One of the most important things you need to plan for a multi-day hike is the food. You need enough to keep you going and keep you healthy, but at the same time, you want it to be lightweight. You will be limited to a few options, but fortunately, there’s a lot of food nowadays that are created for activities such as hiking. They are packed with lots of energy without being too bulky.
If you have outdoor cooking supplies and a cooler with fresh ingredients, you will even have more options for your menu. However, that might be unlikely if you are hiking for days at a time. Here are some lightweight food ideas for a 3-day hike:
Best Food to Pack for Hiking
- Oats and dried fruit
- Breakfast bagel with spread
- Apple and nuts
Another great and easy breakfast food you can have outdoors is a breakfast bagel with jam, peanut butter, or your spread of choice. It’s better if you have it on the first day, but it can go for a few days before going bad. It’s a great option because it gives your carbohydrates and fat to start your day. You can even find small squeeze packets of peanut butter or jam which is very convenient. Otherwise, you can prepare it ahead of time, so it’s good to eat on the go.
A sandwich can is perfect for breakfast or lunch, and it’s very simple to make. For breakfast, you can go with peanut butter and jelly, Nutella, or any filling you like.
On the first day, you can even have some fruits and vegetables from the morning that you started your journey. Then, the following days, you can still have some meat on your lunch menu. – Tuna, beef jerky, salami, and other kinds that don’t need refrigeration. They are high in protein and sodium and make for a great quick lunch before you continue with your hike. You can match it with bread, crackers, or tortillas, which are also easy to bring. Just keep in mind the shelf life of the food, especially the bread and tortillas.
Another thing you can add to your meat is cheese. Choose hard cheeses because they are more shelf stable. They’re not ultra-light, but the extra fat and calories are worth the extra weight.
Here are some ideas for lunch:
- Hard-boiled egg (on the first day)
- Beef jerky, cheese, cracker
- A granola bar
For dinner, you can have more elaborate meals since you’re most likely settled in camp with a campfire. On the first night, you can have meat that you took out from the freezer before you left for the hike. Then, the following nights can be meat that doesn’t need refrigeration like some sausages, salami, or canned meat.
There are also many options for dinner that are simple. If you have cooking supplies, you can make some soup, pasta or rice meals. Many camping food options only need rehydration. There are also many options that pack light and small, designed for backpacking. You will need water, pot, and a stove or fire.
Here are some ideas for dinner:
- Macaroni and cheese (Instant or easy to cook ones)
- Lasagna with meat sauce
- Rice and chicken
- Beef Stroganoff
- Instant potatoes and sausage or salami
- Rice and beans
- Instant noodles
Snacks and Drinks
Of course, you’ll want snacks for the hike as well. Trail mix is practically a must for hiking – you can buy them as a pack, or you can mix up your own and pack them in a ziplock bag. You can also have some granola bars and beef jerky if you like. I personally always have some sour candy or gummy candy with me as well. For drinks, bring some packets of coffee, tea, hot chocolate or whatever you like.
Food is one of the most important things you need to plan for so you can enjoy our hiking trip. It’s tricky because you want to pack light, but you also need the nutrients to keep you going. You can’t enjoy your hike if you’re hungry and tired! You have to sacrifice a little bit of flavor and variety, but it doesn’t mean outdoor food can’t be good.
Guest post written by Louise Brown is a photographer, camping lover and hiking expert based in Colorado. TheAdventureLand.com, where she share experiences venturing, tips & tricks and survival skills that will help you have an exciting adventure. “Let’s pack our bags and explore the world!”. Follow her on Twitter @adventure_howdy
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