The Best Backpacking Meals

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If you’re wondering what dehydrated meal to bring on your next adventure then look no further!

Cronometer staffers pulled out their forks to taste test and determine the best meals-on-the-go. But, we’re still nerds at heart which is why we also incorporated the nutrition details so you can feel energized for short hikes or over night trips!

Best For Short Treks

Peak Refuel - Beef Stroganoff

The texture of this meal left a little bit to be desired by our staffers, but our local outdoor store said it’s the favourite and always a sell out!

  • Low sugar, high fat, high protein
  • Great for shorter activity days – you’ll need more carbs for longer hikes
  • Good amount of sodium to help with electrolyte balance – you need to replace salt lost in sweat!
  • Good amount of iron – you’re likely not taking supplements on the trail, so this is great for those who are typically supplementing at home

Alpine Aire - Mexican Style Grilled Chicken Bowl

All the staffers rated this in their top three favourite meals as close to a traditional Mexican bowl as anything made at home.

  • The macro combination in this bowl is perfect for short excursions
  • It has lower fat than the Stroganoff, could make a good lunch! You won’t feel weighed down by slow-digesting fat so you’ll be ready to get back on the trail.

Best For The Long Days

Peak Refuel - Butternut Dahl Bhat

Everyone agreed that this Butternut Dahl Bhat was delicious which makes it a great go-to for long treks!

  • Best for longer days but not as protein dense as Pad Thai
  • Good source of iron
  • Plenty of sodium, potassium and calcium to keep your energy levels stoked for putting on miles
  • Greater carbohydrate density compared to other meals by this brand which help to keep you moving

Happy Yak Express - Pad Thai

This one was hands-down the staff favourite and had a ton of weight to it, so much so you could probably get away with using it for lunch and dinner.

  • Best for long days because it contains plenty of carbs and protein. A full day of hiking (think 4+ hours) can easily burn more than 1,000 calories. Typically on long journeys, breakfast and dinner are your main calorie sources and therefore most important meals. It’s important to refuel with enough carbs and protein.
  • Good amounts of sodium, potassium, and calcium to help replace electrolytes lost during activity.
  • Vegetarian option with high iron!

Best Dessert

Alpine Aire - Chocolate Mudslide

If you’re looking for a sweet treat on your next adventure this chocolate mudslide needs to be your next go-to – our staffers loved it. It got major bonus points for only needing to be mixed with cold water!

  • Plenty of carbs – could help round out a lower-carb dinner or be additional refueling on a big day!
  • 7g protein and 5mg iron per serving is great for a dessert and for our low-iron or plant-based friends!
  • Lots of potassium for replenishing electrolytes.

For more details on these meals check out these websites:

Peak Refuel, Alpine Aire and Happy Yak!

And if you’re interested in diving deeper into nutrition for endurance we have the perfect blog for you!

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