Paleo Backpacking Foods

Backpacking is one of the times you can work up a serious appetite as you are hiking all day in all conditions. When you get to camp you usually have no energy to cook and yet you are needing some serious nutrition to recover. When backpacking the best foods are nutrient dense and easy to prepare. What you find in the store as prepackage camping foods is often expensive and not nearly as satisfying as what I am about to show you. I have seen the whole carb based camping trends and it took me a lot of experimenting to find something truely paleo, that is primarily ketogenic and getting the best of un-processed animal foods and fats. I discovered this new way of eating at home however it wasn’t easy to create a trail-friendly menu, meaning foods which preserve without refridgeration as well as pack light. The following menu with recipes shows you how to feast out when you hike out.

1—Just getting the food out and eating without cooking, or

2—Boiling water and adding it to an instant mix.

The idea is to carry two pounds of food per day. This is an average and depends on the person as to what is optimal. You only know by experimenting, testing, tweaking. So it is a good idea to carry a little more than you think you will need until you find out what works for you.

These foods are so easy to prepare I can actually have a meal ready within five minutes and even cook during rain by reaching 18 inches outside my tarp to light my stove. The only ‘cooking’ involved is bringing a cup or two of water to a boil. The stove I use is made from a simple tuna can punched through with a paper punch. It takes about two ounces of alcohol to bring a liter of water to a boil, depending on the temperature/elevation. This menu is entirely compose of paleo friendly super foods. You can’t buy these things and will need to prepare them yourself before you leave. For thru hiking you would need to have care packages ready ahead sent to the post offices at calculated times.

Pemmican  (One Pound of pemmican per day)  Go here to learn how to make your own.

Pemmican is the best backpacking staple because there is nothing that can compare to nutrient density. Pemmican is power packed with healthy animal fats mixed with dried pulverized meats and berries. Pemmican is completely different than jersey. Jerky is not practical because it spoils quietly but worse yet, is extremely tough and unpalatable. Pemmican on the other hand requires no chewing because it is so fine you simply bite a piece off and let it melt in your mouth. Pemmican actually starts with jerky which is first pulverized and then mixed with rendered animal fat and if you’re lucky, dried berry powder. You can even add dried and pulverized nuts and seeds if desired however I would only do this with ones which are first soaked, sprouted, and then dehydrated. Otherwise there are too many anti-nutrients.

I find I can eat 1/4-1/2 lb. of pemmican twice a day when I’m doing serious calorie burning from hiking and carrying a pack. So pemmican becomes my staple. It is possible for a person to eat only pemmican and thrive since it is a complete and balanced food. It is the most complete and balanced food known to humanity other than perhaps raw fresh dairy. Pemmican has been used for centuries by Native Americans and later French Trappers as the food of choice for outdoor living where there is no other way to preserve meat.

Fermented Root Salad  (1/2 pound fermented carrot/beet/ginger per day)

The fermented carrot/beet/ginger salad is full of enzymes, bioavailable vitamins and trace minerals. It is almost too good to be true when on a backpacking trip to have something that is a live food. It is possible because this recipe is compact and preserves well even during warmer weather because of the high anti-oxidant content. A super delicious digestive aid chock full of probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes, with a juicy, crunchy texture and sweet and sour flavor that lightens the menu when eaten with the pemmican.

Fermented Carrot/Beet/Ginger Recipe:

2 pounds carrots

2 pounds beets

large piece of ginger root

sea salt

kelp powder

shrimp paste (from Asian super market)

bentonite clark


EM-1 Mother Culture

Grate a carrots and beets approximately equal amounts of each.

Heat 1/4 cup water and mix the shrimp paste in a small bowl. To that add the molasses and EM-1 Mother Culture

Pour all the ingredients into one large flat container.

Mix together with hands.

Place a 1/2 gallon Wide Mouth Mason Jar inside the large plastic tub. Carefully scoop the mix into the jar. Pack down tight. Fill to 1/2 of the top. Put a lid on. Place on a counter with a plate under it. In a few days the liquid will rise to the top and start to spill out. Open the line and push the veggie mix down with a fork then put the lid back on but not tight. It needs to have air escape. Instead of a lid you can use a piece of plastic held on with a rubber band and small holes poked through with a fork.

This usually takes 3-5 days until it is ripe. You can put in fridge at that point or leave out if you want it to ferment even more and become stronger.

Cheese (1/4 pound per day)

Who doesn’t like cheese? One of the best camping foods again known for nutrient density and preservability. I just eat a few bites with my pemmican or my butter bars.

Gelatin (This goes in the other recipes like Instant Soup Mix, Butter Bars, and Coffee Creamer Mix)

This is important to help stimulate the metabolism, provide heat generation and cartalidge health. The amino acids in Gelatin balance the amino acids in the meat (pemmican). There is nothing more convenient than powdered gelatin which will thicken a hot soup or drink. The more gelatin the better but at least two TBSPs per day is recommended. I have the gelatin with every meal and it is also included in the Cacao Butter Bar Recipe.

Medicinal Mushroom Powder Blend

Used in the instant soup recipe  (About 1/4 cup per day)

Mushroom Instant Soup Mix

1/2 cup 14 mushroom powder blend

1/2 cup gelatin 50/50

1 TBSP. Nutritional Yeast (Optional)

1 TBSP powdered veggies (Optional)

1 tsp. salt

Butter (about 1/4 – 1/2 pound per day

Used to top the soup or hot drinks

Powdered Goat Milk

Used to make Coffee Creamer Mix: (1/2 cup per day)

1  cup powdered goat milk (Meyenburg Goat Milk Powder)

1 cup gelatin powder 50/50 (Great Lakes Bovine Gelatin Powder)


Bring fresh ground packed in ziplock bag or get the Coffee Concentrate packs for the easiest.

Honey  (I bring 1/2 cup for a weekend trip)

Packed in a very good squeezable backpacking tube.  I add to my drinks or have a shot straight when needing a burst of energy.

Butter Bars-uncooked  (I bring 1/4 pound per day)

The butter/cacao bar is a high calorie food which helps add healthy fats and sugars to the diet.

One pound butter/cacao cookie (raw)

(the recipe for this is:

one pound butter

1/2 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup cacao

1/2 cup gelatin

1/2 cup ground pumpkin seeds (optional)

1-2 tsps. coarse Celtic sea salt

1—Place the butter and honey in a large mixing bowl and place in a warm place until soft. Then mix together gently with a fork.

2—Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl

3—Pour dry ingredients over wet ingredients and mix gently with a fork until thoroughly mixed.

4—Scoop into waxed paper muffin holders or simply place in oiled muffin tins.

5—Place in refrigerator. As it cools it will harden.

6—Then place in ziplock bags for the trail.



Fermented carrot/beet salad  —1/3 cup

Blueberry pemmican    1/2 lb.

Strong coffee (6 TBSP of ground beans) with a TBSP of coffee creamer and 1/8-1/4 lb. of butter


1/4 pound of butter cacao/ gelatin cookie

Piece of Cheese

Water or hot tea


A cup of boiling water with 1/4 cup powdered mushroom/gelatin soup blend and 1/4 lb. butter

1/2 Pound Pemmican

Piece of Cheese

About 1/3 cup of grated carrot/beet salad

Hot chocolate drink made by taking a cup of boiling water and adding 1/4 lb. chunk of the butter/cacao cookie and 1/4 cup powdered goat milk/gelatin mix

I would fill my 2 cup wide mouth stainless steel thermos with this drink and have half after supper and the other half during the night when I wake up hungry.


Fresh Raw Meat:

Notes: When temps are below 50 and not freezing, raw meat preserves itself for several days. Add spices to meat to further preserve it with antioxidants.

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