Weight limitation is a typical attribute of backpacking and meals for such trips are no exception. Considering the vitality of a meal, backpackers need to take smart calls so that they can include the best backpacking food without compromising on taste preference, nutritional value, the caloric density in the least weight possible. 

In addition to that, backpackers also need to consider the cooking methodology and cooking time for any meal and map it to their capability of preparation and discipline. Plus, details such as exclusions and inclusions also need specific attention. As you can guess, equating all these to sort the best backpacking meals is quite challenging. 

Need help with backpacking food ideas? We’ve taken the challenge, gone through several backpacking food reviews, and listed down the 10 Best Backpacking Food In 2022 with a comprehensive buying guide on how to choose the right food for your backpacking trip.

How To Choose A Backpacking Food – Buying Guide


Cooking Method

One of the first things to consider regarding any good to go meals is its cooking methodology. For cooking, you need access to a pot, stove, and other accessories to give you the capability of preparing the meal outdoors. For this reason, while choosing backpacking food, study the cooking method, and map it to your capability.

Cooking Time

Different backpack lunches have different cooking times which may vary between zero to what not. Here depending on your capabilities to prepare a meal and the liking of your taste, try to pick a backpacking lunch that takes the least time to get ready. 

Calories Intake and Caloric Density

On average, hikers usually burn between 3000-4000 calories per day. That is why it’s crucial to pack enough nutrients to give your body the energy it needs. This vital calculation also depends on your size, weight, age, and activity level.


Look for lightweight trail food with a small volume, which is still packed with enough nutrients and calories. Water is the main culprit for added weight, so dehydrated trail meals are an obvious choice here.

Shelf Life

Backpacking foods have different shelf lives depending on their preservation method. Though trail snacks come with a long shelf life to fit required durations, still it is advisable to have a look at them before you make a decision. 


While many manufacturers try to find the right balance between proteins, carbohydrates, and fat in their backpacking foods, you must read the ingredients before you purchase them. A backpacking food may contain an allergen, which can provoke a reaction. Some lower-quality backpackers’ meals contain many preservatives and food stabilizers, which aren’t exactly right for your health. Instead, it is better to go with natural ingredients.


It makes sense that you bring something you like to eat. All the things we have discussed so far are important, but you shouldn’t be forced to eat something you hate or something that tastes like cardboard. So, make your choice accordingly.



Q: What Is the Difference Between Dehydrated vs. Freeze-Dried Food?


These represent two different processes of eliminating water from backcountry meals. In dehydration, a food backpacking is exposed to hot, dry air for a short period while in another a backcountry food is frozen, and then the ice is removed by sublimation. 

Q: How Do I Store My Backpacking Food?


You must store your backpacking meal in a manner that eliminates any chance of animals catching the scent of your food and trying to reach for it. 

Q: How Much Food Should I Bring?


it depends on your size, weight, and exertion level. In general, it is 1.5 to 2.5 lbs. of backpacking meals per person per day, so simply use it to the equate amount.

Q: If I Don’t Have Access To Water And Stove What Should I Do?


In that case, you should carry ready-to-eat backpack meals with you. 

Globo Surf Overview

Did you need help with ideas for backpacking foods? Bringing the right type and amount of backpacking food is one of the most important things to think about when you plan a backpacking trip. As we’ve illustrated, many factors need to be considered when choosing the right backpack meal – the nutritional value, calories, diet, preparation, volume, and weight. We’ve selected some of the best backpacking meals, in our opinion, which can give you the right balance, and still taste delicious!

More Backpacking/Hiking Reviews:

Have you tried some of the foods that made it onto our list? Was it easy to pack and prepare? Was it tasty? Please share your experience with us in the comment section below.

Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!