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How to make a super simple meal plan for a day hike

When you’re heading out on the trail for a weekend day hike, the last thing you want in the way is the obstacle of planning. Though it is often as simple as putting a sandwich and snack in the pack, I often find myself getting a little bored of this. In this short article I’ll run through the absolute basics of packing food for a day hike and some examples of what I bring with me on my weekend escapes.

Hiker sitting and eating lunch

Ideas for hiking lunches on day hikes

When planning your menu for a day hike, you obviously want it to be simple so you can just pick your next spot and set off on your adventure! Of course sandwiches are always a huge winner but there are still plenty of options which might be a little different from the standard hiking lunch.

  • Wraps are another alternative to sandwiches that are just as versatile – making them perfect for a quick hiking lunch.

  • Leftovers from the previous night’s dinner can also be a really good option as they require no preparation at all and are often super yummy!

  • Cheese, crackers and meats can be a good option if you are looking for something that can be shared amongst friends hiking with you.

  • Warm meals which can be heated up using hot water from a thermos like instant soups or oatmeal can be a fantastic option when you need something warm during your winter hikes.

  • Rice bowls and couscous from the supermarket can be a flavoursome lunch out on the trail but can sometimes require a tiny bit more prep compared to the other lunches I’ve mentioned.

There are always more options for lunch on a hike but these are the ones have had the most success with while out on the trail for a simple day hike.

Snack ideas for day hikes

Now there is one thing you simply can never forget – SNACKS! For me, my snacks are at the core of a good day hike. When choosing your snacks it’s always a good idea to pack a few more than you actually need as you never know when something will go wrong and you’ll be in need of some extra supplies. Some good snack ideas which l like to have in my pack are:

  • Fresh fruit because it is good for you and super yummy in any situation.

  • Snack bars which are loaded in carbs and protein to give you that extra boost of energy out on the trail.

  • Scroggin (Trail Mix) with tons of nuts, dried fruit and chocolate (and anything else you find yummy!).

  • Lollies are also great to have for when you are running out of energy and need that extra boost (remember – always in moderation).

Again, these aren't all the snacking options you could take out on a hike but definitely ones you’ll come across quite often while exploring the bush.

Then to build your meal plan, all you need to do is list what snacks and lunch items you are going to bring with you. Consider weight if you are carrying some gear with you and your ability to cook certain items. Once you’ve put this short and concise plan together you can buy what you need and get out on the trail!

Remember, bringing enough food is very important. A little bit extra never hurts and can save you from a bad situation when the weather turns or someone gets injured and you can’t get them to help immediately. Remember to keep your hiking meals fun and different! Experiment with different ingredients and different flavours as it is all part of the hiking experience. Finally, remember that they don’t need to be complex but just yummy, some of the simplest things like peanut butter and banana can be the best combos!

Written by Josh Welch



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