As a hard-charging thru-hiker — when I would hike sunrise-to-sunset, take very few breaks, and cover 30 to 40 miles day after day — food was simply fuel. I carried items that were calorie dense, required minimal or no field preparation, and could be eaten on the go. So I ate a lot of bars back then — energy bars, candy bars, granola bars, cereal bars, and Pemmican bars. And to keep my energy level sustained, I ate precisely on two- to 2.5-hour cycles.
With many more of my backpacking days now in a guided trip setting, my approach has evolved. Our trips are more about smiles over miles, and both clients and guides appreciate a dedicated “lunch,” when there’s enough time to prepare a meal, rest, and maybe tend to things like laundry and bidets.
I’ve found two personal lunch favorites:
- Ham sandwich on a bun with cream cheese, for the first day or two; and,
- Avocado with a salty and crunch carbohydrate, like Pringles or Fritos, for later in the trip when the safety of deli ham is more questionable.
But there are many other options, and I recently asked on Instagram for additional favorites. Here are the responses:
I’ll do any kind of sandwich on the first day or two as well. Have not tried anything with cream cheese but like the idea as it would probably make the sandwich a little less dry without being mushy like other condiments (which I avoid for these sammies).
Also do a lot of salami, pepperoni and slices of hard cheese. I’ll usually take a large block of hard cheese and just slice it straight and use it for lunches and then add it to dinners (beans and rice, et al). I also like to take extra salami or pepperoni and slice that into my dinners too which are usually veggie as my wife is.
PB&J on a tortilla is my standard.
Wondering what the calorie density of an avocado is?
Salami and Cream Cheese is an amazing and high calorie combo.
Big fan of some shelf-stable salami with tortillas with some Rx Bar peanut butter packets as dessert. I’ll also go full hiker trash and squeeze a spicy mustard packet into some tuna or salmon in olive oil and just eat that. After watching Gear Skeptic’s video on endurance nutrition for hiking, I changed up what I eat to focus more on proteins + fats at lunch.
I like to bring smoked salmon, the cold smoked variety. Although its not super calorie dense or cheap its a change from the regular salami and cheese.
BLAvocadoT on the first day. Did a black bean dip with Fritos Scoops that hit the spot.
Nothing beats Chicken Teriyaki Rice along with some beef jerky in the end. I’ve eaten this combination for 2 days and of course, coffee is a necessity.
Gonna try your Ham Sandwich recipe for the coming hunting season.
Hello from the Middle East,
well, according to the local diet, I take with me for lunch on treks:
Pita bread, olive oil (in a tiny plastic bottle) and Za’atar, a local spice made out of Syrian Oregano. It’s very healthy, tasty and doesn’t weight much 🙂
When hiking in Lapland the stores sometimes sell dehydrated mashed potatoe mix made from northern “puikula” variety and also they stock cold smoked and dried reindeer meat 😋Boil water, mix the instant mash, add in some ghee, butter or oil, carve reindeer on top.
Where are the 40+ ideas? Seems like I’ve fallen victim to click bait. “A ham sandwich or an avocado with something salty” isn’t really what was promised here hunh.
Read through the IG comments
Same problem here. Instagram won’t let me read the comments unless I sign up and log in. Clickbait.
You should know better than this Andrew.
40 ideas??? I only see 1 idea!
Clickbait? I don’t think this word means what you think it means. What’s your alternative suggestion? That every single person who comments a recipe create an account here on this blog instead of using a social media platform that most people already have an account on? Give me a break.