While I generally like to use my dehydrator to make the meals we take backpacking, I don’t always have the time to do so. No big deal. It is easy to make lightweight, inexpensive, delicious and nutritious backpacking meals from the grocery store with little or no pre planning. The items you can use to make backpacking meals from the grocery store are only limited by your imagination. Next time you are out food shopping, take the time to look around to come up with more easy meal ideas for the trail. Cheap, yummy and easy to make, I am sharing with you a few of my favorite backpacking meals from the grocery store and have included a printable Shopping List for you to take to the store.
Backpacking Meals From the Grocery Store
Bean Burritos – Instant refried beans, yellow rice and cheese wrapped in a flour tortilla is dense and filling and delicious too!Ravioli with Pesto Sauce and Parmesan- Perfect for the first night out on the trail, ravioli from the refrigerator case pairs well with a drizzle of olive oil, pesto paste located in the Italian foods section and grated parmesan. Rice and Beans and Summer Sausage – Flavored instant rice mixes are an ideal backpacking dinner and the are brought over the top with the addition of summer sausage. Fettuccine Alfredo with Bacon and Parmesan – Fettuccine noodles tossed with instant Alfredo sauce (made with milk powder and clarified butter), parmesan cheese and bacon bits is calorie dense and extra satisfying! Loaded Baked Potatoes – Instant flavored mashed potatoes topped with bacon and cheese is an easy backpacking meal that is sure to satisfy everyone in your group. Add a sliced green onion for a spicy crunch.Udon Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce – Look for Udon noodles in the Asian section of the grocery and make a quick sauce out of peanut butter mixed with a take out soy sauce packet. Top with crushed peanuts and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Delicious!Grilled Pita Pizzas – Stuff Pita halves with pepperoni, mozzarella and tomato paste or pesto paste and fry both sides in olive oil for a gooey and yummy handheld dinner. Bean Soup – There are numerous Italian inspired soup mixes in the grocery store that are super satisfying when drizzled with olive oil and topped with grated parmesan.Polenta with Bacon and Parmesan – Creamy polenta topped with bacon and a generous sprinkle of parmesan is comfort food at its best. Lentil Stew – Lentils are fairly fast cooking, nutrient dense and full of fiber. Not a common component of typical backpacking meals. Made with bacon and spiced with curry powder, cumin and onion flakes makes this flavorful and nutritious.Pasta Sides with Bacon and Parmesan – Pasta sides are a backpacking staple and the addition of bacon and cheese makes this extra satisfying!Stuffing or Mac and Cheese with Sausage – Another backpacking standby, both stuffing mixes and mac and cheese dinners are readily available and easy to make. Add some summer sausage to make this carb loaded meal more filling and calorie dense.Dried Meats – summer sausage, pepperoni, jerky and bacon bits are all filling additions to a number of backpacking meals from the grocery store and adding them makes your meals more filling and calorie dense.Cheese – Just about everything tastes better with cheese and cheese hold up amazingly well on the trail! From parmesan to blocks of cheddar to individually wrapped chunks of mozzarella, you will be happy you brought some along in your food sack!For Dessert Lovers (And who isn’t?) – We love to make instant pudding which is easy to do with milk powder mixed with water and shaken with instant pudding mix in a Nalgene. You can even up the ante and sprinkle with chopped chocolate. Yummy!
A great filling lunch that I did was tortilla with pb and sprinkled dried cranberries or raisins inside! Delish and very filling. Quick to make on the trail so we didn’t have to stop and cook something.
These are brilliant ideas! It’s been years since I last had to pack my own food on a hiking trip. The last time I went, I always had meals provided, either by the hut we stayed at or by a tour operator. It’s just so much easier to hike when you don’t have to carry that weight of cooking equipment and food!
Even though I have no idea when I will next need to bring my own food on a hike, I found your list very useful. I’m travelling through Mexico with two friends right now and we’re always looking for inspiration for cheap and easy to cook meals. And since we stay in most places for just one or two night, we need ingredients that don’t spoil easily and that we can take to the next place, so that list is perfect! I especially love the idea of the grilled pita pizzas. Those are easy to make and we could easily get all the ingredients here. Perfect!
These are really excellent. I plan on doing some car camping and don’t want to get an expensive cooler. These kinds of ideas expand the number of days I can be go. I like the idea of doing this vegetarian (or nearly so). Dehydrated meat is expensive.
I’m glad this is helpful to you! Happy travels. 🙂
Have you ever tried baking in the back country?
I have an oven that bakes just like your home oven and only weighs 1.5 lbs. I make pizza, lasagna, breads, muffins you name it if you can bake it at home you can do it in the back county.
I’ve never tried baking in the backcountry. I will have to look into it because I know we would love lasagna after a long hike!
I don’t backpack and I am a carnivore at heart. But I do hunt a lot and cook outside at the fire pit. Book marked this bad boy. Thx.
A couple that I have used many times.
1. I will get the Knorr Asian Rice, add pouched chicken (sometimes difficult to find, but “canned” chicken in a pouch, same as tuna). I then add a few left over duck sauce packets. Hot sauce is good too if you so desire.
2. My standard trail lunch is tortilla, peanut butter, jelly (in the squeeze container. in moderate temps, i have had no issues with refrigeration and being out a week at a time) and granola. Tortilla does not get hurt from being mashed. Spread everything on the tortilla and roll it up.
How does the cheese hold up? Are you keeping it in a cooler? Are you using it up in a day or two? Are certain types better than others? My family of four is getting ready to embark on a sixteen day National Park road trip and I’m desperate for food ideas for meals that keep (are nutritious) and don’t take a huge amount of prep after a long day – in other words I want it all!:) I just found your site so any links you think would help food wise would be great! Thanks!
While it will stay fresh longer chilled, certain types of cheese holds up amazingly well when camping or backpacking without being stored in a fridge or cooler. You can check out this link from Backpacker which talks about the best cheeses to choose when out on the trail- http://www.backpacker.com/skills/test-kitchen-cheese. I’ve found that higher temps do make it get a little melty, but it still tastes good to us. 🙂
Have a great trip!