When going on a backpacking trip, you probably would want the most nutritious yet something that is light and less bulk. However, you shouldn’t limit yourself to the freeze-dried foods available in the market, which are quite expensive.
Here are ways to make backpacking food on your own.
- Plan your meals. When planning your meals for a trip, consider the space, weight and nutritional value of each meal. Foods that are quick-cooking or require little preparation time also work best. Do not be afraid to have food that you like. A good idea is to treat yourself to a great meal the first night.
Consider the altitude when planning meals. Water takes longer to boil at higher altitudes so you might want to skip the pasta-type noodles. Foods that are great to bring during backpacking are oatmeal, instant grits, cereals, crackers, couscous and the like. Bagels, bread and tortilla are also good choices. Canned foods are not the best choice because of the weight. Even so, if you opt to bring them, make sure you eat them on the first few days.
It is better if you could find the same product in foil pouch packaging because it is much lighter. Do not forget to plan your beverage. Be it tea, coffee, hot chocolate, cider or sports drinks, you can never carry too much of your choice of beverage.
- List the foods. Make a list before going shopping. This prevents you from impulse buying. Do not overestimate the food that you’ll need. Consider only how long you’ll stay on the trip and probably an extra bag of oatmeal. Have variety especially when you’re going on a long trip. When making the list, consider every meal of each day of the trip so that you would not run out of food.
- Prepare. Season, premix (without water), and precook anything that you can. This will not only save time, it will also ensure you to have tasty meals. Use precooked meat on the first few days. Prepare your own trail mix aka GORP (good old raisins and peanuts), and add some variety on the latter days so you won’t get bored with the usual contents. Snacks are important as they are quick sources of energy during the trail.
- Organize. Save yourself the time and hassle of rummaging through your baggage through organizing. Using ziplock bags helps especially in rationing food. Measure and package individual meals and get rid of unnecessary packaging materials such as cardboards. Remember that you want to save as much space as possible. Add labels with cooking instructions on each bag. For portioning syrups, peanut butter, oil or margarine, squeeze tubes of various sizes are good. Double-bag powdered foods, such as potato flakes or bulk hot cocoa. It is not advisable to carry glass containers because of the weight and safety hazards.
- Consider the water supply. It is best if the area has potable water supply, but if not, you might have to bring the water needed for your food. Decontaminating the water through boiling or a water purifier should also be a priority.
You could always look for recipes of lightweight backpacking foods if you wish to have a wide variety of choices. Backpacking should not limit your menu if planned correctly. Remember, the best backpacking foods are lightweight, calorie-packed, not bulky, quick-cooking and of course, something you actually like to eat.