Food Preparation- 5 Day 2 Person Backpacking Trip

As avid backpackers, Louis and I have our responsibilities down pretty well when it comes to preparing for a backpacking trip. Louis packs the gear (tent, stove, fuel, etc). and it is my responsibility to prepare and pack the food for us. I got pretty tired of the ready made backpacking food early on and decided to explore other options. Since our gears are ultralight, I try to do the same for the food without giving up on taste. I try to strive for the following when packing for food:

  1. Count calories and bring the exact amount we need. There are been many times where we brought way too much food and had to haul half of it back home.
  2. Try to only pack one hot meal per day. I’m even trying to cut back on this for long mileage days (10+miles) since we are usually too tired to cook at the end of the day.
  3. Bring lots of high energy snacks while we hike during the day. Low blood sugar can really slow you down when you are hiking.


    We managed to fit all 5 days of food for 2 people in our Bearvault BV500.

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Japan- Tokyo

We spent the last four days of Japan in Tokyo. It was the city our friend Chris spent the most time while working in Tokyo so naturally, he became our default Tokyo tour guide. For such a dense city, it covers a surprisingly large amount of area and takes a long time to navigate. We went back to the Prince Sakura Hotel since it is conveniently located next to the Shinagawa train station.

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From Kyoto, we decided to take a day tour of Hiroshima via the Shinkansen train. We left from Kyoto on the Shinkansen train at 7:40 in the morning and arrived in Hiroshima a little after 8:30. For those who are familiar with WWII history, the U.S. government dropped its first atomic bomb on Hiroshima in an attempt to end the war. We wanted to pay homage to the bomb site and also tour the Mazda factory in town. From the JR station in Hiroshima, we had to make one transfer to the local train near the Mazda factory. The factory tour started at 10AM in the morning so we had time to stop by the pastry shop inside the train station for a little snack before heading to the tour. The pastries are made fresh in front of you and they are served warm. The shop we bought the pastries from had two flavors, red bean and white bean. I preferred the red bean because it is less sweet compared to the white bean.


We became addicted to these red bean pastries near the train station. They are about $1 each or 100 yen, they are delicious served warm!

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Affordable 3 Day Backpacking Food Preparation

Louis and I take eating pretty seriously, we love a good meal. When it comes to backpacking, we’ve always had trouble finding the right food. The ideal meal for us are light, affordable and tasty meals. We started out with Mountain House freeze dried food and were pretty happy with the taste, however, at $7-$9 per bag, it was a too expensive for us. For our upcoming three day backpacking trip, I decided to try something different. I decided to dehydrating fresh produce and scavenge through Walmart for cheaper ready made packaging food.

Dehydrating Fresh Produce 

Two nights before we set out for our backpacking trip, I looked through our fridge and pulled out fresh produce that’s likely to spoil during our absence and came up with two green bell peppers, two ears of corn, several Roma tomatoes and a handful of strawberries. After chopping the produce into small pieces, I preheated the oven on the lowest temperature possible, in our case, it was 170 degrees. I laid the fresh produce on a flat sheet and left it in the oven for 6 hours. Depending on the oven, more or less time may be needed to dehydrate fresh produce.

Here’s a daily breakdown of what I packed for both of us:

Friday Night:and Saturday Morning 

To get a head start Saturday morning, we decided to drive to the campsite Friday night and camp at the trail head. With our campsite Friday night so close to our car, we packed fresh fruits, bagels, two boil eggs and Thursday night’s leftover dinner for food.

Sunday and Monday Breakfast:

  • Oatmeal with dried cranberries, dried milk, 1Tbs of sugar and oven dried strawberries at 1 dollar for two days if you buy everything in bulk.
  • Hot chocolate and tea at $0.50 for two days if you buy everything in bulk

Saturday through Monday lunch:

  • PB&J sandwiches and tuna sandwiches. I found dollar pack aluminum packets of tuna at Walmart and decided to give it a try. Total for lunch is approximately 3 dollars.
  • Dried fruits and nuts trail mix at $2 if you buy everything in bulk

Saturday Night Dinner:

  • Two packs of instant Knorr Rice at one dollar each. At 270 calories for 2.5 servings per packet and 29% sodium, this is about the same nutritional value as the Mountain House Spaghetti with Meat Sauce. The only thing lacking from the Knorr Rice dish is protein, there was only 6 grams of protein compared to 11 grams per serving for the Mountain House. We figured our beef jerky and tuna would compensate on the lack of protein. The rice meals does take a little longer to cook, we found they taste the best being cooked on an open flame for 7-10 minutes because dousing it with boil water cooks it unevenly.
  • One pack of Idahoan Loaded Baked Mash Potatoes at one dollar per pack. These mash potatoes are delicious and super easy to make. All you need to do is dump 2 cups of boiling water into serving bowl and let it stand for a couple minutes.

Sunday night dinner:

  • Two packs of instant ramen noodles with oven dried corn, bell peppers and beef jerky at less than a dollar for a pack of ramen noodles
  • One pack of Idahoan Loaded Baked Mash Potatoes at one dollar per pack.

In the end the total cost of food for a 3 day backpacking trip between Louis and I cost less than 15 dollars since we utilized our leftovers.