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
Ideas for fillings: banana and peanut butter; cream cheese and smoked salmon, tuna, and mayo; chicken and pesto; chicken and canned pineapples, etc.
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
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
The energy bars are compact and have reasonable caloric density and nutrition.
Try to choose bars with healthy, natural ingredients and less added sugars.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.