Best Backpacking Food: Dry Your Own Food And Travel Light

By | March 10, 2017

best backpacking food

Do you know the best backpacking food?

This kind of food is best for outdoor activities that you may be involved with.

Ah, the great outdoors!

You have probably always been fascinated by the beauty of nature.

And what better way to appreciate that beauty than by going out, setting foot in the vast wilderness, and drinking in all that nature has to offer. 

But wait.

You don’t just wander out and expect to be fed along the way. The longer and farther you walk, the hungrier you will become. You spend all your energy, and you will have to replenish that at some point.

Thinking what I’m thinking? Exactly. You would have to pack and bring your own food and that is where the best backpacking food comes in.

This is even more pronounced if you are going out for 3 days or 4 days. You need to have food that is freeze dried with you so that there will be no cooking activity while you are on your sojourn.

So here you are, stuffing your backpack with all the food you need to keep you nourished. And the more you pack your bag, the bulkier and heavier it becomes.

Don’t worry. There is an easier way. You need one of the best backpacking food and…

Dehydrated, or dried, food. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will have noticed that we share lots of backpacking meal plan and day hiking food ideas with our readers.

In this guide, I will show you good backpacking food ideas and food hacks that are good for the soul. They are homemade foods and contains very little chemical or additives.

The Best Backpacking Food

There are many good food for backpacking, if you know where to look. The most suitable are fruits and meats.

Using dried fruits, vegetables and meat as backpacking food can free up space in your backpack, plus, it’s lighter. Sometimes though, your bag size will determine how much food you can take with you.

You can plan and pack your meals ahead of time so you won’t have to carry a heavy bag, and I guarantee you, your back will thank you.

Advantages of the Best Backpacking Food

1. Lightweight and a real space-saver. This is the most obvious one. Dehydrating food removes the water content. Water is what makes food heavy, and so without it, food weight decreases by more than half. Food also shrinks in size. Instead of bringing a bunch of bananas, for example, drying them would make them fit in a small sandwich bag.

2. Portability. Because it is lighter and more compact, bringing dried food is a breeze. You could go on for extended wandering and still not have to worry about going short of supply. As long as you get your budget right and you nail the essentials, you won’t have a problem. 

3. Nutrition-packed. When you dry your food, you don’t remove the nutrients in them. Nutrients just become more concentrated. Thus, healthier. In addition, you need good foods when you are backpacking, especially if you are a vegetarian. Unfortunately, your local grocery store may not have the clean food you need.

4. Really tasty. And because nutrients are more concentrated, taste also becomes more concentrated. No water to dilute the sweetness and flavor. A real tasty treat that’s cheap is what we all love.

5. Preservative- and chemical-free. Drying your own food also means you get to choose and buy what you really want and need. Drying doesn’t need preservatives or chemicals. The only ingredient you’ll need is the food you want to dry. This is also important for people who have allergies or may have reactions to certain chemicals. Drying food makes life easier for picky eaters too since they have the complete freedom to choose what they like. 

6. A time-saver. Imagine having to cook for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a trip. Not only will it be stressful, it will also take much of your time. Fortunately, there are backpacking breakfast ideas, lunch ideas as well as dinner. All you have to do is prepare all these in advance and free up your time during your travel without doing any cooking.

So there you have it. For those who are thinking twice about going out and sleeping under the stars because they worry about big bags, now is the time to do it. Problem solved. You have the best backpacking food to take with you on your next trip with little effort.

What You Need to Know About Drying Your Food at Home

best backpacking foodOf course, you can buy dry food in every decent store. You can even buy food at a store that specializes in backpacking food and equipment.

However, you may find it to be very expensive.

There are many backpacking food checklist, brands and recipes on the market now that there is no excuse for anyone for not learning how to dry food at home.

If you are a complete beginner, you can read our article: backpacking food ideas for beginners to see what this is all about.

Drying your food at home is a cheaper alternative and very easy if you know what you are doing.

Our best advice is to buy a food dehydrator and get yourself a backpacking food list, especially if you plan to make dry food on a regular basis.

When looking for a food dehydrator, keep these things in mind:

  • Make sure it has room to dry enough food at once, but keep an eye on the room you have in your kitchen as well. Pay attention to your kitchen storage when you are choosing.
  • If you don’t want to keep an eye on the process all the time, make sure the model you choose has a timer. There are many of this on sale in the market that you can choose from.
  • Read backpacking food reviews to get a gist on the whole buying process.
  • Keep dehydrated food in a sealed container or bag. Dry food will absorb water when it has the chance which will spoil it.

How Much Food Should I Take Backpacking?

The amount of food you can take backpacking all depends on the activities you will engage in. If you are a male, you may need more calories per day than a female. For example, if you are going to be involved in a lot of exercises per day, you may be looking at consuming 4,000 calories per day.

Before leaving home, make sure you get all your calculations right. You want total freedom while you are backpacking. You will get the best experience when there is minimum or no cooking during your backpacking. And remember, best food to bring backpacking is light…

What Food to Bring On a Hiking Trip?

There are a lot of great backpacking meals that you can take on your trip. Some of these food may not be applicable to you if you are allergic or picky. However, some of the essentials you can have with you are:

  • Whole-grain tortillas
  • Salmon
  • Tuna salad pouches
  • Granola bars
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Dried vegetables and fruits
  • Energy bars

This lists is by no way complete. If you have a favorite food that is not included, don’t hesitate to add it. You need all the comfort you can get during your backpacking.

What Is an MRE Meal?

MRE is Meal, Ready to Eat. It was introduced by the US military. This food is often lightweight and suitable for combat or battle field where there is no organized food.

As a backpacker, you are not in a battle field but you also don’t have the time for organizing food too. And you don’t want to engage in any cooking too. So setting up a MRE is the way to go.

If you consider buying your own dehydrator, make sure to read our reviews. They will help you choose a dehydrator that is a perfect fit for you. You don’t want to overspend on this, but you do have to make sure you stay safe and healthy.

How To Make Beef Jerky Before Leaving Home

Jerky, commonly known as dry meat has been around for thousands of years. It is an easy method of preserving your meat and keeping it away from pathogens and bacteria.

The process of preparing beef jerky at home is simple and straightforward. In this article, you will learn how to prepare it at home and keep it safe from bacterial infection.

When you are ready to prepare your beef jerky, make sure you are using clean, non-damaged meat from wild games. Also, cut out all the fats in the meat and ensure the meat strip is not too thick or thin.

Before and during marinating, keep the meat in the refrigerator or have it frozen. In the refrigerator, place your meat in a plate or bowl – to catch drips – and separate it from other food items to avoid contamination.

How Long Do You Need to Marinate Beef Jerky?

Marinating your beef jerky is a safe way of protecting it from bacterial. While it is a very important to marinate your beef jerky, it is by no way a must. It just depends on your choice and time you want to sacrifice.

You should bathe it thoroughly. You can do this by placing your strips of meat into a large plastic bag and add the marinade to it. Now rinse it thoroughly before placing it into the refrigerator.

To ensure that it is properly done, allow it to last for 24hours or more. And not less than 4 hours in the refrigerator.

Another thing you can do is to ensure there is no fat in the meat because it can go to spoil very quickly. Curing your meat this way is the best way to go if you don’t want it to develop bacterial and get spoilt quickly.

How Long Do You Cook Beef Jerky in a Dehydrator?

It all depends on the thickness of the meat, humidity level, and load inside the refrigerator. Typically, it should take between 4 to 15 hours for a beef jerky to fully dry.  In order to retain the tastes and nutrients from the dried meat, you can marinate it overnight, typically 4-8 hours.

Beef jerky is a great source of proteins and energy during the day or when you are on the go. However, they may not be as cheap as you may think and the flavor isn’t always the same. If you know how to make beef jerky at home, you can get the taste just right and save money at the same time.

What Do You Need to Make Beef Jerky?

  • First of all, you will need a lean piece of meat that contains very little or no fat at all. Fattened meat affects the quality of your jerks as well as storage life.
  • Next, you will need a marinade to give your meat the right flavor. You can make a marinade as you like it (for a recipe, see below) and thus make the beef taste like you want it to.
  • And finally, you will need a food dehydrator to dry the meat. Of course, you can make your beef jerky in your oven, but a food dehydrator may be a good investment if you like jerky and plan on making it more than once.

How to Make Beef Jerky with a Food Dehydrator

  1. Slice your meat into sizable pieces. You can make this easier by first placing your meat in a freezer to harden. Be careful not to freeze it completely.
  2. Mix some Worcestershire sauce with honey, brown sugar, garlic powder and black pepper in a bowl and add your pieces of meat to it. Make sure all the pieces of meat are covered with sauce and spices and let it marinade for a night in the fridge. You can also use a large, plastic, zip lock bag to mix the ingredients evenly.
  3. Now remove your jerky pieces and strip any excess marinade to enable drying.
  4. Next, arrange your jerky strips on the racks of the food dehydrator. Make sure they do not overlap for even drying.
  5. Let your food dehydrator run at 160°F and let the meat dry for around 4 hours. Check the meat to see if it has the right dryness. Not all meat is the same so it can vary in time to get to the right texture.
  6. Eat them! Or save them in a sealed container for later use.

Final Words on the Best Backpacking Food

This article aims to teach you what food to bring backpacking and your hiking trips.

The advantage of meat jerky is that it can last for up to 2 months at room temperature and up to 6 months when refrigerated.

The fact that the process of preparing it is simple and requires only a few equipment and ingredients should make you want to do this every few months. It will save you lots of time and effort since it is a onetime task.

Beef jerky can be your snack at home, in the office, while on a trip or simply as a birthday present for a friend. Enjoy your best backpacking food on your trip!

2 thoughts on “Best Backpacking Food: Dry Your Own Food And Travel Light

  1. Pingback: Benefit of Dehydrating Food | Best Food Dehydrators

  2. Pingback: Raw Food Diet — What You Need to Know | Best Food Dehydrators

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