’ll likely end up after transferring fuel from a partially used canister is the less desirable butane. Not the end of the world, but a lower quality fuel and not the propane/butane mix most stoves are designed to (optimally) use. Best, -alan

  8. Slim
    Slim says:

    Don’t forget about powdered whole milk yogurt, add some muesli and enjoy a super easy and tasty breakfast similar to what you’d eat at home.

  9. vince
    vince says:

    Hi a great site! I’ve learned quite a bit from you. I have my gear dialed in now to about a 12 LBS base weight thanks to your reviews and recommendations. However I did undermine most of the efficiencies in gear by bringing way to much food on my last trip. I weighed all my excess food and it was almost 3 pounds. Not sure how all that crept into my pack but there it was. Since then I have been looking for calorie dense nutritious meals I can make myself. My daughter recently turned me on, no pun intended, to adding Hemp Hearts, to my oatmeal. 30 grams, or about 1 OZ has 160 calories and 10 grams of protein. Very dense and very nutritious and does not taste half bad either.

    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Vince, my pleasure. So glad you find the site useful. Nice job getting down to 12 lb BPW! And thanks fo the tip about Hemp Hearts. Wishing you a great year of hiking. Warmest, -alan & alison

  10. Christian K.
    Christian K. says:

    Greaty content, Alan. I really enjoy the blog. Not sure if this has been mentioned, but what food do you recommend for arid backpacking trips with no/unsure of availability of extra water)?

    I am planning to do some over nighters and a two-nighter in Canyonlands this March. Are dehydrated meals really that worth it in that case, as I’ll pretty much have to carry all my water? Menu options aside, it seems like I’ll have to carry the weight in extra water to re-hydrate or carry heavier food (not dehydrated). What has your experience been with this?

    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Hi Christian, awesome you are going backpacking in the canyons. One of our favorite places on earth to trek! Apologies for the delayed reply but we’ve been out trekking Patagonia for a few weeks. Dehydrated dinners will be fine. Generally you will camp in an area that is near to water so you’ll have plenty while you are there. In a few instances you may need to grab a lot of water for a dry camp. But generally you’ll do that later in the day, but DO have sufficient Platys or Sawyer bladders to carry maybe 3-4 liters per person. You will definitely want to look at, Non-technical Canyon Backpacking in Utah – a how to guide for getting started and, The Best Hydration – Drink When Thirsty which will shed a lot more light in this. And in particular, counter some of the unsubstantiated alarmist myths around hydration, especially in the desert. FWIW Alison and I rarely carry more than a liter or two. But we travel fast and do know where our water sources will be. Hope this helps and wishing you some great canyon backpacking. Warmest, -alan & alison

  11. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    Hi Alan,
    >> 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). <<

    Which are your go-to recipes when going stove-free or do you just bring extra snacks for breakfast and dinner?

  12. Steve
    Steve says:

    If you like your coffee with cream and sugar,
    are the best I’ve found so far. They are also reasonably priced.

        • Alan Dixon
          Alan Dixon says:

          Glad you like the taste Mark. And adding some fat to coffee is a good thing. The only thing that jumps out to me is the 13 grams of carbs in it, including added coconut sugar. For me I’d rather add powdered cream, and skip the extra carbs. Best, -alan

  13. Laura
    Laura says:

    Thank you so much Alan, your post was the best on the topic by far. I’m doing a solo backcountry trip next week to Yosemite and will use your advices on the post. =)

  14. Laura
    Laura says:

    Amazing post! Love the vegan options that most sites lack.
    Have anyone done the AT or PCT in a healthy way? Im planning to start the PCT this year but only to think about living on sodium gas station foods I freak out. Im fine with everything else but I don’t want to live on packaged sodium food for 6 months.
    Any thoughts?

    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Hi Laura,
      A reasonable concern. 1) you can mail drop food to yourself. 2) you can choose as wisely as you can when shopping. Possibly opting to go further on some resupply opportunities to get a a larger supermarket with heather food choices. Added bonus of eating a lot of fresh food, fruit and veggies while you are there. You might not be able to do this all the time but some opportunities to do this are better than none. Hope this helps, -alan

  15. Robert
    Robert says:

    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

    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      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

    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      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

  16. Lange Jorstad
    Lange Jorstad says:

    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!).

  17. Pier-Alexandre Aube
    Pier-Alexandre Aube says:

    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
      Alan Dixon says:

      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

  18. Jarral Ryter
    Jarral Ryter says:

    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
      Alan Dixon says:

      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

  19. David Adams
    David Adams says:

    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.

  20. Toni
    Toni says:

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

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

    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      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

  21. The Bearded Hiker
    The Bearded Hiker says:

    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.

  22. Dogwood
    Dogwood says:

    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.

  23. John
    John says:

    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
      Alan Dixon says:

      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

  24. Steve
    Steve says:

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

  25. Lane Taglio
    Lane Taglio says:

    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
      Alan Dixon says:

      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
      Willow says:

      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.

  26. Steve
    Steve says:

    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
      Alan Dixon says:

      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

  27. Alan Dixon
    Alan Dixon says:

    Nutritious Backpacking Meal Recipes Have Posted

    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.

  28. Jenn
    Jenn says:

    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.

    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Nope, haven’t tried “Holy Crap Breakfast Cereal” but it looks a health alternative to Bob’s Red Mill Muesli. Thanks for the tip, -alan

  29. Mike
    Mike says:

    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.

    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      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
      Dogwood says:

      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
      Alan Dixon says:

      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
      Brian L says:

      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.

  30. john brokx
    john brokx says:

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

    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      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.

      • Gene
        Gene says:

        The smaller fuel canisters I use for hiking can be refilled from larger canisters. This saves some recycling.

        • Alan Dixon
          Alan Dixon says:

          Gene, I know about this but have avoided recommending it. I know it sounds very attractive but…

          1. It is not approved or recommended by canister manufactures. This is for good reason. Transferring fuel has significant risks.
          2. Canisters have a mix butane, isobutane, and propane fuels. These do not burn at the same rate. Propane is the most desirable as it has the highest vapor pressure. But it is also the first fuel to burn off.
          3. As such, the fuel left in a canister is usually the lowest performance fuels. By combining the dregs from many canters you essentially end up with nearly 100% of the worst burning fuel. Not what the stove manufactures designed the stove to use.

          Hope this clarifies matters a bit. Best, -alan

  31. Leslie
    Leslie says:

    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
      Alan Dixon says:

      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


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.