A beginner’s guide to hiking meals

Posted by Anita Froneman on 29 May 2020

When going on a hiking or camping trip, the meal planning is an essential part of the preparations. The lighter the packing, the better, but you don’t want to miss out on your favourite snacks.

Depending on your trip, you’ll have to weigh your options (and your food) to ensure you don’t carry too heavy. Your available facilities will also determine your meals, as some campsites don’t have electricity as well as most multi-day hikes.

When going on a multi-day hike, look at freeze-dried foods that you can prepare in water over a gas stove or fire. Dried fruit and nuts also work well. Steer clear from too many fresh fruit, as they might get squashed in your backpack and go bad in hot weather.

If you’re headed to a campsite and will spend all of your time in one place, you will have the luxury of more space. If electricity is available and you have a mobile cooler box, you may still want easy meals that don’t take hours to prepare.

Take a look at these clever options for your next bundu-bashing trip:

1. Brekkie time

Like they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Instant oats are easy to make, you just need boiling water. You can add some powdered milk too. Muesli bars are good for energy, but might not keep you full, so it’s a good idea to pack some rusks to eat with your coffee.

If you’re looking for something more hearty, you can freeze-dry bacon bits and buy powdered scrambled eggs, then cook with water.

2. Bagels, buns or crackers

For an easy meal, crackers keep well but bagels or buns are also great for the first day or two. Pack some hard cheeses to go with it (pre-sliced for weight and space) as well as spreads like hummus or pesto. You can also try pickled foods like peppadews and cucumbers.

3. Dehydrated meals

Image credit: Instagram/bx11

For a nice hot dinner, pre-packed dehydrated meals are the best option as they take very little space and weigh almost nothing. Outdoor stores like Outdoor Warehouse and Cape Union Mart sell them in all flavours. Smash (powdered mashed potatoes) works the same. You just add hot water and let it swell.

4. Delicious treats

For snacks, think about what will have the most nutritional value as you will need the energy. Nut butter is a great option, paired with carrot sticks or apple. You can also make your own trail mix with nuts and dried fruit, oatmeal flakes and seeds. Try to get a balance of sweet and salty. Jelly sweets keep well but might melt if its left in the sun, so stash it deep. Add some biltong or droëwors if you like.

5. Quench that thirst

When hiking, water is the most important thing to remember. It’s always nice to have other drinks too, like coffee, hot chocolate or tea. Small single serving sachets are easier to pack as they already contain powdered milk and sugar. If you’re camping, don’t forget the wine for around the campfire. If you want to carry wine on a hike, rather throw a smaller serving out into a stainless steel flask, but make sure it seals very well as it will go bad if exposed to oxygen for too long.

Images: Unsplash 


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