7-Day Backpacking Meal Plan

By Nancy LangLast update: 2024-04-13

A few words about this article: My 7-day backpacking meal plan is for a long day trip that you're 100% self-sufficient. It will be perfect for isolated trails where there is no restaurant and you've got no chance to grab lunch or dinner somewhere along the way.

When making a meal plan for a long-day backpacking trip, the two most important things are 1) ensuring enough energy intake and 2) light packing weight.

An Overview Of My 7-Day Backpacking Meal Plan

7-Day Backpacking Meal Plan

I won’t eat a bunch in a meal but will split into smaller bits to have during the day. According to my experience, a hearty meal will make you feel sleepy and slow you down, which impacts the planned pace of your backpacking trip.

Not saying that a sleepy feeling is pronto gets you in dangerous situations or can't completely enjoy the trip.

That's the reason this meal plan includes three meals and four snacks.

Now, let me show you the food that I brought:

Foods I Pack For A 7-Day Backpacking Trip

Food Name

Total Quantity


Calories Count


Instant oatmeal

7 packets of 3.5 ounces

For 7 breakfasts

300-350 calories/serving

Whey protein

7 scoops


Peanut butter

1 container of 1 pound

For 7 lunches

750-850 calories/serving


2 packs of 17.5 ounces

Raspberry jam

1 container of 10 ounces


Refried beans

6 packets of 7.25 ounces

For 3 dinners

1,000-1,200 calories/serving

Cheese slice

6-12 slices

Beef stew

4 packets of 1.5 ounces

For 2 dinners

1,000-1,200 calories/serving

Garlic roasted smashed potatoes

4 packets of 2 ounces

Pepperoni pizza

4 pieces

For 2 dinners

1,420-1,550 calories/serving

Pitta bread

4 slices

Pizza sauce

1 packet

Cheese stick

4 sticks

Dark sea salt chocolate

(the type that’s hard to melt)

1 packet

For 7 desserts in the evening

~150 calories/3 squares/serving


Pre-shelled roasted and salted pistachios/hazelnuts/seasoned and salted macadamia nuts

7 packets of 3 ounces

For 7 snacks

580 – 600 calories/packet/serving

Dried fruits

7 packets of 6 ounces

For 7 snacks

610 calories/packet/serving


1 packages of 2 pounds

For 7 snacks

280 calories/2 packets/serving

Energy bar

7 bars

For 7 snacks

200-300 calories/bar/serving


Instant coffee

7-10 packets

Help you get up and go


Small shell pasta

6 ounces (for 1 dinners)

For one backup meal

650 calories/serving

Parmesan cheese

1 ounce (for 1 dinners)

Peach Mango/raspberry tea packet

7 packets

For moral boost at each dinner


Ramen pack

2-3 packs

For one backup meal

Or, for when you get sick of other snacks

371 calories/pack/serving

7-Day Backpacking Meal Plan

Important notes:

Those are all the foods I brought for a 7-day 100% self-sufficient backpacking trip, which totally weighs 14 pounds. On average, I consume 2 pounds of food, equivalent to 3,800-4,000 calories – which is enough for my body weight (155 pounds).

If you have the same body weight as me, just follow the quantity that I listed above.

In case that you don’t, it is important to adjust the quantity of each food to meet your calorie requirements. To know how many calories intake per backpacking day, keep reading:

How To Estimate The Calories Your Body Requires Per Backpacking Day?

According to Backpacker Magazine, a backpacker needs 25-30 calories intake per 1 pound of bodyweight, for 8-hour backpacking in a day with a heavy pack.

7-Day Backpacking Meal Plan

For example, my body weight is 155 pounds, which means I need to consume at least 155*25 = 3,875 calories per backpacking day.

A trick to easily adjust your diet is to increase/decrease the quantity of snacks while remaining the main meals.

How I Pack My Food

With Pre-Packaged Items

Foods like instant oatmeal, energy bars, and instant coffee are pre-packaged, so you just need to take enough number as listed above.

7-Day Backpacking Meal Plan

For easy access, keep all of these packets in a clear Ziploc plastic bags.

With Items That Aren’t Pre-Packaged

For those items that need to be extracted from a large box or bag, such as whey protein, nuts, and pasta, there are two ways of packing:

  • Extract and keep the food in one big resealable plastic bag
7-Day Backpacking Meal Plan
  • Extract and keep the food in separate resealable small plastic bags; one bag equals one serving.
7-Day Backpacking Meal Plan

I prefer the second way for two big reasons: 1) I can easily track the total calories intake and 2) it avoids having too much in the first few days, which results in nothing left to eat in the last days.

Compared to the way of keeping all nuts in one big bag, this one doesn’t bulk up your packing noticeably.

For example, I keep each scoop of whey protein separately in a small Ziploc plastic bag. Or, you can buy whey protein packets, like this:

7-Day Backpacking Meal Plan

With Jam And Peanut Butter

Although these two items are pre-packaged in plastic or glass containers, I’d like to lighten the weight by choosing nut butter packets instead.

7-Day Backpacking Meal Plan

Glass containers are, on the other hand, not ideal for backpacking because of their vulnerability and cumbersomeness.

With jam, I put some in those silicone bottles that are usually used for shampoo, so you can squeeze it right onto your sandwiches for quick and mess-free serving.

7-Day Backpacking Meal Plan

Bonus tricks:

  • I recommend carrying whey protein of different flavors to avoid the boredom of having the same breakfast during straight seven days. Same with energy bars.
  • Carry a mix of different nuts for more appetite and for providing fuller nutrients.
  • With the Ziploc bags, label each of them with big letter size for easy access. Choose the transparent type for extra accessibility.
  • Always carry some extra foods for backup meals. Focus on those lightweight, easy-to-pack types of foods that give you tons of calories.


That’s all for this article. I hope that my 7-day backpacking meal plan was helpful to you in your upcoming adventurers. If you have got any other tricks to share with me and other readers, please go ahead. I’d like to hear from you as much as possible!

Finally, thanks for reading!

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