Backpacking season is rapidly approaching, and I’m itching to get out into the woods. Now that I have transitioned almost completely to a whole food plant-based diet, I thought it was about time that I put together a list of my favorite vegan backpacking foods.
- Coconut butter discs – I warm up coconut manna and pour into a muffin tin, stick tin into the refrigerator and pop out the individual discs once they have re-hardened. In my experience, these keep their form pretty well. They can get a little gooey if it’s hot outside, but they don’t melt like pure coconut oil.
- Dehydrated veggies – When I’m hiking I abandon a bit of my zealotry with regard to veggie consumption. However, it’s nice to have some dehydrated veggies to add some variety to our meals. Plus, they don’t take up much space and weigh almost nothing.
- Dehydrated fruit – I like to dehydrate whole fruits; bananas and apples are some of my favorites. I will also probably grab some dried mango from Trader Joe’s. They carry a lot of freeze-dried fruit as well, which would be a great light-weight snack.
- Ramen – I am totally hooked on all varieties of Lotus Foods rice ramen. The forbidden rice flavor is my favorite.
- Dehydrated mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes – Low weight and delicious, dehydrated mashed potatoes have long been one of my favorite backpacking foods. I usually just pack potato flakes from a company like Bob’s Red Mill and rehydrate them. This year I also plan to bake and mash up some sweet potatoes and dry them out in my dehydrator.
- Homemade dehydrated soups – I’m working on a recipe for dehydrated black bean soup, but for now I plan on packing pre-made soup mixes. For backpacking trips, I usually go to Whole Foods or my local co-op and buy black bean soup mix in bulk. If I’m just camping and space isn’t an issue I’ll sometimes grab a couple of these pre-portioned soup mixes.
- Homemade lara bars – Or store bought if you can tolerate nuts. Here is a recipe I really like.
- Homemade trail mix – Since I don’t tolerate nuts, just about any store-bought trail mix is a no-go. I like to include vegan chocolate chips, coconut chips and some dried fruit. I’m seeking out some other options as well, but so far that mixture sounds pretty good to me. If you tolerate nuts and/or seeds, they are a great snack to bring along as well.
- Tea – Hot tea is so comforting on cool mornings in the mountains. I usually stick with green, but english breakfast is always good too. I also bring herbal tea, such as peppermint or chamomile, for evenings.
- Chocolate – Always important when hiking. I love Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups (peanuts are the only nuts I can tolerate). However, I am struggling with the idea of eating palm oil, even if it is ‘sustainably sourced’ (whatever that really means). So I’ve been buying Theo dark chocolate peanut butter cups instead when they’re available. There are plenty of other vegan chocolate options out there, and I really can’t express how great it is to have something tasty at the end of a long day of hiking.
This list isn’t exhaustive, and I will try to add to it as I continue planning for upcoming trips. I always get excited for hiking food, and I’m so glad to have moved away from animal products. So much easier, and waaay more delicious!