Vegan Backpacking Food: The Ultimate Vegan Backpacking Guide

When you live in the city, it’s much easier to prepare vegan meals since you have the resources to do so. That being said, when it comes to getting out of the city, you have some challenges when keeping up with your vegan lifestyle. Unfortunately, when you’re out in the wild, you’re not going to be able to cook vegan meals. Some vegan meals take hours of preparation and you won’t be able to carry all your fruits in vegetables in your backpack.

So, if you’re planning to do a weekend hike or a long-term backpacking adventure, you’ll need to plan ahead and prepare your meals well in advance. Yes, meal planning can be an annoyance for some, however, once you have everything prepared in advance, your trip will run smoothly. As a vegan, since you’ll be backpacking and carrying your food with you, your main concern is making sure your meals are lightweight, however, still packed with nutrients.

Throughout this guide, we’re going to show you the vegan backpacking food you should be incorporating into your hiking meals.

What You Need To Consider Before Hiking

There are a couple things you have to consider when you’re preparing for your hiking trip. These tips will prevent you from overpacking and prevent you from feeling like you’re carrying a grocery store on your back.

Plan it out ahead of time

We already told you, but we need to tell you again. Plan out your vegan or vegetarian backpacking meals in advance. This will help you out immensely. You need to count how many breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks you’ll be needing during your trip. From there, you’ll be able to plan your meals, making sure that all your nutrients and proteins are included in each meal.

This is essential in making sure your body is properly fueled for a full day of walking. If you’re doing a long-term hiking trip, we recommend that you pack a couple extra meals and snacks just in case. You never know if you or your hiking partner may need it.

Calorie Count

No one likes calorie counting, we understand. But, it’s the best way to make sure that your body is getting enough energy throughout the day. It’s especially helpful if this is your first hiking trip since you actually don’t have any past experience to compare to. Since you’ll be spending your days walking, you’re going to need to eat complex carbohydrates since your body will need it for energy.

So, do make sure that you are getting proteins and carbohydrates throughout the day via calorie counting.

Do Use Fresh Foods

Now, you will have to eat dehydrated food, however, you can mix it up with fresh vegetables. Dehydrating food can get become a little dull to eat meal after meal. So, adding some fresh vegetables does it your meal a refreshing boost.

Now, bringing fresh foods along with you will depend on the length of your hiking trip. Fruits and vegetables can actually last quite a while if they’re sturdy vegetables such as celery, carrots, and apples. These fruits and vegetables usually are able to withstand varying temperatures and can last three to four days.

Choose Dehydrated Food Carefully

There is an endless amount of different companies offering dehydrated products for hiking, ones that are also specific for backpacking. Now, they range in price, taste, and quality. However, you want to make sure that, if possible, you mix your dehydrated food with fresh fruits and vegetables for taste and freshness. Of course, below we will show you some of our favorite dehydrated vegan/vegetarian meals for hiking.

Keep An Eye On Your Snacks

You’re going to need to snack throughout the day, it’ll help you keep your energy up. Of course, you can buy energy bars, however, you can also make your own homemade snacks with dried fruits, nuts, and oats.

Though, regardless of whether you buy your energy snacks or make then, you want to make sure they have a sufficient amount of fats, fiber, and protein.

The Basic Vegetarian/Vegan Ingredients You’ll Need In Your Meals

Whether you’re preparing your own meals in advance or purchasing premade dehydrated meals, you’ll want to make sure that they include some of these essential ingredients. Now, pre-made dehydrated meals may use other ingredients, however, you do want to make sure that some of these staples are included.

Dehydrated Soups And Beans

If you’re hiking on a chilly day, having a warm soup or chili can really warm you up. You can have corn chowder or a black bean chili. It’ll add protein to your meal and also give you a comforting feeling when you’re out in the wild.

Fruits and Vegetables

Having fresh fruits and vegetables in your meals makes all the difference in taste. We recommend you opt for produce such as apples, celery, peppers or pears.

As you can tell, the options we gave you are all fruits and vegetables that are a sturdier.

Dehydrated Hummus

Dehydrated hummus is one of the best and easiest foods to bring along with you on a hiking trip. You simply add water to the hummus and it’s good to go. You use it as a dip for your vegetables, or as a spread with your wraps or bread. It’s very versatile and provides you with a high amount of protein and energy.

Dried Fruits and Vegetables

Dried fruits and vegetables will be a huge part of your meals and snack. Dried fruits can be eaten with nuts for snacks as well as vegetables, for example, kale chips. You can add dried vegetables to noodles or soups.

If you choose to purchase dried fruits and vegetables, they may be pricey, however, you can also make them yourself if you’re on a budget.


Everyone loves noodles. It’s a nice change from wraps or bread. You have many options when it comes to noodles and you can choose different types of noodles such as spelt, oat or corn noodles.

Seeds and Nuts

If you’re looking to add calories to your meal and give yourself some extra protein, then you should load up on seeds and nuts. You can eat them on their own or use seed or nut butter.

With the seed or nut butter, you can use it as a veggie dip or as a spread in your sandwich.

Wraps or Bread

Whether you’re using it to make a sandwich or a hummus and veggie wrap, incorporating wraps and bread into your meals gives you the energy from the carbohydrates. Just make sure you opt for whole wheat instead of white, that way, you’ll receive the proper nutrients.

Energy Bars

Like we said before, for snacks you can opt for energy bars or trail mix. If you do not want to purchase energy bars, you can always make your own trail mix. Just make sure you put in enough nuts and dried fruits in it. If you’re going to go for an energy bar, there are so many different bars on the market.

You want to make sure that you choose a bar which contains a lot of fiber, minerals, and carbohydrates. Cliff bars, LaraBars and KIND Bars are great vegan energy bar options. 

Coffee and Tea

Vegan or non-vegan, everyone loves a warm cup of coffee or tea when they wake up in the morning. You don’t need a camping stove with you in order to make a cup of coffee. Instead, you can opt for instant coffees that simply need hot water. With tea, it’s even easier.

Tea or coffee will give you a little boost of energy in the morning and help get your day started.

6 DIY Vegan Backpacking Meals

We’re going to show you some DIY vegan backpacking meals. They’re a mix of fresh and dehydrated products, so you’ll be able to mix and match.

Casbah Hummus Mix

We talked about how hummus is a great vegetarian/vegan option for a meal. Of course, you can make your own hummus in advance, however, if you’re looking to keep it simple, we suggest Casbah Hummus Mix. It comes in 12 packs, with each pack containing 6 ounces of mix. You simply add water and stir. In a couple minutes, your hummus is ready to go.

It’s extremely flavorful and comes in a couple different flavors such as natural and roasted garlic. You can use fresh vegetables to dip into the hummus, giving you that extra flavor of freshness.

Santa Fe Refried Beans

Refried beans are an excellent option if you’re a vegetarian or vegan. You’re going to need your protein while hiking, beans are exceptional for that. Santa Fe Refried Beans provide you with an instant serving of beans and are ready to eat within 5 minutes.

They’re packaged in certified frustration-free packaging, so you won’t need a pair of scissors to open them up. What’s great about refried beans is that they’re low in fat and high in fiber, as well as providing you with sufficient amount of energy. All you need is ¼ cup of water and simply stir the contents of the package.

You can add fresh vegetables or eat it with a wrap/bread. You have the ability to mix and match with refried beans.

Koyo Ramen

If you’re looking to eat something slightly different than wraps and bread, why not try ramen noodles? Koyo Ramen noodles come in three flavors: mushroom, seaweed, and garlic pepper. This brand is a favorite among the vegan community because not only is it vegan but it’s delicious.

It’s made with organic noodles and without any additives or fillers. Within 4 minutes, your ramen noodles are ready to go, so you don’t have to invest a lot of time in order to eat a tasty meal.

You can add fresh vegetables in the ramen or you can eat it as it is. Koyo ramen is high in both carbohydrates and protein, so you’ll be given enough energy to take you to your next meal.

Harmony House Foods Kit

Some of us aren’t interested in planning out our meals ahead of time and spending the time preparing them, which is completely fine. You’re in complete control how you wish to invest your time. So, if you’re time-limited, then we suggest you opt for a backpacking kit. It comes with everything you need for your backpacking adventure.

Harmony House food kit is the Backpacker Magazine’s Editor’s Choice Winner for overall excellence, so you know it’s good. It comes with lightweight meals which you can use for backpacking, hiking, or general travel.

The kit comes with a variety of different meals and only need water added. Everything in the kit is non-GMO, gluten-free, high in protein, vegetarian, vegan and kosher. The kit comes with 18 resealable zip pouches which can provide you with a total of 70 servings.

Curt’s Classic Kale Chips

If you’re getting tired of eating trail mix, we don’t blame you. Instead, why not opt for Curt’s Classic Kale Chips. They’re a tasty alternative to energy bars and mixes. The Kale chips are organic, low-calorie and light. However, don’t be fooled, they’re also full of healthy fats and proteins which you’ll need for your hike.

They’re certified organic, vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO, so really eating a natural and healthy snack.  In addition, they’re lightweight, so if you’re concerned about what you’re going to be carrying on your back, these will not affect you whatsoever.

Good To-Go Herbed Mushroom Risotto

If you’re looking for a meal that’s not your typical dish, then you should try Good To-Go’s Herbed Mushroom Risotto. It’s dehydrated, so you simply add boiling water and within minutes it’s ready to eat. It’s vegan, gluten-free, low in sodium and without preservatives. Most of us, when we think of hiking, think of very basic meals.However, Good to-go focused on making meals that made you feel like you were at home. They made this risotto the classic way, so when you take a bite, you’ll notice how creamy and consistent it is. What’s great is that Good to-go offers you a colorful and multicultural variety of meals to choose from.

Final Thoughts

Backpacking while being vegan doesn’t have to be a challenge. In fact, as you can see, there are a variety of options for you to choose from when preparing your meals. Make sure you do take time in advance to properly plan out what you’ll be eating. That way, you’ll make sure you’re eating the proper amount of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

We showed you the essentials in vegan meals and what you should look for in dehydrated foods. In addition, we also gave you a list of some of the best-dehydrated vegan/vegetarian meals on the market. Now, it’s in your hands. Have you tried one of these dehydrated meals? Let us know in the comment section below!


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