This is a simple guide on what food to bring for a 2 night, 3 day hike. This blog also contains useful tips about how to carry, pack and store your food. It is meant for a budget back country hiker and someone who is new to back country.
This list is vegetarian based but will suffice for all hikers and is considerate in maintaining protein intake.
Please pack out what you bring in
Note this is not a pack list, this is just a 3 day food list. For a pack list see here >>
Things to consider when planning what food to bring:
Weight: If your walking a long distance or over harsh terrain you will want to be mindful of pack weight. For 3 days of hiking you should be able to achieve food weight of 2kg or under.
Packaging: Is the food waterproof? Will the packaging rip easily and open and spill? Secure food into packaging that will protect it.
Cooking utensils: Do you have utensils to cook your food? Will you use a fire or a propane cooker? Make sure you have cutlery, a bowl, a mug and a small saucepan as a minimum.
Ease to cook: Will this take long? Consider foods that will be easy to make and tasty. Finding that balance will come with experience.
Ease to clean up: After cooking it can be hard to effectively wash up your cooking utensils without the comfort of home. So be mindful to not let food burn onto your saucepan / pot. I choose Cous Cous for this reason because it doesn’t leave marks or hard to clean starchy stains.
Taste: Will this taste good? (Eg plain rice?) A good and lightweight way to keep food interesting is just to bring a small sachet of spices with you.
Access to water: Some foods are more water intensive like pasta and rice. Consider what water will be accessible on your trip and if it will need purifying.
Some easy options for Carbohydrate bases:
- Cous Cous: my personal favourite. Lots of flavour, easy to prepare, shorter cooking time, easy to clean afterwards and takes far less water to cook.
- Polenta: Easy to make, doesn’t require too much water. Short cook time.
- Dehydrated Rice: Light weight. Still requires a fair bit of water. Can stick to pots / pans because of starch.
- Pasta: Very filling.Takes a long time to cook. Leaves stains on pot with starch.
- Gnocci: A little on the heavy side but If you can manage the weight Gnocci is easy to make and super tasty.
- Noodles: Not as filling. Easy to cook. Doesn’t need too much water. Makes a broth. Takes up more room in pack.
3 Food pack list:
- Oats: 200g – 100g each breakfast
- Granola 100g: sprinkle this over your oats in the morning
- Tea bag or coffee sachet
- Bagels x 3
- Peanut butter: for bagels
- Raisins: for bagels
- Dried mango 60g
- Trail mix : Peanuts and trail mix.
- Hummus (Hummus will keep for a couple days without being refrigerated)
- Cliff bars x 3: Granola or muesli bars will also do. Look for something high in protein and fats, low in sugar and with average sodium (salt).
- Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate nibs are best because they can be sprinkled on your breakfast oats and serve as a snacl when your hungry.
- Dried Apricots
- Dates: Dates have a very high glycaemic index and are really good to have in the afternoon to pick up your blood sugar levels and when your taking a little rest.
- Cous Cous 100g (first dinner)
- Noodle packet x 2 (second dinner)
- Seasoning & Spices sack (salt, pepper, oregano)
- Four bean mix x 1 (empty into small plastic zip-lock bag)
- Chickpea ( empty into small plastic zip lock bag)
- Dried onion sachet (found in super markets)
- Con Carne Sauce sachet
- Tea bags x 6 (for dinners and nice at breakfast)
- Boil water and add to Oats. Sprinkle dark chocolate nibs and granola over the top.
- Boil water: Add to tea or coffee
- First snack: Granola bar, handful of nuts, dried mango
- Midday lunch: Bagel with peanut butter and raisins
- Afternoon snack: dark chocolate, dried apricot, dates
- Camp snack before dinner: crackers and hummus, dates
- Boil water. Add boiled water to Cous Cous. Keep lid on to retain heat
- Empty half bean and chickpea mix into saucepan and empty con carne sachet in pan. Stir regularly to avoid burning. When finished add to Cous Cous
- Add spices and herbs
- Boil water. Add boiled water to noodles. Keep lid on to retain heat.
- Empty half bean and chickpea mix into saucepan and empty con carne sachet in pan. Stir regularly to avoid burning. When finished add to Noodles.
- Add spices and herbs
- If camp sites provide ‘bear-boxes’ or storage boxes it is best to try use them. Make sure they aren’t able to be opened or accessed by any wild animals’
- If there is nowhere to safely store food it is best to hang your food. To do this, tie a rock to some string and throw the rock over a branch that is over 15 feet from the ground. Attach a bag with your food to one end of the string and then up the excess string to suspend your food in the air, off the ground.
Always pack out your rubbish hiking and practise leave no trace. Keeping trails nice for everyone is a part of the back country community.