instant noodles


One of the hardest parts of planning a longer hike is deciding what food to take and how much. You don’t want to end up weighed down with food, but similarly, pack too little and you spend the hike starving and missing the beauty because you can’t wait to get to a town and grab a burger. Lightweight, high-calorie foods will keep the hunger away without leaving you feeling like you are carrying the entire contents of your kitchen cupboards on your back.

Variety is essential when hiking and camping. If you eat the same thing every day out on the trail you will become exceptionally bored and mealtimes will become a chore. The foods also need to be easy to make and easy to tidy up. Filling zip lock sandwich bags with meals that are ready to consume with the addition of boiling water can be a really handy when you’re out and about.

Here are some foods that I’ve come to really stand by. And that’s from considerable experience. When something is right, it’s very easy to stick with and I guess they’ve become my companions for just about every hiking trip I go on now.


Cereal bars: A densely packed cereal bar or protein bar is a good way to start the day. Packed full of fruit or nuts, these bars are tasty and chewy with enough calories to last you until lunch.
Instant porridge: Eating porridge every day can be a bore on the palette, but it’s a great energy source and really light weight. Just add a little boiling water and you have a hearty breakfast meal.
Powdered eggs: Farm Pride have some powdered eggs which can scrambled by just adding water. They don’t taste much like the real thing, but if you add some cheese you can get a little bit of flavour into your breakfast. For really great tasting powdered eggs, OvaEasy are available on Amazon, but it’s not quite as easy to get them as getting them when you are in the supermarket – the one place I prefer to shop in person and not online.


Tuna: Heinz makes tuna in a bag which can be great for taking hiking to provide some protein rich lunches. I usually buy tinned tuna and decant it into sandwich bags to take. I usually eat it plain but throwing it in a wrap with some cheese provides a ready to eat nutritious lunch on the trail.
Salami: Because refrigeration isn’t necessary, salami is useful to take hiking. Whether for lunch or for a snack, it’s an excellent protein boost to give you the energy to last the day.
Nutella: The chocolate hazelnut spread is a must have for me on my hikes. Not only do I love the taste, but scooping a fingerful of Nutella into my mouth gives an energy boost and calorie kick to help me last until the next meal.


Reheatable meals: Companies like Happy Camper Gourmet have a really wide selection of meals which don’t need refrigerating and can be reheated with boiling water. They have choices like beef stew, curry, a chicken casserole and meatballs in tomato sauce. You can even buy desserts like an apple and cinnamon damper if you want the two-course dinner option.
Couscous: The perfect food for your backpack. Ready to eat in five minutes and super lightweight and carbohydrate dense. I never head out without it.
Mashed potatoes: Continental make a good instant mashed potato which can be found in most supermarkets. You just add the water and within thirty seconds they are ready to eat. They provide a great meal accompaniment.
Instant noodles: The staple of any camping trip, the instant noodles are a tried and tested crowd pleaser. They fill you up for a while and are full of flavour, or you can always add more flavour so you feel like you have actually had a meal.

While not all of these meals are the healthiest of options, I work with what works for me and what I can afford.


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Oli Ward

Oli has camped and hiked his way around Australia and most of Europe. He also loves writing about his experiences and sharing his knowledge.