When you’re camping — especially if your excursion involves physical activity — you’ll want to make sure you have food that’s nutritious, energizing, and lightweight.
If you’re hiking with elevation, for example, that can of chickpeas may start feeling like it’s measured in pounds, not ounces. That means choosing lightweight options — but that’s not the only factor when you’re considering healthy food for camping. You’ll need enough fuel to stay properly nourished while spending time in the outdoors.
As one hiking calculator indicates, a 150-pound hiker carrying a 40-pound pack on a 10-mile hike with an elevation gain of 1,000 feet will burn just over 1,200 calories on the way, and that’s with a fairly flat trail. “When you’re hiking and being active all day, your body is going to need more nourishment than you might be used to,” says Kara Hoerr, RDN, of Madison, Wisconsin. “Energy-dense foods can give you concentrated calories without taking up much space.”
Relying on freeze-dried meals or other packed food can be problematic, because they’re often loaded with sodium. In the short-term, that can cause water retention, especially in the hands and feet, and tends to elevate blood pressure, according to a study published in Nutrients.
Fortunately, there are numerous choices for healthy camping food that can help keep your body nourished and your energy up, so you can enjoy everything the natural world has to offer.