Whether you are off on a one-day, weekend or week-long hiking trip, you’re going to want to bring food for snacks, planned meals and always for emergencies. What you need to bring is case dependent, so your first point of call is planning.
# Stay Ahead of the Game

Your food intake in the days before your hike is going to set the tone of the trip long before you leave your home. A hike shortly after a holiday period where you’ve been knocking back food and booze like its going out of fashion, is going to be more hellish than healing. While this is an extreme example, looking at your calorific intake in the days before a hike will really help you on the trail, particularly if it’s difficult one,.

  • Stay away from processed foods, takeaways and overindulging on the alcohol.
  • Eat clean, whole food and nutrient dense recipes.
  • In the morning of the hike eat a good source of carbs or pick up an energy bar.
# Hydrate

You should be drinking 2-3 litres of water a day, and that’s even if you aren’t exercising regularly. Many of us probably don’t meet this guideline, but in the days before a tough hike, keeping hydrated is a no brainer. More so, it’s going to help you avoid injury and have your engine running optimally. Most of all, don’t forget to stock up on water for the hike itself. Stick it in a thermos flask if you want to keep it cold in hotter months. In the more bitter winter months, you could fill a flask with piping hot green tea to stave away the chills. An extra thermos full of soup is always a nice addition.

  • Try to drink 2-3 litres of water a day as standard.
  • Really try to stick to this the days before your hike.
  • Take more water than you need for your trip, just in case.
  • Use thermos flasks to keep liquids hot or cold.
  • Water purifiers or portable filters are useful here as a back-up.
# Day Tripper

If you are off one a one-day ramble, you may want to stop off on a local pub or restaurant along the route. That said, it might be useful to bring along some snacks in case you get peckish. Light-weight, nutrient dense options include:

  • Nuts or dried fruit.
  • Fresh fruit.
  • Cheese.
  • Crackers (we aren’t going to eat the cheese off the block, we’re not savages).
  • Beef Jerky.
  • Whole grain breads (or sandwiches).
  • Energy bars.
  • Protein bars (perfect for that end of the trail recovery).
  • Whilst hiking, aim to eat a snack at least once an hour on top of your routine meals.
  • We won’t tell anyone if you pack a few chocolate bars or a bag of crisps.
# Weekender

As the hike length increases, so do your kit requirements. It’s always wise to pack a full kit even on shorter hikes. When you’re out in the wilderness things can always take a turn for the unexpected. Food wise, always take more than you’ll need. Bringing a lightweight gas cooker will allow you to add more to your culinary arsenal:

  • Plenty of lightweight snacks (see above).
  • Canned or pouched meat or fish.
  • Muesli (it’s not so bad with water).
  • Rice or pasta.
  • Fresh fruit.
  • Potatoes.
  • Certain vegetables (salad items like spinach are likely to turn).
# Be smart with your food choices

  • Canned or pouched meat and fish is fine, but if you want to cook fresh produce you’ll need a cooler bag.
  • Ice boxes or backpacks from Quechua can keep items refrigerated for 11-12 hours.
  • Package food correctly, if keeping raw meat refrigerated alongside drinks or other items, ensure it is in a separately sealed bag or container.
# Don’t leave yourself short

  • Ensure you’ve got your cooker with you if your planning on playing chef.
  • Don’t forget gas, or you won’t be able to cook much.
  • Bring extra water if you need it in the meal prep.
  • If you’ve brought fresh meat make sure its sealed and stored at the right temperature.
  • If you’ve brought canned food, don’t forget your tin opener.
# Keep it clean

  • Use disinfectant wipes or gels to keep your hands clean before you prepare food.
  • Have a little decorum with some camping friendly plates and cutlery.
  • Most of all, clean up after yourself.
  • Take any litter with you until you can dispose of it correctly.
  • Enjoy nature, but leave it as you found it.
# Homeward Bound

While advisable to have a quick recovery bite before heading home (this is where a protein bar could come in handy), once your home it’s time to put your feet up and indulge in some comfort food. If it’s been a particularly challenging hike, maybe it’s time to call in your favourite weekly cheat meal.