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Backpacking Lunch

Me and a few friends are about to go on a 4 day/3 night backpack across Gunsight Pass in Glacier NP.

I was personally wondering about what some of you do for lunch? I typically have jerkey and bars during small breaks on the trail, but want to switch it up during lunch. We will do the freeze dried meals for dinner. Do some of you have the freeze dried meals twice per day? Carrying sandwiches seems to be a huge pain.

Just looking for some ideas..

11 Replies

Typically start lunch a couple of hours after breakfast, and end it a couple of hours before dinner. Smiley LOL  Jerky or summer sausage, cheese, gorp, snack bars, that sort of thing.  Don't do freeze dried;  I dehydrate my own stuff, or use Lipton/Knorr sides with pouched chicken, tuna or salmon.  Used to be able to get shrimp and crab, but can't find those anymore.

Retired medical technologist and engineer
REI member since 1978
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I do like the previous poster - lunch is protracted snack time.  I will nibble on stuff during short breaks, say after a steep part on the route or when I am neither belaying or leading.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

I actually do stop for lunch, 20 -30 minutes, usually where I can get water. A lot of times on shorter trips I'll take packets of the chicken salad or flavored tuna, and a sleeve of Ritz crackers. I have a container to keep the crackers from getting crushed. I find a short break with a small lunch gives me a boost of energy.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Salami holds up well backpacking and so do certain kinds of cheeses.  I also like the tuna packets with crackers like @SILHiker, but that can get messy and smelly backpacking. My other go to backpacking snack is almonds mixed with craisins.  You can make any kind of nuts/berries combo you like, it is easy and a satisfying lunch.  Have fun on your trip!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Couscous hydrates within 15 minutes. I make a couscous salad with herbs, spices, and home dried garden tomotoes and cucumbers. Add lemon juice and EVOO, and enjoy! Bagels and cream cheese work; the cream cheese keeps for about 3 days buried in my pack. Add sliced cucumber (also great for hydrating the body), for a delicious and simple sandwich.


Totally agree with all of the other posters, lunch is really just a longer snack time. A time to take off your pack (and boots and socks) and relax for a bit before you head on your way. Jerky and cheeses goes a long way. I enjoy granola bars and other lighter food options. I would not make a dehydrated meal for lunch, it takes quite a bit of time (once you dig it out of your pack and wait for the food to rehydrate). Save your dehydrated meals as a treat at the end of the day and something to look forward to.

Lunch is a good time reload on protein, fat, and sugar. If you're trying to mix it up, I highly recommend tuna packs followed up with trail mix. For longer sit downs with use of stove, my group made a pasta using a pack of noodles and salami. This definitely recharged everyone for the evening hike we had planned.


My go-to lunches are flour tortillas with either peanut butter (cups) or cheddar cheese packets.  I get the tortillas and peanut butter cups at the grocery store and order the cheese packets from fuss, no muss!  And you can also get jalapenos cheese packets on amazon.  Taste variety is fantastic!

REI member since 1979

REI Member Since 1979

I am with @Wanderer .  Flour tortillas with peanut butter and jelly for me.  It provides the satisfaction of a sandwich with a nice carb load to get you through to dinner. 

Lunch is always a time for a 'treat' as well (mine is red vines).   

*Tip* I load up on free jelly/jams from hotel breakfast bars.  My peanut butter source is usually Justin's although you can often find some of these in hotels as well.