As spring arrives in the northern hemisphere, it brings increasingly warm weather and sunshine. For camping and hiking enthusiasts, this means that the outdoor adventure season has started. In case you’re planning to spend some time in the wilderness this year, you will need to prepare and bring some sustenance with you.

Yes, I’m talking about backpacking food; nutritious food that will provide you with much-needed energy and make your trip more enjoyable. In this article, I’ll offer you some meal planning tips for activities such as camping, hiking, and backpacking. So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Things that are good to know

In order to plan properly, there are some crucial points that everyone needs to be aware of regarding food and outdoor adventures.

Realize that your food and water needs are going to be higher than usual as you will be burning much more energy, therefore bringing enough food is essential. Also, water is a major player here too, especially if you’re hiking in hot weather, so you’ll have to have a lot of it.

Before you go

Before you set out on your trip, make sure to fuel up to the max while you’re still at home. For example, in case you plan to go hiking, drink a few cups of water prior to the hike so that you hydrate your body. By doing this, you won’t have to carry so much water with you. Nevertheless, keep drinking during your hike as well.

Another thing you could do is a have a protein and fat rich meal (e.g., bacon and eggs), as it is going to give you a stable, slow-burning energy source that will last for hours. Please don’t shove food and water in your mouth minutes before leaving as it will only make your stomach feel like a barrel full of liquid.

Start consuming a few hours before you go, and do it gradually.

Meal tips for a one day trip

The great thing about short trips is that you don’t have to worry about bringing an enormous amount food. However, it is important that you bring enough, and it should be healthy and nutrient dense. You can also bring perishable foods such as sandwiches or meats, but you’ll have to have an ice pack to keep them cool.

Here are some examples:

  • Trail mix
  • Nuts/seeds or nut/seed based bars and butters
  • Meat jerky
  • Canned fish
  • Energy bars
  •  Pre-made salads (in Tupperware)
  • Fresh or dried fruits

Meal tips for a multi-day trip

If you’d like to camp out for a few days, then your food requirements will be greater, and the planning will be more challenging. You can bring perishable foods, but you should eat them the first day and keep them in a cooler. Below, you can see some suggestions:

  • All of the foods from the previous section
  • Dried foods that you can boil in hot water (rice, pasta, cereal, dried soups, etc.)
  • Marshmallows (for the campfire)
  • Popcorn (here are some awesome popcorn kernels)
  • Baby food (fruit or vegetable puree)

Cooking equipment and utensils

Try to bring only the essentials as you want to be moving as light as possible. These are the things that you need to have with you:

  • Cooking pot
  • Can opener
  • Plates (paper)
  • Bowls
  • Eating utensils
  • Trash bags
  • Paper towels

Food safety tips

  1. Make sure to wash your hands before preparing and eating food. If you don’t want to bring soap with you, carry some wet wipes.
  2. If you bring perishable food, make sure that your cooler can keep the temperature below 40 F. Anything higher that that will increase the chance of the food spoiling and make it unsafe to eat.
  3. Bring water purifying tablets or filters just in case run out of water and need to drink some that you find in nature. However, this should be your last resort.

So there you have it! My short but sweet meal planning guide has come to an end. As you can see, it is not as challenging as it may seem at first and it just takes a little bit of effort to equip yourself fully. Again, focus on the essentials such as nutritious food and water, and you should have no problems.

Thank you Melanie for your guest post! Make sure to visit Melanie over at Ardent Footsteps, where she gives expert advice on camping and outdoor food.

How do you plan and prepare your food when you travel? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Backpacking food
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  1. Interesting tips you have consolidated here to enjoy food on day trips and possibly even a picnic! I like how my favourite travel vloggers actually cooked oatmeal in a ziploc bag 🙂

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