Last summer I spent 15 days hiking with my boyfriend, in Sarek National Park, where there are no places to restock with more food.

The food issue was a major part of the pre-planning, as weight was also of high importance. Looking back, I can already identify a few mistakes I made, but I'd like to hear from other people who are more experienced at taking long trips so that I can be even more efficient next time.

"Efficient" means being not-too-hungry at the end of the day whilst expending the lowest amount of weight. It's important that the food is going to last the full two weeks.

Assume I have no taste at all and don't care about eating the same tasteless thing every day if necessary.

  • 3
    I would argue that for a 12-15 day hiking trip you wouldn't need to fulfill all your food needs anyway - just stock up on enough calories to sustain you through the day. You don't need a healthy and balanced diet for the trip.
    – Noam Gal
    Jan 24, 2012 at 20:54
  • 33
    and don't care about eating the same tasteless thing every day if necessary <-- This makes me sad. If you are suffering, you are doing it wrong ;) - when you have your tent set, your pot on the stove, and watching the sunset, who wants tasteless? You want a symphony of flavor with that back-drop. Delicious doesn't have to be heavy.
    – Lost
    Jan 25, 2012 at 2:03
  • 52
    After walking 25km in a day everything tastes gourmet :)
    – victoriah
    Jan 25, 2012 at 9:00
  • 3
    This questions is closely related to a-list-of-suitable-foods-for-a-long-hike
    – Eyal
    Jun 18, 2012 at 10:03
  • 3
    @rootTraveller Haha no, i'm actually a super out of shape fat lazy woman. But walking long distances is pretty easy if you put your mind to it. It's just the uphill parts that are hard.
    – victoriah
    Feb 22, 2017 at 9:26

18 Answers 18


Dehydrated food is key. Water weighs a LOT.

Breakfast -- Any variation on oatmeal. You can make your own or buy prepackaged meals.
Lunch -- Peanut butter on hard tack. (did i mention water?)
Dinner -- Any dehydrated meal will do. I've used both Mountain House and Backpackers pantry.
Snacks -- I prefer Clif bars and Justin Nut Butter for a good weight/calorie/taste compromise. Luna bars are more calories per ounce but (IMO) taste horrid.

By far the biggest weight factor in food is going to be water. If you know your route will have water, carry minimal. I have went so far as to carry only one liter (emergency) and drink from a .5 liter bottle that I sterilize with a steripen or other purifier. Needless to say, you have to be pretty darned sure, because not having water is a huge issue.

Secondly, repack all your food. Even with dehydrated meals you can cut ounces by repacking them all into ziplocs.

Use a very lightweight stove & fuel. A lot of hikers swear by the beer can method here, but I find my msr pocket rocket to be fine. But if you really want to cut ounces, go with the can.

I use a snow peak .7L titanium cup for all of my cooking.

Get a titanium spork. Great weight ratio.

I went a little beyond just food into the whole eating plan, but I hope it helps.

  • 3
    I never carry or purify my water, where I hike it's totally clean, so that's not a consideration for me, but probably for other hikers finding this it will be I guess :D
    – victoriah
    Jan 31, 2012 at 23:34
  • 15
    @victoriah -- That would be awesome and I wish I could. Last I read there is no place in the US that does not have a potential for Giardia. Domesticated animals, including the increased popularity of hiking with dogs, over the entire US has spread this protozoa to virtually every stream in the continental US. Now that's not to say that you can't get lucky in the US drinking untreated water, just that it's not a good idea here. Feb 1, 2012 at 17:07
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    Dehydrated dinners are extremely expensive for what you get. Consider buying or making your own dehydrated veggies/meats and pairing with couscous.
    – Corey D
    Jul 9, 2012 at 13:25
  • 2
    @CoreyD -- It's just my experience, I'm not assuming anything. I do high mileage hiking and this works for me and I eat 4k to 5k cals/day when hiking. Different people are going to have different calorie needs, which is a separate issue entirely. We buy our food on a compromise of cost+time compared to calories, weight, and required preparation at camp. Freeze dried meals for dinner make a good compromise for me and are not in my experience, "extremely" expensive, even less so when I factor in my own time spent trying to do dehydration at home. Jul 10, 2012 at 15:43
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    @BenCrowell - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10737847 The risk is minimal, which is why I said 'potential', but the risk is there and to call my claim "totally" false is hyperbole. There have been confirmed cases of Giardia in the back country. Also, Giardia is not the only parasite out there. As someone who has personally had amoebic dysentery from contaminated back country water... it's not something I'm willing to take chances with even if the odds ARE small. Using a filter is far less hassle than another bout of that. Feb 17, 2015 at 20:49

Lots of people have posted answers saying what they like to eat. However, the OP asked a very specific question, which was: "What is the most efficient food to take a for a 12-15 day hiking trip? [...] Assume I have no taste at all and don't care about eating the same tasteless thing every day if necessary." She specifically stated that her only criterion was efficiency.

By this criterion, there is one very well-defined answer to her question, which is that she should bring food that is purely composed of fat. Fat has an energy density of 9 kcal (37 kJ) per gram. This is a pretty good approximation for all fats. If you look around for pure-fat foods with very little water in them, basically all you find is cooking oils such as olive oil. For comparison, granola is about 3 kcal/g (12.5 kJ/g), oatmeal 2 kcal/g (8.4 kJ/g), cookies 6 kcal/g (25 kJ/g). So by the stated criteria, the OP should put a large jug of olive oil in her pack.

If you use calories per liter as your figure of merit, you get about the same answer: cooking oil. This is because oil is about twice as dense as most foods that you'd actually want to eat.

Do I recommend a diet of pure olive oil for a 2-week backpacking trip? Of course not, but that just shows that the OP needs to state more realistic criteria. Not only would any human be miserable on this diet, but carbs serve as the primer for fat metabolism. The human body can't digest fat without having carbs as well. Without any carbs, you get ketosis. See, e.g., McArdle, Exercise physiology: energy, nutrition, and human performance, 1986.

A good starting point in setting more realistic criteria would be to decide on some balance of fats, carbs, and protein. A standard recommendation is about 50% of calories from carbohydrates, 35% from fat, 15% from protein.

  • 7
    That's a good example why I like physicists. Yummy, more oil cooking!
    – Wills
    Apr 23, 2014 at 21:28
  • 3
    Butter might come close to optimal as well. Feb 17, 2015 at 21:31
  • 3
    I had thought olive oil, its certainly a good boost but couldn't imagine anyone surviving solely on it. How about peanut butter, 5.8 cal/g, 50% fat, 20% carbs, 25% protein. Used (with a few additives) by the WTO to relieve famine. Feb 20, 2015 at 2:49
  • 8
    Just bring peanuts... They are around 60-70% pure fat, and tasty. :)
    – fgysin
    Aug 11, 2015 at 10:09
  • 3
    Pure fat would be most efficient only if you can metabolize it all, which I suspect you can't. In The Worst Journey in the World, Cherry-Garrard wrote "[our calorific] requirements are calculated for total absorption of all food-stuffs: but in practice, by visual proof, this does not take place: this is especially noticeable in the case of fats, a quantity of which were digested neither by men, ponies, nor dogs."
    – Pont
    Apr 5, 2016 at 12:06


If you have fresh (or purified) water, an amazingly small amount of rice would suffice for 14 days. I've trekked the Cordillera Real for 12 days, and rice was the only reasonable option in terms of weight. A small set of spices - especially salt and pepper - dramatically improves its taste.

If you don't want to eat the same food for 14 days, take other kinds of food (e.g. Pasta) and eat them the first few days, so that you'll carry a reasonable weight afterwards.

  • 3
    Rice can also be easily made delicious! Dehydrated black beans don't weight much and add some flavor. All sorts of spices can be added that also don't weight much. Powedered cheese is a good addition too. As an alternative, couscous is good and similarly light-weight.
    – nhinkle
    Sep 5, 2014 at 23:01
  • 1
    I cannot recommend eating the same food for such a long time, neither from personal experience nor from what I know about nutrition - especially not rice. It might have worked for Adam, I probably won´t for most. Apr 4, 2015 at 17:00
  • 7
    Rice is suboptimal as it requires a comparatively long cooking time, thus more fuel needs to be carried. Couscous for example doesn't have to be boiled, just soak it in hot water and wait for some minutes (with stove off).
    – fgysin
    Aug 11, 2015 at 10:06
  • 1
    Beans and rice! You can soak the beans if you want, but it takes a while. After exerting yourself I don't think you'll even notice the waxy bean consistency as you'll likely plow throw anything that has calories.
    – tsturzl
    Aug 11, 2015 at 22:53
  • 6
    Couscous is certainly 'optimal' - I've seen someone do 3+ weeks on couscous with flavour packs. He was covering big daily distances but he commented to me that he never wanted to see couscous again after the walk :-)
    – timbo
    May 29, 2016 at 0:57

I can offer my favorite hiking food routine, but I usually just had it for 4-5 days max, between resupplies.

  • Quaker Oatmeal for breakfast (usually two packets with the powdered milk, add cold water to each packet).
  • 3-4 snacks during the day (2 Snickers, 2 M&Ms, sometimes other variants like Cliff bars or Oatmeal snacks).
  • A big tortilla with yellow cheese and pepperoni slices for lunch.
  • 1 Lipton meal (Made by Knorr) of pasta with sauce, or rice, powdered mashed potatoes in the mix, and tuna in bags (more efficient than cans in terms of weight) for dinner, also in a tortilla.

That mix kept me going for a long while, but as I said, I never carried more than 5 days of food on me.

  • I would also recommend something along these lines. Plenty of carbs during the day to keep you going, higher fat content meals at night to keep you sustained while you sleep. Don't forget the protein to keep your muscles fed. Jan 24, 2012 at 21:11
  • 1
    cold water in your oatmeal? Take 10 minutes and heat up water for coffee and hot oatmeal. Your day will be nicer for it. Sep 6, 2014 at 18:05
  • 2
    I just completed a long hike, eating two oatmeal packets every morning. Cold. I admit that on two extra cold mornings I had it with hot water, and it was nice. But I wouldn't want to carry the extra fuel to be able to boil more water every day. I guess it's a matter of taste. But I still vote for cold oatmeal, personally.
    – Noam Gal
    Sep 28, 2014 at 15:12
  • cold water, oatmeal and powder milk, make sure to try it before you start hiking, you may not enjoy it...
    – njzk2
    Apr 8, 2016 at 20:05
  • most cheeses won't keep that long in the heat, either
    – njzk2
    Oct 3, 2021 at 19:48

Historically, many coureurs de bois survived on pemmican, a mixture of rendered fat, dried meat, and dried fruits rich in vitamin C. It's supposedly a nutritionally complete meal, and capable of sustaining you over long periods of strenuous activity. Marrow fat is supposed to be the most nutritious and least likely to spoil, but any thoroughly rendered fat will do for a short trip. You can find many different recipes online.

  • The taste was not great. The fat tended to go rancid. Apr 6, 2016 at 0:28
  • This is a great, practical follow-up answer in response to @Ben Crowell's very literal answer.
    – cr0
    Apr 6, 2016 at 19:30
  • 1
    Adding to this and other answers from personal experience: you'll want to have plenty of water if you go with dry, highly nutritious foods, or you will have a tummy ache to say the least.
    – cr0
    Apr 6, 2016 at 19:32

Ben's answer above is good. I wish I could give him more than just one upclick.

Rules of thumb: Carbs and proteins run 3.5 to 4 calories per gram. Fats run aobut 9 calories per gram.

Working hard, especially in cold weather, you can tolerate a lot of fat in your diet.

When planning food for teenagers, I figured on 4000 calories per day. This is sufficient for days with 8-9 working hours per day. (Pretty hard core compared to most recreational use.)

With a 40% fat content diet, each hundred grams of food with provide 40 * 9 + 60 * 4 = 360 + 240 = 600 calories. So it would take 700 grams of food per day -- about a pound and a half. Our meals tended to be lower fat than that, and a rough rule of thumb was 2 lbs dry weight per person per day. This allowed for things like cheese and peanut butter which have moderate water content, but also have fats.

Two pounds per day means that the groceries for a 15 day trip are 30 lbs. With the high fat option (LOTS of nuts, lots of cooking oil) There really isn't getting around that.

So, as others have pointed out, you need to make the rest of your gear light, and minimize the parasitic weight (packageing) of your food.

If you do trips frequently, set up your food in a spread sheet. I had one in which I figured on the weight/volume per serving, had a constant for the number of people in the trip, another constant for the class of trip, and the spread sheet would figure out the packing weight/volume for everything. This makes things a BUNCH easier when packing for an expedition of 30 people for 3 weeks in the wild waters of northern Saskatchewan.

One aside: An external frame pack is considerably easier when handling lots of weight. They tend to be wider and flatter, so keep the load closer to your own centre of mass. They are however a true PITA in brushy country, as the extra width and exposed corners catch.

In response to a request, here is the link to my planning spreadsheet:


GREEN cells are filled in by formula.

The sheet has 4 tabs:

  • Route
  • Gear (I can provide, is stuff I have extra of that I was able to rustle up for my nephew)
  • Menu
  • Ingredients.

You MUST be consistent in the names used on the Menu and Ingrediants tabs, or the VLOOKUPs don't work.

If you want to change the quanties, use the Ingrediants tab and change the serving size.

You can copy and modify.

Scenario: My nephew was flying out from the east to do a trip with me. He was 19, fit and about 140 pounds. I am on the wrong size of 65, not as fit, and was 175 pounds. Our packs were 40 pounds each.

Willmore wilderness is variable in terrain and climate. Snow can happen any month of the year. Trails are mostly horse trails. No bridges. Lots of stream crossings below timberline, and bogs in passes. You just live with wet feet. Our route was about 1/3 half century old logging roads, a third horse trail, and a third bushwhacking, and time above tree line. We covered about 120 km in 6 days.

We divided our lunch into two lunches, typically about 3 hours apart. We got onthe trail around 8, would have first lunch at 10:30 to 11, and second lunch around 2:00. We would camp between 6 and 7. This year there were heavy fires in B.C. and the sunlight ranged from yellow to orange. At times views were lost in the smoke under a mile away.

I mention this to give context to the gear list on the linked spreadsheet, and so that you can adjust quantities for your activity level.

Edit: Another Willmore trip using the same list. We had about 15% too much food. This puzzled me, so I did some more research.

First week you tend to undereat, eating about what you eat at home. This will result in weight loss. This also means that you can plan on 1.6 lbs/person/day and get away with it. However, do not be surprised if your appetite ramps up as time goes on.

  • Would you be willing to share your spreadsheet? Perhaps provide a link to Google sheets?? :) Jun 28, 2019 at 13:54

I made a 272-mile hike through the Sawtooth Mountains and this was my diet (which worked well for me):

2-3 oatmeal packets in the morning
trail mix as a snack
top ramen with powdered chili for lunch
then rice or mashed potatoes with a few seasonings mixed in for flavor such as garlic, herb, butter, cinnamon etc...

Rice, mashed potatoes, dehydrated milk, and oatmeal are the lightest foods you can bring.
Brown rice is healthier than white as well.
I had to carry all my food in because there was no re-supply but I used a filter water straw for all my water needs (worked great).

Cliff bars and Snickers or M&Ms both make a great snack but are weight if you are worried about it.

  • 1
    how many days for 272mile hike? May 11, 2015 at 13:49

Good Ol' Reliable Peanuts (GORP), or Trail mix:

Trail mix is a combination of dried fruit, grains, nuts, and sometimes chocolate, developed as a snack food to be taken along on outdoor hikes.

  • I combine peanuts and raisins with chili powder, and that full-fills most of my snack needs when hiking.
    – Samuel DR
    Mar 29, 2013 at 8:36
  • -1 totally un-creative answer. Plus 15 days of GORP? C'mon man . . . Sep 8, 2014 at 15:45
  • 1
    @JimBeam Oh please. I'm not suggesting 15 days of it. Plus, creativity is not the target here. A correct answer is worth more than a creative one. If you want to critique my answer, say that is it incomplete, that it should mention more than one option. Or say that it doesn't answer the original question. I agree that his is not the best answer, but I think your comment is much worse than my answer is.
    – Shawn
    Sep 8, 2014 at 21:48
  • 1
    Peanuts is a quite good answer for “most efficient”.
    – gerrit
    May 24, 2016 at 16:16

Dates are the best. Delicious, healthy and durable. When combined with milk I can easily keep going for a week with nothing else. No wonder this combination is the desert nomads's favourite.

  • 1
    I agree. Dates are extremely an calorie dense, natural food, that is usually super tasty while on the trail. As a side note, try to vary your diet. If all you eat is dried fruit, you will eventually get the runs. Mar 27, 2013 at 20:37
  • Dates seem to come in at about 2.75cal/gram. Other options easily reach 4cal/gram. Unless there are super dry dates available?
    – tjjjohnson
    Jun 7, 2016 at 2:39
  • You do NOT want super dry dates. They become date flavoured rocks. Oct 3, 2021 at 15:32

For me, it's all about dehydration.

Ok, 12-15 days without resupply? I highly suggest you research the surroundings of this place you are going to trek. Like knowing your water supplies are at (springs, creeks, etc) so you are not packing heavy. Finding out, if you can have camp fires because don't waste your fuel but use it on a raining day. Understand the weather, this will tell ya how much gear you really need. Also pack as light as you can! You need to reduce your pack wight to counteract the food weight!

You can do A LOT of dehydration on your OWN! There is web sites out there that gives you step-by-step on how to do this, and cut wight out too. I have the Nesco Food Dehydrator FD-75A which has worked really well over the years. I also bought a book from Backpackingchef.com that went into detail about stoves, cooking, packing my meals, planning, inventory, etc... The best part, it has a lot of GOOD recipes!

Another site to check out is thebackcountrychef . com (different from above URL) which has some info about calories of energy per day, meals, etc. I would highly suggest watching videos on Youtube by OnlyTheLightest to help reduce wight in your pack. Also Harmony House Foods site has a lot of already dehydrated foods. Good site for buying supplies for those last minute trips.

Also there is NO RIGHT WAY for backpacking, years living by the Appalachian trail.

  • Interesting. Didn't occur to me to even consider hiking where I don't have daily access to water. In my usual haunts (Willmore Wilderness, Rocky Clearwater Recreation Area) we usually are crossing a stream every hour or so. On Coral creek, going up toward Job Pass, we cross the creek 22 times in the space of 3 miles. I've always been able to get away with just using an old 1 liter pop bottle. Jan 6, 2016 at 14:53
  • 1
    Addition 3 yrs later: Summer of 2018 I did a trip and ran out of water above timberline. In addition to our water bottles, we had a 2 liter bottle. Gone by about 2 p.m. Now I carry a 2 liter bottle per person, and the dog has a liter in his pack. If we aren't going above timberline, we carry them empty. Jul 1, 2019 at 21:22

I go with a couple of Mountain House dehydrated meals per day, and check the calories per ounce of snacks and other food that I buy. Everybody does this differently. I have carried a watermelon before. I found this to be somewhat inefficient.

  • 2
    Sounds like the time we carried in two (small) roaster chickens for lemon/beer can chicken. That didn't turn out so well. Mar 14, 2012 at 13:06
  • 1
    Watermelon? O_o whoever said man had evolved had a facepalm moment ;) Feb 18, 2015 at 5:44

Fat, fat and fat.

If you are hardcore, you can get products like: Naturlig energi til heste This one is a Danish product though, but it is 99,5% pure vegetabe fat in powder, odor-/tasteless. Pretty cool to add to your food, you get the highest density of calories possible and it just melts in your mount, without a taste.

  • Coconut oil. Short chain fats. faster metabolism. Inexpensive. Apr 16 at 6:37

Recently, nutritional drinks that fulfil the complete nutritional requirements of adults (optimum proportion of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and other nutritients) have been on the rise. Backpackers are probably not the target audience, but their needs should be served pretty well by these shakes.

Brands that I've personally tasted are Jimmy Joy (formerly Joylent) or Huel, YFood and Saturo.

I drink them from time to time, especially if I need some quick energy after work before going to the gym but don't have the time to cook. It's not a culinary explosion, but I think it wouldn't be a big problem to live off it for two weeks, especially if you add dried fruit for some variety. They also come pre-mixed with water, but that's of course way heavier and also more expensive.

It's about 2100 kcal per bag of 600 grams, so for 10 days, assuming you need more than these 2100 kcal due to the permanent exercise, you'd end up with around 10kg. That's quite a load, but significantly less weight would only be possible with a far more fat-centered diet. Apart from the powder itself, you only need water and a plastic shaker. No fire necessary. As long as you have access to fresh water, using the same shaker all the time shouldn't be a problem (if you clean it properly).

Realistically, I wouldn't live off that stuff alone, but for my next longer trip I'm planning to cover about half of the food needs with such meals.


The most efficient "food" you can carry is the body fat you can afford to lose. In addition to getting fit for a two week backpacking trip, gaining a few extra pounds will help. How much you should gain, and if and when you should start to gain, and how much you can afford to lose beyond your normal body weight will vary from person to person.

In our younger days, we each of us always ended our trips of 2 to 2.5 weeks between 5 and 10 pounds lighter than when we started. Neither of us had excess weight to begin with, nor did we fatten-up before the trips, which was a mistake, but not a serious one.

Relying on body fat for some of your calories means that you have less to carry, obviously, but also gives you more freedom on what you do carry. We had a much more varied diet than suggested in the other answers. We took treats, too, including things like frozen orange juice (one 6 oz can of frozen juice every other day), one 1/2 bottle of champagne, a small jar of olives, a tin of sardines, and a few other items to enjoy, not merely to give sustenance. Chocolate, of course, does double duty. As does peanut butter.

The luxuries were far, far more important to the enjoyment of the trip than the burden of their modest extra weight.

Some may argue that the items we carried for variety and enjoyment were not "efficient" foods, but I disagree. Being bored with one's food, or finding it disagreeable is not efficient in the broader sense of enjoying a trip. Unhappiness is not efficient. Boredom is not efficient.

Note that the OP specified a "12 to 15 day trip." My answer would have been different for a longer trip. 18 days was our limit for the food budget I described. For a longer trip, the champagne would definitely be omitted and be replaced by e.g., more peanut butter. We would take less orange juice, maybe only a can a week - or none. We would definitely have gained a few pounds in preparation.

Losing 10 pounds for me meant dropping 7.7 percent of my body weight, a lesser percentage for my husband. This was easily replaced, and not a health problem for us, although everyone is different.

Finally, we were travelling in country that had an abundance of pure water, although later we did take a reverse-osmosis water purifier.

Addendum: Thanks to @Sherwood Botsford for adding that this is not good advice if you are travelling in sub-zero conditions, but does he not say whether this is Fahrenheit or Celsius. See below for his entire comment.

  • This advice can do you serious harm in cold conditions. Your body cannot do much better than aobut 80-120 cals per hour of fat liberatin. So if you are working hard,, AND are in sub zero temperatures you can get in trouble. The metaboic path of fat and carbs are very different. So you can do both at the same time. You can digest fat faster than this 100 cal/hour. It's just hard to get it out of your fat cells fast. Older people are even slower at mobilizing fat, but we tend to be well insulated. Apr 16 at 6:36
  • @Sherwood Botsford: Thanks for your comment, and glad to meet you on the site again. I put in Addendum in response to your comment. Please clarify whether you mean sub-zero F or sub-zero C. I have no experience at sub-zero F. I find sub-zero C (that is, teens, twenties F) merely brisk -- that is, as long as there is a warm, dry sleeping bag at the end.
    – ab2
    Apr 16 at 19:06
  • Hypothermia weather. Can be above 32F 0C The key factor on prolonged thermal stess. Being underdressed for the circumstances allows it to happen at higher temps. One issue is just the energy to bring the humidity of the air you breath to a level it doesn't dry your lungs. Nasal passages are designed to bring it up to close to 100% RH at body heat. Crank some numbers: The energy to heat the air up is peanuts. The energy to evaportate enough water to moisten that air takes aobut 25% of the calories in the food. Apr 17 at 22:25
  • Not as bad as it sounds,as the body is not very effient. Like the IC engine, it creates alot of surplus heat. If you wish to chat out of band. I'm sgbotsford at the mail domain run by the search engine. Apr 17 at 22:26
  • Thanks for the offer to chat, but I will decline. At least not on this topic. As for hypothermia as a consequence of being underdressed for the actual and foreseeable situation, that is just one of many ways that oblivious people can get in trouble. I am sure you have dealt with many of them, as I remember that you have led many groups in the outdoors. Cheers!
    – ab2
    Apr 18 at 2:23

I like to eat Knorr Spaghetteria. I don't know if it's the most efficient energy-wise, but it's vastly more efficient than outdoor store dehydrated meals price-wise!

At Amazon they sell at €1.45 per package. A package is advertised to be a meal for two, but it isn't — it is a meal for one. But €1.45 per meal is not bad at all.

I used to bring peanut butter, but I don't bother any more. I just bring peanuts. Lots and lots of them. Easier to carry, easier to eat.

Apart from that, I eat hardkeks, dried fruits (mango, papaya, strawberry, and pineapple), chocolate, oatmeal with raisins ad sugar.


I have only hiked Hawaii on long multi day trips but I can add:

  1. GORP granola, oreos, raisins, peanuts. Can substitute m+m's for the oreos
  2. dehydrated meals by Mountain House, or BP Pantry etc. bring spices to taste.
  3. any dried fruits to choice.
  4. energy bars.
  5. find local food in the hiking area you can enjoy, fish, harvest, scavenge
  6. have the other people carry more of the weight.
  • Point 6 works well, but what do you recommend on solo hikes?
    – gerrit
    May 24, 2016 at 16:11

Some of my staple foods on long hikes:

  • well dried out sausages: high in calories, tasty, can be cooked if you want something warm, has a lot of salt to help refill all that we lost via sweating
  • szalonna/slănină, pork fatback bacon, it is basically fat with a salty edge, same properties as the sausages above
  • jam/marmalade/honey, but in some tight plastic container instead of a heavy glass jar, can enrich oatmeal breakfasts or sandwiches if you decide to carry some bread as well
  • instant cous-cous has saved me many times, you just pour hot water on it, leave it for a few minutes and it is basically done
  • red lentils: not so heavy as green lentils, and they boil soft in literally 5 minues
  • polenta (corn) flour: not so high in calories, but easy to prepare, and a small amount like 100 grams serves a meal for two.

As a runner, it is very common to eat 'heavy' food the days before doing a marathon for example.

Typically is pasta food but I'm sure rice will do too (it has been mentioned also above).

The benefits of pasta are

  • Cheap
  • Reasonably compact (if you take spaghetti there are less empty spaces, although in principle you can compress any pasta)
  • Lots of calories

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