Backpacking Food

NEW June 2016 – Meal Recipes are Posted. See Nutritious Backpacking Meal Recipes here

This list is packed with nutritious backpacking food for a “week long” trip of 7 days

  • 6 nights of dinners and breakfasts
  • 7 days of lunches and daytime snacks

That is you don’t eat breakfast on the day your go in. And you don’t eat dinner on the day you come out. This is equivalent to around 6.6 full days hiking. I’ve organized the food so that it should be easy to scale to more or fewer hiking days.

Note: any entry with a blank in “qty” means the food item is an alternative that may be a) added and/or b) substituted for another item on the list. For example if you are veggie, you could substitute one of the soy jerkies (Primal & Stonewall) the meat jerky. And to easily add vegetables to my homemade dinners I use freeze dried vegetables from Just Tomatoes. I like the “Hot Just Veggies.”

A Simple and Nutritious Backpacking Food List for 7 days

Breakfasts (6 mornings)qtyoztotc/ozComments
Familia Breakfast (with Bob’s Red Mill Muesli)25.511.0125see Recipe Page
Grape Nuts/Kashi Seven Nuggets (my recipe)25.010.0124see Recipe Page
Oatmeal Breakfast (my recipe)25.410.8115see Recipe Page
Coffee, Starbuck’s VIA ($0.72/cup @Amazon)60.10.84g pkt  = 130-140 mg caffeine
Coffee for gold filter brewing 25g per 12 fl-oz0.9 alternative to instant coffee, less $
Tea – bag or loose leaf (4-6g per 12 fl-oz)0.1if using bags, sealed packets are best
Lunches (7 days)qtyoztotc/ozComments
Dense whole grain bread (lunch serving)32.06.080
Almond Butter (2 oz serv)32.06.0155pers fave – eat w bread/crackers
Tuna in olive oil 2.6 oz pkt (2.9 oz incl packet)2.965eat w bread, oil adds cal’s & healthy fat
Crackers, Dr Kracker (lunch serving)21.53.0125Awesome, high calorie & indestructible
Cheese (lunch serving)22.55.0115eat with crackers
TJ’s whole wheat tortillas22.04.080
Dry salami (without nitrates)22.55.0105eat with tortillas
Mustard packetsn/ato eat with cheese or salami
Bison Jerkey (3.5 oz bag)3.560 online, or TJs and Whole Foods
Turkey Jerky4.090 online, or TJs and Whole Foods
Primal Strips Meatless Vegan Jerkey (teriyaki)1.0100vegan protein option – up to 11g prot.
Stonewall’s Jerquee (soy based)1.5110veggie protein option – up to 14g prot.
Dinners (6 nights)qtyoztotc/ozComments
Black Beans & Rice w Cheese & Corn Chips (yum!)25.511.0115see Recipe Page
Chili Mac Dinner25.511.0120see Recipe Page
Curry Cous Cous Dinner26.012.0135see Recipe Page
Desserts (6 nights)qtyoztotc/ozComments
Snickers Bar or MilkyWay Midnight22.14.2135daytime snack or dessert
Chocolate (dark)42.08.0153great when eaten with dried fruit
Cocoa Nibs1.0150tasty when added to dark chocolate
Snakwell Cookie Packet21.73.4123great with hot chocolate
Hot Chocolate (make your own with Nido)22.24.4130see Dessert recipe Page
Snack Bars (for ~7 days)qtyoztotc/ozComments
Kind Bars41.45.6150
Lara Bar1.8130
Pro Bar Meal Bar23.06.0125healthy, easy to eat
ProBar’s Base Protein Bars22.54.9114adds 20g of soy protein
Cliff Builder’s Protein Bar22.54.9115adds 20g of soy protein
Snacks (for ~7 days)qtyoztotc/ozComments
Gorp (50% walnuts, 50% dried fruit – raisins?)72.014.0150 usually mix my own
Honey sesame sticks71.812.6150 online or at Whole Foods
Candied nuts (TJs has a ton of varieties)31.54.5150
Almonds, raw42.08.0165
Walnuts, raw185
Dried mango un-sweetened/sulfered32.06.090also great dessert with dark chocolate!
Apricots (dried, un-sweetened, un-sulfered)41.56.087also great dessert with dark chocolate!
Papaya (dried, un-sweetened, un-sulfered)100 at Whole Foods
Raisins, organic (Thompson, TJs)95
Generic dried fruit85
Jelly Bellies93
Tic-Tacs0mindless fun to eat on trail
Pringles150tasty, high in calories
Lb of food for trip11.5
Lb food per day1.7
Calories/oz of food127
30 replies
« Older Comments
  1. TERRENCE Homebrew Brann
    TERRENCE Homebrew Brann says:

    Typically cured meat that advertises that it was processed without nitrates means that they used celery salt instead. Which naturally contains lots of nitrates.

  2. Clinton
    Clinton says:

    Just found your site Alan, Your generous commitment to helping others makes this world a better place. I can’t wait to read your full content. As a hunter in New Zealand I am very curious how I can make the trip as light as possible before the heavy carry of my game. Bless you brother.

  3. Emily
    Emily says:

    Thank you so much for the time and effort you put into this post and your site! My husband and I are hiking/backcountry camping for a few days on one of the Channel Islands in a few weeks. Packing enough food while keeping the weight down has been a huge issue for us. This post and your others on nutritious meals are such a treasure!

  4. Judith
    Judith says:

    Thank you so much for this great site, Alan! I am preparing our first backpacking-trip with our 12 month old son, hence for the first time we really need to pack down. This is the most helpful advice I have ever found, thank you for all the work you put into this!

    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Judith, so glad it helped. May this only be the first of many backpacking trips with your son. I backpacked with my mother into her 50’s. Best, -a

  5. T Darren
    T Darren says:

    Alan, Thank you so much for sharing all the helpful info. Planning a similar 7-day menu. Happen to know if your food list above would fit into a BearVault 450?

    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Good Q. There’s a fighting chance that with all the compact & “moldable” foods (they mold/conform to fit in tight spaces), e.g. dinners, breakfasts, gorp, nuts, etc., that you will be close. Especially after you’ve eaten your first days’s worth of lunch, snack food and dinner and are ready to set out the canister for the night. Trick is to keep your food as moldable as possible. BUT with all the individual variances on packaging, amounts, and food choices… there is only one way to find out for sure! So best to figure this one out at home before your trip :-)

      Wishing you a great trip, -alan


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