Usually dinners on tramping trips are shared as a group and then people bring their own breakfast, lunch and snacks.

It’s often easiest to plan food for long trips by weight per person per day and then split that up into weight per meal.

For most people, between 600g and 800g of dried food per day  is enough, split up something like this:

  • Breakfast 150g
  • Lunch 150g
  • Dinner 200g
  • Snacks 150g
  • Drinks 50g


Muesli with milk powder – just don’t get coco pops or rice bubbles or similar.

Porridge is also good – It’s very filling at first but mix in lots of dried fruit and nuts otherwise you tend to get hungry after an hour or two. If you get porridge sachets, you’ll need 2-3 per day.

Milo, hot chocolate, (The ‘just add water’ sachets are easier than carrying milk powder) tea or coffee is light and easy. Jed’s Coffee Co make tea bags with coffee that taste way better than the instant stuff!


Crackers with lots of spreads is an easy way of doing lunches. Just don’t let your trip leader push a tree onto your bag, or they disintegrate. For shorter trips, tortilla wraps are nice, if a little heavier. Bring lots of nice toppings:

  • Salami
  • Cheese
  • Peanut butter (has a massive amount of calories per 100g so take heaps!)
  • Other spreads
  • Hummus (goes off in a few days)

Other options are to make Tararua biscuits or something similar (These last well, survive crushing, {Tested with a car} but can be broken with ice axes), or you can even boil water for some couscous or instant mashed potato if you have the time!


Pasta, rice and couscous are much cheaper (and nicer!) than backcountry freeze-dried meals, especially when cooking for a group of 5 or 6 people. I take about 130g per person and then add 70g of extra stuff.

Couscous cooks in 2-3 minutes once boiling water is added, so it’s best for a quick meal. Long, thin pasta or macaroni elbows are less bulky – easier to pack. Instant mashed potato is another easy meal

Some of the things to add to meals:

  • Dehydrated flavour packets from the supermarket (taco spice, pasta sauce, soup packets, nasi goreng mix etc)
  • Chopped up salami or chorizo sausage.
  • Cheese
  • Surprise peas/vegetables
  • Concentrated tomato paste

If you have a dehydrator you can make some awesome dehydrated curries, mince/bean mixes or pasta sauces that are still very light.

Dehydrated falafel mix packets can be found at some supermarkets. It takes a bit longer to fry the balls, but it makes a very good meal.

Try to avoid tins and glass jars – carrying out heavy jars even after the food is gone is just demoralising.


Most people take some nuts, muesli bars, sweets and chocolate. Dried fruit is heavier for the calories you get, but good if you aren’t too concerned about weight. Tasti muesli bars aren’t too expensive and have more calories than most other muesli bars. Another good option is scroggin – mix up nuts, dried fruit, lollies and chocolate in one bag, and try not to eat all the chocolate first.

150-200g seems to be a good amount of snacks, even if it seems like quite a lot at first.


Soup sachets are really nice to have once you’ve arrived at a hut. Raro sachets or similar things are great, though taking one a day gets heavy fast.