10 No-Cook Backpacking Food Ideas

No-cook backpacking food has become more and more popular among hikers in recent times. Camping without a pot and stove gives them more freedom and flexibility – they can spend more time outside looking at mountains without worrying about camp kitchen setup and cleanup.

I would say that this approach is okay if you are just going to hike for a couple of days maximum, and the weather is perfectly warm and sunny.  However, in a colder climate and on winter hikes, this could lead to unpleasant consequences.

I love good food and never reject the possibility of eating hot and hearty meals on the trail. However, I prefer to have no-cook food for a quick lunch or as a snack while hiking.

There are some foods that can be eaten as is without heating or cooking:

1. Wraps and Burritos
trail chili burritos, backpacking breakfast ideas

Ideas for fillings: banana and peanut butter; cream cheese and smoked salmon, tuna, and mayo;  chicken and pesto; chicken and canned pineapples, etc.

2. Granolas and Cold Cereals

Coco Choco Granola with Blueberries, keto backpacking recipes

Granola or cereal is very convenient food for a breakfast on the go. All that you need is just to add cold water in it.

3. Dried Fruits, Nuts, and Berries
hiking snacks, trail recipes, no-cook backpacking food ideas, apricot pistachio salami

Dried fruits and nuts are considered an ideal snack food for hikes because it is lightweight, easy to store, and nutritious. But nothing compares with taste and aroma of freshly-picked berries. There are lots of berries you can pick from the side of the trail during summer period: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries and marsh berries.

4. Energy Bars

fig and oat bars, hiking snacks, backpacking food

The energy bars are compact and have reasonable caloric density and nutrition.
Try to choose bars with healthy, natural ingredients and less added sugars.

5. Jerky

smoky beer jerky, hiking snacks

These thin strips of dried meat or fish are extremely lightweight, easy to pack and offers a good balance of fat, proteins and carbohydrates. If you have the time and a food dehydrator, consider making jerky by yourself.

6. Bagel Sandwiches

Bagels travel very well, and there are endless varieties in what you can eat it with: tuna, ham, smoked salmon, cheese, etc.

7. Crackers

Crackers can be eaten on their own or can accompany other food items, such as cheese or tuna; dips; or soft spreads such as honey or peanut butter.

Crackers with Hummus, backpacking lunch ideas> no cook backpacking food

8. Canned Beans and Vegetable Salads

High in vitamins and fiber, beans will help you feel and stay full. Taste great with corn, tomatoes, avocado, tacos or tortillas.

9. Cheese & Sausages

Easy Sausage and Cheese Platter

Hard cheeses such a Parmesan or Cheddar and processed cheese can be kept off the fridge longer.

Salami, pepperoni and mini summer sausages all are good for backpacking.

10. Smoothies

raspberry peach breakfast smoothie, trail smoothie, no cook backpacking food, backpacking breakfast ideas

Making a smoothie from powdered/dehydrated ingredients doesn’t take as long as preparing a full meal, giving you more time to enjoy your adventure.

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  1. Jane Mclaren on June 24, 2022 at 3:32 pm

    Great ideas here. Many thanks for taking the time to share. 😀

  2. - on September 22, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    Amazing. I am going on a school (Maritzburg College) trip on the Drakensberg and I don’t what to carry a stove. this was very helpful.
    Danco means THANK YOU

  3. Holly Gage on February 20, 2021 at 5:19 am

    Thanks. I’m planning food for a Back-Packing/Paddling Adventure and your information has helped a lot! I’ve been looking for no-cook, easy to carry lunch ideas and smoothie recipes. I’ll make up a few of your recipes and give them a try. Thanks again for sharing your experiences.

  4. Kiana on July 23, 2020 at 3:33 am

    Thanks for this article! Doing a 78km loop this week and was looking for breakfast and lunch ideas. Dehydrated some smoothies and added protein powder for breakfasts, it will certainly be nice not to have oatmeal for 7 days straight!

    • Lester on September 2, 2020 at 10:01 pm

      Let me guess Kiana… La Cloche Silhouette Trail? 🙂 It’s exactly 78km

  5. Dan Smyth on April 14, 2020 at 11:28 pm

    I like the canned beans! Classic. Everyone hates on canned food for hiking, but if you’re packing water anyhow it really makes sense. Most of the weight is water that your body can use.

  6. Jameson on August 29, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    Found this article, and the links, helpful as a beginner.

  7. Anonymous on August 5, 2019 at 2:33 am

    Not very interesting.

  8. Anonymous on April 17, 2019 at 5:24 pm


  9. Greta on February 7, 2019 at 3:00 am

    nothing new here, we’ve been eating this trail food for decades!

    • Kinloch Jeff on January 23, 2020 at 3:56 pm

      Good for you

    • Anonymous on September 26, 2020 at 10:39 pm

      People have been eating food for much longer than that. It doesn’t make the information less useful. Perhaps don’t pollute the last remaining oasis of positivity on the internet with that negative crap.

  10. James on May 26, 2016 at 7:48 am

    Great article! Thank you.

  11. Pamela smith on May 9, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    Very informative,Thanks

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