Meal Planning for a Multi-Day Hiking Trip. Part II

In the previous post, I described our approach for choosing “what to eat while on the trail” and shared our backpacking menu for a multi-day hiking trip in Sarek National Park. Further preparation and organizing food for an adventure in the great outdoors can be divided into several stages:

1. Creating a Grocery List & Shopping

When all the recipes for meals and snacks to take on the trail have been selected, I start to make a detailed grocery list based on the scheduled menus.

Until I had a Backpacking Meal Planner, I transfered all the ingredients to an Excel sheet and determined the quantities needed to feed two hikers. Now with a “Thru-Hiker” subscription plan, I can save a lot of time by printing out grocery list and cooking instructions labels directly from planner.

meal planning shopping list

On photo: grocery list created with Online Backpacking Meal Planner

Then I check my cupboards so I can cross off from the list all the products I already have at home. I do shop for ingredients in several motions according to my cooking and dehydrating plan, but you might want to do it at one go.

2. Cooking and Drying Food for the Trail

I often include into my meals dehydrated foods and ingredients, so I’m going to make those first. I follow “at home” directions for selected backpacking recipes, do all the necessary pre-treatment, cooking and drying.

3. Meal Assembly

When I have all the ingredients required, I can start assembling and packing the meals.

meal planning for multi-day hiking trip

On the photo: assembling “Three Mushroom Risotto” for the trail

I prefer using zip-lock bags for food packaging. They are very practical and can be reused, which can help minimize the impact on the environment.

Kindly note that dehydrated meals can be kept in a zip-lock bag for several weeks. If you want to prolong the shelf life, vacuum-seal and freeze them until you’re ready to pack your backpack.

daily ration

On photo: daily ration for 2 people (without snacks and drinks)

I tuck the label with printed on-the-trail cooking instructions into each food packet or use a permanent marker to write the amount of water required to rehydrate meal, directly on the bag.

On photo: on-the-trail cooking instructions printed out from Backpacking Meal Planner

meal planner cooking instructions

4. Packing

When all the meals are assembled and packed, I organize them into daily rations and mark each group.

food for 10 days, meal planning for multi-day hiking trip

On photo: food for 10 days for 2 people (total weight about 8 kg/17.6 lb)

I put all snacks into a separate bag for easy and quick access. Each morning, before leaving camp, we’ll divide daily snacks among us and put them into our pockets. I also use a separate bag for coffee, tea, sugar and other seasonings.

As soon as all the meals are grouped together, all I need to do is put them into one waterproof bag.

Read in the Part I: Meal planning tips and 10-day backpacking menu

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