Three Things to Consider Before Buying Backpacking Food

How far and how long you can endure your adventure depends on the nutrition you bring along.

Man eating meal while camping in mountains
Stay full and energized and keep your pack weight down with foods specifically designed for adventure.Unsplash/Matt Gross

It wasn’t all that long ago that choices for lightweight backpacking food consisted of either surplus WWII army C-rations or a couple packs of Ramen noodles. These days, there are far better choices when it comes to camping trip nutrition. Here are a few healthy options you should consider the next time you’re planning a menu for an overnight adventure, and some things you’ll want to think about as you tackle your grocery list.

CLIF BAR - Energy Bars - Best Sellers Variety Pack - (2.4 Ounce Protein Bars, 16 Count) (Packaging and Assortment May Vary)
These calorie-loaded snacks pack a lot of nutrition into a small meal.Clif Bar

Most of the food we consume contains a high percentage of water. By eliminating water in your food, you reduce its overall pack weight, which is one reason dried and freeze-dried foods are so popular for backers who can count on a clean water source where they play to stop to eat. Still, different food options will weigh something, even if it’s just a few ounces, so smart backpack planning requires carefully considering the weight of your food items against their nutritional and caloric benefits.

Mountain House Classic Bucket | Freeze Dried Backpacking & Camping Food
This bulk assortment of popular meals means more options during chow time.Mountain House

Calorie counting for backpacking is a completely different thing than it is for something like weight loss. When you’re enduring ongoing physical activity, like when backpacking, the normal 2,000 to 3,000 daily calories recommended for typical daily activity might not keep your fuel tank full. Consider the available nutrition and caloric density of your food options when planning your backpacking trip.

PROBAR - Meal Bar, Variety Pack, Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, Certified Organic, Healthy, Plant-Based Whole Food Ingredients, Natural Energy (12 Count)
This nutritious snack is loaded with calories, protein, and flavor.Probar

Whether using a single burner backpacking camp stove, or a campfire (where permitted), the “just add water” feature of most freeze-dried meal options makes them easy to prepare. The worst that can happen is burning it or boiling over. Some options don’t require any cooking at all! But between meals, when you need a boost, snack bars tailored for high-endurance activities can keep you feeling full. Look for lightweight options that are available in different flavors, so you don’t have to eat the same thing day after day.

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