Flat-packing: Lightweight Backpacking Food

Lightweight backpacking requires that all of the materials in the backpack total between ten to twenty pounds. In order to achieve that weight a backpacker has to plan wisely, not only purchasing lightweight gear, but also packing the food and water for the trip wisely. The key things to remember about lightweight backpacking food are to pack flat, and remove all excess air and packaging.

Packing Flat

It is important to buy lightweight containers so that the food and water supplies may truly be lightweight backpacking food. The best thing about food is that it is consumed, so the weight it adds to the pack diminishes during the course of the trip. The downside is that the containers that the food is stored in still have to be carried back home.

It is important to buy flat containers in which to store food, whether liquid or solid. Oddly shaped containers, such as oval or round do not pack tightly and waste space in the pack. It is also important to find containers in which the air can be pulled from the container. In this way, the food is kept fresher, sloshing for liquid foods is minimized, and space is again saved.

It is important to re-package all foods into the smaller, more efficient containers mentioned above in order to create a lightweight backpacking food area in the pack. Only pack the specific amount of food needed for a particular meal. Portion out all ingredients so that you are not carrying unnecessary items. Ziploc baggies are wonderful tools to use within the containers so that an entire meal may be portioned out and locked within an easily stackable, lightweight container.

In addition, whatever containers are used should also be collapsible, if possible, so that when they are empty they can be collapsed and easily packed one within another for easy cleanup and take home storage. Pots and pans should also be stackable so that it reduces space in the pack, so that you have more room for the larger essentials such as the lightweight backpacking stove.

What about Water?

A common question about lightweight backpacking food that less experienced backpackers ask is what to do about the cumbersome and heavy, yet essential, element of water. There are several ways to approach this issue. The most weight effective way to pack water is not to pack water, but pack the means to purify the water that you find at the campsite. If there isn’t water in the area, then it does require that water be packed in, which limits the amount of time a person is able to spend at one particular site. There are lightweight pouches that can be filled with water and carried conveniently in a pouch of the pack, which enables effective water storage without taking up too much space.