Best Meats For Backpacking And Camping 2023

Meats for Backpacking: Protein-Packed Options for Your Next Adventure

Meat is an important source of protein and energy for backpackers.

Finding the right meat to take on a backpacking trip can be challenging, as it needs to be lightweight, easy to prepare, and able to withstand the rigors of the outdoors.

In this article, we will explore some of the best meats for backpacking and why they are great options.

meats for backpacking

One of the most popular meat options for backpacking is dehydrated meat.

Dehydrated meat, such as beef jerky, turkey jerky, and salmon jerky, is lightweight, easy to pack, and has a long shelf life.

It is also high in protein, making it an excellent source of energy for backpackers.

Other popular meat options for backpacking include canned tuna and salmon, hard/dry salami, bacon, and summer sausage.

These meats are also lightweight and have a long shelf life, making them perfect for backpacking trips.

Understanding Meats for Backpacking

When it comes to backpacking, selecting the right type of meat is crucial. Meat is an excellent source of high-quality protein and other essential nutrients, making it a popular choice for backpackers.

However, not all types of meat are suitable for backpacking. In this section, we will discuss the different types of meat that are suitable for backpacking and the factors that should be considered when selecting meat for backpacking.

meats for backpacking

Types of Meat for Backpacking

The most popular types of meat for backpacking are dehydrated chicken, dehydrated turkey, beef jerky, canned tuna/salmon, hard/dry salami, bacon, and summer sausage.

Each of these meats has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on the length of the trip, the temperature, and the personal preferences of the backpacker.

Factors to Consider

When selecting meat for backpacking, there are several factors that should be considered. These include:

  • Shelf Life: The meat should have a long shelf life and be able to be stored at room temperature. This is important, especially for longer trips where refrigeration is not an option.
  • Weight: The meat should be lightweight and easy to carry. Backpackers should avoid heavy meats that will weigh them down and take up valuable space in their backpacks.
  • Nutrition: The meat should be high in protein and other essential nutrients to provide the backpacker with the energy they need to hike and explore.
  • Preparation: The meat should be easy to prepare and require minimal equipment. Backpackers should avoid meats that require extensive preparation or cooking, as this can be time-consuming and add unnecessary weight to their backpacks.
  • Personal Preferences: The backpacker’s personal preferences should also be taken into consideration. Some backpackers may prefer certain types of meat over others, or may have dietary restrictions that limit their choices.

meats for backpacking

Where to Buy Meat for Backpacking

Meat for backpacking can be purchased at most grocery stores or outdoor retailers.

When purchasing meat, backpackers should look for meats that are specifically labeled as suitable for backpacking or camping.

These meats are usually dehydrated or dried and have a longer shelf life than fresh meat.

In conclusion, selecting the right type of meat is essential for a successful backpacking trip.

Backpackers should consider factors such as shelf life, weight, nutrition, preparation, and personal preferences when selecting meat for their trip.

By choosing the right type of meat, backpackers can ensure that they have a nutritious and delicious source of energy to fuel their adventures.

Pre-Packaged Meats

When it comes to backpacking, pre-packaged meats can be a great option for those who want a quick and easy meal on the go.

These meats are typically shelf-stable and can be stored for long periods of time without refrigeration.

In this section, we will discuss three popular pre-packaged meats for backpacking: Summer Sausage, Beef Jerky, and Dry Salami.

Summer Sausage

Summer sausage is a type of sausage that is typically made from beef, pork, or a combination of the two.

It is a great option for backpackers because it is shelf-stable and can be stored for long periods of time without refrigeration.

Summer sausage is also a good source of protein, making it a great choice for those who need to refuel after a long day on the trail.

Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is a popular pre-packaged meat for backpackers. It is made by drying out thin slices of beef and seasoning them with salt and other spices.

Beef jerky is a good option for backpackers because it is lightweight, easy to carry, and can be stored for long periods of time without refrigeration.

It is also a great source of protein, making it a good choice for those who need to refuel after a long day on the trail.

meats for backpacking

Dry Salami

Dry salami is a type of salami that is typically made from beef, pork, or a combination of the two. It is a good option for backpackers because it is shelf-stable and can be stored for long periods of time without refrigeration.

Dry salami is also a good source of protein, making it a great choice for those who need to refuel after a long day on the trail.

meats for backpacking

In summary, pre-packaged meats can be a great option for backpackers who want a quick and easy meal on the go.

Summer sausage, beef jerky, and dry salami are all good options that can be stored for long periods of time without refrigeration.

They are also good sources of protein, making them great choices for those who need to refuel after a long day on the trail.

Dehydrated and Freeze-Dried Meats

When it comes to backpacking, carrying fresh meats is not an option due to their short shelf life, weight, and space constraints.

Therefore, dehydrated and freeze-dried meats are excellent options for backpackers to carry protein-rich food that is lightweight and easy to store.

Freeze-Dried Meats

Freeze-drying is a process where food is frozen and then placed in a vacuum chamber, where the ice is turned into vapor without passing through a liquid phase.

Freeze-dried meats are lightweight, have a long shelf life, and retain their nutritional value. They are also easy to rehydrate, as they absorb water quickly.

meats for backpacking

Backpackers can find freeze-dried meats in various forms, such as chicken, beef, pork, and fish. They are available in pre-packaged meals or as standalone products.

However, freeze-dried meats are expensive compared to other options, and backpackers may need to supplement them with other protein sources to meet their nutritional needs.

Dehydrated Meats

Dehydrating is a process where the moisture is removed from the food, making it lightweight and compact. Dehydrated meats have a longer shelf life than fresh meats and are easy to store.

They are also cheaper than freeze-dried meats and can be easily prepared at home.

Backpackers can dehydrate their own meats using a dehydrator or an oven. Lean meats, such as beef, chicken, and turkey, are the best options for dehydrating.

Once dehydrated, the meat can be stored in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bag for up to six months.

meats for backpacking

To rehydrate dehydrated meats, backpackers can soak them in hot water for 10-15 minutes. They can also add the dehydrated meat to their backpacking meals, which will rehydrate during the cooking process.

In conclusion, dehydrated and freeze-dried meats are excellent options for backpackers to carry protein-rich food that is lightweight and easy to store.

While freeze-dried meats are more expensive, they have a longer shelf life and retain their nutritional value. Dehydrated meats are cheaper and can be easily prepared at home.

Backpackers can choose the option that best suits their needs and budget.

Alternatives to Meat

When it comes to backpacking, carrying fresh meat can be challenging due to its perishable nature.

Fortunately, there are several alternatives to meat that are lightweight, easy to pack, and provide the necessary nutrients for a successful hike. Here are some great options:

Hard Cheeses

Hard cheeses like cheddar, parmesan, and gouda are excellent sources of protein and fat, making them a great way to add flavor and calories to your meals.

They are also very shelf-stable and can last for several days without refrigeration. Consider packing a small block of cheese and grating it over your pasta or soup for a delicious and satisfying meal.

meats for backpacking

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a great source of protein, healthy fats, and calories, making it an ideal food for backpacking.

It is also very versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, such as sandwiches, oatmeal, and smoothies. Pack a small jar of peanut butter and pair it with some crackers or bread for a quick and easy snack.

meats for backpacking

Olive Oil

Olive oil is an excellent source of healthy fats and can add flavor and richness to your meals. It is also very calorie-dense, with one tablespoon containing around 120 calories. Consider drizzling some olive oil over your pasta or rice for a delicious and filling meal.

meats for backpacking

Energy Bars

Energy bars are a great way to get a quick boost of energy and nutrients while on the trail. They are lightweight, easy to pack, and come in a variety of flavors and types.

Look for bars that are high in protein and healthy fats, and avoid those that are high in sugar. Energy bars can be a great snack or meal replacement when you’re on the go.

energy bars

Overall, there are many alternatives to meat that are great for backpacking. Hard cheeses, peanut butter, olive oil, and energy bars are all excellent sources of protein, healthy fats, and calories that can help you stay fueled and energized on the trail.

Food Safety Considerations

When it comes to backpacking, food safety is a crucial consideration. Food poisoning can ruin a trip and even be life-threatening in some cases. Therefore, it is important to take necessary precautions to ensure that the food is safe to eat.

One of the key things to keep in mind is the temperature. Most bacteria grow rapidly between 40 °F and 140 °F, which is known as the “Danger Zone.”

Therefore, it is important to keep perishable foods cold until ready to eat. For a day hike, non-perishable foods are a good option. However, for longer trips, it is important to bring perishable foods that can be kept cold.

Sick backpacker

It is also important to prevent cross-contamination. This can be done by keeping raw meat separate from other foods and using separate cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked foods.

It is also important to wash hands and utensils thoroughly before and after handling food.

Another consideration is the type of meat to bring. Some meats, such as hard/dry salami, can last up to one year unopened and un-refrigerated if it has a natural casing.

Other meats, such as canned meats, can also be a good option. However, it is important to check the expiration date and ensure that the can is not damaged.

Overall, it is important to prioritize food safety when backpacking. By taking necessary precautions, such as keeping perishable foods cold and preventing cross-contamination, backpackers can ensure that their trip is enjoyable and safe.

Storage and Transportation

When it comes to backpacking, proper storage and transportation of food is essential. This is especially true for meats, which can spoil quickly if not handled correctly.

In this section, we will discuss two important aspects of storing and transporting meat while backpacking: bear canisters and paper towels.

Bear Canister

One of the most important things to consider when storing meat while backpacking is how to keep it safe from bears. Bear canisters are a great option for this.

These are hard-sided containers that are designed to keep bears out. They are made of durable materials, such as plastic or metal, and are usually secured with a locking mechanism.

Bear Canister

When using a bear canister, it is important to follow a few guidelines. First, make sure to store the canister at least 100 yards away from your campsite.

This will help prevent bears from being attracted to your food. Second, make sure to store all of your food, including your meat, in the canister.

This will help prevent any smells from attracting bears. Finally, make sure to properly secure the canister so that it cannot be easily opened by bears.

Paper Towel

Another important aspect of storing and transporting meat while backpacking is keeping it dry. Moisture can cause meat to spoil quickly, so it is important to keep it as dry as possible.

One way to do this is to use paper towels.

When packing meat, wrap it in a few layers of paper towels before placing it in your backpack. This will help absorb any moisture and keep the meat dry.

It is also a good idea to pack extra paper towels so that you can re-wrap the meat if necessary.

paper towel

In addition to wrapping meat, paper towels can also be used to clean up any spills or messes. They are lightweight and easy to pack, making them a great addition to any backpacking trip.

Overall, proper storage and transportation of meat while backpacking is essential for ensuring that it stays fresh and safe to eat.

By using bear canisters and paper towels, you can help prevent spoilage and keep your meat safe from bears.

Planning Your Backpacking Meals

When planning backpacking meals, it is important to consider the nutritional value of the food, as well as its weight and ease of preparation.

Instant rice is a popular option for backpackers due to its lightweight and quick cooking time. However, it is important to note that instant rice may not be the best option for sustained energy during a long camping trip.

To ensure a balanced diet, backpackers should aim to include a variety of foods in their meals. This includes a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fats, as well as a variety of flavors and textures. Fresh foods can also be included, but it is important to consider their perishability and weight.

backpacking meals

When selecting meats for backpacking meals, it is important to choose options that are lightweight and easy to prepare.

Jerky is a popular choice due to its long shelf life and high protein content. Other options include canned meats, such as chicken or tuna, or freeze-dried meats.

Backpackers should also consider the cooking equipment they will have available and plan meals accordingly.

Simple one-pot meals, such as pasta dishes or soups, can be easy to prepare and require minimal equipment.

Overall, planning backpacking meals requires careful consideration of nutritional value, weight, and ease of preparation.

By selecting a variety of foods and considering cooking equipment, backpackers can ensure they have nutritious and satisfying meals during their trip.

Wrapping Up

When embarking on a backpacking adventure, one’s diet plays a pivotal role in ensuring sufficient energy for the journey.

For meat-loving trekkers, the myriad of meat camping options available can be quite enticing. However, the best way to ensure you have nutritious and delicious food throughout your trip is to strategically choose your food items.

Freeze-dried meals have become increasingly popular among backpackers, primarily because they offer a variety of choices and retain the taste of fresh food.

These are not just limited to meats but span a range of cuisines and flavors. The beauty of freeze-dried food is its lightweight nature and long shelf life. All one needs to do is add hot water, and within minutes, a wholesome meal is ready.

For those looking to pack in as much food as they can without increasing their baggage weight, foods with high caloric density should be on top of their list.

Pre-cooked bacon and ground beef are two excellent food choices in this category. When cooked and dehydrated, they offer a rich source of protein and can be rehydrated easily.

Having a food dehydrator at home can allow backpackers to prepare these in advance, ensuring that the moisture content is adequately reduced for a longer shelf life.

Another delectable option for the meat-loving backpacker is shelf-stable meat. These are food items processed to be stored for a long time at lower temperatures without spoiling.

They are a great place to start for those unsure about diving into the world of freeze-drying or dehydrating their meats.

A little tip: always carry a small bottle of hot sauce. It can add a zesty flavor to any dehydrated meal, making it more palatable, especially after a tiring day of trekking.

Lastly, while meat is delicious and protein-rich, it’s also important to diversify your food choices. Consider adding items like trail mix, which offers a blend of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits.

This provides a quick energy boost and balances out the meat’s protein.

In conclusion, whether you’re relying on freeze-dried food, using a food dehydrator, or scouting for shelf-stable meat, there are numerous options available for meat lovers while backpacking.

Remember, the goal is not just to satisfy your taste buds, but also to ensure you’re fueled and energized for the journey ahead.

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Harry Morgan

Harry Morgan is an avid camper and hiker, who shares their invaluable experience and knowledge with us. With a deep passion for exploring the great outdoors, Harry's captivating storytelling and insightful tips will inspire and empower you to embark on your own unforgettable adventures.


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