For anyone who has hiked for extended periods of time, you know what a struggle it can be to find a balance between how much food you need and how much your food weighs. No one carrying their life on their back wants to deal with any extra weight beyond what they are required to. While overnight campers may be content to prepare canned food, the extra weight of bringing a week’s worth of canned food is exorbitant.
Here are some ideas for the most efficient foods on your long-distance hikes, so you can get all of the nutrients you need and not have to worry about breaking your back bringing them.
Trail Mix is named as such because it is the perfect food to bring on the trail. Really, anything small and bagged that packs a protein punch is ideal—be it any kind of nut, seed, or dried fruit. And, of course, you can bring M&Ms and the like to satisfy your sweet tooth, although you should be careful with chocolate if it’s hot out. These foods are also full of calories and easy to eat on the go to keep your strength and energy up.
Fresh meat is highly perishable, but we need to get protein somehow. Thankfully, dried and cured meats are a tasty and portable alternative you don’t need to prepare in any way. Beef jerky, turkey jerky, biltong—any are a great option to bring on the road with you. It won’t spoil, it doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and it is lightweight and easy to carry.
Any grain is invaluable when you are on the trail. They are highly nutritious, incredibly cheap, and can be both bought and prepared in bulk. Beyond the traditional option of rice, today you can also find options such as whole oats and quinoa as alternatives. Anyone on the trail for an extended period will likely have a small kit including a gas stove and a pot necessary to prepare grains.