23 Best Backpacking Lunch Ideas

So you are planning a backpacking activity or a hike for the weekend but cannot find the perfect lunch for you. Here is a list of a few recipes and other quick meals that will keep you re-energized and full during your activity:

1. Salmon Curry Salad Sandwich

Salmon Curry Salad SandwichSalmon has very high quality protein. This recipe does not need many utensils (only a stirring spoon). To prepare this sandwich, you will need: one can of vacuum sealed salmon, two packets of mayonnaise, half a cup of dried cherry, diced tart apple, one teaspoon of yellow curry powder and a whole wheat bread. The procedure is quite simple; open the salmon can and add the curry powder and the two mayonnaise packets and stir. Spread the mixture on top of the bread and add the cherries and apples on top. Close the sandwich and take a bite. You can prepare the apples and cherries at home and mix them in a Ziploc bag.

2. Turkey BBQ Sandwich

Turkey BBQ SandwichThis meal serves as an alternative to the usual stews and soups. The recipe for the meal are: dehydrated meat, tomato powder, dried onion flakes, dehydrated black beans, brown sugar, salt, pepper, a packet of olive oil, one packet vinegar, a clove of garlic, dehydrated cheese and bread. Mix everything except the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, cheese and bread into one Ziploc bag. Then bag the rest separately. You will also need a backpacking stove. On the trail, boil water and add it to the BBQ mix and let it sit for 20 minutes. Mince the garlic and add it to the mixture with the olive oil, and vinegar. Serve the mixture on the bread and add the cheese for a crunchy bite.

3. Beans and Beef Burritos

Beans and Beef BurritosIn this case you can use canned beef, which will require some preparation at home. You will need; olive oil, onions, garlic, chili powder, salt, pepper, refried beans and enchilada sauce. Prepare the meat as you would normally and add refried beans and enchilada sauce and heat. Rehydrate the meal at 125 degrees for 9 hours. You can then pack the dried mixture in Ziploc bags. On the trail, add one cup dehydrated burrito with ¾ cup of water and boil for two minutes. Heat your tortilla and add the mixture on top of it and roll it up to enjoy.

4. Cous Cous, Vegetable and Chicken

Cous Cous, Vegetable and ChickenThis meal is balanced and nutritious. You will need equal proportions of; wheat cous cous, chopped and dried chicken, dried vegetables, dried onions, chicken flavor, garlic powder, ground peper, poultry herb, salt and water. You need to assemble the dry ingredients and pack them in a Ziploc bag. Remember to carry your backpacking stove because you will need boiling water. Add the hot water to the Ziploc bag with the mixture and let it sit for five minutes. Transfer to a bowl to enjoy.

5. Noodles, Mushrooms and Chicken

Noodles, Mushrooms and ChickenIf you love mushrooms then get this meal for your backpacking activities. You will need equal proportions of; pasta, chia seeds, dried and chopped chicken and mushrooms, pine nuts, chicken flavor, dried cheese and buttermilk powder, corn starch, garlic powder, black pepper, salt and water. Assemble all your dry ingredients into a Ziploc bag and pack them into your bag. Use your stove to boil water and add the hot water into the Ziploc bag. Leave it for 10 minutes and add the mixture to a bowl to enjoy.

6. Rice, Corn and Chicken

Rice, Corn and ChickenIf you prefer your own prepared meal on a hike then try this combination. You will the following in equal proportions; instant white rice, ground flaxseed, dried chicken pieces, dried corn, dried tomato and onion pieces, dried minced green chili pepper, chicken flavor, cumin, dried coriander, dried oregano, garlic powder, black pepper, salt and water. Pack your dry ingredients into a Ziploc bag. Seal the bag and put it in your backpack. To prepare the meal, add boiled water into the Ziploc bag with the ingredients and seal it. Let it sit for 10 minutes before you can put it into a bowl to enjoy.

7. Sloppy Joes

Sloppy JoesFor this meal, you need; half a pound ground beef, onions, green pepper, garlic powder, ketchup, brown sugar, salt and sandwich rounds. You need to prepare the beef, onions and pepper, and heat to drain extra fluid. Add the rest of the ingredients except bread and heat for 15 minutes. Dehydrate for 9 hours and pack into Ziploc bags. On the trail you can rehydrate the mixture and add onto the sandwich rounds.

8. Black Bean Soup

Black Bean SoupThis is one of my favorites. You will need black beans (2 cans), diced tomatoes, green chili, cumin, white pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, lime juice, salt, and dried red peppers. You will need to add the ingredients in appropriate quantities and blend them until smooth. The next step is to dehydrate the mixture until dry. Put the mixture in a vacuum bag. On the trail, boil water and add three or four tablespoons of the soup powder and stir. You can enjoy the soup with flour tortilla.

9. Pumpkin Carrot Soup

Pumpkin Carrot SoupFor this soup, you will need peeled shallot, 4 sliced carrots, 1 butternut squash, a can of coconut milk, one bunch of coriander, a cup of chicken stock, Thai hot sauce, fish sauce, lime and salt. You will need to simmer everything except the lime and coriander, then blend everything adding the lime and coriander last. Dehydrate everything to dry until brittle. You can powder the dry preparation and put them in a Ziploc bag. Once on the trail, add water to the powder and boil using your backpacking stove. You can let the soup cool off for a few minutes before you can enjoy.

10. Potato Bark Soup and Chicken

Potato Bark Soup and ChickenThis should be a good choice for hikers out there. You will need in appropriate proportions; potato bark, dehydrated green beans, chicken breast, and water. You will need to park the dehydrated green beans and potato bark in one Ziploc bag. Pack also the chicken by itself. On the trail, make sure you carry your backpacking stove and a small pot. To prepare, add the ingredients and water in the pot. Let it boil for about 5 minutes, and let is settle for another 10 minutes. You can enjoy your lunch under a cool shade as you re-energize for the next part of the hike.

11. A Quick Chili for your Backpack

A Quick Chili for your BackpackThis meal will provide you with high calories and proteins for your hike. Everything in your ingredients should be cooked and dehydrated. You will need dehydrated; potatoes, ground beef, kidney beans, diced tomatoes and onions tomato paste and chili seasoning. You can put all your ingredients in vacuum seal bags and pack them in your bag. To prepare your lunch, add water to the dry ingredients and heat to boil using a stove. Enjoy your meal as you get more energy for other activities of the day.

12. Bagels

BagelsBagels can be very versatile. You can have them as snack or as a meal. There are endless possibilities of what you can eat bagels with. I will go on to mention a few of my best bagel fillings. You can combine some fresh fruits and add some honey toppings to add extra sweetness to your bagel fruit sandwich. Consider fruits such as blueberries, strawberries or even apple slices. If you are not a fan of fillings, a simple toast will do for you. Spread some butter on the toasted bagel and pack enough for light lunch.

13. Noodle Salad

Noodle SaladNoodle salads are perfect for lunch. For an ideal lunch meal, consider noodles with slow burning starch to last you until dinner. Soba noodles are the best choice. You can prepare them on site; just follow the instructions on the package. To prepare the dressing, you may need equal proportions of soy sauce, vinegar, pepper, vegetable broth, red pepper, tomato slices, coriander, scallions, cucumber, and sesame seeds on top. This quick fix meal will serve you well, especially in the summer heat.

14. Nachos

NachosLike bagels, nachos are as well versatile, and can be prepared by numerous other foods. For instance, for a good quick lunch, you can make one using tortilla chips and beans. For this meal, you need in equal portions of pinto beans, taco seasoning, chunky salsa, tortilla chips, cheese, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, and sliced onions. To prepare the meal, you will need your backpacking stove. Mix the beans, salsa and taco seasoning and heat for eight minutes. Put the tortilla chips in a plastic bag and squeeze and crush the chips. Add the beans to a bowl and top with the chips, and add the rest of the ingredients to enjoy.

15. Hot Dogs

Hot DogsYou can be a good alternative to your child, especially when as a break from the usual sandwiches. You can choose a simple recipe for your hot dog. You will need equal proportions of; beef hot dog, buns, ketchup, yellow mustard and cheddar cheese. You can prepare this meal at home and pack it for your child before you leave for your activities. Add the beef, cheese, mustard and ketchup to the bun to make your hot dog. You can pack it in a Ziploc bag or aluminum foil to keep it moist until lunch time.

16. Quesadillas

QuesadillasYou can make Quesadillas with other meals without having to dehydrate your ingredients. One such meal I like when going for a hike is Cheese Quesadillas with guacamole. It is ideal for short trips because you will not need to pack a lot of ingredients. You will need equal proportions of; 4 tortillas, cheese, butter, avocados, sliced tomatoes and a package of guacamole mix. You also need a pot and backpacking stove. Scoop avocados and mash them into a bowl. Add guacamole powder and diced tomatoes to the avocado and mix. Prepare your tortillas and add cheese and serve the guacamole on top. You can add onions, and pepper to the delicacy and enjoy.

17. Crackers

CrackersCrackers and cheese are a common meal and this list cannot be complete without mentioning them together. They are most of the time served as a snack, but there are combinations that can make it a worthwhile lunch meal. Cheese can go with a lot of other foods. Try adding cheddar and apple jam to the two and enjoy your lunch. You could also try spinach and Gruyere, or dried tomatoes.

18. Tuna

TunaYou can prepare tuna in many ways and pack it for your backpacking activities. It is best to dehydrate the tuna before you pack it. For example, you can prepare tuna, macaroni and vegetables and pack it for lunch. For this meal, you will need equal proportions of;  dried tuna fish, dried vegetables (mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and pepper), macaroni, cheese powder and milk. Pack the milk powder and cheese in one Ziploc bag and the rest of the ingredients in another bad and seal them. On the hike, boil the ingredients except the cheese and milk powder for two minutes. Remove it from the stove and add the milk powder and cheese. Cover for ten minutes before you can serve.

19. Peanut Butter

Peanut ButterThis is a staple food for many hikers who value it because of its high protein content. It also has low saturated fats. It is easy to find and is available in almost all food stores so you can grab one in case you forgot to pack it for lunch. It is wise to buy one in a plastic jar as it is lighter and you can also use the jar to rehydrate dried foods.

20. Protein Bars

Protein BarsProtein bars are healthy and offer a quick source of protein. Hikers and backpackers spend more energy and need higher content of protein than sedentary people. Most protein bars not only offer proteins, but also other micronutrients such as potassium, sodium, fiber, sugars, iron, calcium and other vitamins. They also come in fruit flavors such as banana, apple, berry and mango. A few examples to choose from include Berry Hike, Protein Granola bars, Power Crunch Bars, Quest Bars, and Clif Builders Bars.

21. Energy Bars

Energy BarsThere is a wide range of energy bars to choose from. They contain different nutritional content and are made from different ingredients. The types of energy bars to choose from for your backpacking activities include; activity bars, meal replacement bars, protein bars, organic bars and endurance bars. A few examples of meal replacement bars that are ideal for hiking are Nutribars, Balance bars and ProBars. The calories in these bars are sufficient to replace a whole lunch meal. Meal replacement bars are the perfect choice for a backpacker on a weight-loss program. They provide enough nutritional content to fill you up for lunch.

22. Dried Fruits

Dried FruitsDried fruits will still be delicious and healthy as well. They contain a lot of vitamins, sugars and minerals. They are also rich in fiber. Backpackers need sufficient minerals especially potassium from muscle activity. These minerals are lost through sweat and urination during the hike. The best source of minerals to replace the loses are fruits. The best choices to replace lost potassium are dried bananas, potatoes and raisins dates. Other dried fruit choices to consider are apples, mango, pineapple and berries among others.

23. Chocolate

ChocolateChocolate is no longer ideal only as a snack. You can squeeze in a few for lunch as well to provide the high calories needed for the hike. There is a wide variety of chocolates to choose from. A chocolate bar can do in a cool weather. You can space them at two hour intervals to last the whole activity. Darker bars have more cocoa and are healthier. You can store them in vacuum seal bags in a cool environment to prevent them from melting. Chocolate spreads on the other hand are ideal for a hot weather. For instance nut-butter can provide the high calories and sugar for the hike. It also has high protein content.

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