Lunch is an extremely important meal for backpackers. It comes halfway through your day, after spending a long morning hiking miles and miles. You need a quick and energy filled lunch to help you power through the rest of the day. To help with your next backpacking adventure, here’s our list of 10 delicious backpacking lunches.
10 Fuel Filled Backpacking Lunches For Your Next Trip
1. Cashew Noodle
Instant ramen is one of the most versatile backpacking lunches. You can always make it with the salty flavor packet that’s included in each package, but if you want to spice up your ramen (literally), give this recipe a try. All you need to do is cook the ramen as instructed, then mix in a liberal amount of curry powder and some crushed cashews. If you prefer curry paste over powder, be sure to use a more sparing amount.
2. Loaded Mashed Potatoes
Another great instant food available that’s widely available is instant mashed potatoes. They are tasty on their own, but to really ramp up the flavor, we recommend adding bacon bets and shredded cheddar cheese.
3. Tuna Couscous
Grains like rice and quinoa take a while to cook, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a warm meal for your backpacking lunch. Once the water is boiled, couscous only take 5 minutes to properly soak. Mix in a tuna packet, and voila, you have a meal that’s full of energizing carbs and a flavorful protein to power you through the rest of your day.
4. Tortilla Soup
For this backpacking lunch, you’ll need to do a little more preparation at home, but it’ll all be worth it when you have a quick and delicious lunch on trail. At home, put the following ingredients in a ziploc bag: 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon of chile powder, ½ tablespoon of tomato powder, 1 cup of bean flakes, and two bouillon cubes. Then when you’re on the trail, all you need to do is add the mixture and crushed tortilla chips to two cups of boiling water to complete your tortilla soup.
5. Chili Mac
If you need to push a lot of miles on the second half of the day, chili mac is the perfect backpacking lunch to get the job done. The hearty combination of mac and cheese, and canned chili is both filling and scrumptious beyond belief. Simply cook boxed mac and cheese according to the instructions, then mix in the chili until everything is warm. It should only take a few minutes to prepare and its energy benefits will last you for hours.
6. Backpacker Beef Noodle Bowl
This is another backpacking lunch that requires a little work at home, but even less than the tortilla soup. Before you go, mix ¼ tsp of garlic powder, ¼ tsp of ground ginger, and ½ of dried cilantro in a ziploc. This recipe requires not only ramen, but also another trail favorite - beef jerky! In addition to those two staples, and your premixed bag of spices, be sure to bring along 2 packets of soy sauce and a 1-ounce package of instant onion soup. Once everything is collected, there’s only two steps left before your enjoying your backpacker beef noodle bowl. First cook the ramen and second mix in your assortment of flavors.
7. Trail Tacos
Being in the backcountry doesn’t always mean that you can’t enjoy your favorite meals from home. Tacos are a breeze to make, even on trail! You’ll need some dehydrated rice, precooked beans, some salsa, and you can add any variety of taco toppings like cheese or avocado.
8. Mushroom Stroganoff
Mushroom stroganoff is a great way to get some earthy flavors into your diet while you’re out in the wilderness. All you need to bring with you is 1 tablespoon of milk powder, 1 teaspoon of flour, ½ teaspoon of thyme, 2 tablespoons of dried porcini mushrooms, a tablespoon of ghee, a shallot, and some salt and pepper. Once you’ve sat down to make lunch, let the mushrooms soak in a mixture of water, thyme, and powdered milk for 10 minutes to rehydrate. While your waiting for rehydration, melt the ghee and soften your chopped shallot in your pot or pan.
9. Powdered Eggs and Bacon
Here’s another simple backpacking lunch that brings traditional breakfast flavors into the midday. Yes, powdered eggs exist and they taste better than you’re imagining - especially once you’ve paired them with bacon. There are several varieties of precooked bacon available, or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can cook raw bacon using your backpacking stove
Camping carbonara proves that it’s not impossible to make complex backpacking lunches all with only one stove. Here’s what you’ll need: ½ a head of broccoli that’s cut into florets, half a cup of grated Parmesan, 2 packets of olive oil, 1.5 ounces of bacon bits, and 2 eggs (or the equivalent powdered eggs). To start, boil the pasta and broccoli together. While the water is heating up, beat the eggs in a separate container. If you didn’t bring another bowl or pot, a Ziploc bag will work just as well. With the eggs beat, and the pasta and broccoli cooked, it’s time to add the bacon and reduce the heat too low. Now pour in the eggs and mix very quickly to avoid ending up with scrambled eggs. Finally pour in the precious half cup of parmesan to complete the carbonara.