Bikepacking Food Planning: Key Insights and 20 Meal Ideas

In the world of bikepacking, few things can spoil an adventure quicker than a hungry stomach. Crafting a well-thought-out meal plan before hitting the trails is not just a good idea – it’s essential. In our guide, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of eating on a bikepacking trip, offering 20 meal ideas to keep you nourished and prepared for the journey ahead. Your stomach will thank you!

Essential Tips

Come up with a Meal Plan

Plan the meals for your journey in advance. When doing that, ask yourself the following questions:

What kind of ride are you going to take? How long will you be on the road? A short 1-3 night trip allows you to carry most of your food with you from the start and not worry a lot about refilling. For longer trips, you’ll need to replenish your supplies on your way.

Are there resupply points along your route? When will you get to them? You’ll typically find grocery stores, fast-food chains, and various restaurants in bigger towns. Smaller towns usually have one general store, a convenience store, and perhaps a diner. Study your route carefully to mark these places and check their business hours.

• Will you be able to cook on a portable stove? It depends on your equipment, the availability of water, and your cooking skills.

• How much packing space do you have available? Will you be able to pack food for all days? Do you have space for cooking utensils?

Choose Food Wisely

Your meal should be enriched with carbohydrates to sustain energy levels, with protein for muscle recovery and with some healthy fats to refuel your energy over time. 

Go for meals that are easy to prepare and store while also nutritious and calorie-dense. Remember that bikepacking cuisine is all about creativity and simple ingredients. Avoid fragile and perishable foods such as meat and cheeses, especially in warm weather.

Dehydrated Meals or Cooking

If you are not up to cooking on your way, get lightweight and easy dehydrated meals, but keep in mind that they may come with a higher price tag. Since they require water for rehydration, check water availability along your route. 

Another way is to cook for yourself. It means either taking pre-made meals with you if your trip is rather short or cooking on the go. Thee last option requires carrying a bit more weight on your back, but after a long day of riding, nothing compares to a hearty meal in the outdoors. If you don’t have a stove, try to stop at a restaurant for at least one proper meal each day to avoid snacks-only diet.

Pack Light, Eat Right

Consider how and where you’ll store your food. 

  • Choose simple one-pot recipes to minimize the weight of your cookware. 
  • You don’t have to give up spices to save space!! Instead, simply transfer them into old pill bottles. 
  • Try to put as much as you can in the cooking pot. 
  • Snacks and water should be easily accessible.

A Word on Drinks

Bringing water is obviously a critical necessity. But what’s a bikepacking trip without classic cowboy coffee? Consider it a sacred ritual of the backcountry. You can rely on Coke, instant coffee, or tea sachets to provide a quick caffeine boost to keep you alert on the trail, but be sure to drink plenty of water as well. Packets of electrolyte supplements or hydration tablets are also an option to replenish lost minerals during long rides away from civilization, but they should not replace water.

Treat Yourself

After a long day in the saddle, you surely deserve it. Save a special treat like a freeze dried apple crumble to keep you motivated.

Bikepacking Meal Ideas

Now let’s dive into 20 ideas of easy and delicious bikepacking meals we’ve come up with.

Breakfast Ideas

• Overnight oats with milk or yogurt and toppings (fruits, nuts, seeds, or honey).

Veggie omelet muffins. Bake individual portions of omelets in muffin tins by mixing beaten eggs with diced vegetables and cheese. Protein-packed and easy to grab!

Instant hashbrowns. Stir in some bacon and eggs to have a flavorful skillet breakfast.

Peanut butter banana wraps. Spread peanut butter on a tortilla, add sliced bananas, and drizzle with honey or cinnamon. Roll it up and enjoy!

Trail mix pancakes. Mix your favorite trail mix into pancake batter for a hearty and nutritious breakfast. To make them even better, add maple syrup or nut butter.

Let’s Talk Snacks

• Trail mix

• Spicy nuts

• Peanut butter packets

• Energy bars

• Dried fruit

• Chocolate chip cookies

• String cheese

• Banana chips

• Bite-size fruits and veggies

• Gummy bears

Lunch & Dinner Ideas

Campfire foil packets. Wrap diced potatoes, vegetables, and your choice of protein (such as chicken, sausage, or tofu) in foil packets with seasonings and olive oil. Cook them over a campfire or portable stove.

One-pot pasta. Cook pasta in a pot with water, adding vegetables, canned tomatoes, and herbs or spices for flavor. Once the pasta is cooked, stir in cheese or protein (such as canned tuna or chicken).

Campfire pizzas. Spread tomato sauce on pre-made pizza dough or tortillas and top with cheese, vegetables, and your choice of protein (consider pepperoni or cooked sausage). Cook them until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup. Grill cheese sandwiches until golden and crispy, then serve with heated canned tomato soup.

Quinoa salad with roasted vegetables. Roast a mix of vegetables in foil packets and toss them with cooked quinoa, mixed greens, and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Pack your panniers with delicious provisions, hit the open road, and savor every moment of your journey. Remember, a happy bikepacker is a well-fed bikepacker.

Yummy pedaling!

You might also like these articles:

A Beginner’s Guide to Ultra-Cycling

Multi-Day Hiking 101: Essential Tips For Your First Trek

The 2024 Calendar of Ultra-Distance Cycling Events Around the World

12 of the World’s Most Spectacular Long-Distance Cycling Routes

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