Food when hiking
Different temperatures will obviously affect how long food lasts before going bad. But these have held up for me when hiking in both the Nordic countries as well as the French Alps and the Canary islands
1 day hikes
These are the times for more perishable foods, for example stuff that’ll hold till lunch
- Eggs - boiled and with shells on they should last a couple hours, if extreme heat, count on 1-2
- Canned tuna - I mean, it’s canned food, it’s always going to be in my pack for hikes. Plus, it’s nutritious
- Bread - as always, whole wheat is my personal favourite as it holds you over a longer time than white bread
- Toppings on bread - I don’t recommend bringing meat, unless the meat is dried. Cheese can hold pretty well over the day, so that should be little to no problem. Tomatoes and cucumber are both pretty wet, which could be unpleasant to eat after a few hours soaking in the bread - unless you keep then in a separate container. A better alternative is bell pepper
- Fruit and vegetables - stuff with peels can be a bit of a hassle as you can’t just throw away them in nature and instead have to carry the peels. Pits are generally okay to leave, though it depends on what is viewed as littering. My personal favourites are apples, bell peppers, again, and carrots
- If you’re feeling ambitious it can be an idea to bring a way to cook and boil food, and then you’re open to a lot more stuff. But unless I’m grilling something, I personally prefer to bring simple food if it’s only a one day hike
2 day hikes
For these you have to think about at least three meals, if not more, lunch, breakfast and dinner, don’t forget snacks!
- Eggs - again, good for the first day
- Tuna - no need to repeat is there?
- Bread - holds good at least the first 3 days, if you’re keeping it longer than that it’s better to bring hard bread like crispbread. But usually at that point it takes more space than it’s worth in my opinion
- Fruits and vegetables - carrots hold for about 3-5 days unrefrigerated, but can easily last longer. Apples are usually good for a two day hike, as are bell peppers
- Dairy or similar vegan options - can be good as breakfast, and it is possible. But! It has to be UHT treated, this kills the bacteria and makes the shelf life without refrigeration much longer
- Protein bars, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate - snacks, should last pretty well even in heat. Chocolate may melt, as I have experienced when eating melted chocolate after hiking over 12 miles in a day, but it is still a great snack and a good quick sugar boost
A week or more
Now, this is when it gets serious, or not, cause I’ve lived on instant noodles for a week when hiking…
- Eggs - and similar perishable foods can be eaten the first few days, but don’t count on them after that
- Tuna - just a bit, the cans do weigh quite a bit
- Canned tomatoes - nutritious, healthy, very, very heavy. When going on a hike or adventure for more than a week and carrying all your stuff on your back, how much everything weighs is crucial!
- Instant noodles - just boil some water, pour over and you’re good to go. Not particularly healthy but enough energy to keep you going
- Oats - quick cooking ones are really nice if you can find them - my favourite ones contain dried blueberries! - anyway, they’re cheap, pretty lightweight and hold a long while
- Prepackaged meals - bags with dried food that hot water is added to, like: risotto, soup, stew
This is just some of the stuff I usually eat, good luck on your adventure and hike responsibly! <3
PS. I’m not really knowledgeable on vegan/vegetarian options as I am generally a pescatarian. Also, anyone who wants to add on is free to do so!