The Ultimate Guide to the Best Foods for Hiking

Author: Mike

June 10th 2023

Embarking on a hiking adventure requires careful planning, especially when it comes to food. The meals you select will depend on personal taste preferences, nutritional value, caloric density, and ease of preparation. While some hikers opt for dehydrated meals due to their convenience, others create their own dinner recipes and use food dehydrators for trail snacks. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the best hiking foods, including our top pick – Rootana – and share tips for meal planning. Let’s dive in!

Why Food Matters on the Trail

Calorie Intake

Backpackers burn a significant number of calories on the trail. On average, hikers typically burn between 3,000-4,000 calories per day. Long-distance hikers covering 20-30 miles daily can easily burn 5,000-6,000 calories. It’s crucial to pack enough nutrients to provide your body with the energy it needs, depending on your size, weight, age, and activity level.

Weight Considerations

One common beginner backpacking meal mistake is bringing too much food. While it’s understandable to avoid hunger, carrying excess weight can dampen spirits on the trail. Experience and pre-trip calorie calculations will help you pack the right amount of food.

Caloric Density

To keep pack weight down, consider the caloric density of your backpacking food choices. High-fat foods like olive oil, nuts, peanut butter, and chocolate have high calorie-per-ounce ratios, while fresh fruits and vegetables have lower ratios. Aim for a range of 120-130 calories-per-ounce total to keep your backpacking drips enjoyable.

Food Volume

Some foods take up more space in your pack than others with the same caloric content (e.g., bagels vs almonds). This may not be an issue on short trips, but on longer journeys or when bear canisters are required, pay attention to the space your food choices will occupy.


Good trail nutrition is similar to healthy eating at home. Strive for a balance of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates while incorporating fiber, fruits, and vegetables. Processed foods are often more convenient, but finding a balance is key. Once back in town, load up on fresh, healthy foods.


After a long day of hiking, you’ll likely prefer a simple meal, without an elaborate cleanup. We recommend keeping meals easy and straightforward and avoiding backpacking meals with excessive packaging.

Water Access

If your dinners require water for cooking, camp near a water source or pack enough water for a dry camp. Plan accordingly for areas with scarce water.


Most backcountry meals require a small stove for cooking. Plan how many times you’ll need to cook (including coffee and tea) to calculate the fuel needed. Fuel usage rates vary depending on the stove model, pot size, elevation, and temperature, so experience will help determine the exact amount needed, but it definitely needs to be considered when meal planning.

Rootana: Number 1 Best Food for Hiking

Rootana is a revolutionary hiking food that combines taste, nutrition, and convenience, making it our top pick for the best food for hiking. The most delicious meal replacement we’ve tried, its three flavor options all leave you wishing you’d brought more. Its caloric density and lightweight packaging make it an ideal choice for backpackers. And there’s the fact that it mixes really well with water and a blender unlike some meal replacement shakes. You also don’t need to consider fuel and it hits all your micro nutrients. The macro (protein, fiber and carbs) blend is designed for prolonged physical activities like hiking, meaning the carbs are slow release making this a great backpacking food for both ease and keeping you going. Meal shakes really help cut down on storage for backpacking trips.

Benefits of Rootana

  • High caloric density
  • Lightweight and compact packaging
  • Deliciously morish flavors
  • Easy to prepare
  • Tasty and nutritious

How to Incorporate Rootana into Your Hiking Meals

Rootana can be seamlessly integrated into any hiking meal plan. Use it as a base for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or as a convenient snack on the trail. The versatility of Rootana ensures that you’ll never grow tired of the same meal, and it’s so easy and convenient to make. Just bring what you need along with you, scoop it and then shake it for an incredible shake.

Why Rootana?

Ofcourse there are plenty of options when it comes to meal replacement shakes, many of which tick the same positive boxes as Rootana such as the convenience, ease of use etc.

The difference is that Rootana is the complete package. It’s not just easy to mix, but because of the clever real food ingredients that make up Rootana, it mixes far better than the competition, avoiding that awkward chalky texture that we often just accept is the norm for meal replacement shakes.

Next up is the flavour, as Rootana is in a whole new level when it comes to taste. Again it really all comes down to that real food formula to elevate things beyond expectations, as this provides a wonderfully subtle but sweet drink that avoids the synthetic aftertaste that many similar meal replacements come with thanks to the artificial sweeteners.

And as we mentioned in the intro, the carbs are slow release, it’s also vegan and contains no artificial sweeteners meaning that it’s suitable for pretty much anyone.

It’s also pretty cost effective as far as backpacking food food goes. Costing only $3.5 per complete meal means it’s good on a budget and takes the guess work out of prepping your own meals.

Lastly, it’s great if you’re new to meal planning for hiking trips. The reason for this is that is you can always pack a little extra without having much of an impact on pack weight, or worrying about your backpacking food taking up too much weight.

Check Rootana Deals

Breakfast Options

Starting your day with a nutritious breakfast is essential for maintaining energy levels on the trail. Here are some go-to breakfast options and our favorite picks:

Coffee (Starbucks Via)

Drinking coffee can be beneficial during hiking trips for several reasons. Firstly, coffee contains caffeine, which is a natural stimulant that can help increase alertness and reduce fatigue. This can be particularly helpful when hiking long distances or facing challenging terrains. Coffee can also provide a temporary boost in energy levels, allowing hikers to maintain focus and endurance. Moreover, the warmth of a hot cup of coffee can be comforting during cold weather hikes, providing a sense of warmth and revitalization. However, it’s important to stay hydrated and balance coffee consumption with drinking enough water, as coffee can have diuretic effects.

Tea (Celestial Seasonings – Bengal Spice)

Drinking tea can offer several benefits during hiking trips. Firstly, tea provides hydration, helping to replenish fluids and maintain optimal body function. It can be a refreshing and soothing drink, especially when enjoyed hot or cold depending on personal preference and weather conditions. Many herbal teas offer additional health benefits, such as calming effects from chamomile or antioxidant properties from green tea. Tea can also serve as a source of natural energy and mental clarity due to its moderate caffeine content. Additionally, carrying lightweight tea bags or loose-leaf tea is convenient, allowing hikers to enjoy a comforting cup of tea while taking breaks and immersing themselves in the natural surroundings.

Bars (Larabar, Clif Bar, ProBar, Ivan Bar, Luna, Kind, Bobo’s)

Snack bars are an excellent choice for hiking trips due to their convenience, portability, and nutritional value. These compact and lightweight bars are easy to carry in a backpack, providing a quick and convenient source of energy during the hike. Snack bars are often packed with a combination of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats, offering a balanced mix of nutrients to sustain energy levels and keep hikers fueled throughout their adventure. They are also available in a variety of flavors and formulations, catering to different dietary preferences and restrictions. Whether it’s a granola bar, protein bar, or fruit and nut bar, these snacks provide a satisfying and nourishing option to refuel during breaks and maintain stamina on the trail.


Pop-Tarts may not be the most nutritious choice for hiking trips, but they can provide some benefits for hikers. These pre-packaged toaster pastries are lightweight, compact, and have a long shelf life, making them convenient for outdoor adventures. While they are often high in sugar and low in nutritional value, they do offer a quick source of carbohydrates, which can provide a burst of energy during strenuous hikes. The sweet and indulgent taste of Pop-Tarts can also provide a morale boost and be a satisfying treat on the trail. However, it’s important to remember that they should be consumed in moderation and balanced with other more nutritious options to ensure a well-rounded and healthy hiking diet.

Granola & Cereal (Bear Naked)

Granola and cereal are excellent options for hiking trips due to their convenience, versatility, and nutritional benefits. These lightweight and compact snacks are easy to pack and carry, making them ideal for on-the-go consumption. Granola and cereal are typically high in fiber, providing sustained energy and promoting digestion during long hikes. They often contain a mix of whole grains, nuts, and dried fruits, offering a combination of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. Additionally, they can be enjoyed in various ways, either as a standalone snack or mixed with other ingredients like yogurt or milk for a more substantial meal. With their delicious flavors and nutrient-rich composition, granola and cereal make for a satisfying and nourishing choice to fuel your hiking adventures.

Powdered Milk (Nido or Grace Coconut Milk Powder)

Powdered milk is a convenient and lightweight option for hiking trips, providing essential nutrients and hydration in a compact form. By simply adding water, powdered milk can be quickly reconstituted into a nutritious beverage, offering a good source of protein, calcium, and vitamins. It serves as an excellent alternative to fresh milk, as it has a longer shelf life and doesn’t require refrigeration. Powdered milk can be used not only for drinking but also for cooking and preparing meals, such as adding it to hot cereals or using it in recipes that call for milk. Its versatility and lightweight nature make it an ideal choice for hikers who want to ensure they have a reliable source of dairy-based nutrition while minimizing the weight of their backpacks.

Breakfast Drink Mix Packets (Carnation)

Breakfast drink mix packets are a convenient and efficient option for hikers looking for a quick and easy morning meal on their trips. These packets often contain a combination of nutritious ingredients like grains, proteins, vitamins, and minerals, providing a balanced breakfast to fuel the day’s activities. With their lightweight and compact design, they take up minimal space in a backpack, making them ideal for hikers seeking to optimize their packing efficiency. By simply adding water, hikers can enjoy a satisfying and energizing breakfast in minutes, without the need for cooking utensils or extensive preparation. The variety of flavors available ensures that there is something to suit every hiker’s taste preferences, and the portable nature of the packets allows for convenient consumption on the go. Breakfast drink mix packets provide hikers with a convenient and nourishing start to their day, ensuring they have the energy and nutrients needed for a successful hiking adventure.

Trail Mix

Trail mix is a go-to snack for hikers due to its numerous benefits. Packed with a variety of nuts, dried fruits, and sometimes chocolate or seeds, trail mix offers a compact and nutritious source of energy on hiking trips. The combination of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates in trail mix provides a sustained release of energy, helping to keep hikers fueled throughout their journey. Additionally, the mix of flavors and textures adds a satisfying element to snacking on the trail. Its lightweight and portable nature make it easy to carry in a backpack without taking up much space. The mix of nutrients in trail mix also offers a range of health benefits, including supporting cardiovascular health and providing essential vitamins and minerals although it’s always going to matter which dried fruit, nuts etc that you chose. Whether it’s a quick energy boost or a satisfying snack to enjoy during breaks, trail mix is a convenient and nourishing choice for hikers.

Nuts and Seeds (Almonds, peanuts, etc.)

Nuts and seeds are an excellent choice for hiking trips due to their numerous benefits. Packed with essential nutrients like protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, nuts and seeds provide sustained energy and nourishment during long hikes. They are lightweight, compact, and easy to carry, making them a convenient and portable snack option. The high protein and healthy fat content in nuts and seeds help to keep you feeling full and satisfied, while the fiber supports digestion and promotes a healthy gut. Additionally, they offer a good amount of antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and support overall health. Whether you prefer almonds, walnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds, incorporating nuts and seeds into your hiking snacks provides a nutritious and energizing boost to keep you going on the trail.

Almond Butter Packets (Justin’s)

Almond butter packets are an excellent choice for hiking trips due to their convenience and nutritional benefits. Almond butter is rich in healthy fats, protein, and fiber, which provide sustained energy and help keep you feeling satisfied during long hikes. The individual packets are lightweight and easy to carry, making them a portable and mess-free option. Almond butter is also a good source of vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium, which are important for maintaining overall health and supporting muscle function. Additionally, almond butter is versatile and can be enjoyed on its own, spread on crackers or bread, or added to other trail mix ingredients for a delicious and nutritious snack. Its creamy texture and nutty flavor make it a satisfying treat that can fuel your hiking adventures.

Peanut Butter Packets (Justin’s)

Peanut butter packets are an excellent choice for hiking trips due to their convenience, energy-boosting properties, and nutritional value. Packed with protein, healthy fats, and fiber, peanut butter provides a great source of sustained energy for long hikes. The individual packets are lightweight and portable, making them easy to carry in your backpack. Peanut butter is also rich in essential nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium, which support muscle function and overall well-being. Additionally, peanut butter is versatile and can be enjoyed on its own, spread on crackers or bread, or mixed with other ingredients to create a satisfying and nourishing snack. Its creamy texture and delicious taste make it a favorite choice among hikers, providing a tasty and filling source of nutrition on the trail.

Instant Oatmeal (Quaker)

Instant oatmeal is an excellent choice for hiking trips due to its convenience, nutritional value, and versatility making it a classic backpacking food. Packed with fiber, complex carbohydrates, and essential nutrients, oatmeal provides a quick and sustainable source of energy to fuel your hike. The individual packets of instant oatmeal are lightweight, compact, and easy to prepare, requiring only hot water to make a warm and nourishing meal on the go. Oatmeal is also known for its heart-healthy properties, helping to lower cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar. It can be customized with additional toppings such as dried fruits, nuts, or honey to enhance the flavor and add extra nutrients. Whether enjoyed as a breakfast option or a snack during breaks, instant oatmeal is a reliable and satisfying choice for hikers looking for a nutritious and filling option on their outdoor adventures

Lunch Options

A cold lunch on the trail is preferable to save time, effort, and fuel required for cooking. Common options include tortilla or bagel sandwiches with hard meats and cheeses. Here’s a list of our go-to lunch choices:

Bagels or Tortillas (Thomas Bagels, Mission Tortillas)

Bagels or tortillas make for an excellent lunch option on hiking trips due to their convenience, portability, and versatility. These bread-based options are lightweight, easy to pack, and don’t require refrigeration, making them ideal for outdoor adventures. Bagels are dense and filling, providing a good source of carbohydrates for sustained energy throughout the hike. Tortillas, on the other hand, are flexible and can be used as a wrap for various fillings, such as deli meats, cheese, vegetables, or spreads like hummus or peanut butter. They are also less likely to get squished or crumble compared to regular bread. Additionally, bagels and tortillas have a longer shelf life and are less prone to spoilage, making them a reliable choice for extended hiking trips. Whether you prefer the chewiness of a bagel or the versatility of a tortilla, both options offer a convenient and satisfying lunch choice to keep you fueled during your hiking adventures.

Hard Meats – Salami, Summer Sausage, etc. (Applegate)

Hard meats, such as beef jerky or cured sausages, are a popular choice for lunch on hiking trips due to their durability, convenience, and high protein content. These types of meats are lightweight, compact, and have a long shelf life, making them ideal for outdoor excursions where refrigeration is not readily available. Hard meats are also highly concentrated in protein, which is essential for muscle recovery and sustained energy during strenuous activities. They provide a satisfying and savory option to keep you satiated throughout the day without the need for cooking or additional preparation. Additionally, hard meats are resistant to spoilage and can withstand various weather conditions, making them a reliable choice for extended hikes. Whether you prefer the smoky flavor of beef jerky or the robust taste of cured sausages, hard meats are a convenient and nutrient-dense lunch option for hikers seeking a quick and filling meal on the go.

Hard Cheese – Parmesan, Romano, etc.

Hard cheeses, such as Romano or Parmesan, are a fantastic lunch option for hiking trips due to their durability, versatility, and nutritional value. Hard cheeses have a low moisture content and are well-suited for outdoor adventures as they can withstand varying temperatures without spoiling quickly making them great backpacking food. They are also compact and lightweight, making them easy to pack and carry in a backpack. Hard cheeses are an excellent source of protein, calcium, and essential vitamins, providing essential nutrients for sustained energy and muscle recovery during long hikes. Their rich and savory flavors can add a delicious touch to sandwiches, wraps, or crackers, making them a versatile ingredient that complements various hiking meals. Whether enjoyed on its own or as part of a hearty trailside snack, hard cheese offers a satisfying and nutritious lunch option for hikers looking for a convenient and tasty on-the-go meal.

Jelly or Honey (Nature Nate’s)

Jelly or honey can be a great addition to a hiking lunch for several reasons. First, they are lightweight and easy to pack, making them convenient for outdoor adventures. They also have a long shelf life, so you don’t have to worry about them spoiling quickly. Jelly, with its sweet and fruity flavors, can add a burst of taste to sandwiches or wraps, making them more enjoyable to eat on the trail. Honey, on the other hand, is a natural sweetener and a great source of energy. It provides a quick boost of carbohydrates, making it ideal for replenishing energy levels during strenuous hikes. Additionally, honey has antibacterial properties and can soothe a sore throat or minor irritations that may occur during the journey. Whether you prefer the fruity goodness of jelly or the natural sweetness of honey, these condiments can enhance the taste, provide energy, and offer some health benefits, making them a worthwhile addition to a hiking lunch.

Tuna or Chicken in foil packets (StarKist)

Tuna or chicken in foil packets can be an excellent lunch option for hiking trips for several reasons. Firstly, they are lightweight and easy to carry, making them convenient for outdoor activities. The foil packets provide a protective layer, ensuring that the meat stays fresh and prevents any leakage or odor. Tuna and chicken are excellent sources of protein, which is crucial for repairing and building muscles during physical exertion. They also contain essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins, which support overall health and well-being. Additionally, the convenience of pre-packaged foil packets means you don’t need to worry about refrigeration or cooking on the trail, making them a convenient and hassle-free lunch option. Whether you prefer the lean protein of tuna or the versatility of chicken, these foil-packed meats offer a nutritious and satisfying meal to fuel your hiking adventures.

Dried Pork Packets (Meat Shredz)

Dried pork packets can be a great lunch option for hiking trips due to their portability, shelf-stability, and nutritional benefits. The lightweight and compact nature of dried pork packets make them easy to carry in your backpack without adding unnecessary weight. They are also highly shelf-stable, which means they won’t spoil easily, making them suitable for extended hiking trips. Dried pork is a good source of protein and provides essential amino acids necessary for muscle repair and growth. It is also rich in nutrients like iron and B vitamins, which can help boost energy levels and support overall health during strenuous activities. Furthermore, the savory and salty taste of dried pork can provide flavorful backpacking food and satisfying meal on the go, helping to keep you fueled and satiated during your hiking adventures.

Dinner Options

Freeze-dried meal pouches (Mountain House, MaryJanesFarm, Good To-Go, PackIt Gourmet, etc.) are convenient, lightweight, and tasty options for backpacking dinners. However, they can be expensive compared to DIY options. Here’s a list of our go-to dinner choices:

Freeze Dried Dinners (Chicken and Dumplings, Biscuits and Gravy, Beef Stroganoff, Chili Mac)

Freeze-dried dinners are an excellent choice for dinner on hiking trips due to their convenience, lightweight nature, and long shelf life. These meals are specifically designed for outdoor enthusiasts and backpackers, providing a quick and easy solution for nourishing meals after a long day of hiking. The freeze-drying process removes moisture from the food, significantly reducing its weight and volume while preserving its nutritional content. This makes freeze-dried dinners highly portable, allowing hikers to carry several meals without adding excessive weight to their packs. Additionally, freeze-dried dinners have a long shelf life, making them suitable for extended trips or emergency situations. They come in a variety of flavors and contain a balanced combination of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, providing the essential nutrients needed for recovery and sustained energy. With minimal preparation and lightweight packaging, freeze-dried dinners offer a convenient and satisfying dinner option for hikers, ensuring they can refuel and recharge for the next day’s adventure.

Instant Mashed Potatoes (Idahoan)

Instant mashed potatoes are a great dinner option for hiking trips due to their lightweight, easy-to-prepare, and energy-rich nature. These dehydrated potato flakes can be quickly rehydrated by adding boiling water, making them a convenient choice for outdoor cooking. They provide a good source of carbohydrates, which are essential for replenishing energy levels and aiding in muscle recovery after a day of hiking. Instant mashed potatoes also offer a comforting and filling meal that can help satisfy hunger and provide a sense of warmth and comfort during chilly evenings on the trail. With their simplicity and versatility, instant mashed potatoes are a reliable and delicious option for hikers seeking a quick and satisfying dinner option that requires minimal effort and cooking equipment.

Instant Ramen

Instant ramen is a popular choice for hikers looking for a quick and convenient dinner option on hiking trips and perhaps the most obvious backpacking food. These noodles are lightweight, compact, and easy to prepare, making them ideal for outdoor cooking. With just boiling water and a few minutes of cooking, hikers can enjoy a hot and flavorful meal. Instant ramen provides a good source of carbohydrates and some protein, which are essential for replenishing energy levels and aiding in muscle recovery after a long day of hiking. The variety of flavors available allows hikers to choose their preferred taste and satisfy their cravings. Additionally, the warm broth can be comforting and soothing, especially during cooler evenings on the trail. When it comes to simplicity, convenience, and a satisfying meal, instant ramen proves to be a reliable choice for hikers seeking a delicious and fuss-free dinner option.

Instant Soups

Instant soups are a convenient and nourishing option for hikers seeking a quick and satisfying dinner on their trips. These pre-packaged soups are lightweight, easy to carry, and require minimal preparation. With just hot water, hikers can enjoy a warm and comforting meal packed with flavors and nutrients. Instant soups often contain a combination of dehydrated vegetables, pasta or rice, and seasonings, providing a balanced mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and essential vitamins. They are a great way to replenish energy levels and stay hydrated while on the trail. Moreover, the warm broth helps to keep hikers hydrated and can be particularly comforting in colder weather conditions. Whether it’s a classic chicken noodle soup or a hearty vegetable stew, instant soups offer hikers a convenient and nourishing dinner option that makes both lightweight and delicious backpacking meals.


Stuffing is a versatile and satisfying option for hikers looking for a hearty dinner on their trips. Made from a combination of bread, herbs, and spices, stuffing provides a comforting and flavorful meal that can be easily prepared in a campsite. Its compact nature makes it lightweight and easy to pack, while the ingredients can be customized to suit personal preferences. Whether it’s a traditional bread stuffing or a grain-based variation, stuffing offers a good source of carbohydrates and can be enhanced with additional protein and vegetables for a well-rounded meal. It’s a great way to add warmth and comfort to the hiking experience, especially during colder seasons. Additionally, the aromas and flavors of stuffing can help create a sense of home and familiarity in the wilderness, making it a delightful addition to any hiker’s dinner menu.

Instant Mac & Cheese (Annie’s)

Instant mac and cheese is a popular choice for hikers seeking a quick and satisfying dinner on their outdoor adventures. This classic comfort food is easy to prepare, requiring only boiling water and a few minutes of cooking time. Its lightweight and compact packaging makes it convenient to carry in a backpack. Instant mac and cheese provides a good source of carbohydrates and protein, giving hikers the energy they need to fuel their activities. It also offers a comforting and familiar taste, which can be especially enjoyable after a long day on the trail. The creamy cheese sauce and tender pasta provide a satisfying meal that is both filling and delicious. Whether enjoyed as a standalone dish or paired with other ingredients like canned tuna or vegetables, instant mac and cheese is a convenient and tasty dinner option for hikers.


Couscous is a versatile and convenient food option that makes for a great dinner choice during hiking trips. It is a type of pasta made from semolina wheat, and its small granules cook quickly with just boiling water, making it ideal for outdoor cooking. Couscous is lightweight and compact, allowing hikers to carry a sufficient amount without adding much weight to their backpacks. It is a good source of carbohydrates, providing energy to fuel strenuous activities. Additionally, couscous can be easily flavored and customized by adding spices, herbs, or ingredients like dried fruits, nuts, or vegetables. This allows hikers to create flavorful and satisfying meals with minimal effort. Its quick cooking time and versatility make couscous a practical and tasty dinner option for hikers on the go.

Dehydrated Vegetables (Just Veggies)

Dehydrated vegetables are an excellent dinner option for hiking trips due to their lightweight, compact, and long-lasting nature. These vegetables have been carefully dehydrated, removing their moisture content while retaining their nutrients and flavors. By eliminating water weight, dehydrated vegetables become lightweight, making them easy to carry in backpacks without adding bulk. They are also highly durable, allowing hikers to pack them for extended periods without worrying about spoilage. Rehydrating dehydrated vegetables is simple; they can be quickly reconstituted by adding hot water or by incorporating them into soups, stews, or other cooked dishes. With their concentrated nutrients, dehydrated vegetables provide essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber that are crucial for maintaining a healthy diet during hiking adventures. Their convenience, nutritional value, and versatility make dehydrated vegetables an excellent choice for a satisfying and nourishing dinner while exploring the great outdoors.

Fresh Fruit As Backpacking food

The main thing you need to consider with fresh fruit and fresh foods in general, you need to make sure that you stick to more robust items. Apples, Pears and harder fruits are going to survive without ending up mashed in your bag. They’re also not overly calorie dense so you don’t want to waste too much space on them if you’re going for a long hike. Fruits that you can peel by hand are normally OK to, just make sure to put them in a sealed bag so you don’t end up with mashed fruit over everything if they get damaged. They’re not essential for a backpacking meal, but they are easy to eat on the go, and if you are going to leave anything behind, an apple core isn’t going to do any harm to the environment.

Leave No Trace Of Your Backpacking Meals

Always pack out your trash and any leftover food to protect nature and follow Leave No Trace principles. This includes packing out spent coffee grounds, orange rinds, and apple cores. Scan your campsites and lunch spots before continuing your hike, and if possible, help pack out trash left behind by others.

Backpacking Food Storage

Proper food storage is crucial for protecting wildlife. Bears that associate humans with food may need to be trapped and killed. The safest options for backcountry food storage are an Ursack or Bear Canister. Check regulations for required food storage methods in the area you plan to hike.

Hot Drinks and Alcohol

Warm beverages and soups can be a comforting treat in the backcountry, especially on chilly trips where staying hydrated is challenging. Sip on tea, cider, and hot cocoa around camp when temperatures drop. However, avoid consuming alcohol right before bed, as it can disrupt your sleep cycle and increase bathroom visits.

DIY Dehydrated Meals

If you have the time and energy, creating your own trail meals and dehydrating your own snacks can be rewarding. A quality food dehydrator will efficiently remove water from fruits, veggies, and meats for delicious DIY trail grub. Freeze dried meals are another good option for any backpacking trip.

Best Backpacking Food Wrap Up

So, there you have it – a comprehensive guide to the best foods for hiking. With Rootana as our top pick and a variety of options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, you’ll be well-prepared for your next hiking adventure. Happy trails!

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