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Our Favorite Backpacking Meals & Snacks

Updated: Apr 18, 2022

Food tastes better when enjoyed in the great outdoors, especially after a long day of hiking. Pre-packaged backpacking meals and MREs abound for backpackers, but being finicky eaters, we're partial to homemade options and love cooking over a fire whenever possible. Here are our favorite backpacking meals and snacks for 2-3 night trips.


  • Starbucks Instant Coffee & Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa packets: Mix the two together for a "Coffee Cocoa," my favorite way to start a backcountry day.

  • Fiber One bars

  • Instant Oatmeal

  • Pre-sliced Bagel

Pro tip: The butter and jelly packets found at diners work great for bringing lightweight, individually wrapped servings. It doesn't get better in the backcountry than toasting some bagels or pita bread over the fire and letting a pat of butter melt on top.


  • Tortillas with peanut butter & jelly

  • Tortillas with salami, pepperoni & string cheese

  • Tortillas with just about anything


  • Pack Pies: If your site has a fire pit with a grate, toast up a pita or tortilla filled with string cheese, pepperonis, bacon bits, and pizza sauce.

  • Instant potatoes & bacon bits

  • Instant Mac & Cheese: Powdered cheeses will be the lightest, but we like to splurge and go with creamy Velveeta or other brands despite the extra weight. Meijer Creamy Bacon Cheddar Mac & Cheese is a personal favorite.

  • Did we mention we like bacon?

Pro tip: Pack in a couple of brats to cook over the fire for the first night of your trip. NOT recommended in bear country, but doable throughout most of the Midwest of the United States.

Snacks & Sweets

We enjoy 1-2 snacks a day and portion them out into Ziploc baggies ahead of time.

  • Potato Chips: Yes, they'll be in pieces after cramming them into your pack, but that doesn't impact the taste.

  • Crackers and pretzels: Again, they'll be crumbs, but your taste buds will thank you.

  • Cashews and dried pineapple

  • Twizzlers

  • Reese's pieces

  • Powdered lemonade packets

Take time to plan out your snacks and meals ahead of time and weigh them to keep your pack weight in check. Plan for 1.5 - 2.5 lbs of food per day per person (or about 2,000 - 4,500 calories) depending on your size or preference.

More Recommendations

What are your favorite trail foods?


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