Want to improve your selection of backpacking meals?
Did you know that almost 14% of Americans go camping at least once each year? That’s about 40.5 million people. If each brought one store-bought-and-wrapped meal item, that’s 40.5 million food wrappers.
Those same people could make the smart choice: cook their own meals and take advantage of reusable baggies. When you design your own meals, you’re certain to get what you like. The problem most hikers have, especially for long treks, is creating enough variety in their meal plans.
Fortunately for you, that’s what this article is all about. Read on to discover more.
Backpacking Meals 101
Two mindsets exist for creating food for backpacking. The first focuses on lightweight foods which are calorically dense though heavily processed. The second emphasizes the nutritional value of dehydrated food that you make at home.
The second choice takes more effort, but the payoff is well worth it. It involves making DIY dinner recipes and trail snacks. Then using a food dehydrator to get rid of the water weight.
Just remember, when you create your meal plans, make sure you’re including enough calories. On average, hikers burn 3000 to 4000 calories per day. Also, make certain the meals cook quickly on a camp stove.
One of the easiest and most satisfying meals, when you’re camping, is oatmeal with fruit and nuts. You can purchase a can of steel ground oats or instant oatmeal at the store. We recommend the steel ground oats because they contain fewer preservatives.
The nuts are optional, though we recommend macadamia nuts, pecans, and almonds. Buy diced or crumbled nuts. Avoid the whole nuts if you can. You’ll have to break them up anyway, and they usually cost more.
Lastly, dehydrate your favorite fruits. We recommend:
Now scoop a breakfast-sized scoop of oats into a baggie. Add nuts and fruit, and seal the baggie tight. Voila! Instant breakfast.
Did you know that the US shipped over $6 billion worth of dried and dehydrated food last year? It’s a convenient way to store food, especially when you’re on the go. Lunchtime for hikers is a perfect example.
Hikers stop to rest, but rarely want to get water and pull out their camp stove. They’d rather eat something that takes little to no preparation. That’s where cheese and sausage come in.
They’re quick, nutrient-dense lunches that can be eaten cold. When you supplement them with a homemade trail mix that includes your favorite dehydrated fruit, it makes the perfect meal.
You can get much more creative with dinners because that’s when you break out your camping stove. Start with a complex carbohydrate:
- Instant Rice
- Rice noodles
- Instant ramen noodles
Then add your favorite dehydrated vegetables:
Afterward, add your favorite dehydrated meat:
Lastly, include your favorite spices:
- Mexican Spices
- Italian Spices
- Red Peppers
Now place enough food for 1 meal in an appropriately sized baggie and seal it tight. Here are some examples of what you can create: couscous with chicken and vegetables. Mexican rice with corn and chicken. Curry rice with beef and cashews. Thai peanut noodles with veggies and rice.
Well, you learned about a few backpacking meals you can create for your next excursion. But you don’t have to stop there. Dehydrated food is great for office lunches, picnics, and late-night meals. If you’d like to learn more, please browse our library full of other dehydrated food articles.