Camping has to be one of the most fun-packed activities. It not only brings fun, but it has a get-close to nature element to it as well. Unfortunately, we live in an era where an average person spends 9 hours a day staring at his phone screen, which is not only taking us far from nature but is also deteriorating our mental and physical health. Having said that, if you’re looking to go on your first camping trip and don’t know what to pack for your tummy, we’ve got you covered.
Apart from packing the right quality gear for hiking, food is a must-have necessity for a trip. Beginners tend to make a lot of mistakes when it comes to packing food for their journey; common ones include packing too much food out of fear of having an empty stomach in the middle of nowhere. However, this behavior is quite common and can be avoided if you choose the right type of food.
Essentials of good backpacking food:
There are many factors that make backpacking food worth carrying on your trip. However, we’ve selected a few must-know ones to enlighten you on this matter.
• Rich in Calories:
Backpacking consumes a lot of strength to carry around, and you need to be taking food that provides enough calories. However, you don’t want to carry food that is too low in calories or too high either, optimum calories per ounce are around 130.
• Easy to Carry:
Camping gear is heavy enough to make you lose your breath, and if you’re carrying dense food, the whole experience will turn into a nightmare. Try substituting the cumbersome food with something light. Like nuts, for example, don’t take much space and are high in calories.
• Rapid Cooking:
Running out of fuel is the last thing campers want when they’re out in the wild. Besides all the nutritional and caloric values, food has to be quick and easy to cook.
Freeze-dried food is ideal for backpackers, and gladly it doesn’t cost much. We’d recommend using it because it is not only cheap, but it also doesn’t require any cleaning after you’re done having your meal. These meals cost around 10 dollars for each pack and are full of taste.
Apart from all that, you need to be very careful about littering and leave nothing behind. If we take care of nature, it will take care of us.
Here are the 10 best Backpacking meals you can buy
Looking to regain your energy quickly? The Beef Pasta Marinara by Peak Refuel comes packed with 49 grams of protein per pouch. This flavorful and energy-packed meal has no meat filters and is prepared with 100% real meat. Moreover, the bag has a total of around 1000 calories in it, and you can easily feed two people. Your taste buds will be thanking you because all the ingredients used to make this meal are non-GMO. On top of all that, it is perfect long journeys as it has a shelf life of 5 years, and it’s super easy to make, all you have to do is add boiling water to it, and your finger-licking food will be ready to serve in just 5 minutes. The Beef Pasta Marinara costs less than 10 bucks per pack which is a quite a good deal.
Backpacker’s Pantry specializes in good quality freeze-dried food, which is not only non-GMO and gluten-free but is also vegan friendly as well. Louisiana Red Beans & Rice are packed with carbs, and if you love having simple food on your trips, this meal is a perfect choice. Red beans are not only good for digestion but also keep the sugar levels balanced. What makes this dish even more special is the Creole sauce which takes its flavor to another level. It’s super easy to make, all you have to do is add two and a half cups of boiling water to the bag, seal it for good 13 minutes and it’ll be ready to serve. The Louisiana Red Beans & Rice comes packed with 12 grams of protein and weighs around 160 grams per pack.
Beef Stroganoff with Noodles is an ultimate creamy delight for meat lovers, the perfect option for dinner while you’re camping. Besides the savory cream sauce, this dish includes less than 2% of mushrooms and is packed with all kinds of mouth-watering flavors. The pouch is packed with premium quality stuff, and even if you forget to take the oxygen absorber out before adding hot water, it will remain perfect for eating. The Beef Stroganoff with Noodles offers a total of 560 calories and 24 grams of protein per pack, which makes it a good dinner option for one person only. You can enjoy this flavor-packed meal by just adding boiling water to it, and it will be ready to serve in just 5 minutes. With its ultra-light pouch, which weighs only around 125 grams, you can easily fit it in your backpack.
In case you crave something cheesy while you’re out there in the wild, camping, or just hiking on your favorite trails, the Chicken Alfredo Pasta by Peak Refuel is the perfect cheesy meal to have. This protein-rich meal offers 44 grams of protein and has a total of 700 calories per pack which is more than enough for one person and makes it a perfect option to consider for lunch. Hiking can drain your energy in a matter of a few hours and the thought of having exciting food as Chicken Alfredo Pasta in your backpack will keep you going. Adding boiling water to the unsealed bag is the only thing you’ve got to do and your dreamy food will be ready to serve in just around 10 minutes.
If you want to have food at high altitudes that is not only delicious but also has no cholesterol in it, the Herbed Mushroom Risotto by GOOD TO-GO is worth considering. All the ingredients used to make this awesome meal are perfectly tested and are put in the right amount. This meal is basically dehydrated before packing and unlike the freeze-dried method, it holds a bit more moisture. However, this doesn’t impact the overall shelf life of this product and is good to use for at least five years if kept sealed. What makes it special are the Arborio Rice and the irresistible flavor of Cremini Mushrooms. This dehydrated backpacking meal offers around 820 calories and 13 grams of protein per pack. lastly, you can make this no-cook meal by just adding boiling water to the unsealed bag and it will be ready to serve in 20 minutes, however, if you’re at high altitudes, the hydrating time of the food can increase.
There’s no match of having organic food in your backpack while you’re camping or hiking. The Chicken Molé with Rice by Heather’s Choice is a perfect no-cook meal made with perfectly cut organic chicken. This meal is not only gluten-free but also has no trace of soy, peanuts, or any dairy products. It is made from premium quality ingredients in Alaska, the hiking heaven in the U.S. Chicken makes this meal wholesome and it has 38 grams of protein in it. Moreover, you get 2 servings in one pack and each serving offers a total of 530 calories which makes this meal good enough for two people. This dehydrated backpacking meal can be easily made with boiling water and waiting for 20 minutes max.
What if you crave something spicy on your way to heights? Well, luckily, Backpacker’s Pantry makes the Chana Masala which is deliciously spicy and is inspired by Indian style dishes from the Punjab region. Although it’s low in protein which is only 14 grams per pack, however, there are enough carbs to feed two people. This traditional Indian no-cook meal is a delight for your taste buds. Having a variety of food while you’re out in the wild makes the whole experience even better as you not only enjoy nature but also have something different to munch on. It has two servings to offer in a pack and each serving has a total of 430 calories in it. The bag is sealed with premium quality material so you don’t have to worry about any kind of spillage.
Black Beans are high in fiber and low in cholesterol, which makes them a very healthy option no matter if you’re going camping or hiking on your favorite trails. This freeze-dried meal is loved by many vegans but is also a good option for non-vegan campers, especially if you’re someone who has a heart problem. It comes packed with all kinds of veg flavors mixed together to perfection. Alpine is known for its well-made and premium quality ingredients, also, the packaging is commendable as it is tightly sealed and is extremely lightweight. All in all, the Black Beans & Rice Meal is a very good option to consider if you’re going camping for the first time.
For all the natural meat lovers, the Beef Stew by Mountain House is something that will make your tongue slap the brain. This freeze-dried meal is packed with all kinds of natural ingredients that include potatoes, peas, and carrots. It is also gluten-free and is certified by GFCO. The pouch has two servings to offer and the calorie count is 400 for the whole pack which is suitable for one person only but you can choose to share if you have snacks to munch on after the meal. On top of that, no preservatives or artificial flavors are added in making this no-cook meal. The Beef Stew by Mountain House is loved by many and has excellent reviews by many backpackers on amazon. If you’re a meat lover, we’d recommend giving this a shot.
Excess of sodium in food can cause an increase in blood pressure, and that’s the last thing you want when you’re camping. The GOOD TO-GO Thai Curry is not only packed with tasty spices but is also low in sodium and has no trace of cholesterol. The combination of coconut curry with vegetables and long jasmine rice which smell heavenly make this dish one of a kind. This dehydrated meal offers two servings per pack and has a total of around 750 calories, which makes it good enough for one person. The specialty of this meal is that it is handmade and the recipe is gluten-free and has no artificial flavors or preservatives added to it. We’d recommend giving this flavor-packed meal a shot.
The Bottom Line:
We’ve tried to give a wide range of Best Backpacking Meals for Camping in this article, however, at the end of the day, it all comes down on your personal preference to choose the best ones. We’ve given both vegan and non-vegan options in this list and some meals are freeze-dried while some are dehydrated. The main difference between the two is moisture content. Freeze-dried food has only 2% water content while if we analyze dehydrated food, the water content after packaging is 20% which is a lot higher. However, it doesn’t impact their shelf life though and both can be stored and used for a span of five years.
If you ask about my personal preference, I would love to take a variety of food on my camping trip to make the best out of it, also, meals that are high in carbs and protein should be given preference as they’re a perfect option for lunch or dinner time.