How to prepare food for a hike

If you like to relax on civilized picnics in the summer, this article is unlikely to be useful to you. Here we figure out how to pack food for a real long hike where every gram counts. We find out what kitchen appliances can be useful for preparing food layouts.

A grocery layout for a hike is something that causes a headache attack for some, and an explosion of excitement for others. The easiest option is to collect canned food and cereals for the main meals. But this option is only suitable for short tracks, since cans add extra weight, remain after use in the form of garbage ballast, which also needs to be carried with you. They are voluminous, and you will not be able to shove any of them compactly. But, most importantly, a diet of endless buckwheat with stew quickly gets bored, and it can not be called complete. If you are a frequenter of mountains and forests, then you probably know how terrible the endless stew is for tomorrow, lunch and dinner.

Ready-made rations are also sold in stores – already mixed tourist meals in soft foil packages. Among these, you can find not only the notorious porridge with beef, but also exotics such as risotto or pasta. This is a good alternative in all aspects, but the purchase of such a diet, firstly, is quite expensive, since one portion of high-quality tourist food costs from 200-350 rubles. And, secondly, this can not be found everywhere in stores.

True fans of hiking prepare most of the food themselves. The priority is, of course, dried products that retain all their taste, but at the same time weigh 10-20 times less than ready-made ones. And in order to organize camp cooking, you will have to equip your own kitchen – you can’t do without specific equipment.

Pack in vacuum bags
The number one device in the field of camping products is a vacuum sealer . It is no secret that all food taken on a track must be packed in the most careful way, since its safety depends on this. Cellophane bags can tear in a backpack and wake up, it is difficult to tie them tightly, and the food will suffer at least from dampness, at most from creeping ants and beetles.

The vacuum cleaner solves several problems at once. First of all, absolute tightness. This device pumps out all excess air and firmly solders the package with the stacked products. The package itself is thick, dense, and the risk of tearing it accidentally is minimal. Also, the products in it are completely protected from moisture and weathering.


Another extremely important advantage of vacuumed products is compactness. The bag with the evacuated air turns into a small pressed briquette. This becomes a huge plus when every piece of space is important in a tourist backpack, and how much you can take things with you and how comfortable it will be for you to carry depends on the quality of packing. Many small vacuum “briquettes” can be spread around the backpack in a much more balanced way than a few cans.

Vacuum sealer Redmond RVS-M021 11 999 *
Absolutely everything can be packed in vacuum bags : dried mixes, bread, cookies and biscuits, cereals, dried fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese and even liquids.

It is important to understand that vacuum storage protects food from exposure to air, sun and moisture, and this extends the shelf life, but not too much. For example, you can take cheese with you in order to eat it first. But this does not mean that he will survive in a vacuum bag for a month, since the environment is still no longer sterile. Therefore, taking vacuum-packed raw meat in the hope that you will cook it only after 2-3 weeks is not worth it.

Vacuum storage bag Aceline A2VB039

220 *
95In stores: 56 stores
An important point when laying out with a vacuum machine is to pack one-time portions, because after opening the package becomes completely unusable – it cannot be re-closed or tied. Therefore, clearly calculate how much you eat at one time.

Dry everything!
The easiest way to lighten food is to rid it of excess liquid, namely, to dry it. From one kilogram of fresh meat, about 300 grams of dried meat is obtained, while in terms of nutritional qualities and taste it is not much inferior to the usual stew, but it weighs three times less, and can be stored for years. It is best to do this, of course, in an electric dryer .

Dryer for vegetables and fruits Kitfort KT-1907 white 12 999 *
Hikers dry everything, but the most important thing is meat, vegetables and fruits, with which you can make a truly complete and balanced diet. You can also dry minced meat and make homemade soup mixes. For example, to make a preparation of real borscht, which will weigh only 80 grams, and at the output you can get more than half a liter of rich soup!

Dry the meat – you will have an excellent, and most importantly tasty, source of protein on the campaign. By the way, jerkies do not have to be chewed “dry” – dried meat can be steamed with boiling water, added to cereals and soups. Dry onions, carrots, sweet peppers, tomatoes, and the fish caught in the river will become not an unleavened soup, but a fragrant fish soup with spices. Dried apples, pears, peaches and other fruits are a great option for a snack on the road between main meals. You can also dry cabbage, beets, any greens, fried and boiled foods.


Even the most budgetary dryer will do the job, but the specific choice of device depends on your goals. Dried foods shrink a lot, but raw foods require a lot of space. Therefore, if you are cooking for two or three people at once, then a small dryer may not be enough for you, and the preparation will turn into an endless process.

Dryer for fruits and vegetables Redmond RFD-0172 black 6 999 *
Pay attention also to the type of pallets included. Solid trays without grids allow you to dry “soft” mixtures – for example, fruit marshmallows or meat pemmican. The “endurance” of the sections also matters – some can withstand up to half a kilogram, while others – up to 3 kg. This matters if you are going (and we highly recommend) messing around with meat. Horizontal dryers are considered more efficient in operation, since their heating element is located on the back wall, and all tiers are heated evenly, while in a vertical dryer, heating comes from below, and it is advisable to periodically swap pallets during the drying process.

Dried fruit energy bar
A calorie bomb and just a very tasty, sweet snack, and also quite healthy.

All ingredients must first be ground in a grinder. It is better to do everything separately: first dates, then the remaining dried fruits along with cranberries, and finally nuts – they will collect the remnants of soft dried fruits from the walls of the chopper. Thoroughly mix the chopped products. We spread the mass on a solid pallet with a layer about 6-8 mm thick. Dry at 70°C for 4-5 hours. Cut into slices with a sharp knife. You can store in plain paper, polyethylene or foil. Instead of cranberries, you can use any sour berry or dried oranges. You can also add seeds, oatmeal or corn flakes to the bars, pour them with dark chocolate.

Make long shelf life
We will need either a powerful stationary blender or a chopper . With them, you can prepare fruit and meat bars that take up little space, but contain a shock dose of calories and energy. At the same time, the cost of homemade sweets is several times lower than store-bought ones.

Blender Bosch MSM 67150 black 4 999 *
In the grinder, it is convenient to grind meat for pemmican, process a kilogram of carrots for drying in a second, turn dried fruits into a paste for future bars or sweets.

A meat grinder is an assistant for those who do not accept store-bought minced meat, preferring to grind it manually.

A meat concentrate that was used by the Indians of North America and was very popular during polar expeditions at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Super-nutritious, very high-calorie and at the same time compact food, which is now often taken with them by hikers on long routes. It’s a bit of a hassle to prepare, but it’s worth it. You can cook a lot at once, since pemmican has a shelf life of up to several years. In a sense, pemmican is almost dried stew.

Blueberries, lingonberries or cranberries to choose from – 100 gr
Interior fat – 200 gr
Fry minced meat in a pan. We evaporate all the moisture from it until it starts to fry. In the process of frying, add your favorite spices: ideally – smoked paprika, pepper and salt. We spread the minced meat on the dryer in one uniform layer, a tray with a wire rack. We set the temperature to 70 ° C and leave the minced meat for 10-12 hours. If there is no dryer, you can dry the meat in the oven. To do this, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, put minced meat on it. Turn on the oven at the same 70 ° C, select the heating and convection mode, if you have the latter. Do not close the oven door all the way, leaving a gap of 3-5 centimeters to remove moisture. Stir the minced meat every few hours.

Berries also need to be pre-dried or buy ready-made dried ones. The classic pemmican recipe uses sour berries such as blueberries, lingonberries, or cranberries. If desired, you can not add berries at all or replace them with dried fruits, nuts.

Dried minced meat and berries must be ground into a fine powder. To do this, you can use a blender chopper or an electric coffee grinder. Thoroughly mix the meat powder with the berry.

Melt the interior fat completely in a deep frying pan or in the microwave. Fat should be clean, without greaves.

Pour the melted fat into the berry-meat powder, mix thoroughly. Pour into any container to freeze. Cut the finished pemmican into portions. You can store pemmican in a container, in foil, and even in plain paper.

Cook your own stew
No matter how hard you try to come up with something new, but the stew was and remains the queen of the campaign. Seasoned tourists prepare stew on their own from a mixture of meat and fatty fat. The difference with the store is, firstly, the quality of the meat, and, secondly, the amount of fat, which is also used in cooking. Also, there is no excess water in homemade stew, and you can pack it in ordinary plastic containers – the stew will easily survive even a long hike in such a lightweight package.

By the way, homemade stew can also be cooked in a slow cooker . To do this, coarsely chopped pieces of meat are placed in a slow cooker, salt is added, and the “Chef” mode is set for 90 minutes. The finished meat is poured with melted lard or fat and put away for storage.

If you took visceral fat, remove the film from it first. Pass fat or fat through a meat grinder. Melt the fat completely in a hot frying pan or in a thick-walled cauldron. Remove the remaining fried bacon from the pan. Put the meat in a separate pan and simmer in a small amount of fat until excess moisture evaporates. Our task is not to fry the meat, but to remove water from it. As soon as the meat begins to fry, we immediately send it to the main mixture of fat. Over medium heat, stirring occasionally, simmer the meat in fat until the fat becomes clear as water. Salt.

Leave the mixture to cool slightly. Then take a plastic container with a tight, airtight lid—even a plastic bottle will do. Clean the inside of the container with alcohol. If you have a thermoplastic container, you can pour boiling water over it from the inside. Don’t forget to finish the lid too. Put the meat in the container, not reaching 2/3 to the edge. Fill the remaining space with melted fat to the brim. Let cool at room temperature, then store in the refrigerator.

Such a stew will calmly withstand even the heat, but it is undesirable to completely melt it several times. Therefore, before use, either pull out portions, or immediately lay out the stew in disposable packages – small bottles or containers.