Five day hiking menu – great dinner recipes

We received a terrific email from Meredith sharing her dinner recipes for the Overland Track hike.

The menu can be used for any outdoors trip where you need food that will last a few days without refrigeration, is lightweight, easy to pack and won’t spoil.

What we love about it is that it is really simple. Basically one pot meals that don’t  take an age to prepare or cook.

The last thing you want after a hard day bushwalking is to spend an hour cooking a meal. You want food, and you want it now!

menu 5 day backpacking trip

Image: Allan Chatto via Flickr

Ok, over to Meredith:

My husband and I, with one of our sons and his wife, completed the Overland Track recently. Our evening meals seemed to be the envy of all in the huts!

We don’t own a dehydrator and I was happy to adapt meals we often eat to suit hiking packs. Apart from a few fresh vegetables and fruit and two salami knobs which we shared between us, almost everything was moisture free and contributed no more weight than would normally be expected from six days’ rations.

I found powdered egg a wonderful bonus – as a result I was able to pre-mix pikelet mix for our afternoon tea each day, each stored in zip-lock bags so there was nothing to measure apart from water.

I have attached the evening meal ingredient list in case you think anyone would be interested. I haven’t included instructions for preparation but I think most will be self-explanatory for anyone who cooks!

My one tip would be regarding the sun-dried tomatoes. They are incredibly light and so useful but the ones we had seemed to be rather salty. We always made tea or coffee once we reached the hut, so boiled extra water on the nights we intended to use the dry tomatoes, and started hydrating them as soon as the water boiled. Next time I would discard the hydrating water because it was so salty and use fresh water for the meal preparation.

Hiking Menu five 5 days

My only reservation was that I sprained my ankle badly just before Frog Flat and had to battle on injured for the rest of the hike. (Our fellow hikers, not just our family were amazingly helpful, but that’s another story!)

A tip your readers might be interested in, Sam and Krista bought a new saucepan, one of the ones with the heat efficient base (I don’t know what it is called but it looks a bit like the cooling surfaces of a car radiator) and the difference in cooking times using that compared with our regular saucepan was really noticeable. They are expensive but in terms of using and therefore carrying less fuel, a significant advantage.

Many thanks to Meredith for sharing her fantastic dinner ideas. They look really healthy and tasty!

Have you got any similar dinner recipes for backpacking on long or thru hikes?

Please share them by commenting below, our readers love to try different meals on the track!




  1. Lesley Haine says

    I love the ‘wet’ sundried tomatoes and olive mixes to spice up meals and particularly lunches, but have found that the acidity of them can eat through plastic lunch resealable bags which I used to carry them in. Now I double bag them to ensure I don’t have oil and vinegar throughout my pack!
    Thanks for the menu! I also recently discovered the dried egg powder, it is great for mixing, but I didn’t enjoy it just straight with bacon on toast!

  2. Wendy Currie says

    Five of us did the Overland in January this year, apparently it had snowed 4 days before we arrived, but we had 35 C ea day, so started early every morning to beat the heat. I had spent lots of time beforehand dehydrating meals, snacks etc. before we left which proved to be not only delicious, but the envy of all in the hut!! Here are some of the meals:
    1) Spaghetti bolognaise with lots of garlic, mushies, tomatoes, & served with Angel hair pasta (very quick to cook) , & grated Parmesan cheese. Spaghetti sauce took about 1/2 hour to rehydrate.
    2) Moroccan spiced silverbeet & chickpeas, Dhal, couscous. Dhal rehydrated within 15 mins, chickpeas about 3/4 hr.
    Here is Moroccan recipe from Taste really good!
    3)Ratatouille with slices of potato, Angel hair pasta.
    4) curried veggies, more dhal & couscous. Couscous was light to carry & quick to prepare
    5) packet Mexican rice boosted with dehydrated onions, tomatoes, capsicum & , garlic powder, paprika,chilli flakes

    Also, hommus was popular. Dehydrated until it crumbled, then whizzed up in blender until it resembled sand,packaged up in snap lock bags. Rehydrated within 15 mins and was really yum!
    Also, made leathers from bananas & cinnamon, another just strawberries – had for desserts.
    Dehydrated bananas, apples & strawberries for our home made muesli & snacks.
    Scroggin was crushed potato crisps & nuts and a bag of lollies!!
    Really enjoyed the stunning scenery, & just being together, and having fun. It was the toughest walk I’ve done, & I wished I’d done it in my forties, not sixties!!

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