This page is a collection of my favourite go to hiking foods, both home dried and fresh.
Early on I discovered that while the traditional hiking food tended to be a mix of high carbohydrates and simple sugars, (like cereals, pastas, porridges, noodles, chocolate and lollies) to match the high energy usage, this kind of food just didn’t last the distance for me.
I found learning to view food as fuel not entertainment also made it allot easier to replace the more traditional hiking diet with more complex carbohydrates, proteins and natural fruit sugars. Simple sugars I reserve for the instant energy and motivational kick when I am getting tired towards the end of a long day.
Taking this approach has greatly improved my overall hiking experience by;
- Reducing the size of meal servings
- Leaving me feeling full for longer
- Plenty of sustained energy for my hiking needs. (*1)
- Consuming much less water (*2)
On Day hikes I enjoy Fruit, Sandwiches and Nuts. On Overnight or Multiday trips, I tend to use fresh food for first 1 to 2 days and substitute it with longer lasting home dried meals and food for the rest of the duration.
I have two versions, the first for day hikes(wet) and the second when I am carrying it on a multi day hike for camp preparation.(Dry)
Wet serving;(Which I drink about an hour before the hike starts)
Halve fill a 250-500ml screw top container with water and add;
- 30gms of Almonds
- 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
Let the Chia and Almonds soak for at least 2 hours, then add 1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder, and let it soak overnight.
In the morning add approx 200ml of Coconut Creme, and 1/2 a mashed Banana, (optional +2 Scoops of live Yoghurt) and shake. Eat about 1hour before starting the hike.
Dry Serving;(Overnight Hikes)
In a Jug I add together;
- 2 Tbsp Chia seeds
- 1 Tbsp Cocoa
- 30gms of finely chopped Almonds(or seeds, or berries)
- 50gm of Coconut milk Powder
Stir to combine and then package in a small self closing bag.
The night before I intend to eat it, I fill the packaging bag with water, give it a quick stir to combine and then seal the bag, and stand it up in a cup.
Eating is simple a case of snipping off one corner of the bag and squeezing the resulting paste into my mouth.
Dried yoghurt I found was possible (even after my failed attempts) when I found this method by Judy Palmer
- Wet Serving size: 100gm
- Dried Weigh: 13 gm
Home Dried Food and Meals
I home dry Hiking food for several reasons;
- I can easily and dramatically drop the overall food weight, which is particularly useful on longer trips.
- My food does not spoil as easily on longer trips
- It dramatically speeds up the preparation time – a real bonus at the end of the day.
- Home made food ALWAYS tastes(and smells) better than commercial freeze dry meals ( which I now find are just to salty for me)
- Meal planning is so much easier, when I have left overs from favourite tested meals at home the left overs are dried and stored in the freezer for my next outing.
I make my own Hummus, because just dont like Tahini! (watch the garlic content if your hiking with others!) and dry home dry it.
I quickly discovered that in reconstituting Hummus, it requires extremely precise water addition to avoid a kind of watery Hummus soup.
Luckily one day I just couldn’t be bothered going through this process so tried it as a raw powder to crunch on between sips of water.. / sprinkle on a Sandwich: Converted I like it !
- 1 Cup of Dried Chickpeas
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/4 C lemon Juice
- 1-2 crushed garlic cloves
- Spices and herbs to your taste ( 1tsp of Cumin and Turmeric for me)
Soak dried Chickpeas for a minimum of 2 hours, rinse and place in a crock pot with sufficient water to cover. Cook on Low over night.(*3) Allow to cool and reserve 1 C of cooking water.
Add the chickpeas, garlic, spices, olive oil, and lemon juice to a food processor and mix just until it becomes a paste. Then add small amounts of cooking water until it reaches the consistency you like.
- Wet Serving size: 100gm
- Dry weight: 32gm
- 2 Tbsp of popcorn kernels
- Olive Oil
- Small self closing plastic bag
- Gas stove and Billy
Place the popcorn into the small self closing bag, add enough olive oil to just coat the kernels. (around 2 tsp)
When ready to make get the billy warm, pour in the kernels, put the lid on and hold the billy just off the flame and shake it side to side to keep the kernels moving.
Trying to catch the kernels in mid pop with your camera can add a degree of difficulty. ( melting chocolate to pour over is a second degree.. best done in a double pot and cleaned right away!)
Non Astringent Persimmon
- I like to use a Borner V slicer on the thicker size which i think is bout 4mm, these dry down into chewy but sweet slices.. cant wait for persimmon!
Frozen Berries (Any kind)
- I love these in my Chia breakfast that I soak over night in cold water.
- Just take the Berries straight from the freeze and lay them out on and oil drying sheet ( helps get it off later)
- Apples of your taste – peeled
- Borner slicer (4mm thick slices)
- Bowl of Lemon Juice
Slice the apples, dip in the lemon juice, (prevents surface going brown) and place on the drying tray in single layer
- Serving size wet: 140gm
- Dry weight: 20g
This the same approach for Apples, remove the skin(unless your a Gorilla of course)and slice 4mm Thick or 2mm, Lemon dip and place single layer on the dry trayD
- Serving size wet: 140gm
- Dry weight: 25-40gm
Same as approach as Apples, skin off, core, slice 4mm thick Lemon dip and dry.
- Serving weight wet: 120gm
- Dry weight: 10-20gm
Lunch and Main Meals
I use a standard Apple Crumble recipe but substitute shredded apple for the normal slices.
It dries in to a pretty hard mass,(*4) so I usually break it up with a mortar and pestle which helps it reconstitute quickly adding a little more water than the required and stirring it back to an acceptable consistency over the stove.( always clean your pot asap with this one!)
This dish is can also be weaponised if there is any other hikers around eating freeze dried food as the scent that emits from the pot is a highly effective…. stunner!
Using standard recipes, once cooked, I mash it before drying, this ensures that the vegetables reconstitute quickly and evenly.
Regardless the taste and scent is always great, like the crumble i tend to add just a bit more water then required and either stir it back and add to a boil in the bag serving of rice,(or dried mash) or as a soup.
I use a standard favourite recipe with a little extra spice, and then melt in cheese and mash all before drying. I tend to replace the traditional corn chips with Quinoa.
Mashed Vege fry
My favourite is a mix of sweet potatoes ( called kumara in NZ) onions, garlic and a little potatoes…seasoned well, cooked and mashed before drying…. Like many home dried food it does loose its colour but always tastes great.
Great recent addition using the same procedure – cook, mash and dry, usually serve with Quinoa or pasta.
Serving size Wet: 250gm
Dry Weight: 47 gm
Having discovering that pre cooking and then drying rice, made for a much faster cooking time on a hike. The downside however is the grains of rice then became so sharp(*4) that they easily punctured the bags I stored them in.
The fix, I first boil the rice in vegetable broth until cooked, mash it into a smooth paste with a potato masher and dry in the normal way.
Then instead of needing to boil the rice as normal, it was just a matter of adding the correct water differential and leaving it stand for 10 minutes.
Serving size Wet: 205gm
Dry Weight: 53 gm
Amazing stuff to dry, best to put it in a little glad bag and zip it up nearly all the way, and you get to see what is really in your water once its dried..
When your ready for a quick drink, just add some water give it a shake to combine and its as fresh as the mountain air
Dry Weight: Any volume – 0gm
(*1) In New Zealand Sub Alpine conditions, with my metabolism that is…
(*2) Any one remember Science at a school? – fluid balances, osmosis..? bulk simple sugars a solid that attracts water -the more of the stuff dissolved in your blood stream the more water heads to hang out with it… from where ever it is.
(*3) 1 tin of canned chickpeas will also work but make sure you rinse them well – tend to be salty
(*4) I use cheap domestic plastic Vaccum pack bags for packaging my dried meals, and any thing that dries rock hard like crumble or rice is also often sharp – and will puncture the bags with ease.