Updated: Sep 3, 2021
Second to water, food is pretty darn important; and it can be difficult to figure out what to bring when backpacking. It can’t need refrigeration, and the kitchen you’re working with is definitely lacking some amenities. But that doesn’t mean you can’t eat well on an overnight hike. The trick with deciding what food to bring lies largely in planning ahead, as most aspects of packing seem to… We usually start with dinner, because that’s our favourite meal on a hike, and the options are honestly remarkable. Some people are against dehydrated meals because of their price (about $13 a meal), but we look at it as a night out – the restaurant just happens to be in the middle of the mountains. Typically, we bring two meals, which has always been enough food for us, sometimes verging on too much. I know ‘dehydrated meals’ isn’t the most appetizing description, but they have made impressive progress over the years and they’re honestly delicious. Our favourite so far has been a chicken pad thai that came with peanut butter, lime powder, sriracha powder, and crushed peanuts that you add to it. And don’t worry if your vegetarian or gluten free, there’s options for people with dietary restrictions! On average, with an overnight hike, you’ll need two lunches – one on the way up, and one on the way down. For some reason we are less than adventurous with our lunch options and usually stick to our go-to turkey sandwiches; but obviously you can adapt a sandwich to anything you’d like – we just love a good turkey sandwich. One thing to keep in mind with making sandwiches for hikes is avoiding things that might make them soggy. We love tomato, but on hikes we’ll opt out. It also helps to put something between the bread and the sauce, (ie, bread, lettuce, mayo, turkey, mustard, cheese, bread). You get the idea, protect the bread from sog. We try to avoid using plastic bags, but there’s no shame if that’s what you prefer; so typically we’ll put our sandwiches in a rectangular tupperware that holds them tight so they don’t slip around. It takes up a bit more space, but on the way down you can stack empty ones to save on space. On to breakfast. This is always a tough one for us because the obvious option is oatmeal. It’s light, it’s quick, and it’s easy. But it’s also pretty bland.. which is why we pack peanut butter banana sandwiches. That’s just us though, if you’re into oatmeal it’s honestly a great choice for breakfast – and it’s so easy to adapt. You can add nuts, dried fruits, peanut butter, coconut, apples, the list goes on. When I hiked the West Coast Trail, we had oatmeal everyday, we just changed what we added to it each day. If you have any other creative breakfast ideas that aren’t oatmeal please please share them in the comment section. Peanut butter banana sandwiches are losing their lustre and we’re running out of breakfast options. On top of the meals we always bring nuts, some dried fruit and usually a little sweet treat to snack on. All in all, it’s pretty easy and we’re always excited for our hiking meals. Plus, almost anything will taste delicious after climbing a mountain for six hours so don’t stress about it too much.