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5-Day Backpacking Menu: Simple Meal Ideas

Planning a backpacking trip involves many steps. You need to consider the route, the gear, the food, the water source, the distance, and the weather, and I think you get the point. As for food, this article lists a 5-day backpacking menu. The meal and snack ideas are simple and easy, so you can concentrate on the other aspects of planning the perfect backpacking trip. 

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5-Day Backpacking Menu for simple and easy backpacking meal ideas
idées simples et faciles de repas de longue randonnée

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Easy and Simple Backpacking Meal Ideas

Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5
PB pita 
bacon jerky
scrambled eggs
maple oatmeal
scrambled eggs in
a tortilla
Bagel and tuna
ramen noodles
Pizza wrap
salmon in a pita
Mac and Cheese
cheese crackers
jerky and dried fruits
granola and dried fruits
mixed nuts and seeds
protein bar
chicken and rice
mexican beef
curry chicken
chicken Alfredo

Backpacking Menu: Day 1

Breakfast is pita bread with peanut butter. I use powdered PB and bring only what I need for the trip. Some backpackers will carry the PB jar and eat more of it for breakfast on other days or as a snack.  

For coffee, I like the Starbucks VIA instant coffee packets. I just need to boil water and savour the amazing flavour while enjoying the outdoors. 

Lunch is a bagel with tuna. You can use tuna in a can or the tuna pouch. The pouch is a popular choice for backpackers because it is lighter. Just spread it over your favourite bagel. You might want to add a splash of mustard. If that is the case, I recommend bringing a few mustard packets. 

I have cheese and crackers as a snack. I usually choose Babybel cheese (tip: the wax it’s wrapped in can be used as a firestarter). Most hard cheeses will keep for a few days without any issues, but eating this snack on the first day will make any kind of cheese good to go.

You can double up on snacks if you want to snack in the morning or have a bite to eat in the evening before bed. 

Dinner on the first evening is chicken and rice. See the recipe for the chicken and rice here. This is a simple dehydrated meal you can make. It is healthier and cheaper than the already made but convenient dehydrated meals sold at any outdoor store.

Backpacking Menu: Day 2

Breakfast is bacon jerky and scrambled eggs. I use powdered eggs. I measure what I need for my trip and pack it in a ziplock. You can buy bacon jerky or make it yourself. This is an easy recipe for bacon jerky

For lunch, I boil water and throw ramen noodles in it. I eat those with a few slices of summer sausage. I also add a quarter cup of freeze-dried macedoine (peas, carrots and corn) for some vitamins.

Snack on day 2 is beef or turkey jerky and dried fruits. I buy mine at my local grocery store. Jerky comes in different meat and different flavours. As for dried fruits, I bring a mix of fruits, but pick your favourites and make your own mix. 

The backpacking meal idea for day two is Mexican beef and rice. You can follow this recipe to make your own. It is a healthy and easy meal that packs much protein to replenish your energy.

Backpacking menu: Day 3

Breakfast on day three is maple and brown sugar oatmeal and, of course, coffee. In the name of simplicity, I buy the little packets of Quaker instant oatmeal. If I am extra hungry, I will sprinkle some dried fruits on it.

My favourite lunch on the trail is the pizza wrap. It is a simple and easy meal, and I can also eat it on the go if I am pressed for time. I just roll pepperoni slices and cheese in a tortilla. One is plenty for me, but for those who are always hungry, make two!

Snack today is granola and dried fruit. Homemade granola is best if you want a healthier version. You can also buy trail mix from the store if making your own is not an option. A granola bar is also a good option.

Chicken curry with couscous is on the menu for dinner. The recipe is simple and easy, and so is rehydrating the meal when it’s time to eat. Simply add the boiling water, wait 10 minutes and enjoy!

Backpacking menu: Day 4

On day four, I start the day with scrambled eggs in a tortilla and, you guessed it, coffee. Again, I use the powdered eggs, and once cooked, I roll them in a whole wheat tortilla. I also add ketchup to make it tastier. One is enough for me, but splurge on two if you have an appetite.

Lunch on the trail on day 4 is salmon in a pita. I use the salmon pouches and one pita bread (don’t hesitate to have more than one). I will usually add cheese; any hard cheese will do as they keep well and don’t need to be refrigerated. You can also add mayonnaise or mustard to make it tastier.

Snack is another homemade trail mix, but with nuts and seeds this time. I use almonds, cashews and walnuts. I add pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds to the mix. A splash of honey and cinnamon adds a bit of sweetness to it. You can add raisins if you like them. 

Chili is my day four backpacking meal idea. You can follow this simple recipe for a healthy chili that you can dehydrate. Rehydrate on the trail and enjoy!

Backpacking menu: Day 5

Breakfast on the last day is blueberry oatmeal. Again, I use the Quaker instant oatmeal packets for a simple and easy meal. Just add hot water. I sprinkle some dried blueberries for added taste. And as usual, I always enjoy a coffee (or two) before hitting the trail. 

Lunch is a special treat to celebrate the end of the trek. Mac and Cheese is a truly North American meal. I use the Kraft Dinner snack cups. I transfer the content of the cup into a freezer ziplock bag to make it more convenient to carry in my pack. Add hot water and let it sit for a few minutes before enjoying it.

I snack on a protein bar in the afternoon to keep up my energy until the end of the trip. They come in different flavours; pick your favourite and pack it. 

If I am still on the trail for dinner, which rarely happens on a backpacking trip, my fifth backpacking meal idea is chicken alfredo with egg noodles. You can check out the recipe here.

Backpacking Meal Ideas

Don’t hesitate to mix and match these backpacking meals and snacks. If your trip is longer than five days, you can repeat your favourite simple meals from the menu, which I usually do (I tend to eat chilli and Mexican beef often!). 

Simple and easy backpacking meal

The Ultimate Guide to Backpacking will help with planning. You will find all you need to know about planning a trip, the essential backpacking gear, safety tips and camping hacks for the backcountry. 

Whether this is your first or fiftieth backpacking trip, these 13 backpacking tips will be helpful. These are hacks I wish I had known on my first trip.


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