Best Backpacking Food | 5 Day Ultralight Meal Plan

Best Backpacking Food | 5 Day Ultralight Meal Plan

Heyo, Chris here. I get a lot of questions about backpacking
food. What kind of food to bring backpacking? How much food to bring backpacking? So I’ve got a 5 day, 4 night backpacking trip
coming up and I have all of my food laid out here and a lot of this stuff is what I used
on the Appalachian Trail and I’ve got a few things that I’ve been using differently so
I wanted to make a quick video and share it with you guys. So the basics of backpacking food are really
pretty simple and you can kind of break it down into really three requirements for, excuse
me, your food. The first being you want to keep it lightweight
so a lot of backpacking food needs to be dehydrated or freeze dried. You really wanna get rid of that water weight. So, you know, nothing canned. With keeping the wight in mind, I generally
try to think about roughly two pounds of food per day as kind of a rule of thumb to make
sure I’m getting enough food. The second requirement with your backpacking
food would be easy to prep. I don’t bust out my stove until dinner time
so everything prior to dinner is going to be fast and minimal clean up so I generally
try to keep everything really to eat until the end of the day when I’m ready to unwind
and take out the stove and cook and, you know, deal with dishes and all that kind of clean
up stuff. Now, the third thing for backpacking food
is keep it high in nutrition. The estimates range for caloric burn. But, thru-hikers hiking twenty to twenty five
miles a day have been known to burn up to six thousand calories a day so for any kind
of moderate hiking just for a few days on the trail, I generally try to get at least
three thousand calories a day and try to also get, you know, a good balance of protein,
fiber, fats, carbs, sodium, all that good stuff because you need it too in addition
to calories. So we’re going to start off with what I’m
actually bringing and we’re going to start off with the breakfast, go into snacks, and
lunch and finally dinner. So we have here breakfast is, we have, oatmeal
cookie mix. I added some extra oats into it and I also
added powdered milk in here so this is a really kind of nutrient dense thing to get you going
in the morning and pack in some calories. And you can eat it cold. Just add some water to it, stir it up in your
pot and get to hiking. I also can have cold coffee. I know it sounds crazy, but you can have some
cold coffee. I actually really like the Starbucks. But the store didn’t have Starbucks ones so
I got some Nescafe. And so thats kind of my breakfast. Then these are a bunch of snacks that I will
probably just graze on either after breakfast or after lunch. Starting off I’ve got seaweed. I love seaweed. It’s a great vegetable to get on the trail. You know, it’s really hard to get veggies
on the trail so seaweed is a really nice lightweight dense green. And then we got trail mix. Got dried fruit and kind of a variety nuts
in there and some M and M’s. And then we have some Gatorade powder and
I’ve basically got a scoop or so per day to kind of get those electrolytes replaced, but
also break up the monotony of water. You know, drinking water all the time… the
idea of getting something a little bit sweet in there is really appealing usually I find
when I’m hiking. Then we have some crackers and peanut butter. I love pork rinds. They’ve got protein in them and a lot of sodium. I think they taste great and they’re kind
of, really crunchy and crisp which is, I find, really nice and refreshing on the trail because
so much backpacking food is so dense. Next is Greenbelly. I actually started making Greenbelly right
after hiking the Appalachian Trail as a way to kind of get some dense, high calorie nutrition
and in a ready-to-eat, all natural format. So I’ve got Greenbelly Meals here. They’ve got a zip pouch seal. Inside is two all natural meal bars and they
are loaded with one third of your daily nutrition for protein, calories, fiber, fats, carbs
and sodium. So I’ll do that for lunch as a quick kind
of non-cook meal. And going into dinner. This is kind of as I mentioned the only time
of the day I’ll actually pull out the stove and cook. You know, it’s like at the end of the day,
oh okay, I can unwind now. So I’ve got noodles, red beans and rice and
beef jerky. So like, with cooking, if it requires a plate,
bowl, anything like that, you know, I don’t deal with it. It’s really got to be what’s called “one pot
cooking”. Really simple stuff. So I’ll do kind of some noodles and I like
to sprinkle in some beef jerky so I’ve got two packs here I’ll do maybe half a pack per
night along with the rice or the noodles or whatever so that’ll be my dinner. Then going on to something kind after, dessert. I generally sometimes bring some sort of candy,
candy bar, something sweet. Just something to look forward to. Also got some chamomile or decaffeinated tea
before bed. Something like that to just kind of wind down
at the end of the day. And I’ve been getting in the habit of bringing
a little bit of whiskey. Mixing that with water. I really love that and it doesn’t add much
weight and it can be something to really look forward to. So, yea. That’s the backpacking food. Feel free to leave a comment and ask any questions
and safe hiking.

41 thoughts on “Best Backpacking Food | 5 Day Ultralight Meal Plan

  1. Love the idea of a cookie mix oatmeal. I always want to eat oatmeal, but kind of dread it in the mornings.
    Also just got my first package of greenbellys! So far they are great. Taking them on a long trip in about 2 weeks! Thanks

  2. Don't suppose you can get your greenbelly meals to go in the UK can you? Would love to try them. 😊

  3. I just wanted to say thank you I appreciate the video I watched a lot of your videos now and this is the first one that I've commented on I recently just got into backpacking I'm getting ready to take my first overnight backpacking trip and everyone keeps telling me to take all this expensive food but this stuff that you're talking about is very reasonable in price so thank you I really appreciate it

  4. I love using crumbled beef jerked and bacon bits to my pot cooking. I probably don't need to tell you, but one of the best wilderness beverages for mindlessly staring at the fire before you fall asleep is chamomile tea with a few tablespoons of whiskey and a little honey.

  5. Like the gatorade mix. I used to be a cyclist. Never really liked just water so drank lots of gatorade. Would take a baggie in my jersey back pocket to mix up. Did a 75 mile ride once during high summer. Took me more liters of Gatorade than I would have used in gasoline by driving there. Would also carry as many fig newtons on me as possible.

  6. You have a well thought out food system and preparation planned for yourself.
    The Best for me is using the freezer bag cooking method with food I prepared for the trip. OK , before you ask , There is an occasional Mountain House Biscuits and Gravy pack included , they are really good.
    Mornings , I like the Steel cut Oats 1/3 cup to 1 cup of water , Two tablespoons of this mix is added to the oats , diced Prunes , diced Dates , diced Pineapple chunks , Craisins and Raisins. Then I add Some ( to taste ) Ground Clove , Nutmeg and Cinnamon ( dried Milk is optional ) . To prepare add the 1 cup of boiling water , stir or mix and let it sit for a few minutes till it gets to the consistency you like. Honey , Brown Sugar or granulated ( white ) sugar can be added if desired.
    I don't mind using the stove in the morning since I like a cup of hot coffee or tea. Snacking during the day . Supper is a reconstituted dehydrated meal I packaged and then cooked using the Freezer Bag cooking method. Freezer bag cooking is easy cooking and clean up , just lick the utensil and pack the bag in the trash bag..

  7. for f$%^ sake, if you gonna use 2-minute video of nothing but your items on the table at least put the camera on a tripod or just use a picture of the layout. Can almost throw up from the shakiness

  8. Just tried your Greenbelly meals on a 80 mile section of the AT. They are great. Love them in the morning dipped in my coffee.

    But first time friends and I went camping, we bought 500 gram cans of Tuna, Corn beef etc…
    Needless to say, we ate what we could asap!! Hahaha

  10. I would skip the Nori and Pork Skins. I like the Pork Skins, but never had a taste for Nori (even though I was in Japan for 2 years). Also nothing with Chocolate as I break out in a few zits after eating it or anything sugary. I like freeze dried and dehydrated meals, nuts, peanut butter, trail mix, dehydrated fruits, freeze dried fruits, jerky, grits, oatmeal, potato flakes (Idahoan), coffee (not the instant), water and some sweetener free lemon and lime drink additives and even something with electrolytes. If available any wild edibles (fruits and veg) found along the way. If there was any chance to catch a fish, I would try. If I caught a fish I would cook and eat it on the spot. I understand that miles gained are very important, but so is my physical and mental health. So I wouldn't waste too much time in a day trying to catch a fish while hiking. Loved the food representation. Videos like this are always helpful. Thanks for the post.

  11. Great video. Going to be hiking in the High Sierras in a couple weeks & will be purchasing some Greenbelly bars soon. What is your ratio for the cookie mix oatmeal?

  12. How many days of food and wieght of food when you leave.Eat all of it before you reup food supply and where do you reup and how?Can you have safeway deliver food to highway mile marker close to trail when possible?

  13. Thx for your interesting vid. I've discovered that oatmeal leaves me hungrier than if I didn't eat anything at all. In fact, over the years I've found that the best approach to ultralight is to be a little overweight when you start. That way you don't have to carry as much food cuz you're already packing it on your waistline. 😉

  14. Hi Chris,
    I didn't get a chance to comment when you asked for feedback. My bad..However I am hoping that some of your newly developed product has some keto options for the fat burning hikers out there. I know that the usually go to is carbs but they burn fast and thrash fast. Fat burns slow and last a long time. Thanks Two Knees

  15. Can you please post the proportions for the ingredients for the oatmeal cookie mix breakfast? How much water does it take to rehydrate?

  16. I really loved this video… up until you said that you mix whiskey and water… Im jk.. i wont judge.. haha.. nice vid

  17. You dont need to dirty a pot for breakfast or dinner, just use freezer bags to carry your meals, they can handle boiling water , so put the hot water in the freezer bag with your food, and no dishes except tour spork!

  18. On Ranier happy hour was Yukon Jack and hot chocolate. High country backpacking in Colorado was always vitamin A and weed (and a nice brandy). We left the buzzkills at home.

  19. I'm wondering what others in the comments are.. what cookie mix?! I'm definitely going to try that.. eating breakfast with coffee on the trail is one of my favorite parts of the hike. Also, are you doing freezer bag cooking or do you have a bowl?

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