Don't let poor meal planning cut your next adventure short!

Don't let poor meal planning cut your next adventure short!

Backpacking, thru-hiking, hunting, etc., in the wilderness, is often a journey of discovery and self-reliance, which inevitably means lots of trial and error to make it a successful trip. Meal planning, especially if you are planning multiple nights or more away from the trailhead, plays a crucial role in making it a memorable and enjoyable experience. If you plan accordingly, you should stay nourished, energized, and excited throughout your journey. However, a poorly planned meal selection or unappetizing dishes can dampen the spirit of exploration and overall morale, making you turn back to the trailhead well before you initially planned.  

Here are some key considerations to help you plan your meals accordingly:

Weight Consciousness:

When every ounce matters, dehydrated backpacking meals are the perfect solution. By eliminating water weight, they become lightweight, compact, and easy to carry. Try to avoid 'wet' foods as much as possible and eliminate any unnecessary packaging before you hit the trail. I try to average a pound or less for all the day's food when I'm out in the elk woods. 

Taste, Flavor, & Variety:

A delectable meal can highlight your day in the backcountry, especially if the day's events have been slow. Therefore, pack something you will actually want to eat at the end of the day. When I plan my meals, I typically start what dehydrated dinner I would like and plan the rest of the day's breakfast, lunch, and snacks around it.

-Funny story: several years ago, my good friend Scott wasn't so careful about the variety of foods he packed for lunches and snacks each day. For seven days straight, nearly everything Scott ate had a peanut of some form in it. Needless to say, he grew tired of the monotony in a hurry. To this day, we still laugh when someone pulls a Payday out of their pack for a snack. 

Calorie Content:

To keep you fueled and energized during your adventures, carefully calculate the calorie content for the day. You will be expending more calories than your usual day at home or in the office, so pack accordingly! Also, make sure the calories you take in for the day aren't nothing more than junk foods. Daily Meal


Once you've figured out all your daily meals for your trip, package them in either stuff sacks or gallon bags for each individual day. This organization simplifies your meal planning to ensure each day's calorie requirements are met and acts as a trash receptacle throughout the day while you are on the trail. Leave no trace behind and keep nature pristine.

Happy trails and happy eating!


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