Meal prep seems to be something that people either love, hate, or simply tolerate as a necessary evil. But no matter what your stance, if you’re planning on striking out on a multi-day backpacking trip – meal prepping is unavoidable. And while prepackaged store-bought meals are always an option, they can get old if you’re planning a longer trek and they tend to be on the pricier side. 

We’re not here to tell you exactly what meals to prep (click here for Wilderness Recipe inspiration!), but rather, give you some helpful hints to make prepping less intimidating and more thoughtful and systematic.

You’ll want to make sure you stay organized. Plan out a grid-like menu to make sure you’re covering every meal you’ll need. Be sure to throw a few emergency meals into your pack – this is where your store-bought meal options come in handy (Mountain Houses, etc.)

  Day 1 Day 2 Day 3      Day 4     Day 5    
Breakfast Oatmeal Mexi B-Bowl etc etc etc
Lunch Cheese & Crackers Sunny Wraps etc etc etc
Dinner Mac’N’Cheese Moroccan Cous etc etc etc
Dessert Smores Peach Cobbler etc etc etc

Once you’ve got a solid meal plan, you’ll want to start going through and putting together the meals. Ziplock bags are your friend here and are great for organizing and saving space. If you’re trying to live a low-waste life keep your cleaner bags separate so you can wash them out and reuse them. 

Be sure to use a sharpie to label the bag with what’s in it (i.e. Dinner 1 – Mac’N’Cheese). If it’s a new-to-you recipe, and you’re worried you’ll forget the instructions, you can write the recipe on the bag or write it on a small piece of paper that you keep with the meal.

If the thought of a heavy pack has kept you from prepping meals – fear not! – you can find all sorts of goodies in dehydrated or powder form. Hummus, sour cream, other yummy toppings…yup those come in powder! And as you look through our Wilderness Recipes you’ll notice that most of our recipes call for these lightweight alternatives. Just add water to rehydrate!

Fresh can be an option – but consider your climate and be ready to use fresh ingredients within your first or second day. A helpful tip is to keep perishable items whole! While it may be tempting to cut up that bell pepper or apple in the convenience of your kitchen, it will spoil more quickly. And the same goes for cheese or meat. Waiting to slice it can help preserve it.

Bring spices! You can find some pretty tiny containers for salt and pepper, maybe even soy sauce or hot sauce depending on what meals you plan. For more specific spices, figure out the quantities needed for that meal and prepackage them in smaller snack baggies.

Finished prepping? Now it’s time to double-check! Layout all the bags to match your grid menu, and make sure all of your meals are accounted for before you load them into your backpack (or bear can if you’re lucky).

Do you have any tried and true meal-prepping tips? Let us know!

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