Homemade backpacking food has a few distinguishing virtues. First, in terms of health, you can choose ingredients that provide the specific types and qualities of calories that’ll provide you with ample energy.
Secondary to health in backpacking food is price. You will spend objectively less money by preparing dehydrated meals, for example, as opposed to buying them in pre-processed and packaged form. You could also add flavor as a benefit, especially when you’re choosing your favorite recipes based on quality ingredients.
Expediency can be a challenge in preparing your own hiking food. Enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, rather than countless hours spent in the kitchen. The following list of food recipes will take these opportunities into consideration, and show you some hacks to reinvigorate your adventures.
#1. Fruit, protein and multivitamin powders
Any meal prep for your backpacking trip will undoubtedly make room for water. Combo quenching your thirst with nutrients, using a dried fruit powder or energy shake mix.
A fruit dehydrator and a blender will be your best friend. Puree various fruits, adding fruit juice or water to make a thick, yet liquid concoction, then dry it in your dehydrator. Afterward, blend your thoroughly dried mixture and package it in vacuum-sealed bags or containers.
This is a very light-weight solution that can also be added to oatmeal, smoothies and bread. It makes a mood-enhancing substitute for sugar-based candy, as well.
#2. Veggies for backpacking cooking
Any list of homemade backpacking food should include a balanced approach that includes fruit, vegetables, protein, grains and sources of calcium. Green vegetables, like kale, make for tasty dried veggie recipes, with a surprising amount of vitamin C and a host of other nutrients.
Using your fruit dehydrator machine, you can create compact, nutrient-dense vegetable packs very easily. There’s a veritable goldmine of recipes online that’ll show you how to flavor more or less absorbent vegetables, and even prepare whole dry meals.
While you can pick just about any nutrient-rich vegetable, we recommend:
- Dried potato in powder form, which can be boiled and made into mashed potatoes
- Beans and split peas
- Herbs, spices, peppers, etc.
#3. A compact, lasting form of protein
Our go-to protein source for hiking food is beef jerky. It can last for weeks without refrigerating, even when it’s made at home without the use of chemical preservatives. There are plenty of meat jerky recipes on this blog, which also show you how to dehydrate and store virtually any kind of meat.
Canned tuna is another option. There’s nothing wrong with canned meat, except that it’s so heavy and voluminous. Tuna, on the other hand, comes in small cans and contains a decent amount of protein.
Consider preparing nuts as one of your backpacking food ideas. Shelled nuts begin to lose their nutrient value the moment they’re processed. However, they’re an amazing, whole-food, concentrated nutrient source and will be well worth lugging around with you.
#4. Carbs to fill you up
Easy camping meals include dried noodles as a basic given, when you’re on a budget. You can create your own bouillon seasoning by using a food dehydrator machine, as well as granola bars and other recipes, without having to pay grocery store prices.
Loafs of bread and bags of bagels may be too hefty for your backpacking trip, but wraps aren’t. If you’re looking for something simple that you can grab at a convenience store, it’s simple to combine peanut butter, honey and other foods to create a delicious, fulfilling wrap.
#5. Coffee, tea, honey and all the rest
Once you’ve covered your bases, start thinking of campfire meals. A nice thermos or mug of hot cocoa, coffee or tea can be a major uplifting experience on a long hike or camping trip, and take very little space to store.
Depending on your meal prep backpack and storage size, you could add or replace several items. We’ve made this list so that it’s as accessible, affordable and healthy as possible.
You can use a food dryer as an effective way to condense satisfying meals into compact meals that’ll last your entire trip!