Food – a menu for 9 days hiking

Lightweight food for a 9 day hike?
Making sure you are not bored with your hiking meals?
Looking for some great ideas to keep you fuelled up on an long bushwalking trip?

What food to take on an extended hike is always something that challenges us before a trip. Balancing weight, freshness and variety all make for interesting discussions as we plan our menus. We are always on the lookout for new or well written information about hiking food so please contact us here if you would like to contribute.

Hi, Frank & Sue here,Sick of eating the same boring food every time you go hiking? We teach you how to plan a menu, package your food, share ideas on what to eat or how to dehydrate meals, our book Food to Go is packed with easy tips and great recipes!Click here to download it now

Adam Holbrook, Tasmanian Wilderness Photographer shared an excellent atricle on the  Bushwalk Tasmania Forum , regarding the food his wife was taking on a 9 day walk on the South Coast Track in southern Tasmania. The link to the full topic on the forum is here.

We asked Adam if it was OK to reproduce the menu and he was happy for us to make it available for “Our Hiking Blog” readers.

We did the South Coast Track in March / April 2006 and this is the link to our posts. If you want to read Sue’s reflections and check out the pictures, have a look.

This is the list of food Tasadam’s wife took on the walk and his thoughts:

Breakfast – x 9
Her normal cereal which is Fibre Plus – 60 gram serves which is a cup full. Weighed into individual Multix medium sized freezer bags (these are the best and lightest bags).
Milk powder – 9 x 30 gram bag fulls, cheap & nasty Coles freezer bags, tied into a knot then the tails cut off.

They are then placed together in a Glad sandwich bag.

Finally,  20 tea bags, a quantity of milk powder in a bag for extra cups of tea, and a small bag of sugar.

Total for 9 breakfasts including extras = 983 grams i.e. 109 grams per day.

We use the expensive freeze dried single serve bags that you get in the bushwalking shops. Approx 110 grams total.
Also, a quantity of dried beans and some cuppa soups.

Total for 8 dinners plus extras = 1047 grams i.e. 131 grams per day.

Lunch – a bit more tricky but still managed okay
Mountain Bread, 8 sheets plus bag = 250g.
Thickly sliced cheese enough pieces for each day= 274 grams
Stick of salami = 317 grams
Semi Dried tomatoes in a sandwich bag with oil drained off = 88 grams
Mango chutney in a food tube as a spread = 109 grams
Carrots * 2 – cut into quarters (1/4 carrot per day x 8 days) = 220 grams

Total for 8 lunches = 1258 grams or 157 grams per day.

Nibble bags
8 bags of nibbles consisting of dried fruit (fruit cake mix – sultanas, raisins, fruit pieces etc), dried apple, scroggin (bushwalkers mix ), dried banana, sweetened dried banana, dried apricots.

Total = 983 grams or 117 grams per day

Extra food
Full packet of GingerNut Snaps biscuits= 270 grams
Half a 200g block Toblerone chocolate (one piece per day) = 110 grams
Bag of cashew nuts = 100 grams

She also had 3 x 75 gram portions of Sustagen powder to make 3 x half litre energy drinks = 225 grams.

Total extras 705 grams or 88 grams per day average.

Total food weight for 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 8 dinners plus all the extras = 4976 grams.
Total per day = 608 grams.

And she carried a chicken salad roll for a couple of hours on the first day to have a luxury lunch.

Total weight could be cut down by –
Losing the carrots – new daily total 580 grams
And talking only half a packet of biscuits New total 563 grams
And lose the sustagen powder (if it’s not your thing) New total 555 grams.

Wouldn’t want to go too much more extreme than that – lots of energy burnt up when walking.

EDIT – A bit of follow up from Tasadam.
The sundried tomatoes weren’t such a hit, still too sloppy…
The bushwalkers mix of nibbles, there are similar bags of stuff you can buy in the supermarkets – easy to spot – with the nuts etc in the fruit and veg section. Pre-packaged in a 400 gram bag. Walnuts, almonds, sultanas, dried fruit, seeds – I think they are pumpkin and something else, etc you get the idea. But I think I prefer the stuff from Wholesome house more… It tastes “better”. This stuff keeps you regular too. I find about 100 – 120 grams a day is enough.

Many thanks to Adam,  we think it is one of the best food lists for a multi-day walk we have come across. Don’t forget to check out his great Tasmanian Wilderness Photography.

Did you know we have an eBook that is jammed packed full of hiking recipes, hiking food ideas, menu plans and lots of other terrific, tested ideas?

Click on the picture below to check it out and download a free sample.

Find more about hiking recipes, menus and meal planning


  1. Anonymous says

    What a great food plan,sounds like you’ve put a lot of work and planning into the menu. Love the table and setting in the photo

  2. Frank and Sue says

    Thanks guys, but thanks have to go to Tasadam at the Tasmanian Hiking forum. There are a lot of other good ideas there.

  3. amy says

    Wow, this is so well thought out!

    On the Overland Track last week, food was one of our key topics of conversation with the other hikers (no wonder, being hungry all the time). One woman owned a dehydrator, and had prepared 6 days of gourmet, dried meals for both her and her husband that filled less than a single grocery bag. What a brilliant idea – she said you can just pack up any leftovers from normal meals, and dehydrate them for later use. Some meals freeze better than others, of course, so it takes a bit of experimentation. But given the amount of salt and additives in store-bought camp food, not to mention the expense, a dehydrator seems worth the investment.

    We tried to strike a balance between weight, nutrition and taste, and ended up bringing a combination of ‘real’ food and freeze-dried stuff. The surprise winner was the 100% turkey Spam! I hadn’t had Spam in years, but it tasted even better than the salmon packs. The only issue was their weight, but carrying a couple of tins didn’t break the camel’s back (this time).

    This is a great blog, by the way. I will draw inspiration from you for future walks next time I’m down under – I’m itching to do the Southwest Walk in Tasmania.

  4. Frank and Sue says

    Hi Amy, Thanks for dropping by and leaving such a great comment. I reckon dehydration is the best way to be able to take some fantastic food on a hike. We actually share the ownership of a dehydrator so it worked out as quite an inexpensive option. Plus you know what you are eating!!

    Drop by when you are thinking about the South Coast Walk and check out the posts Sue did about our trip. It is a TOTALLY different experience to the Overland Track , MUCH LESS infrastructure….you are basically on your own down there…

    As for Turkey Spam….enough said…..Smoked Chicken breasts are great , they last a long time and it is real chicken.

  5. tasadam says

    Yeah, I still refer to my own list I made for her on that trip as a checklist when I am preparing for any overnight walk.
    Glad to see people are getting something out of it.

  6. says

    Wow, that is quite detailed and helpful information. If anyone is interested in learning more about dehydrating your own food, check out You can follow the easy step by step instructions to make healthy, lightweight food to take on your next backpacking adventure.

  7. says

    Wow!!! You know what your talking bout don’t yo uI mean your knowledge is so amazing that I cannot even understand it!
    I love the trail mix it looks like my beedroom!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAH!!! get it I love lollies!!!! Ahhhhh we are sooooo alike we both like lollies!!! Not to sure about those colourful ball in thatmix but the rest look nice…..very….nice!!!!!!!

  8. Stevo says

    Me and the wife are going on an overnight Hike here soon. It is still somewhat cold here, but we have a great break in the weather and want to take advantage of it. The hike I am doing will really only be about 5 hours of hiking each day, and I used to do the same hike all the time when i was younger. We will not be bringing a tent because there is a cave with the perfect camping spot for a fire. we will be taking 3 liters of water (each) with us, and will top off at the natural spring at the campsite. (still goin to use aqua tablets just in case)

    I plan on taking 3 pouches of Wise Freeze Dried Food (4 servings per pouch) (good but need seasoning)
    Store bought Trail mix ( I don’ have a dehydrator)
    Hard Salomi
    a couple of cans of food for day 1,
    and a collapsable fishing pole and small amount of tackle and fillet knife. I plan to catch as much food as possible (limmited by what we need)

    only problem is that i have to blaze a trail when we get by the river as the foliage there is very thick. I plan on revisiting the same hike with my kids, but don’t want to be swinging a machete too much while they are around. So I’m probably going to do the same hike 2 weeks in a row, one without kids, and one with kids.

    Sorry for long post, but I wanted your guy’s insight as to what i might be missing. (its been 10 years since i did a hike like this and that was when i was a little tougher)

    Here is our pack contents: (mine and my wifes)
    Sleeping Mats (millitary surplus)x 2
    Sleeping Bags (mill surplus) x 2
    Mess kit
    Mil suplus alluminum eating utensils
    filet knife and some fishing gear ( very compact)
    3 liters of water each
    aqua pills for disinfecting water we collect from the spring
    12 servings of freeze dried food (3 bags 4 servings each)
    trail mix and maybe some other snacks ( suggestions?)
    2 cans of beans or something similar
    hard salomi (like you get at christmas)
    machete for blazing trail by river
    survival knife
    flashlights and batteries
    extra set of clothing for each
    Hygene bag – with everthing we can think of
    first aid kit
    hats, gloves,
    some small rope or twine

    This is probably the wrong place for this post but the posters on here seem very nice and knowledgeable and I would rather ask you guys.

    we plan on being out 2 days and 1 night. I am familiar with the area, and there are farms and houses withing 1/2 mile in any direction. So I’m not too concerned about emergency situations.

    There is a 150′ cliff that we will encounter ( i will have to go up to get fire wood) but i will not be near the edge as a friend of mine had fallen off an 80′ cliff when i was younger, and now i’m afraid of heights)

    too cold for snakes this time of year.

    oh, this is in Missouri, hike to Greens Cave on the Meremec River.
    about an hour from St. Louis

    Please let me know if there is something I may be missing, All recommendations are welcome! Thanks in advance, and enjoy the mild winter if it is mild where you are! :)

    • Frank says

      Hi Stevo,
      Wow, what a great comment!
      Ok, not sure how to help you too much. Your gear sound fine for this trip.

      We don’t really blaze trails here. Have you thought about tying some tape or something to the trees that you can remove on your way out?

      Have a great trip, be safe and don’t get lost!

  9. says

    I find food taste’s so much better when you are hiking. I guess its because you have done so much hard working during the day, that sitting down to a hot meal at the end of it is so special. Or maybe its that the world and its regular distractions seem so far away that you can enjoy the simple things in life – like food!

    Here is a couple of suggestions and recipes for some basic hiking food:

    I would also add salami (so much flavour for its weight) and dried mushrooms – add them to cows-cous, or rice, and dinner is ready.

  10. Lachy says

    I am a scout in nsw and I use this page a lot. It is really light and tasty and it doesn’t take up much room. Thanks for the great idea.

    – Lachy

  11. Jasmine says

    Hi guys,

    Your blog is great, I have found myself back here a few times when prepping for a walk :)

    Just thought I would add a couple of food ideas that have worked well for me:
    – haloumi cheese! its a little fancy, but lasts forever in the bottom of your pack and is a bit of treat for the end of a hike when you cant stomach the idea of more cous cous.
    – also, cous cous. I empty the packet into a big sandwich bag and add spices etc prior to leaving home. Doesn’t add weight but sure adds flavour!
    – for longer walks, we take a plastic screw top container of canned fruit. We eat it in a day or 2, then use the container to rehydrate foods/soak dried beans etc whilst walking during the day. Using the water you’d carry anyway, it doesn’t add much weight, but means less cooking time and gas usage.

    We are heading off in a couple of days to do the cape-to-cape trail in the south-west of WA. Should be a blast!
    Thanks again for all of your great ideas!

    • Kate says

      Hey jasmine – I came to this site looking for inspiration for food for our cape-to-cape attempt in September of this year! I’d love to hear more about how yours went.


  12. Jason says

    Hi. There are some great ideas for hiking food. It’s been 20 years since my last hiking trip and I’m about to embark on an overnight hike with my 5 kids (age 7 to 14). It will be their first hiking experience. Trying to keep the kids pack weight down and still have decent meals for them has been my greatest challenge. Like most growing kids they are always hungry. I will definitely use some of your ideas, thank you

  13. Ben says

    Hi there i am a scout from NSW. Thank you for the ideas i am doing a 2 night camp soon and weight is always a problem as we can only cary 30% of our body weight, and this site was full of light weight ideas.
    So thanks very much for the page!😃

  14. Ben says

    If anyone is going to cradle mountain in Tasmania I highly recommend “scout hut” as a nice but affordable as well as brilliant location for people finishing or starting the overland track or anyone in the area.

  15. Kate says

    “Her normal cereal which is Fibre Plus – 60 gram serves which is a cup full. Weighed into individual Multix medium sized freezer bags (these are the best and lightest bags).
    Milk powder – 9 x 30 gram bag fulls, cheap & nasty Coles freezer bags, tied into a knot then the tails cut off.

    They are then placed together in a Glad sandwich bag.”

    A suggestion for the above – if you mix cereal and powdered milk together, you can eliminate two plastic bags per meal. Less rubbish, and less cost, and less room taken up with used bags in your pack – winning!

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