Backpacking Food Basics

8 Fantastic Foods for Backpackers

Go beyond granola bars and make these energy-rich essential foods part of your trail diet.


Best Foods for backpackers Quinoa Salad with Kale image by Carmel Zucker

Quite possibly the world’s perfect grain, quinoa pairs nicely with a cut of meat and can even sub in as a lighter alternative to pasta, beans, and rice. Try it in a salad with kale. [photo: Carmel Zucker]

Campfire cooking - Green Curry with Salomon (photo by Carmel Zucker)

Other fish pale in comparison to salmon, which is packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and selenium. Try it with green curry for a touch of heat. [photo: Carmel Zucker]

Best Foods for Backpackers - Hash Browns & Eggs image by Carmel Zucker

You don’t have to give up this breakfast staple just because you’re headed outdoors. Hard boil them in advance (ideal), or bring the dehydrated equivalent to start your day off right. [image: bppheonix / Flickr]

Best Foods for Backpackers

Chia seeds are chock-full of calcium, Omega-3s, and antioxidants. Sprinkle them in your oatmeal, add them to your smoothie, or make delicious pudding. [image: Health Gauge / Flickr]

Best foods for backpackers - Chocolate-covered coffee beans

Need a midday energy boost? Use these little babies to get a caffeine fix without stopping to brew coffee or tea.

Best Foods for Backpackers

A sweet treat that can also calm an upset stomach.

Best foods for backpackers

Peanut butter gets a bad rap sometimes because it’s so high in saturated fat (each spoonful contains 3.3 grams). But don’t let that scare you. The spread packs a protein punch and the portability can’t be beat. Plus, Harvard scientists have found that peanut butter can help reduce the risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes. [image: mrsdkrebs / Flickr]

Best Foods for Backpackers

Carnivores, take heart: Salami is calorie-dense and rich in protein and fat, making it the perfect energy boost for a summit push. And like other cured meats, it will keep for between 3-4 days on the trail. [image: jesuez471 / Flickr]