Meal Planning for a Multi-Day Hiking Trip. Part I – Backpacking Menu


backpacking meal planning

I wrote this post while preparing for a multi-day hiking trip in the wilderness of the Sarek National Park in Sweden. We were going to spend 10 days in tundra where there are no places to restock. All food should be carried in our backpacks, so careful meal planning was a MUST if we want to eat well and stay light. We achieved great success – all our food for two people for a 10 day hike weighed 8 kilos (17.6 Lb) only. Want to know how? We’d be glad to share our experience with you.

What to start with?

We usually start with the list of backpacking recipes that we’ve already tried and love. If you still do not have your own collection, flip through our cookbooks or check out the Internet and pick some recipes you’d like to try. If you prefer to eat commercially dried food, you can find it in our trail food catalog.

These are the main guidelines we follow for choosing “what to eat” on the trail:


We are trying to leave camp and start our journey as early as we can – who knows what the new day will bring? So, we do not spend a long time cooking and usually choose a granola or a quick porridge and a cup of coffee for breakfast. If we have a relatively easy hiking day or just a day at the camp ahead of us, we can “go luxury” and prepare pancakes or a quesadilla.


We prefer not to have a lunch break while hiking. The exception is only when we have quite an easy route, plenty of time, and excellent weather. Otherwise, we stop for a snack every 2-3 hours or when we start to get strong hunger signals. Our favorite snacks are beef jerky, spiced nut and seed mix  and energy bars.


Dinner is our most important and enjoyable meal of the day. This is not only because we need a hot and satisfying meal to recover with after a long day hike, but also because we like to sit around the stove, talking about what we have seen/accomplished and what to prepare for the next day while our dinner is simmering in the pot. We enjoy being outdoors, and good food is an inalienable part of this process.

Since we bought a dehydrator, we’ve become big fans of drying food, and now, our backpacking ration consist mostly of homemade dehydrated meals.

Meal Planning

When I know what we want to eat, I create a simple Excel sheet and write down all the meals I’ve selected by day and course. Now with Online Backpacking Meal Planner I can do this work much faster.

This is example of our backpacking menu for a 10-day hike in the Sarek National Park.

meal planning for 10-day hiking trip, backpacking menu

Read in the Part II: shopping list, dehydrating plan and food arranging

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