An important challenge faced by most hikers is the proper choice of food. We are prone to always go for the most tasty and nutritious meals when we are at home, but when we get to the track, things can get complicated. Most people make the wrong decisions and that ruins part of their adventure event.
There are some rules as to what it makes sense to bring on a one day hiking trip and which ones do not. There are factors that should be considered, such as weight, durability, taste, nutritional value, if it generates garbage, etc. It may sound tedious to plan your meal in such small details, but once you have the idea, you do not have to spend hours and hours looking for the best food.
You will already have the knowledge and experience, and we are here to give you an advantage.
Hiking food for 1-2 days of hiking.
You can afford more flavor and delicious foods in your backpack if you plan on hiking for just a day or two. Here are our ideas.
Option # 1 – sandwiches
Choose any type of bread or pita that you like and prepare your favorite sandwiches. The form is only for you to decide. Do at least 2 per day of walking, or if you can not imagine yourself eating something else, make one per meal, for each day that comes out. We advise you to have a little variety every day, but if that is not your thing, do it. Of course, without variety, at least add some slices of tomato or cucumbers, or lettuce in each sandwich, to give a little freshness.
Also, make sure you have some meat or cheese in the sandwich, to give you a protein boost and keep hunger away for longer.
As for the sandwiches packaging, better mix them in aluminum foil, for better conservation. You risk being squeezed between the other items in your backpack, but if you plan ahead and find a good way to keep them safe, it will be fine.
Option # 2 – dry meat
This is a popular meal among hikers. Usually, for dry meat, people mean dry meat. For people who want to avoid red meat, there is also the option of dried fish.
This type of food is almost the ideal balance between fats, proteins and carbohydrates. It is very light, tasty and long-lasting. If you want, you can make your own home, as long as you have a dehydrator.
Option # 3 – nuts and protein bars
As a general rule, be easy when packing for a hiking trip. You have to prepare many other things and items to think about details about your food. That’s why nut and protein bars are the perfect type of food for a hiker. They are compact, light, nutritious, tasty, rich in protein and leave hunger for an hour or two. Check the labels and choose those loaded with more calories and proteins.
Do not avoid sugary contents, since sugar (carbohydrates) is your fuel, just as proteins and fats are the basic components of your body’s cells. If you prefer homemade food, you can make your own nut bars. Add a variety of nuts in a bowl (preferably in the form of a bar), add honey to paste everything, add a little raisins or other dried fruits for sweetness, and voila. For more details you can google how to make walnut bars at home.
Option # 4 – camp meal (dry)
It’s amazing how something like lasagna can get dehydrated, and when you add water, it tastes just like your grandma’s lasagna. There are many brands in the market that offer food for backpackers. It is in a freeze-dried state. It is light and compact. When you add water (boiling for best results) you get the flavor you expected.
If you always prefer homemade food, you can prepare yours. You can cook some simple foods, like, boil the cous-cous or quinoa, do not add more than salt, place it in a large plastic container and you’re done. Even if it is not very tasty, as long as you have salt, a little vinegar or some spices (or herbs), you will be perfectly happy. You can get other dry foods, such as dried fruits. Its low weight allows you to take as much as you can and receive a large amount of energy in a small fruit.
Option # 5 – dates
The dates are part of a special category. There are dates in the market, which are not dry. They are much juicier and tasty. They can be a little heavier that way, but you still do not need too much of them. They are loaded with sugar. Basically, they are almost totally sugar.
Dates can not go wrong easily, precisely because of the sugars, which act as preservatives. Therefore, dates can be the perfect energy food for any type of climate. If you are going on an excursion during a summer weekend, a chocolate bar will melt in a few hours, while the dates will remain the same. The sugar content in the dates and the chocolate is almost identical, but the dates are a fresh fruit, which is also on the positive side.
Option # 6 – chocolate
After all, chocolate is still a favorite food for many people, from hikers to non-hikers. It is tasty, sweet and an energy booster. The cocoa content provides a high amount of antioxidants and minerals, which are important for the body under stress. Walking may be a pleasure for you, but it is a stressor for the body. Antioxidants will keep stress agents at bay. In addition, it is a perfect combination between fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
The only drawback of chocolate is that it melts in hot climates. Therefore, if you are hiking in the summer, you can take some appointments. If the weather is going to be mild, of course, enjoy some chocolate while walking. After all, even during the summer, the nights are cooler, and that’s a perfect time to enjoy some chocolate.
Option # 7 – cucumbers
This is an additional idea for those who are willing to carry a little extra weight, but reaping the benefits when dehydration occurs. It is true that watery fruits and vegetables are not necessary for hikers. Cucumbers can be not only an extra weight, but also a very good hydration food, and can be perfect for those who need something fresh in the morning.
It is full of nutrients to replenish the mineral reserve of your body. If you plan a one day hiking trip, it may not be worth taking cucumbers, but if you want to spend a few more days there, you will start to lack fresh foods at home. Cucumbers can give you that freshness.
Another benefit of taking cucumbers is that it is a hard vegetable. You can not break between the items in your backpack. It can only be split in half if it is placed incorrectly inside the backpack so that the weight is not evenly distributed. Otherwise, you can trust the cucumbers that will be there when you get inside your bag. Another idea for such a fruit or vegetable is the apple. It is also a hard fruit and can maintain some pressure. If you have other ideas for such fruits, experiment and try them.
And again, it’s just an extra idea for those who like to challenge mainstream beliefs.
Option # 8 – tuna (meat)
In general, whatever type of food you choose to take, consider the importance of meat, especially fish. Tuna, for example, can be the ideal protein source. It has a low caloric value, but it is very high in protein. Protein is important for cell regeneration and muscle strength.
As a hiker, you should know that you should give your body not only fuel (carbohydrates) but also the means to repair the damage. Get some pre-packaged tuna, in pieces, so you can easily mix with your other food.
Option # 9 – giggle bars
It sure is a calorie bomb. It is sweet, there are also peanuts and it has everything (carbohydrates, fats and proteins).
If it’s hot and you do not expect the weather to get cooler, maybe a Snickers bar is not such a bright idea, but at least you should pack one and expect to eat it at night, when it gets cooler anywhere you go hiking
Food for more than one day’s hiking experience.
You may be planning to go hiking for five days or for a week, or even for 10 days. There is a much more limited selection of foods that you can prepare in your backpack. Some will become familiar with the previous list, but we will analyze them in more depth.
Option # 1 – dried fruits
As mentioned earlier, dried fruits may be the best choice for low weight foods for a hiker. If you plan a long trip, you can definitely pack a variety of dried fruits, from raisins to blueberries, etc. Be prepared with a lot of dried fruits, not just get a pack or two. You may have to trust them completely at critical times. Again, we have to mention the dates. They are a miraculous fruit, which gives an energy boost with only 3-4 fruits at a time.
It is a delicious and sweet, fresh alternative to chocolate (in case of heat). When you feel tired and the lunch hour is hours later, take out several fruits of the date and you will see how energized you will feel in a few moments.
Option # 2 – dry foods (and soups)
Most hikers pack many packages of dry soup. If you enjoy the days of trekking, you have definitely used a camping stove. Most of these stoves are very small and compact, so it is always easy to boil a little water, add the dry soup powder, and have both a moisturizing drink and a refreshing meal.
In this category we can replace the dried meat, due to its extremely low weight. It is full of fats, carbohydrates and proteins, just what the body needs, and it is tasty.
Option # 3 – hard cheese and cookies
This is another great option for low-weight foods, which also provides carbohydrates, proteins and fats. As we said, these are the three main components that the body needs. Most hard cheeses can withstand a certain amount of heat and are durable because of that.
The cookies, obviously, are ideal because of their insignificant weight. You can add to this category also muesli, oatmeal and other low-weight foods, which can become softer and tastier by adding a little water.
Option # 4 – peanut butter
This is the perfect idea for a food that is very high in fat and protein. One bottle may be enough for several days. You can also get it in tubes, instead of jars, to facilitate its transport and use. Combined with cookies, you will have the perfect combination of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Peanut butter is also high in calories, so you can quench your hunger quickly. It is a durable food and can withstand hot weather for many days. This is due to its high fat content, since fat is a preservative.
The only drawback of peanut butter is the consistency. When you are hungry and thirsty, your mouth is dry, and because peanut butter is thick, it feels sticky when you eat it. So, if you have water by your side, definitely help yourself. A better idea is to have a piece of apple or fresh cucumber, as we previously advised. It will be a much more balanced meal. You will be adding electrolytes from fruits.
Option # 5 – olive oil
This can be part of the category of peanut butter, because it is a fatty food, but since it is only fat, it can only be used as an additive for other foods.
It is a compressed, healthy, nutritious calorie pump and can be found in small plastic bottles. It also brings some aroma and flavor to your simple meal.
Option # 6 – pasta or macaroni and cheese
Once again, you will have carbohydrates, fats and proteins packaged in one. It is light, and when you add boiled water, it can be perfectly nutritious. It is a low-cost staple and if you add some pieces of meat, tuna or olive oil, you can have the perfect meal.
You can substitute the macaroni with any other type of pasta that you like. There are basically a lot of options in the market, so take your time and choose your favorites. And if you plan to eat only pasta, try to get some variety in the flavors. Some hikers have the habit of taking many packages of a type of food, and then they tire of it at the end of the adventure, simply because they did not take a variety when they went shopping.
What to consider when planning your own meals?
As we already mentioned, the best food during an exhausting day of hiking is the one that has carbohydrates, salts, fats and proteins. Even if you do not strictly follow the above list of foods, you can compile your own, following these requirements. You should also consider the weight of the food, whether it is pre-packed for you, or if you put it in a plastic box, it should not be heavy.
Also, something important that many hikers overlook is the trash they leave behind. Many hikers who leave their camps have a bad habit of leaving trash, napkins, plastic bags, etc. There is a code of ethics to not leave any kind of garbage, even if you think it is stable under appropriate conditions. Do not assume that your paper napkin will not be there next year just because it’s stable. However, it is garbage.
Prepare a special plastic bag for all the leftovers and store it in your bag (or, if you wish, attach it to your backpack, if you do not want it to be mixed with your other items).
Remember, if you plan a day trip, your meals can be more luxurious and you can bring some of your favorite foods. If you go to the track for several days, you have to be much more prepared, with a strict plan on how to use your food during the next few days, and also consider bringing extra food. For longer trips, you should basically rely on dry and lyophilized foods. You can prepare your own nuts at home. For shorter trips, even apples and cucumbers can find their way in your backpack.
Our advice to keep it nourished is also to pack some spices. Not only do they add some life, flavor and smell to their boring menus, they also contain a lot of antioxidants. As we explained earlier, antioxidants keep your body fresh and help you fight oxidation stress. Then, you can bring some garlic, pepper, oregano, cinnamon, mint (or mint), curry, etc.
You can also make your own bars or granola meals, ready to mix with water. Do not underestimate the variety of nuts there are. Make your own package of y # 8216; road mix ‘instead of buying one. Simply mix any of your favorite nuts and dried fruits, place them in a plastic bag and store them in a pocket. You can have smaller packages, which fit perfectly to the pants or the pocket of the jacket. It is not necessary to keep it in your backpack and stop from time to time to remove it.
As we said before, walking food can be a bit boring and boring, but it does not necessarily have to be that. If you use your imagination and combine some of the foods that are listed above, you may end up with some very tasty meals. If you follow the main idea that a full meal should contain fats, carbohydrates, proteins and salt (electrolytes) and add some flavor (such as spices, olive oil, peanut butter, etc.), you should be just as happy in A hiking excursion as if you were at home.