It should be easy to prepare, light and shouldn't go bad after few days in the heat. How much would it approximately weight? Lets say there won't be any grocery stores along the way (there will be, but I want to get used to this, so we can travel in more desolate places in the future).

EDIT: We were hiking before, but the food we took was not optimal (heavy, lots of snack bars) and we went to grocery stores along the way. The trip is in an area with low hills, water is not a problem. The answers do not need to be specific for this trip, just a general list of foods that are a good choice for hiking.

  • I guess I am alone in thinking this is off-topic! :D
    – victoriah
    Aug 2, 2011 at 23:37
  • I also wondered if it was off-topic but after so much inconsistent closing in the past I often don't like to guess now \-: Aug 3, 2011 at 15:28
  • 5
    This question fits much better on The Great Outdoors.
    – gerrit
    Oct 22, 2013 at 9:56
  • Well, I certainly agree with 99% of these ideas. Ramen or Instant Noodles are a very good way to get a good source of food in a snap of a finger. Just get some hot water and leave it there for about 2 minutes and its all done.
    – user40632
    Feb 27, 2016 at 21:12

7 Answers 7


A lot of what you need you can just get in the grocery store - rice, pasta, dried potatoes (either mashed or slices for "au gratin), sausage like pepperoni and salami that specifically doesn't need refrigeration, dried fruit and nuts, instant hot cereal (oatmeal, cream of wheat etc), dried legumes (especially lentils which don't need soaking) jam, honey, and peanut butter will take care of a lot of your needs. You'll want to put things into different packaging so they can survive in your pack and so that you're taking the right amount for the length of the trip.

My favourite camping breakfast is instant oatmeal. Add extra raisins, brown sugar, or other dried fruits if you like. Boil water in the morning and you have coffee and oatmeal and you are set for a pretty physical day. (Bring a whisperweight stove that uses butane or liquid fuel - fires are far too slow for morning purposes.) Beef jerky (made at home if you have a dehydrator, or bought in the store if you don't) along with dried fruit and nuts will meet any snack needs through the day. If you must have lunch, you can use bagels or English muffins (on week+ trips I make my own english muffins, your trip is short so just bring a few packages) with cheese (the "light" cheeses keep better, and buy several small ones so they stay sealed longer than one big one), sausage (the no-refrigeration needed ones), peanut butter, jam, or honey. If one of your days features a big climb to a gorgeous lookout and you know you'll want a rest, packages of soup mix from the grocery store can make a 30 minute stop into a delightful lunch. Again the whisperlight stove and some locally-sourced water.

Dinner the first night can be meat you took from your freezer that morning, wrapped in plastic and several layers of newspaper. I've done it and when we unrwap it, it's not just cold, it still has ice crystals in the middle. Fry it, and cook some fresh veg with it as you would at home. The second night try pizza in a frying pan using that no-refrigeration pepperoni, some cheese, and maybe some onions and any other veg you've brought. The third night, something vegetarian built around lentils and rice - we love kusherie - or beans in a sauce, like meatless spicy chili with dumplings. You can also dry hamburger meat (cooked) in your oven at home and use that as the meat in spaghetti sauce or shepherds pie filling. Set the hot pan of cooked sauce aside with a towel around it while you cook the starch - it will stay plenty warm and you only need the one little stove. These need you to bring canned or dried veg, I choose dried for the weight and rehydrate them right in the sauce or stew.

Bottom line is this is way easier than you think. Have a great time!


The dehydrated foods made for camping are generally the tastiest and most weight efficient by far, but if they are too expensive (understandable; they are generally very pricey no matter where you are), there are cheaper alternatives.

There are a wide variety of trail mixes, ranging from the classic GORP ("Good Old Raisins and Peanuts") to much fancier fare. These hold up well in all temperatures, and provide good energy without a lot of weight.

Also consider some staples from the grocery store. In addition to the hardier and more convenient fruits and vegetables (apples last a while, don't require peeling, and aren't terribly heavy; plums, cucumbers and grapes also travel well), there are a number of dehydrated foods available cheaply that make good camp foods. Many fruits are available in dried form, and while high in sugars, they keep exceptionally well, and are very light. Small boxes of dried couscous and rice & bean mixes are great, although they require additional water, and may require small amounts of vegetable oil as well.

For desserts, cookies are light, although they tend to break during hikes. If you don't mind crumbs (they taste the same, after all), they're a good choice for treats. Also the classic S'mores (graham cracker, chocolate bar, and marshmallow melted into a small sandwich over a campfire) is light and fun.

For a treat that will add a little more weight, but may still be well worth it, bring a can of pie filling of the fruit variety of your choice (cherry is my personal favorite, but there are many other options). Over your campfire, pour the fruit filling into a pot, and crumble some graham crackers into the mix. Heat, and spoon yourself some yummy, sticky dessert. IMO it's always good to have at least one can with you, as a can can be a very useful tool for collecting, heating, and drinking water in a pinch.

It is worth noting that many of these ideas rely on having some basic camping cookwear and utensils. If you don't have them, I highly suggest investing in a decent set of light-weight camping cookwear. It adds some weight to your trip, but makes your overall dining options much more flexible, and allows you to abandon some of the heavier food options.


Crispbread, summer sausage and hard cheese. Energy bars without meltable chocolate. Apples, cucumbers. Dextrose tablets.

If you can get a fire going, you might want to bring potatoes, corn, aluminum foil and cans with lentils and similar. For the first day, also ordinary sausages and ordinary bread and bananas

Obviously, water bottles to fill up. Some beverage tablets to enrich the water with minerals and salts.


Peanut butter is good to carry. They can be sold in packets so that you don't have to have a jar and it will be light in the backpack. Peanut butter is a healthy fat and will provide protein to keep you guys going. Peanut butter will go great with any type of fruits that you might bring and crackers also if you can fit them in.

We recently went to Hawaii and brought Justin's peanut butter in packets. Sometimes we ate it plain and others we put it on some honey wheat sticks. This really helped keep us going on our long hikes and gave us energy when we were low.

  • 2
    A sad thing that I've never seen peanut butter sold in packets in Czech republic :(
    – M.K.
    Jul 2, 2011 at 13:39
  • Really? It is awesome! Although, I have only been able to find one that I really like and it is the Justin's Peanut Butter. Also comes in Almond and Hazelnut butter.
    – AtlasRN
    Jul 2, 2011 at 14:51
  • 3
    Don't know when your trip is, but you can order the packs online. Here is the website: justinsnutbutter.elsstore.com/view/category/6021--5-oz-packs
    – AtlasRN
    Jul 2, 2011 at 18:45
  • JIF also has it available in little single-serve cups.
    – miltonaut
    Nov 5, 2016 at 12:05
  • Dried starch-type food. In Asian stores you can find cheap "mi tom" or "instant ramen" packs in compact packages. Also take one in the "foam bowl" package type, you will be able to reuse it. About 2-3 packs for a meal. You can eat it just like this, or put it in water you just boiled, if you have. They come with various exciting spices.
  • Rusk (hard dry twice-baked bread).
  • Dried fruits
  • Sugar. In Japan they sell tasty brown sugar in packs of rough bite-size blocks, eat one every time you need energy.

mi tom brown sugar

All of this is:

  • Resistant to shocks
  • Very cheap
  • Excellent energy/weight ratio (no water nor fat)
  • Good enough to not get too bored after 4 days.

Tested by me during several 4-days hikes, where they really were no stores (and no other human beings for that matter).


This question is difficult to answer, since it depends on the area, circumstances and your general condition. If it is a first time hike, and the conditions are not harsh. I would suggest to go to a local hiking store, where you can buy "astronaut" food. These are packages that weight nothing and still can be very delicious. Furthermore bring along a large amount of energy bars, also to be found in the better hiking store.

But the most important thing to have is sufficient water. Don't underestimate the amount of water you need. If you have enough water in the hiking area, you might consider bringing a filter, or disinfecting tablets. In any case do cook the water you are consuming.

If you consider to hike more often, I can suggest taking a course in finding food in nature.

  • The trip is only about a hour by bus from where I live and it is not our first hike. We were hiking before, but the food we have taken was not optimal (too heavy, lots of snack bars) and we were buying food along the way. I'd like to get used to longer trips in areas where I cannot buy additional food. The "astronault" food in hiking stores is extremely overpriced (czech republic).
    – M.K.
    Jul 2, 2011 at 8:58
  • 2
    In that case try to find a course or expert that introduces you into the richness nature can offer you. I am talking about mushrooms, berries, roots, plants etc. But please be cautious here not everything is eatable, so a proper course is definitely a requirement.
    – user141
    Jul 2, 2011 at 9:05
  • 4
    Um...eating berries and roots for 3 days? It's a nice thing ocasionally and good to know in extreme cases...but I'd really rather have something in my backpack.
    – M.K.
    Jul 2, 2011 at 9:15

I make two to three trips to the boundary waters between Minnesota and Ontario every year. And for meats that are canoed or hiked in, I always freeze the first night, (next morning's) meat, and if it's spring or fall, can repeat again the next night, pre planned and the next morning so on and so forth, nature becomes an ice box.

The meats that are carried along for the next couple weeks are salami's, cured cased sausages, pepperoni, summer sausage, salted, cured and heavily smoked side pork and bacon, dried chipped beef. We have tried smoked hard boiled eggs and they do stay. But if the weather is temperate and cool, you can freeze as many eggs as you want, and use them at discretion until you crack one and don't feel easy about it. I've had them last 10 days fresh but results do vary.

The important thing to know, is that if you don't feel safe eating it when you are preparing it, then do not, if you don't have to. This should be treated as supplement food to your forage, fish, and main dry food. There is no completely safe paleo packaway meal for days or weeks. And dry food stuffs should always be a focus of balance if you are trying to stay on the safe side.

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