10 No Cook Backpacking Meals


29797No-cook backpacking meals are one of the easiest and simplest ways to make your camping trip way less complicated. In this article, we’ll go through some of the main reasons why you should decide to try out backpacking without a stove next time you hit the road, and also you’ll read about some of the most delicious yet simple meals you can consummate without a stove.

Backpacking Without A Stove – Pros

Before we turn to meal suggestions, it is important to learn why you should consider giving backpacking without a stove a try as soon as possible:

1. Your Backpack Will Be Lighter

Stoves and other camping kitchen parts may be lighter than other similar tools, but it doesn’t mean they are lightweight. On the contrary, although you’ll be able to carry them without much of an effort at first, after some time you’ll start to feel tired and fatigue will kick in. By removing that extra weight, it will be way easier to carry your backpack and you’ll be able to cover a greater distance and hike for a longer period. You’ll also have to wear much less water because you won’t have to use it for cooking.

2. Less Money On Equipment

The logic is simple here – if you don’t cook, you won’t need all the other cooking supplies, and you’ll also be able to save by not purchasing a stove vessel, etc. Instead, all you need is some kind of waterproof and sealable storage and you’ll be good to go.

3. Less Time In The Kitchen

If you have to prepare your meals back at home, that doesn’t mean you have to do it even in nature. With no-cook backpacking meals, you won’t have to spend time in the improvised kitchen preparing them, but you’ll be able to relax, enjoy nature and your food completely without any rush, etc. Not to mention the fact that you’ll have way more time to do other things, instead.

4. Fewer Dishes To Clean

One of the biggest headaches of every camper is the cleaning process. Once you finish up with your meal, you have to wash all the dishes instantly to avoid any unwanted visits from wild animals, etc. No cooking backpacking meals also mean no dirty dishes, which will, again, result in way more time to spend on other activities.

5. Safety

The safety issue is one of the biggest and most important ones, and the smell of the food can easily attract many different wildlife species. Without cooking, there will be less smell and therefore the chance of wildlife visiting your campsite to grab a bite will be lower.

Things To Think About Before Your Trip

There are also some things you have to take into consideration before your trip:


There are many different options in the shape of instant meal bars, but these can be quite costly and it can be a bit of a problem, especially if you go backpacking or camping with your kids. That’s why you should combine instant meal bars and freeze-dried food with tortillas, trail mix, dehydrated meals…


Although you’ll carry less weight in general, the amount of food will be similar to the one you’ll be carrying when you plan to cook. To lower the weight, even more, look for food with as many calories as possible, food with high-calorie density. This way you’ll get the most out of every bite while the overall weight of your backpack will remain lower.

Food Preparation

Most of the time, no-cook backpacking meals are exactly this – meals you can consume when backpacking without a stove, but it doesn’t mean you won’t have to do some kind of preparation before you eat them, like cold soaking (hydrating your meal). Even with cold soaking, it is a lot easier and more simple than having to cook, and you can’t overhydrate your food, so it doesn’t require as much effort as being around the stove does.

Ingredients To Use

The simple rule is – the more natural the better. Don’t be afraid and make as many different nuts/fruit/chocolate combinations as possible. This way you’ll be able to change your meal from time to time and the lunch itself won’t ever become boring but one of the most fun parts of your journey. Just make sure they are easy to reconstitute when placed in water. And use the marker to mark every meal by ingredients to know what you’re serving to your party.

No-Cook Food Types

Although there are many different combinations, no-cook food can be separated into four different categories – raw, dehydrated, freeze-dried, and ready-to-eat.

Raw Food

Raw food is used to describe all the fresh ingredients like fruit or vegetables. Incredibly healthy and rich with all the stuff you need for your trip, raw fruit and vegetables tend to spoil rather fast and leave you without your meal. That’s why you should take only as much as you’ll be able to eat in the next few days.


You can either purchase or dehydrate the food by yourself with a dehydrator. It is a device that removes moisture from your food. This also means you’ll have to rehydrate them before use, which can take some time. If not soaked properly, dehydrated food doesn’t taste well, and most of the time you’ll be needing warm water for it to work and make it edible again, so if you want your food to be tasty, then you should use these as a last option for your backpacking without a stove trip.


Same principle, a different way of removing the moisture. Unlike dehydrated food where the moisture is being removed by hot air, freeze-dried food is prepared by freezing the food. It is light in terms of weight, it takes a lot less time to regain its hydration, while there will be times when you won’t be needing to rehydrate fruit because it will taste just great, especially if you go backpacking during a hot, summer day. This is one of the best ways to refresh yourself.


The priciest, but these packages also mean you won’t have to do a thing but to open the package and mix it with water if it is required. These packages serve as a full meal, so make sure to learn all the ingredients and ts nutrition levels to keep them balanced.

The Art Of Cold Soaking

The main food preparation technique for no-cook backpacking meals is known as cold soaking. All you need are cold water, wanted ingredients, and any type of jar – whether it is the one you’ve purchased for this purpose only, the one you’ve got from ice cream, or any other imaginable, as long as it doesn’t leak.

How To Cold Soak Your Food

Cold soaking has two main steps:

1. Add The Ingredients

Take your ingredients, add them to the jar, and pour the cold water over them, then close the container. You can also add any spices at this point.

2. Wait

Put the mix down and let it wait. Most of the meals will be good to go after half an hour, but you could think about letting it sit for about an hour, at least, just to be certain it soaked well.

3. Serve

After an hour has passed, open the jar, stir it and it will be ready to go.

Before Your Trip

Make a small experiment and try this type of food preparation while at home to see if you can do it. Many people can’t don’t like this type of food due to lack of heat, and it tastes different than a cooked meal, so it is not for everyone, but it is something you should try and see does it fit you.

No-Cook Backpacking Meals


There are many different options even if you go backpacking without a stove, and here are some of the most interesting no-cook backpacking meals you can make:

1. Leftover Salad

As the name itself says, all you need for this meal are leftovers. You could mix them with some fresh vegetables, but it is up to you. Take your food leftovers, if there is meat slice it to pieces as small as possible, and simply mix it all. This way you’ll get a pretty tasty dish with almost no effort, filled with calories and other usable materials.

2. Chicken Cucumber Pitas

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
  • 1 large cucumber, quartered, seeded, and sliced
  • 1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cubed cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion

For dressing:

  • 1/2 cup ranch salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Italian salad dressing
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place ingredients in a big bowl and mix them all up. Then, use the smaller bowl to mix all the dressing ingredients and add the mix to the large bowl. Mix it all and fill pitas with it. This should be enough for 12 pitas.

3. Cherry Chicken Croissants

Simple to make yet delicious, this meal can be done in about You’ll need 6 croissants cut to half and the following:

  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup halved green grapes
  • 8 bacon strips
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

Take all the ingredients and mix them all up in one large bowl. Follow by simply filling the croissants up. What makes this meal great is the option to make the filling with basically anything you love.

4. Roast Beef Pizza Sandwich

For this dish, you’ll need:

  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced sweet yellow or orange pepper
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 2 tablespoons horseradish sauce
  • 1 prebaked 12-inch pizza crust
  • 8 ounces sliced deli roast beef, cut into strips
  • 1 green onion, chopped

Start by mixing spinach, red onion, pepper, and tomatoes with vinaigrette and stir until it starts to coat. In the second bowl put chives, horseradish sauce, mayonnaise, cream cheese, and whatever else you want and stir until it all blends. Spread the mixture over the crust, add mixed vegetables and finish up with some meat, if wanted.

5. Tuna Wraps

You’ll need:

  • Canned tuna
  • Tortillas
  • Sweet red pepper
  • Light mayonnaise
  • Vegetables by desire
  • Mustard

Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix them, then fill the tortillas and wrap them up.

6. Cold Cereals

Great for any time of the day, cold cereals are probably the most popular cold dish among the backpackers. All you need are cereals, other fruit you want to mix it with, milk powder, and cold water. Let it cold soak for at least half an hour and enjoy it!

7. Energy Bars

Although they may seem small, energy bars are a great choice, especially if you pay attention to ingredients and stick to the natural ones. Also, avoid the ones with high sugar values. Whether you use them as a snack or some other meal addition, energy bars will give you what you need.

8. Dried Meat

Dried meat can also be used as an addition to other meals or as a snack, but what makes it great is the fact that it is most often light while it provides you with all the needed proteins, fat, and other important nutrition parts.

9. Crackers

Whether you use them on their own or combined with any other dish or dip, crackers are popular snacks that can serve as a great addition to your other meals.

10. Canned Food

If you don’t want to bother, you can always go with canned beans, salads, etc. They are good to go instantly, all you have to do is to open the can.

Globo Surf Overview

This article can serve you as a starting point, but don’t be afraid to get creative. If you do, your backpacking without a stove can easily become quite an amazing experience. Bon appetit!

More Backpacking/Hiking Reviews:


  1. 10 No-Cook Backpacking Food Ideas, trail.recipes
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!