9 Bikepacking Meal Ideas and Tips

Eating is an essential part of bikepacking, and it should be enjoyable. However, it doesn’t always come easy. In our latest video, Neil shares nine ideas for bikepacking meals and snacks, such as simple one-pot recipes, quick homemade meals, easy additions to spruce up any meal, and more…

There are a few simple things I’ve learned over the years that have helped me streamline my meals and snacks for bikepacking. There’s nothing groundbreaking in this roundup of nine bikepacking meal ideas and tips, but if you’re unfamiliar with cold soaking or the incredible versatility of tortillas, or you’ve never harnessed the power of free condiments, cowboy coffee, or fire-roasted Pop-Tarts, there might be something here for you. Either way, these simple ideas have helped me ensure a delightful and efficient bikepacking culinary experience time after time. Watch the video below and scroll down for a written version and to hear what some of our YouTube viewers had to say.

Free Condiments

Have you ever visited a gas station or restaurant and noticed the area filled with condiment packets? Typically, you might just walk past them without a second thought. Now, picture yourself at camp with a somewhat dry burrito, and you realize how handy a packet of hot sauce or salsa would have been. I’ve started collecting these condiment packets and adding them to my cook kit. They come in handy for various uses, such as adding Parmesan cheese to a dehydrated meal, spreading jam on a granola bar for breakfast, using mayo for a dry sandwich or to make tuna salad, and experimenting with different seasonings. Those free tea bags from hotels also make for a welcome herbal nightcap.

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One-Pot Meal

Reflecting on my National Outdoor Leadership Semester, cooking became an exciting part of the day, emphasizing creativity and enjoying simple ingredients. The ram-bomb, a combination of ramen and instant potatoes with added string cheese, is a cost-effective and weight-saving favorite. Another go-to is ramen with peanut butter and soy sauce. There are additional simple one-pot recipes here on the site, and the best part is that there’s only one dish to clean!

Buy a To-Go Meal

Sometimes, it’s okay to deviate from the plan and spend a little extra money on a to-go burrito, pizza, or sandwich. This ready-to-eat food is especially convenient when you plan on arriving at camp late. For overnighters, supporting local businesses by purchasing a to-go calzone, tamales, or sub, and leave the cook kit at home for additional space and weight savings.

Stashers Go Bowl

Bring Reusable Bags

When purchasing a to-go meal, consider bringing a reusable silicon Stashers bag, bees wax wrap, or an already used plastic bread bag to reduce waste. Most restaurants accommodate this request, contributing to a more sustainable approach. I prefer Stasher bags for their durability, secure closure, and compatibility with boiling water.

Think Outside the Box

Cooking while camping should be fun and creative. Warming up Pop-Tarts over a flame, opting for cowboy coffee instead of instant coffee, and utilizing oatmeal pouches as both a meal vessel and a mug for coffee or tea are creative ideas. In warmer climates, you can buy a frozen or refrigerated burrito and allow it to warm up naturally during the ride.

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Make Meals on Your Own

While dehydrating meals may take time, it offers an easy and cost-effective solution that reduces waste. Chopping fresh veggies at home before the trip and combining them with ramen noodles, soy sauce, and cashews creates a simple stir-fry. Preparing other meal components like noodles, veggies, and pasta sauce at home is equally straightforward.

Cold Soak Your Food

Cold soaking, a popular method among backpackers, involves adding the required amount of water to dehydrated meals, sealing them, waiting an hour or two, and enjoying a meal without using a stove. This method reduces pack size and eliminates the need for a full cook kit.

Ways to Save Money on Bikepacking Food

Tortillas for the Win?

When in doubt, bring or buy a bag of tortillas. They complement various dehydrated or freeze-dried meals, allowing for quick quesadillas or bean and cheese burritos. Tortillas also pair well with PB and J and tuna salad, and they pack efficiently for easy storage on the bike.

Make Sure You Have Room

Finally, ensuring extra space in your bike or kit for additional food is crucial. Understanding how much food you may need between resupply points and having spare room for a special treat or to-go meal is essential for a successful bikepacking experience.

What are your tips?

Here are nine more tips from our YouTube audience. Also, be sure to share your unique meal ideas, tips, recipes, or hacks in the conversation below!

  • @christopherbrahan1794: My go to for a cheap quick meal is a can of beans with a small can of Hatch green chiles mixed in and a crap ton of tortillas. Cheap, no stove, and filling!
  • @MrQuestful: I love cooking, so I may be an extreme use case, but I have a few tips I’ve learned: 1. Dates are super useful: you can snack on them, make a makeshift fruit and nut bar with them w/ your favorite nuts, put them in coffee. Making this nut bar with a little salt & dark chocolate was one of the best snacks I make. 2. I like to bulk buy my ingredients and make my snacks. I’ve found I can get 1.5lbs Hazelnuts, 2lbs Pecans, & 2lbs of dates for about $38 at Costco, which is also relatively easy to find across the US. 3. In India, it’s pretty common to use a fire-operated pressure cooker. I have one that is a Nepalese mountaineering pressure cooker, and I’m convinced it’s the most handy tool to make something unexpectedly nice in the middle of nowhere. Bringing some dry goods and a spice kit, I made it across the US and made Dal (lentils), rajma (beans) & various rice dishes in this tiny 1.2 liter pot. It’s a bit bulkier than a jetboil, but I really enjoyed its cooking versatility. 4. Eggplant & onion are two of the most durable traveling veggies. I would buy an eggplant and onion when I got to a market, and just throw the eggplant in my fire embers to char, peel it open and scoop out the tender guts into a bowl with some garam masala and minced ginger garlic, and make a pseudo baingan bharta on the go.
  • @jameshallworth8053: Couscous with dried fruits and nuts, a crumbled stock cube in there and some dried mint. Just add water (cold soak or hot) for a delicious and nutritious bikepacking meal. Enjoy!
  • @Clemdapu: I always take some honey with me to put in my tea in the evening! I also use it in my meals for sweetness ;)
  • @thunderbird3694: My low-carb bike food is hard boiled eggs and hemp seeds stored in prescription bottles, beef jerky and cheese cut to fit baggies, or low-carb powdered meal mix.
  • @turtlecrawford6468: Taco Bell Diablo sauce always goes with me.
  • @teddgram: Picky Bars Trail Mix Fix oatmeal is hands down my favorite. Loads of good stuff in there. I just bring a whole bag and eat a little bit for every breakfast.
  • @grumpy-dad3701: If I’m bikepacking over a couple of days, I’ll take a homemade frozen curry for night one.
  • @whatthetrip8769: Peanut butter is something always on my bike: so many calories and fat in a jar. Spread that on a tortilla…

Further Reading

Make sure to dig into these related articles for more info...



Bikepacking Food


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