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Backpacking food ideas


whitestavern
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My family is doing a section hike of the Appalachian Trail this weekend (2 nights/3 days). For lunch and dinners we are mostly doing freeze dried, just add water, entrees. We have a bunch of Clif bars too. Am looking for ideas for breakfast and other snacks that are lightweight and easy to make. I was thinking oatmeal. Does anyone have a recipe I could throw together, like a just add water type thing? I guess nuts would be good. Just curious what I'm missing. Throw me some suggestions please! Thank you!

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I'd go with granola and a side of extra unsalted nuts.

Also, I love those 1 oz Bonbel cheeses, each in its own wrapper.  You wouldn't want them for a really long trek, but for a 3 day walk the extra packaging weight is not bad, and they keep remarkably well in that wax compared with, say, a baggie of cheese cubes.  Protein and high calorie density--good for a hike, I think.  Got to have chocolate.  Hersheys keeps decently contained in it's wrapper even if it gets soft, so that has my vote.  

I always get so much hungrier than normal when hiking.  So I try to bring more than I think I will need, but hopefully not enough extra to weigh me down too much.

 

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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I like quick oats, just add a little less water than if you prepare the oatmeal in the microwave. You can add whatever you want. I got inspiration from the instant oatmeal containers at the store but cinnamon, dried fruit, and walnuts are some ideas. I always use applesauce in my oatmeal at home so when hiking I have done the squeezable applesauce like babies eat. I’ve thought of using one of those sticks of honey for a sweetener instead too.

I’ve also done plain bagels and peanut butter for breakfast, you can get individual servings of Jif (they are bigger than I need for one serving so I share). Justin’s has a few different flavors of spread too. 

For snacks I like trail mix (nuts with m&ms), cheese, jerky, Snicker bars. 

If you are on Facebook, the All Women, All Trails group will have a lot more ideas for you.

Which section are you doing? 

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Instant oat meal. You want all that sugar ?

Freeze dried fruit to throw in, or chocolate chips if it's cool (not in summer)

Trail mix. Or just take nuts and dried fruit. Beef jerky. Chunky granola you can eat out of the bag. Triscuits because you want the salt.

If it's summer and over 85 degrees, no chocolate, it will melt.

The backpacking food companies also make breakfast foods. Huevos Rancheros or scrambled egg, but they are a pain to make if your cookware isn't non-stick. We only do it for car camping because then we can take a non stick pan. They also have granola with freeze dried berries and powdered milk. And you can do the freeze dried deserts.

Edited by regentrude
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Can't wait to hear about your hike! 

Super mix/trail mix. Remember, in "A Walk in the Woods," by Bill Bryson, he packed junk food. Twinkies, cheetos, etc. I would die eating like that. But TEHO. Can you pack stuff similar to what you'd have a in a 72 hour kit (which is for emergencies)? I'd be worried I'd be packing stuff that has too much packaging.

Good luck. Stay safe!

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Throwing in butter would help the oatmeal but I prefer peanut butter. It is heavy but also crazy calorie dense so even a spoonful with your oatmeal or spread on a homemade oatmeal breakfast bar will really fill you up.

I also second something salty like the triscuits mentioned above but I usually go with smokehouse almonds. Especially, if you are sweating a lot.

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On our lists:
Lara bars
Individual packs of peanut butter
Chick peas - the dried, salty kind that are like Corn Nuts
Dried mango

They do sell extremely dense protein bars that are about 2000-3000 calories.  They don't taste the greatest, but putting one in each pack is probably a good idea.  I've only had to rely on those once when we were hiking for about a week, but I still like to carry one.

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18 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:

They do sell extremely dense protein bars that are about 2000-3000 calories.  They don't taste the greatest, but putting one in each pack is probably a good idea.  I've only had to rely on those once when we were hiking for about a week, but I still like to carry one.

Brand, please? Never seen those, only 200-300.

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22 minutes ago, regentrude said:

Brand, please? Never seen those, only 200-300.

ER Bars.  They come the size of my hand, with score marks to break them into pieces.

If you have a decent government surplus store near you you can sometimes get ones in MRE-ish wrapping that are smaller (like about twice a Lara bar), and 2000-ish calories. They taste a bit like sweet cardboard, but worth it if you're limited on food space.

Edited by HomeAgain
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When I was camping in Norway, we used to always make blueberry soup and add the oatmeal to it for breakfast. IKEA sometimes sells it in North America, but camping stores may have it. 

For a quick sugar fix, you can add juice crystals to water, just make sure they aren't sugar free. 

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1 hour ago, wintermom said:

When I was camping in Norway, we used to always make blueberry soup and add the oatmeal to it for breakfast. IKEA sometimes sells it in North America, but camping stores may have it. 

For a quick sugar fix, you can add juice crystals to water, just make sure they aren't sugar free. 

 

YES! juice packets to add to water are great, especially with kids, Gives you the extra kick when you start to feel like giving up. Koolaid has packets that contain sugar. Maybe gatorade makes something similar? I thought I saw it somewhere, but didn't stop to read the ingredients.

Dates or lara bars. We took cliff bars, but got tired of them after about a day ? All the different flavors start to taste the same, lol. My suggestion is to vary the types/brands of bars.

We actually brought already assembled pb&j for our first and second day's lunch, and had ramen type noodles and instant mashed potatoes for dinner. We brought packets of shelf stable pre-made rice and shelf stable thai curry type stuff, and ended up not eating any of it. We ended up eating mostly cliff bars because we didn't want to cook for breakfast and lunch lol.

I saw plastic packets of soup the last time I was in the store too, so that might be an option for you.

I wrote out calorie counts and actually weighed (to be able to figure out the calorie count) trail mix into smaller baggies. And we brought an extra day's calorie-wise worth of food, just in case something happened and we got stranded out there or needed more food one day.

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I am assuming by the question that you do not have a dehydrator.  The web is loaded with drying recipes for  with oven and microwave alternatives.  anything can be dried this way. here is one for beef jerky (on my computer, it took a while to scroll  down to the printed directions)..  

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Thank you all so much! Great ideas here. We are starting in Salisbury CT and hiking through to Jug End (South Egremont) Thank you all so much! Great ideas here. We are starting in Salisbury CT and hiking through to Jug End (South Egremont area of MA)

We do have a dehydrator! Didn't even think of that. Now I don't have time, but I have made jerky in there.

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My guys just got back from a week long backpacking trip in Tahoe.  They were supposed to go to Yosemite but were diverted because of the fires.  Each of them had a bear can for food.  Dh likes to layer the bear cans according to when each meal will be eaten.  

For breakfast they ate instant oatmeal and had a hot apple cider every morning.

For lunch they had nut butter on tortillas (gluten free for Mr Food Allergies, Dh)

For dinner Dh had Wild Zora brand meals due to his food allergies

For dinners Ds had cheese tortellini, instant refried beans (more tortillas,) and loaded mashed potatoes.  Each entree was made in by adding boiling water to a freezer bag with stuff in it.  He had Mountain House dinners for the other nights.  

They packed freeze dried fruit and homemade trail mix for snacks.

Your trip sounds so fun

Amber in SJ

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