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
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
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.
Great ideas here. Many thanks for taking the time to share. 😀
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
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.
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!
Let me guess Kiana… La Cloche Silhouette Trail? 🙂 It’s exactly 78km
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.
Found this article, and the links, helpful as a beginner.
Not very interesting.
nothing new here, we’ve been eating this trail food for decades!
Good for you
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.
Great article! Thank you.