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Best food for expeditions: ideas and tips about what to pack

best-food-for-expeditions-ideas-and-tips-about-what-to-pack

It can be difficult to plan a menu for your next adventure. You might be struggling for ideas, or the opposite and are overwhelmed by the huge selection of expedition food on the market. The best food for expeditions are delicious, filling, lightweight and ideally doesn’t require much preparation. The UK is full of stunning places, waiting to be explored. You could be embarking on dofe expeditions, multi-day kayak trips or camping adventures. In this guide, I will give you ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts and even snacks. I will include simple options you can get in supermarkets and special military food packets, like boil in bag meals and Freeze-dried expedition food. We have plenty of experience in packing food for various trips, as we love wild camping, mountain expeditions and multi-day canoe adventures.

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Table of Contents

Expedition food comparison chart

  • Real Turmat
  • Wayfayrer
  • Expedition Foods
  • Firepot
  • Blå Band
  • Summit to Eat
Real TurmatWayfayrerExpedition FoodsFirepotBlå BandSummit to Eat
£££
£
£££
££
££
££
TypeFreeze-driedBoil in bagFreeze-DriedFreeze-DriedFreeze-dried and boil in bag optionsFreeze-dried
Weight120 -170 g300 g90 - 190 g105 - 190 gFreeze dried: 140 -160 g boil in bag 430g100 - 260 g
Vegan options
Calories480 - 700 kcal273 - 453 kcal450 - 1000 kcal485 - 940 kcalFreeze dried 650 kcal boil in bag 550 kcal600 -1000 kcal
Cooking methodAdd hot water and wait 8 minutesReady to eat cold or boil in bag for 7-8 minutes to warm it upAdd hot water and wait 5-8 minutesAdd hot water and wait 15 minutesFreeze dried: add hot water and wait 10 minutes. Wet meal ready to eat hot or coldAdd hot water and wait 8 minutes
Favourite mealChicken CurrySpicy Sausage and Pasta Chilli Con Carne with RiceBeef Stew with Pearl BarleyGoulashChicken Fajita With Rice
See PriceSee PriceSee PriceSee PriceSee PriceSee Price

Simple packing tips

It’s essential to have a meal plan and you only bring the food you need. Maybe have a few extra snack bars, as emergency food for any unexpected scenarios. Stick to food you have already tried out and enjoyed. You don’t want to end up in the wilderness with something that it turns out you hate. This will make you miserable and you won’t be able to fuel your body as necessary. Here are a couple of things to consider when planning your menu for your expedition.

Keep it simple

You won’t want to spend hours cooking after a long day. Make sure your meal is either ready to eat or can be prepared quickly on a single camping stove.

Avoid bulky and heavy food

You will have to be able to carry what you will eat. So keep that in mind, when you are doing your expedition food planning. Food in glass jars and tins are not recommended. Throw away packaging to save weight and space. Place your food in sealable bags. These ones from Amazon are great. They are freezer and microwave friendly as well. 

Stick to long life food 

You can plan to have some fresh food, like cheese and cured meat on the first day of your trip. But they need to be kept in the fridge, so plan non-perishable food for the following days.

Avoid non-practical food

Some food might seem like a good idea at first but can quickly end up bad. Some common mistakes people make are taking these non-practical food items:

  • Eggs: They can easily break
  • Chocolate: It can melt quickly in hot weather or in your warm backpack
  • Fizzy or sugary drinks: These will dehydrate you. Take water instead.

Expedition food ideas

Breakfast

You can often get some good camping breakfast ideas from Duke of Edinburgh expedition leaders. My personal favourite option is the Wayfayrer expedition food, which is actually the recommended dofe expedition food. 

No cook camping breakfast

Fruit: apple, banana, oranges
Sausage roll (avoid in hot temperature)
Malt loaf
Banana bread
Rice pudding

Pastries:
Pain Au Chocolate
Almond croissant

Pita bread or tortilla wraps with:
Avocado
Cheese
Pepperami stick
Peanut butter 

Camping food packs 

Real Turmat Chocolate Muesli
EXPEDITION FOODS Scrambled Egg with Cheese and Caramelised Onion
Muesli or granola with powdered milk

Baked Beans meals:
Wayfayrer All Day Breakfast
Wayfayrer Beans and Sausages
FIREPOT Posh Baked Beans

Porridge: 
TentMeals Camping and Expedition Food: Blueberry Burst Porridge Breakfast
Summit To Eat Morning Oats with rasberry  
MOMA Instant Porridge

Lunch

Ideally, you will want to have something quick, that is already prepared. You can make sandwiches ahead of time. If you want a warm lunch, then a great tip is to boil water in the morning and put it in a flask. This will save you time and effort to get your stove out at lunch time again. 
No cook lunch ideas

Sausage roll
Cheese twist
Cheddar muffin
Quinoa or couscous with vegetables
Cold pizza (eat on the first day, as doesn’t last long without refrigeration.

Sandwiches
Wraps and pitta bread have longer shelf life than normal bread and they are already flat, so you don’t need to worry about squashing them in your backpack.

Filling:
Peanut butter, marmite, nutella
Avocado
Tuna, sardines or mackerel
Pepperami sticks
Cheese, like babybel

Hot lunch ideas

Instant noodles
Cup a soup

Dinner

The best hiking dinners are hot, quick to prepare, nutritious and filling. There are some good food pouches for camping, which are particularly great after an exhausting day or if the weather is miserable. There is an expedition meals comparison chart at the top, which shows the best hiking meals. You can also find cheaper alternatives to these in supermarkets, but they might not provide as many calories.

Dehydrated emergency food

Pros:
– Very filling, big portions
– Super lightweight

Cons:
– Needs water to prepare
– Expensive
– Need to have water to prepare. You boil water and add it to the packet.

Boil in the bag food for camping
 
 Pros:
– Ready to eat either hot or cold. You can boil it in some water and then use the water for a hot drink afterwards.
– Budget-friendly

Cons:
-Not super filling
-Heavier than dehydrated food

Supermarket alternatives
Look What We Found meals are produced in the UK. The range is similar to Wayfayrer expedition meals, but they are more widely available in supermarkets. You can find them in Waitrose and Ocado.
Rice in a bag only takes a few minutes to heat up. 
Pasta N Sauce packets are very budget-friendly and can be warmed up quickly. 
Instant mash is quick and easy to prepare. Can be accompanied with frankfurters, sliced pepperoni or tuna in a tub.
Stirfry noodles in a packet

Desserts

I have an incredibly sweet tooth, so desserts after the main meal are a must for me. Easy camping desserts if you have a campfire on to go are smores and banana boats. You can also take some store-bought biscuits, cake bars, fruits or flapjacks. These don’t require any cooking. But in the evening you will likely have your stove out, so why not indulge yourself in a warm pudding? Instant custard mix or semolina works well, but ensure you buy ones that only require water! Boil-in-the-bag puddings can be heavy to take, but they are a real treat!

Snacks

Make sure to have plenty of snacks with you. Having a selection of treats in your backpack which you can graze on during the day is essential to keep you going. 
Nuts are particularly a great option, as they are high in fat, so they provide a quick energy boost.
Energy bars, dried fruit, flapjacks, and sweets are other popular options. 

Vegan Expedition Food

A couple of years ago it was difficult to find vegan and vegetarian expedition food. However since more and more people cut out meat from their diet, companies realized that there is demand for such meals.
 

Make your own dehydrated food for expeditions

Freeze-dried expedition food can be expensive. If you are serious about adventure expeditions and love the outdoors, then I suggest buying a dehydration machine. This way you can make up your own hiking food packs in advance. This will not only save you money in the long run, but you can also use your preferred ingredients. These expedition meals make great food for duke of edinburgh expeditions, multi-day camping trips and military expeditions.

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