Multi-Day Hike Food

Author: Bundy Outdoors  

What should I take and eat on a Hike?  Sounds like a relatively simple question with an easy answer right?  WRONG!

When preparing for a multi-day hike, there is quite a lot of planning and science behind it all. And I won’t go into that too much in this blog entry (I will do a more sports science blog at a later date).  I will however touch of some important points which need to be considered.  And if you are an avid hiker you will already know much of what I am going to say, but if you are just starting out these are some of the things you need to consider. 

  • How long am I trekking for?
  • What are the facilities along the track (if any) can you have campfires or use a fuel stove?
  • How much weight am I carrying?
  • How much food will I need to consume to keep up my energy?
  • Convenience
  • Storage

Food needs to be easy, light and not require too much preparation or cleaning.  Remember you are going to need to carry your food (Breakfast, lunch, dinner & snacks)

Your food needs to replenish everything your body has expended during the day and activity and give your body enough fuel to keep going – complex carbohydrates.  And believe it or not, this is not going to be fresh healthy foods like fruits and vegetables.  While they are full of vitamins and nutrients, their caloric count is minimal and they are hard to store and keep fresh, especially during the summer months and will not give your body the fuel it needs to keep going.  Don’t get me wrong you still need them in day to day healthy living, but your body needs other foods in order to complete an endurance activity like a multi-day hike, however nuts and dried fruits are great for snacks, just watch the sugar content.  If you live an active lifestyle and generally eat healthy every other day of the week, a bit of “junk” food during a multi-day hike is not a bad thing.  Your body is going to need carbohydrates, sugar and fats…Lots of it.  And don’t be afraid of salt, your body needs to replace the salt it loses through sweat, so be mindful of it, and take salt tablets with you as your food may not contain enough sodium for body replacement, but again don’t overdo it.

Below is a sample of what we take on a multi-day hike.

  • Packet pasta – the ones with the powdered sauce
  • UHT Milk (for the packet pasta)
  • Butter
  • Rice
  • Peanut Butter
  • Dried Fruit
  • Nuts
  • Legumes (dried beans, edamame beans)
  • Tin tuna
  • Crackers
  • Flat bread
  • Muesli Bars
  • Herbs & spices
  • Lollies – jubes that won’t melt
  • PowerAde powder
  • Nutrigran – great with milk or on their down dry as a snack
  • Cuppa soups
  • Cheese spread
  • Pretzels
  • Smoked oysters
  • Marshmallows
  • Meat pastes
  • Popped corn
  • Good multi-vitamin
  • Salt tablets

The list really is endless, however just be sure to factor in your energy requirements and to keep the weight and size down, re-pack everything into zip lock bags.  If possible go to a hospitality outlet, they will stock the small single serve portions of condiments, including butter.  This will also keep the rubbish content to a minimum.  Another good tip is to keep the desiccant bags from old vitamin bottles or other food containers, don’t use the ones from shoe boxes or bags!.  These come in handy for putting them in with your breads or hydration powder or anything else to help absorb excess moisture and help their storage life to stop them from going mouldy during your hike.

Happy Hiking