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Backpacking Without a Stove – Simple Non-Cook Meal Plan

Backpacking without a stove

Most of you know me as being somewhat of a backpacking stove geek. I don’t exactly hide the fact, but I am trying to get it under control. Just a few months ago I mentioned that when the conditions are right I occasionally like to go backpacking without a stove or any other cooking equipment with me. This seems to have shaken some people’s world a little bit and sparked a lot of inquiries via email about what my daily food menu might look like.

It’s taken me far longer to pull this backpacking meal plan together than I had intended, not because it’s rocket science or anything (it’s not), I just kept forgetting to make time to write it up. To those of you who have waited patiently or given me the occasional nudge or poke online, I thank you. Hopefully this will answer the questions that you have been waiting for.

Why Go Non-Cook?

There are may reasons why I sometimes decide to go backpacking without a stove. Sometimes I simply don’t want to carry very much gear. Other times I do feel in the mood for fussing around (yeah I said it) with a UL stove when I’m feeling hungry. And sometimes I’m just done with my hot food meal options and the same old rehydrated stuff. I’m sure I could spend more time researching and testing better trail recipes, but to be honest when I’m hungry out on the trail all I want is food!

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy great tasting, gourmet food as much as the next person, but when I’m backpacking I usually fall into a mindset of food=fuel and I want to fill my cakehole – that’s just me.

Regardless of the reason why I reach this point or start to feel this way, I had to figure out a way to address it and create an alternative food plan that would be quick and easy to use for multiple meals over multiple days and require no cooking.

Just Grab a Snickers Bar and Go

As I said earlier, putting together a non-cook lunchbox is not exactly rocket science, throw some crackers, cheese, and salami in a ziplock baggy and you’re good to go right? Absolutley! If that works for you, have at it. I’ve done that too many times over the years to mention, even with my kids, and it’s been perfect.

However, I’ve been eating a strict Paleo diet (Google it) for close to a year now and wanted to come up with a meal plan that stayed close to the fundamentals of the Paleo diet, while providing just a little wiggle room for treats I wouldn’t usually have. Besides, I’m usually burning calories like a mad man on most hikes, so a few extra sugar calories aren’t gonna make a dent.

As you will see from the photos and lists below, the backbone of my meal plan is comprised of PROBARs. Each bar is packed with flavor and quality ingredients and has a high enough calories to be a meal replacement. While PROBARs are not strictly Paleo compliant (side note: they totally could be if PROBAR decided to make them and corner the market – HINT!) I’ve found that this is where I want to make my trade off and allow for content that I wouldn’t otherwise eat. Hey, in my head I’ve justified it and it works for me. So here we go, this is more or less what I pack for a day of non-cooking hiking.


Backpacking without a stove

I absolutely cannot live without my morning cup of coffee, I’ve tried too many times (unsuccessfully) to quit. I like the taste and it makes me a much nicer person to be around if I have it – trust me. Not having any hot water with which to make my morning cup of Joe posed a bit of a problem, until I got a little creative with how I take my coffee. I just needed to get that caffeine fix somehow.

I use a single packet of Starbucks Via coffee and a small plastic water bottle to shake up an iced coffee that I can sip on while I’m eating the rest of my breakfast. I know it’s not exactly a steaming hot cuppa, but it is pretty darn good coffee and it feels just like my normal morning ritual. I also carry small portions of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate covered espresso beans. I can munch on a handful of these to get my caffeine fix if I don’t have time to shake up an iced coffee. Or I can have both for an extra yummy buzz.

An Oatmeal Raisin PROBAR is my preferred breakfast bar option. It tastes exactly like a bowl of oatmeal and I’ve found that making breakfast feel like breakfast is half the battle for me in the mornings. I’m a big fan of dried apricots, so I carry these with me on most hikes to have with meals and as snacks if necessary. These are one of those high-fiber foods where a little goes a long way, if you know what I mean, so don’t over do it on dried fruit.


Backpacking without a stove

I don’t always stop to eat my lunch while I’m out backpacking, so going with a non-cook plan is definitely an advantage f your are trying to cover more distance. Even when I am carrying my cooking gear I personally prefer to eat my lunch on the move whenever possible. It’s an old habit.

In addition to another PROBAR I like to consume a good amount of protein throughout the day. I add a healthy dose of home-made beef jerky to my lunch to provide protein and give me something savory to chew on while I’m walking. I find I can make the jerky last a long time if I chew on it well.

Macadamia nuts and almond butter are my go to snacks. They are brimming with essential minerals, vitamins and heart-friendly mono-unsaturated fatty acids. They are delicious whole, chopped, or ground finely. I try to include them as part of almost every meal plan whether I am cooking or not. Justin’s Maple Almond Butter is my personal favorite and I try to snag individual pouches of it whenever I see it in stores.

I usually combine macadamia nuts with some dried raisins to make an ultra simple, but extremely healthy trail mix. I won’t go on and on about the benefits of dark chocolate, I include a single piece of Dove silky smooth dark chocolate for no other reason than because I enjoy it as a treat.


Backpacking without a stove

By now you’re probably thinking that I eat almost the same food three times a day. Well I do, for the most part. As I said earlier, when I’m hiking food=fuel and I can happily eat the same thing day after day, that’s just me. If you need to vary the meals more than I do, go ahead. There are no rules.

Another PROBAR eaten with jerky and nuts makes up my typical dinner. I like to have a pretty decent amount of protein in my dinner so that my body can repair muscle while I am sleeping. The macadamia nuts provide those essential minerals and good fats. At night I combine small bites or chunks of Dove dark chocolate with each apricot to create a slightly decadent dessert option. It sounds silly, maybe even too basic, but give it a try and I promise you’ll be surprised at how good it tastes at the end of a long day.

Snacking is Good Too!

I carry small ziplock baggies of macadamia nuts and home-made beef jerky (cut into smaller pieces) in the hip belt of my backpack. I snack on these throughout the day and in between meals. I make sure that these are filled up each morning before we start hiking and then use them whenever I get the craving or urge to snack. I’ve never had a problem from over eating on healthy nuts or jerky so I don’t restrict myself on how much I eat other than simply by the amount I carry.

I have purposely not included my daily fluid intake as part of this post. Just know that I drink a lot, almost constantly, while hiking. I also believe that hydration is a very serious subject and one that would be better addressed in a longer, more in-depth post in the future. Note to self.

For my gear list friends and excel freaks, here is the obligatory line-by-line calorific break down of the meal plan I have just walked you through.

I’m not sharing this so that you feel as though you have to copy it to the letter, but if you want to that’s fine. I’m sharing this to give you some ideas of how you can quite easily hike for several days and eat well without the need to carry a stove and cookware. I hope you found this useful or interesting and would love to hear what you pack for hikes when you don’t want to cook.

Mt. Whitney Portal Bacon Cheeseburger

A legend to all who pass by the Portal store (check out their pancakes too). Zero calories, 100% paleo – yeah right, in my head!
Whitney Portal Store Burger

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  • Thank you for posting this! My partner and I have been mulling over making a trek through Grasslands National Park, and due to the environmental conditions there (the name about sums it up) open flames are frequently not allowed at all, which means “cold camping” the whole time. We are both coffee addicts, and I have a hard time imagining keeping us both well fed for a multi-day trip. However, you’ve given me some great ideas to work with!

    • Mike and Cal – environmental conditions or regulation restricting the use of opens flames is another great reason to have a non-cook menu plan as part of your kit option.

      I don’t like drinking my coffee black. At home I use almond or coconut milk instead of dairy to smooth out the taste of my coffee. Unfortunately there isn’t a ‘real food’ non-dairy creamer option that I am aware of that I could take with me on the trail, otherwise I would. I’m not a fan of powder creamers and all the crap in them, so I do muscle down cold black coffee when out backpacking. It’s better than nothing at all – make’s Brian very grumpy!

      Good to hear that this may have sparked some ideas for the two of you. If you come up with anything interesting be sure to share! – BG

      • Brian…you should consider organic creamed coconut, the type I use in my recipes, that you grate up. It works very nicely in drinks. It is essentially coconut butter.

        • And also…if you are willing to carry the weight ..consider Tetra Pak containers of So Delicious coconut milks for coffee.

      • Esperanza

        Actually, at REI they have an instant lowfat dry milk. It mixes just fine with water, no heat needed. Contains 5K% milk fat before adding water and 1/2 % with water. Maybe you have discovered this already. Good luck, and thanks for the tip on cold coffee, from us coffee fiends who don’t want to take a stove on our 3 day backpack.

        • This is fantastic news! I’ll admit that I’ve been staying away from REI and other stores lately in order to avoid buying stuff. This might be a legitimate reason to swing by their store again. Thanks for sharing :)

  • I like the ingredients I see in the probar meal bars. How much sugars? Can’t find sugar info on their web site or ingredient chart. have you tried the core bars?

  • Easygojoe

    Very appropriate timing on this post. I’ve also been a Primal Blueprint guy for going on three years and I have started backpacking stoveless as well. Firstly because my MSR Whisperlight broke, then I messed with cat food can stoves, and freezerbag cooking. A big hassle, and a big space waster to carry around the extra fuel and pot for simply boiling water.

    My additions to your fine list are as follows:
    -Lara bars are gluten free and paleo
    -5 hour energy type drinks for me instead of morning coffee
    -I have a homemade Solar dehydrater I made from plans I found in a library book, I make jerky continuously beginning in late spring so I always have lots on hand, it’s a staple
    -I dry my own fruit and fruit leathers, apple chunks, bananas, pineapple are great.
    -I take the fruit and it goes into zip locs with various nuts, macadamias, almonds, cashews, and seeds like sunflower and pumpkin I get at the whole foods store. It becomes trail mix (no pun intended).

    And like you mentioned, on the first day of a trip, you can bring hardboiled eggs, salami, cheese etc and eat very well before it has a chance to spoil.

    • Alex

      Joe, I like all of this except for the Five Hour Energy. How do you rationalize drinking that garbage and call yourself paleo? Seriously though, Brian’s caffeine solution is good. You can also cold-brew tea by leaving some loose tea or a teabag in a dedicated waterbottle overnight. Brewing very good tea this way, for instance puer or Japanese green tea, can be amazing and shockingly different from the same stuff brewed hot.

      Also – any inclination to tell us what all of this does to your digestion? I make my own pemmican and I find that two days of that without any leafy greens or freeze-dried rice can be pretty intense. I’m paleo enough that I wouldn’t be crazy about eating a probar.

      • easygojoe

        I dunno. Nobody’s perfect. I love good beer and it’s not Paleo; just use judiciously, as you see fit. I dont drink five hour’s on a regular basis. But for backpacking for two or three days it works for me. I prefer a five hour to cold coffee with a vIa. Just my preference.

        As we speak, I have some chicken Lemon Brandy and spice jerkey cooking in the solar dehydrator. Have lots of dried fruit from last year in freezer bags in the freezer. I’m ready to go in a day or so’s notice. It’s really very liberating.

        • EasyJoe and Alex – I actually agree with Joe on his point about finding what works for you, even if it’s beer. Every once and a while I’ll go off paleo on purpose and have a few beers, bread, chips, and all sorts of things I’m not “supposed” to – but I only do it for a day or so. I find it helps to give into the cravings once and a while and helps me get back to Paleo with more passion. Find the balance that works for you – I’m certainly not judging anyone.

          Joe – I like to keep well stocked up on the dry and non-cook ingredients so that I can go at a minute’s notice. Jerky is a mainstay for me as are the nuts and dried fruit. I can’t do the five hour energy drinks though – more power to you if that’s what works! – Brian

      • Obviously PROBARs are not paleo – I think I mentioned that but one look at all the oat, grains, and sugary ingredients will tell you that. I rationalize PROBARs on the basis that I’m burning off all that sugar as quickly as I can consume it and the rest of the ingredients are bad in moderation – and they’re delicious. I wish I could convince PROBAR to make a paleo bar, but so far all of my requests have fallen on deaf ears.

        I’ve tried Pemmican and have to say that unless you have a particular different or tastier version of this I can’t stand the stuff. That’s all you buddy, enjoy!

        My digestion is perfectly normal through several days of eating like this. There’s a good enough balance of fiber, protein, and carbs in the menu that I’ve never had an issue. You’re also speaking to someone that has a cast iron constitution and “goes” on such a regular basis that a Swiss timepiece would be jealous :)

        The idea of this menu is to show that a non-cook meal plan is possible, easy even. If you don’t like one item switch it out for those that you do. I have a great Larabar recipe that is 100% paleo and only take 5 mins to make – I’m thinking of taking some of those on my next trip to see if they fill me up. AMRAP paleo bars are pretty good too, but I need to eat two of them at a time because they’re so small.

        Get creative, switch it up and carry food that you enjoy. The whole point of being outdoors is to have fun and enjoy it. Don’t take my blog posts too seriously.

    • Joe, thanks for the tasty menu additions. Have you tried my home-made Lara Bar recipe? It takes about 5 minutes and they are healthy and delicious – way more affordable too!

      • easygojoe

        Larabars are the essence of simplicity, just one or two items in the ingredience. Not surprised there is a hack for a homebrew variation. Everyone has to find their own level of comfort as opposed to their enviornmental concerns. For me, it’s my wife and I in a doublewide hammock, no stove, eating no cook meals, leaving a near zero environmental footprint. Some others may not feel as such. A” chacun la sien… to each his own.

      • All good stuff! I’m also paleo and am pretty careful with my packed weight. these homemade LaraBars should be pretty good…FYI Lara Bar is on the Boycott list as their home company, General Mills, is a big donator to prevent GMO labeling. This pemmican recipe rated well in several ‘taste trials’ with people with ‘normal taste buds’.
        1C. jerky powder (dehydrate well and grind in the blender)
        1t. Mitchell Street steak seasoning (I get my seasonings @
        Penzeys online but you could probably use any steak seasoning)
        ¾ C. ground dried cherries
        2T maple syrup
        3T rendered beef fat

        grind it all up and shape however appeals to you
        I’ll be taking it with me on my next trip. One idea I had was to use the pemmican as meat, fat and seasoning in a dehydrated vegetable soup. Any additional ideas?

  • The biggest problem I’ve found is replacing my meat, doing paleo and crossfit I normally eat close to 2lbs of meat a day. Beef jerky helps but without the fat it’s just not the same. Have you tried pemmican Brian? I get mine from US Wellness meats. It’s 40% fat so it keeps for some time without refrigeration. This is going to be my staple dinner this year. I may add in the probar, but oats usually don’t treat me too well, really wish there was a better paleo option. I’ll be trying out Steve’s paleokits this year as well

    • David, if you’re looking for a Paleo bar option have you tried my home-made Lara Bar recipe? It takes about 5 minutes and they are healthy and delicious – way more affordable than buying. There are also AMRAP bars, but I find I need to eat two of them to feel anywhere near satisfied. I’ve been applying as much pressure as I can to PROBAR (via my contacts) to have them come up with a Paleo bar. They’d crush the market if they made them right…

      I have to say that I have hated all the versions of Pemmican that I’ve tried. It’s disgusting, have you actually eaten some and chewed on it !?! Jerky has less fat than regular meat, but with all the nuts I am eating I’m getting a large amount of the good oils and nutrients that I need. Animal fat isn’t as important IMHO.

      I’ve had Steve’s Paleo kits before. Jerky, nuts, and dried fruit – yeah that’s pretty much what I showed above in my menu, just packaged differently The bottom line is you have to find whatever works for you. I don’t eat oats at all on my normal paleo diet, so the only time I get them is in PROBARs – that’s why I’d love them to make Paleo bars too!

  • Mmmm Justin’s.

  • Did you try Growers cup coffee:

    I thing that this is the best coffee for backpacking…

  • Is there any chance you can add weights to the spreadsheet?

    • Does the portion size not do it for you? I include a lot of weights in that column. There’s always a chance I can go back and add every single weight… just give me a few days to pull out all of the food items again.

  • Looks like a great meal plan. I haven’t tried PROBARs or Justin’s Almond Butter so I’ll have to give those a try. I usually take Odwalla Choco-Walla bars ’cause they taste so good.

    • Take what you like, that’s the only rule. I would definitely recommend giving PROBAR and Justin’s a try when you can and let me know what you think, even if you find you don’t like them.

  • JJ_Mathes

    Brian- Starbucks now has a Blonde Roast (not as strong) maybe they’ll package it in VIA size soon. I’m in the process of putting together non-cook snack and lunch foods for a trip in May, dried fruits and nuts are always on the menu and chocolate when it isn’t too hot and won’t melt, ProBars have been part of my food bag for a couple of years now. I reviewed your jerky recipe looks tasty and I’ll be drying a batch soon.

    • JJ, I don’t have a problem with the strength of the VIA Columbian blend. I’d love to get their Pike’s Place blend as VIA packets, that’s one of my favorite lighter blends. Would love to hear what you think of the jerky recipe after making it. It’s been the most successful jerky I’ve made and has become somewhat of a pre-hike meal prep ritual now :) Saw you met up with Stick and his friend, wish I could have been there too.

      • JJ_Mathes

        I’ll be trying the jerky soon and will definitely let you know, I’ll probably get the butcher to slice the steak for me to insure an even thickness. I gave up grains 14-months ago except for oats and I limit how much of those I eat. I eat lots of fruits, nuts and veggies and dry both so I eat pretty much on the trail like I eat at home.

        Wish you could have made last weekends hike too, let’s see if we can make it happen this fall.

  • Snctool

    Interesting idea and I do it on day hikes. i really enjoy the effects from Premier Protein bars. For a several day hike I really enjoy a hot meal in the morning especially hot coffee and a hot meal at the end of the day. It does sound inviting though and I will give it a try. I don’t think I could handle the cold coffee, maybe too set in my ways for that one. Thanks for the interesting posting and there is no doubt it is a very healthy diet.

  • David

    Some things to consider: Marinate and dehydrate zucchini and mushrooms for veggie jerky. Powdered coconut milk, whey powder, and or stevia for coffee. Sleeping with a water bottle can make it at least warm. Consider stevia based drink sticks. Flax and chia are low-carb grains and thicken recipes without cooking. They’re great for breakfast recipes without cooking. Many cooked and dehydrated meals can be rehydrated without cooking with solar heat or body heat.

    • David, thanks for all the great tips. It’s not strictly paleo, but I often make black coffee with a scoop of vanilla whey (protein) powder and shake it up in a blender bottle. 30g of protein in a french vanilla coffee!!!

      I also like adding Chia seeds to a lot of the things I make. Everyone should try that for the amazing benefits. Haven’t tried veggie jerky yet, but I’m considering it now. Do you have any favorite recipes for the marinade?

      • I’ve definitely done that too and included the coconut milk powder.

        • Nicole – Have you tried blending hot coffee, butter, and coconut oil? It turns into a paleo cappuccino looking drink and tastes delicious. Sprinkle cinnamon on top for the win!

  • I’m also curious about the weight. How would this compare to freeze dried on a week long trip. Seems like it may be a heavy trade off for simplicity sake.

    • Mike – oh the peer pressure! I’ll update the spreadsheet shortly to include all the weights. There’s probably a small saving to be had by going no-cook, I’m not carrying and cooking gear, but overall it might not be any lighter for longer trips. It’s typically more of a mood and convenience factor. Sometimes I can’t be bothered with cooking and using a stove, so why go FBC when I don’t want to? Make sense?

    • Ok, I’ve added all of the weight per item in grams, and just because I’m a nice guy I’ve included an extra column with ounces. Check it out! – Brian

  • Mrs Joy

    I tried doing paleo for hiking and it didn’t work out that well for me so I do more instant energy foods on my hikes. I typically walk without a long food break all day. I’m not a fan of cooking when I’m tired, either, so especially in warmer weather I don’t carry a stove or pot and just do cold foods.

    Packit Gourmet sells and *amazing* breakfast smoothie mix. I’m trying to replicate it at home with non-dairy, or at least non-cow, products. I’m thinking vanilla protein powder, almond or soy powder, coconut powder, and crushed freeze dried fruit. Add cold water and make your mouth happy.

    I’m not a fan of dark roast so I found those little coffee packets from (I think) Folger’s. Also my grocery does a trail mix with coffee beans in it which is fantastic and makes me peppy.

    My snacks are prunes, raisins, mango, almonds, peanuts, Kind bars, M&M or Snickers bars for the afternoon tireds, and a power gel for that last mountain of the day. I often carry hard candy or just cough drops to suck on.

    On short trips I carry fresh fruit like cherries or tangerines. Also a hard sheep cheese and pepperoni or other sausage. Sadly I have to go gluten free so I no longer carry a baguette. Instead I take something like Nut Thins crackers.

    If I’m going cold, dinner is jerky, cheese, a piece of dark chocolate, and whatever is left over from the day’s snacks. And a whole liter of electrolyte mix – I use one of Crystal Lite’s electrolyte blends, with stevia for sweetener. All of me is happier when I include the electrolyte stuff at least once daily. More often if it’s really sweaty out.

    Thanks for the post, Brian, it gave me some good food for thought.

  • Will Rietveld

    Hey Brian,

    Great article! And describes exactly how I feel too about cooking. I like to go no-cook on shorter fast and light trips, 1-2 nights. For breakfast, I get my caffeine first thing when I wake up by adding some instant coffee to some chocolate flavored Myoplex, which is an instant-breakfast type stuff I get at a GNC nutrition store. I put it in a bottle and shake it like you do. It tastes like a cold mocha drink. Also for breakfast down the trail a couple of hours is some granola with coconut milk powder that I add water to.

    Lunch is grazing on an assortment of foods 2-3 times during the day: nuts, crackers, jerky, sesame sticks, energy bars, dried fruit, etc.

    Dinner is a Probar Meal bar and protein bar and maybe some dried fruit.

    I really like the simplicity and weight savings on shorter trips. I haven’t gone no-cook on a longer trip yet.

    Happy trails!


    • Thanks Will. I’m a big fan of mocha drinks so maybe I’ll work on a coco or powdered chocolate addition to my morning coffee.

      Several people have questioned whether or not there is any weight saving to be had by going no-cook on longer trips. Probably not, maybe it’s a wash, but most of the time for me it’s a matter of mood.

      Sometimes I’m simply not in the mood to fuss and bother with my stove despite however much I like tinkering with it. A no-cook meal plan is so easy I think everyone should have it as a back up for times when you just want to grab and go!

      Hope all is well. – Brian

  • I use Larabars, which are cheaper and paleo. I save my fudging on paleo for summer sausage – I love it, and it carries really well. I too usually carry apricots and jerky. What nuts I bring varies, and I often bring EVCO or coconut cream just for eating like candy.

    All this said, I almost never hike in hot weather – I’m really a spring and fall hiker.

    • Nicole – I’ve recently started making my own Larabars to take with me. I let myself slip from paleo during hikes as a treat and because I’m burning off nearly everything I am consuming – I know it’s not strict. I’m also a huge fan of EVCO and love the little packets that you can buy (yumm). I don’t stick to this menu religiously, I adjust for the situation, outdoor temps and my taste cravings at the time. While I have you here let me ask: what is your favorite paleo breakfast, not just for outdoors but at home too? – Brian

      • Although I’m paleo, I have been adding oatmeal on the trail as I can’t think of a good lightweight cooked breakfast meal….any thoughts?

    • I’d also need to eat two Larabars for every PROBAR that I consume. That would eliminate any cost saving, no?

  • Catharine

    I also try to eat a primal diet and wish I could find an ultralight primal/paleo blog. Last time I went backpacking with my girls I made a snack out of coconut oil, nuts and dried fruit. Melt the coconut oil, then put chopped nuts and chopped dried fruit into a pan and pour the melted oil over it. Refrigerate then cut into squares. YUMMM Granted, it was a winter trip – I wouldn’t recommend it in the summer!

    • Catharine – this is an ultralight backpacking blog and I’m just beginning to share more about my results from a year of paleo diet and crossfit. Stick around and I’ll try to share more without frightening away all of my other readers!

      What in particular are you looking for? Paleo/primal trail recipes, fitness, minimal prep meals? Let me know and I’ll try to cover those topics, or reach out to people I know to help me cover them. I’m always open to constructive feedback ;)

  • GoneWithTheWind

    I agree with the philosophy but not the portions. I would need about three times what you showed just to keep my stomach from growling. The best hiking food I ever had was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Two big thick PB&J sandwiches taste sooooo good after hiking all morning. Yes you can eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Suprisingly no food fatigue. You may not care about PB&J when you are at home but it is SOOOO satisfying when you are out burning 5000 calories a day. Top it off with a glass of reconstituted powdered milk and you have the nectar of the gods. Save the dried fruit and jerky for inbetween meal snacks.

    • GWTW – I refer you to my response to Ted above. I hear ya and I’m a HUGE fan of PB&J – I just don’t eat bread anymore, which makes it tricky (not impossible). – Brian

  • Ted

    Sorry , but that menu wouldn’t feed a cat, much less a grown man with full load out . Cant say your not still hungry after that . I’m not a huge guy at 185 lbs , but I’m strong , fit , and carry a 60lb pack , weapon , other field gear , with real food , some no cook , some not , but it keeps me from dropping down to 175 when the week is out . I also play the calorie / protein count , Thats why I pattern my food more like the Military than a day hiker . I cant imagine that being enough food per day , for anybody carrying any load at all . Just sayin . Breakfast and dinner are almost always cooked , lunch hardly ever . A typical lunch is usually 1 – 240 gram can of sprats in oil ( russian ) 8 Wasa multigrain rye crispbreads , 8-10 dried apricot pieces , 3-4 75% dark chocolate pieces , 2 cytomax energy drops , 1 – stick chewing gum , 1- nuun hydration fizzy tablet . Your calorie count numbers work …….but do you feel full after you have eaten ? psychologically it makes a big difference ( humping a load and feeling full vs. humping a load and still hungry ) You have a great web site , but on this point , we agree to disagree .

    • Ted, I’m okay with you disagreeing. You’re not going to hurt my feelings. Here’s the thing, on a normal day I’d say that you’d be right. I’d consume a lot more food and feel the need to “fill up” at each meal. During a normal week at home out and about doing the usual stuff I am an eating machine, but out on the trail I don’t get the same urges.

      Should be the opposite right? Hey that’s just me, my metabolism doesn’t particularly slow down, I just don’t get the feeling of being hungry as much. Maybe it’s the fresh air.

      When I’m on a multi day hike I eat enough to replace calories burned, repair muscle, and maintain weight. It works fine for me and I’ve gotten used to this weird lack of appetite when hiking. If I had read this without knowing my situation I’d probably agree with you. It doesn’t look like enough food to feel satisfied.

      At the end of the day it’s up to you, not me, on how much you eat. I’ve gotten used to eating by the numbers when I hike and not to feel stuffed and full. At home I stuff my cake hole all the time and burn it off between running and workouts. YOU have to adjust and come up with what works for you, not blindly follow what I say. I share my tips here in the hope it will help those who haven’t figured it out and need a basis to start from.

      Eat what you need bro, ain’t nothing wrong with cooked meals or eating twice as much as I do as long as that’s what works for you. BTW – you’re also humping a pack that is almost three times what I carry ;) – Brian

  • Zachary A Leifson

    Granola with powdered milk is one of my favorites for breakfast. Sticks with you, and with the right powdered milk it’s not bad at all

    • Simple and delicious, there’s nothing wrong with that!

  • Cath

    I haven’t read all the comments, and I don’t eat a paleo diet, and I rarely drink coffee. Here goes: my thoughts on coffee. If, like me, you don’t want to brew and drink coffee, how about snacking on
    chocolate covered coffee beans? Perhaps, also, in a pinch, try
    Excedrin, which has caffeine in it. I know the boost coffee gives one, especially if you need to have a clear head to concentrate on detail-oriented work. I drank small amounts of coffee for a few years, out of sleep-deprived desperation to get through the work day. I had to give it up, shall we say, for medical reasons. I found that I really can get through the day without it. I have learned to accept the fact that it takes half an hour or so to get over feeling groggy in the morning. Once I get enthused about the task at hand, I don’t need the artificial chemical boost of caffeine. I found it to be a crutch, and often it didn’t give me the boost I’d hoped for. Nothing beats sleep to feel energetic. I only resort to caffeine boosts occasionally, when I’m not able to get the sleep I need. I happened to receive the chocolate covered coffee beans as a gift, which is how I came to suggest them for you coffee lovers. For anyone else who’s sensitive to coffee, I wouldn’t suggest them, though they’re pleasant to crunch on a few at a time. With some water to wash them down.

  • GoneWithTheWind

    Peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches. Awesome trail food. try not to crush the bread. I usually bring a full loaf of bread and squeeze bottles of PB & J to put on it nice and thick.

    • You actually carry a full loaf of bread and two squeeze bottles?

  • OMG – I totally missed this comment. I just checked them out and they look great. I’ll have to order some and give them a try. Thanks so much for sharing, sorry for the delayed response!

  • I’m sorry, I must be missing something. I don’t see the link to the spreadsheet. Can someone help me out please?

    • Darren, it’s been a while so refresh my memory – did I mention a spreadsheet here or in my blog post? What specifically are you looking for or wanting information about? If I can help I will.

  • whitetiger

    so my girls scout troop is going on a camping/backpacking trip and was wondering what we could pack that we don’t have to cook or refrigerate because we don’t want to take a cooler plus we don’t know if we can build fires where are going.