Mom Goes Camping

10+ Backpacking Meal Ideas

backpacking meal ideas

Not sure what to eat when backpacking? To start with, I’d recommend reading my post on backpacking food, which talks about types of backpacking food and what types of food to bring backpacking. You can also read this post with tips for planning backpacking meals.   Then check out these great examples of backpacking food below.


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Backpacking Breakfast Ideas


Pack oatmeal in a plastic baggie with some dried fruits like dried bananas, apples, cranberries, or raisins. Add some brown sugar or cinnamon. You can also throw in some nuts from your trail mix.

backpacking oatmeal

Dehydrated Eggs

Yes, you can eat eggs while backpacking! Scramble them up and then dehydrate them. Then just add water and cook them (you’ll need to bring a little bottle of oil so the rehydrated eggs don’t get stuck to your cook pan). The dehydrated eggs are a bit rubbery, but still taste good. You can add freeze-dried onions to them, garlic, and salami.

backpacking eggs


Backpacking Lunch and Dinner Ideas

Tabouli and Black Beans

You can find instant tabouli in a box in your supermarket. The black beans here were dehydrated and then rehydrated with hot water. Remember to add lots of seasonings so they don’t taste boring!

tabouli backpacking food


Dried Asian Soup

Put dried mushrooms, dried scallions, noodles, and miso paste in a bag. Viola! You’ve got Asian soup.

backpacking soup


Instant Potatoes with Veggies

You can find instant mashed potatoes in your supermarket. Make them heartier by adding freeze-dried veggies to the mix (which you can find at health food stores). You can also top the mashed potatoes with a dehydrated pasta sauce (which can also be found in your supermarket in packets or you can dehydrate it yourself) or proteins like TVP.

backpacking potatoes


TVP Chili

TVP stands for Textured Vegetable Protein and can be found in the bulk section of health food stores. You just add water and get something resembling ground beef. It is rather flavorless, so you’ll need to add seasonings to it. One way to use TVP when backpacking is to add it to dry chili packets. Just boil it all together and you’ve got chili!

backpacking chili tvp 

Spanish Rice and Salami

If you bring rice backpacking, make sure it is the fast-cooking kind so you don’t waste all your fuel to cook it. You can add dried meats like salami to the rice for more flavor and protein.

 backpacking rice


Hearty Tomato Noodle Soup

I get packets of instant tomato soup from the supermarket, remove them from their packages, and add more noodles and dehydrated veggies. It makes for a hearty, tasty backpacking lunch.

backpacking tomato soup


Paneer is an Indian dish. You can find boxes of instant paneer in the ethnic section of supermarkets or in health food stores. I have no idea how they managed to dehydrate the cheese, but apparently it tastes really good.

backpacking paneer


Couscous and Veggies

I always bring couscous backpacking because it cooks in just 2 minutes, and my daughter loves it.   Add dehydrated veggies or hummus to the couscous to make it heartier. Just remember to pack the dried veggies separately. They need to cook longer than the couscous, so you have to put them in the water first and add the couscous after a few minutes.

backpacking couscous

Couscous and Lentils

I love couscous so much as a backpacking food that I included two examples. This one has lentils. Lentils are a good choice for backpacking because they cook really quickly, and are loaded with protein and nutrients. Red lentils cook even faster!

backpacking couscous lentils


What is your favorite backpacking meal?

Need more tips and ideas for planning backpacking meals?  Read:



Image credits (sourced from Flickr)
Bjorn Breakfast Some rights reserved
iris Camp Breakfast Some rights reserved
James Lavin grub Some rights reserved
George Wesley & Bonita Dannells Backpacking Soup Some rights reserved
Allison Wildman potatoes and veggies Some rights reserved
incommunicado The miracle of camping is this tasted good. Some rights reserved
Curtis Abert DSCN1499 Some rights reserved
oskar karlin _MG_3175.jpg CC BY SA 2.0
Dana camping recipe Some rights reserved
jon hayes P9140021 Some rights reserved
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About the author /

Diane Vukovic is an avid traveler, outdoor enthusiast and couchsurfer. She loves finding ways to explain complex topics to her 9-year old daughter and hunting beetles with her 1-year old. Follow MomGoesCamping on Facebook and Twitter @MomGoesCamping to stay in touch!

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