Top 10 non-cook backpacking foods
If you are tired of huddling over a camp-stove when backpacking, this is the site for you!
I started out years ago cooking on one of those big, heavy, noisy Whisperlite stoves for various backpacking trips. I soon got tired of them not working, and having to fuss around so I made the switch to a pop-can stove for my thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail. The pop-can stove that runs on denatured alcohol is genius! If I need a stove, this is the one I use. However, that soon got old as well and so I gave it away about 1/2 way through my hike.
From then on, I just ate cold food when backpacking. There was no clean-up, no cooking, no hassle. And that's what I've done ever since on the trail. I'll never go back to cooking in the back-country again.
This site gives my Top 10 Ideas for non-cook backpacking food when you're out in the wilderness. And don't forget to check out Iherb, which is my favorite site for cheap and healthy food that you can use for backpacking. Shipping is fast and often free.
The ultimate backpacking food
Everyone knows trail mix is the best hiking food! Lots of protein and energy to propel you on your way. But instead of buying the pre-packaged stuff that is not all that delicious, why not make your own? Here is my fabulously delicious trail mix recipe:
Nuts (Cashew, walnuts, almonds, peanuts)
Cereal (cheerios, shreddies, corn flakes, etc)
Candy (gummy bears, jelly beans, M&M's, etc)
Crunchy things (pretzels, broken up ramen noodles)
Dried fruit (raisins, craisins, apricots, prunes)
My favorite place to get trail mix and ingredients to make your own is Iherb. It's cheaper than the supermarket, often has free shipping and also has an unbeatable selection.
Chocolate in your Trail Mix?
Peanut Butter and Nutella: the perfect backpacking foods
These two things are your best friend when you're out in the wilderness. Packed with calories, and delicious, you really should be putting at least one of these things on almost everything you eat! I put them on:
Peanut Butter: nobody would consider hiking the Appalachian Trail without it!
Peanut Butter or Nutella...Which is more Delicious?
Instant Pudding with Milk Powder, an easy, quick and delicious camping food
This is the perfect treat for when you're craving something sweet. Mix up some water with milk powder. Then, add in your chocolate, butterscotch, vanilla, banana, pistachio, or fudge pudding. Mix well. Enjoy! So delicious! Lots of calories and nutrients, but light in your pack. It's perfect for hiking with kids.
Instant Vanilla Pudding
When I'm out in the back-country, I have a serious addiction to granola bars. I usually eat 5-10/day. I never get sick of them because I change up the flavors each time I went shopping. There are A LOT of good ones out there. They are light, (somewhat) nutritious and filled with calories. Perfect for a quick snack on the go.
You can even make homemade granola bars if you want to make sure they're extra-nutritious. I have my recipe picks for homemade granola bars listed below.
Healthy Homemade Granola Bar Recipes
My favorite granola bars
To stove, or not to stove, that is the question
Potato Chips make a delicious snack!
Back a few years ago, I was watching this show on TV about extreme long-distance, self-supporting races across deserts. They were profiling the teams and talking about what they ate. A few of the teams ate a significant amount of potato chips, because they taste good, and just about the lightest thing you can eat/calories contained. The only downside is that they are bulky.
So, on my way out on the trail, I always strap a few bags to my pack using the bungee cords that most bags have. It's really not inconvenient at all, and you get a lot of calories for the weight. Plus, you'll be so popular around camp because they're salty good.
Chocolate Bars: the perfect hiking snack
One of the best things about hiking is that you can eat junk food and it's not a big deal. When I was thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, most of my fellow hikers would eat 3, 5, or even 7 bars a day! Portable, delicious and packed with calories. Snickers seemed to be the favorite.
Cheese: a healthy snack for out in the wilderness
Cheese is one of those things that I always carry on the trail. It can keep for a long time if you're hiking in cooler weather, but even in the heat of summer can last a couple days if you choose the right one. Think the harder the cheese, the better. I usually went with sharp cheddar. I would eat it on bagels or crackers usually, something with sausage, or avocado, but sometimes not.
Some tips for keeping it fresh are to get it in a block form, instead of grated or sliced. And, when you're slicing it, be careful to not touch the parts that you're not eating with yours fingers because you'll introduce bad bacteria which could spoil it. And of course, make eating the cheese your priority for the first couple days over less perishable things.
This is another one of those things that you normally keep in the fridge, but that actually can last a long time outside of it. Again, think block or roll form, as opposed to the sliced. My favorite way to eat it was on some crunchy crackers, with a slice of cheddar perhaps.
The protein will keep you going for at least a couple of hours!
Are you a Hiker?
An unusual, but delicious backpacking food
One of my favorite things to have on the trail to kick-start my morning is a big bowl of cereal. Often, I couldn't get enough and I'd have a big bowl for a snack later too. For some reason when I was thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, I couldn't get enough Raisin Bran. Anyway, I carried milk power, so I'd mix up a pot of it, and then dump some cereal in. Cereal often has a lot of sugar, which makes it not so good to eat in normal life, but out on the trail, it's no problem. The good thing is that cereal is fortified with a lot of vitamins and minerals, and can have a lot of fiber if you choose the right on. This is great for when you're on the trail for a while and may have a diet that is a bit lacking.
Avocado: the ultimate healthy backpacking food
This vegetable has serious amount of calories, and fat. Except, it's the good fat that doesn't clog up your arteries. And the best thing about them is that you generally buy them under ripe, so you can eat them when all your cheese and summer sausage is wearing thin. They keep really well in a pack too and don't bruise that easily.
I'd slice them up and eat them straight up, or put them on crackers, bagels or tortillas.