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backpacking lunch ideas

I often struggle with my lunches while backpacking. I don't want to cook, or even heat water, but I do like to stop for 20-30 minutes to rest and refuel. My go-to lunches are peanut butter and "something" on a tortilla. "Something" being honey, caramel topping, fudge topping, or Miracle Whip (don't knock it til you try it).  I've decided on my next trip to try some southwest black bean spread (just add water and knead) on tortillas. While I like tuna, salmon, or chicken (in pouches) on Ritz crackers, the calorie to weight ratio isn't justified on anything but a 2-3 day hike. 

What's your go-to lunch? Or do you just skip lunch and snack all day?

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12 Replies

You can go to any grocery store and buy various meats in vacuum foil packaging that doesn't require refrigeration.  The tortilla thing you use is a great idea, so you're good there, or you could try Pita bread as well. Uncle Ben's Ready Rice in a pouch is already cooked! mix the rice with something or nothing and eat.  You can take pita bread and put in freeze dried hummus along with sun dried tomatoes.  Meal replacement bars work too, like MedRx large bars.  Of course beef jerky is an option too but if you buy that stuff in a store it's freaking expensive for just a small amount, so you would have to pre-make it at home and take enough to last.  You can get various freezed dried fruits.

There are a lot of videos on YouTube that you can find to on how to eat cheap when back packing.  I don't carry any freezed dried meals you would buy at a camping store, their horribly expensive starting at $8 and going up, heck for that kind of money I could eat out!  of course those you have to cook, but the videos have all sorts of stuff from cold to hot cooking.

If you don't already know, but Target, Walmart, and Trader Joes all have a huge assortment of stuff you take camping that would not require cooking, plus they have a huge assortment of stuff that does require cooking, all of which is cheaper than going to a camping store and buying. 

I generally just stick to snacks at lunch. However, my new favorite discovery was tunafish tacos! Don't knock them until you try them. I found some to be good and some not. I pack street sized tortillas.  I prefer corn, but flour packs better because the corn ones seem to damage easier. This one is my favorite and is the highest calorie one that I've found:




Many good options depending on the weather.

Under 50 degrees, shade, under 50 % humidity, Hard cheese, meats, all sorts ff bread/bagel/donuts/rolls and even soft cheeses like laughing cow cream cheese works well. Under 35 degree I have also brought bacon and cold cuts! Super easy to make lunches and adds to my dinner too.

Summer is a bit harder but I try to add fruits at times. Banana/apple pbj and tortilla rolls are my favorite lunch/morning snack. If its not too humid a bagel can last 2 days so. Buttered bagel with a bit of fresh garlic clove or two works well for me.

I also don't always make a sandwich, but take bites of various food. Like a bite of bagel, then a bite of cheese then a bite of salami. I like interesting flavors and textures and this way the sandwich isn't too dry and I don't have to take a knife/spoon out.

If I can be close to water during lunch, cooking feels great. Boiling water doesn't take long and depending on the scenery, its nice to sometime sit by the water source, filter water while cooking lunch. They way I eat, hydrate, fill up water and get to enjoy the scenery.