Backpacking as a Vegan: What I Ate in Algonquin Park

One of my biggest fears upon becoming vegan was how I would find food for my backpacking trips. These trips include days in the backcountry of Canada, carrying all that is needed to survive on my back. We often cover 10+ kilometers in a day, and I was worried that vegan food wouldn’t sustain me. Not only was this my very first solo backpacking trip, but it was also my first one as a vegan, so I was a little on edge...about everything.

Prior to becoming vegan, I would buy the pre-made, “just add water” food packages that are found in most outdoors stores. Easy. Done. While there are some similar vegan packages online, I chose to go the route of making my own food. This was a little bit more work, but very worth it. The foods that I chose were similar to what I normally eat on a day-to-day basis, so my stomach wasn’t doing flip flops as it normally does from the packaged food. There was a big comfort in having my familiar foods with me, while out in unfamiliar territory.

Surprisingly the food was very easy to prepare. It took up much less room in my pack because I was able to put it into smaller ziplock bags than the usual packaging that the food comes in.

If you’re hiking for multiple days it’s a good idea to package each day into its own bag. That way it can be on hand, and all together at the start of your day. It’s also a good idea to label each bag so that you know which food is for which day.

Requirements for Backpacking Food:

  1. Lightweight - You are carrying everything on your back, which all adds up. When you go for multiple days in a row you want the food to weigh as little as possible. Any extra unnecessary weight will weigh you down and increase your fatigue throughout the day.

  2. Fast Cooking (just add water) - You won’t have the time or energy to make a meal, so stick to meals that require you to just add boiling water.

  3. Nutritious - You will be burning A LOT of calories during your day of hiking, and you’ll need to replenish those calories using your food. It’s important that your food is calorie dense and nutritious so that you can replenish your body.

  4. Safe Without Refrigeration - You won’t have access to a refrigerator, and you won’t be able to carry around cooler packs, so you will need to bring food with you that will be safe to eat after being out in the elements for extended periods of time.

Easy Vegan Meal Plans for a Backcountry Camping Trip (2 Day, 3 Night)

NOTE: Place each meal in its own individual ziplock bag or a reusable cloth bag for storage.

The Breakfasts

To Drink:

1 teaspoon of matcha tea with 1 cup warm water

To Eat:

½ cup rolled oats

1 cup of boiled water

1 handful of cranberries

1 teaspoon of chia seeds


Larabars - 1 per day

Trail mix - natural almonds, walnuts, dried bananas

1 snack size bag of veggies (carrots and celery)

*Choose vegetables that do well with temperature change-I suggest carrots, celery, snap peas, uncooked sweet potato

**You can use any nuts and dried fruit that you’d like for a snack, these are just my favorites

***My personal favorite Larabars are the Coconut Cream Pie and the Peanut Butter Cookie (yum).

The Dinners

Fiesta Rice:

1/2 cup instant rice

1 cup water

1 teaspoon chia seeds

1/2 cup dehydrated corn

1 teaspoon dried onion flakes

1/3 cup dehydrated black beans

1 teaspoon red chili

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cilantro

1/2 teaspoon cilantro

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Curry Rice & Vegetables:

1/2 cup instant rice

1 cup water

1/2 cup dehydrated vegetables

1/3 cup dehydrated celery

1 teaspoon chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground flaxseed

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon dried onion flakes

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Garlic Couscous:

1/2 cup couscous

1 cup water

1/2 cup dehydrated veggies

1 teaspoon chia seeds

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 tsp pepper

OPTIONAL: 1/3 cup chopped sundried tomatoes

*Make sure that everything is sealed tightly, and hung up in a bear bag at night, to avoid having any new “friends” visit your site.


Jackie ToddComment