Backcountry Camping: Food, Planning and Skills

On this page, you will find backcountry:

  • trip planning
  • packing lists
  • menu planning
  • food preparation
  • skills

Backcountry Trip Planning

1. Trip planning: kayak tripping

2. Canoe tripping with kids

Backcountry Packing Lists

1. Spring 8-day, 90k along the full length of the La Cloche Silhouette Trail at Killarney Provincial Park for 2 adult females

Complete list here.

2. Fall 3-night, 4-day fall backpacking trip for 2 adult females (includes clothes we were wearing)


  • 1 pair zip-off pants
  • 2 t-shirts
  • 1 long sleeve shirt
  • 1 long johns (long sleeve top plus bottom)
  • 1 fleece sweater
  • 2 pairs underwear
  • 3 pairs socks
  • 2 bras
  • 1 rain coat and rain pants
  • 1 wide brimmed hat
  • 1 winter hat
  • 1 pair gloves
  • 1 pair sunglasses
  • 1 pair hiking boots
  • 1 pair sandals

Kitchen (shared)

  • 1 pot 2 L
  • 1 pot gripper
  • 1 MSR Dragonfly stove with wind protector
  • 1 325 ml fuel bottle (full)
  • 1 scorch burner (modified version of the one from the Outback oven, which always slips off the stove)
  • 1 pot cosy
  • matches
  • 2 bowls
  • 2 spoons
  • 2 mugs
  • 1 pancake flipper
  • 1 swiss army knife
  • 1 single blade knife
  • parchment paper (2 square feet?)
  • hot pot square (thing you sit a pot on so as not to burn your table) (not used)
  • coffee filters for straining water (not used)



  • 1 backpack with water bladder
  • 4 rolls toilet paper (shared)
  • 1 2-man tent – Sierra Designs Zilla 2 (shared)
  • 1 fall/spring sleeping bag (mine the MEC rated to -7 and Cheryl’s to -20 something)
  • 1 thermarest
  • 1 headlamp
  • 2 AAA headlamp batteries (shared)
  • 1 tarp + 3 small ropes (shared)
  • 1 bear bag + non-stretchy rope (shared)
  • 1 GPS (shared)
  • 2 AA GPS batteries (shared)
  • 1 map + compass (shared)
  • 1 emergency locator beacon (shared)
  • 1 first aid kit (shared)
  • 1 emergency kit (small amount of duct tape, backpack waist belt buckles, needle and thread, shoelaces) (shared)
  • 1 fire starting kit (matches, cotton balls, long burning pouch) (shared)
  • water purification drops (shared)
  • 1 camera
  • 1 tripod (shared)
  • 1 bear spray (shared)
  • 1 sunscreen (shared)
  • 1 cell phone
  • drivers licence, health card
  • 1 pen and small notebook (shared)
  • 1 quick dry towel
  • personal hygiene items (toothbrush, contacts, medicine etc.)

3. Winter 3-night, 4-day snowshoeing backcountry trip

Complete list here.

4. Fall 6 day, 80 km hike for 2 people

Complete list here.

Backcountry Menu Planning

Read my tips on how to plan a menu for backcountry camping.

Seven sample menus (spring, summer, fall and winter):

1. Sample fall 3-night, 4-day backpacking trip for 2 adult females

Full trip report available here.

Day 1

Distance hiked: 6.51 km

Afternoon snack – quick energy bar (The Trailside Cookbook by Don and Pam Philpott) [155g – note: weights are given per food item, not per person – so here, 155g = 2 energy bars]

Dinner – carrot raisin salad with peanuts (Fork on the Trail by Laurie Ann March (FT)), and 1 mini naan bread each (store bought) [380g, includes container for peanut butter]

Bedtime snack – 1 dehydrated banana each, a few mini Skor bars [101g] and Baileys [278g – this was divided over 3 days]

Day 2

Distance hiked: 12.29 km

Breakfast – strawberry peach muesli (FT) [356g], gatorade [223g, divided over 3 days and 2 meals/day] and tea [62g divided over 3 days]

Morning snack – trail mix (homemade) [157g]

Lunch – apple peanut salad wrap (FT) [352g, includes container for peanut butter] and gatorade

Snackchocolate peanut butter balls [126g]

Dinner – quinoa and spinach soup (FT) [164g] and bannock (FT) [190g]

Bedtime snack – 1 dehydrated banana each, a few mini reeces pieces, [107g] Baileys

Day 3

Distance hiked: 12.1 km

Breakfast – Canadian maple blueberry granola (FT) and dried fruit [284g], gatorade and tea

Morning snack – honey mustard gorp (FT) [179g]

Lunch – bannock (FT) with hummus (rehydrated), dried peppers, dried fruit [160g] and gatorade

Afternoon snack – quick energy bar (The Trailside Cookbook by Don and Pam Philpott) [174g]

Dinner – bacon and egg bagel with veggies [308g]

Bedtime snack – banana chips, a few mini turtles [118g] and Baileys

Day 4

Distance hiked: 7.7 km

Breakfast – huevos rancheros (egg/salsa/cheese/tortilla wrap) (FT) [258g], gatorade and toffee coffee hot chocolate (FT) [145g]

Morning snack – pizza trail mix (FT) [155g]

Lunch – black bean dip (FT) and dried peppers [147g] with homemade crackers [143g] and gatorade (ate at trailhead)

Afternoon snack –  fruit leather and beef jerky (ate on drive home) [106g]

Other than eating Sunday’s lunch and snack after our hike was done, we estimated food quantities perfectly. Any tips for increasing calorie content while decreasing weight would be greatly appreciated!

2. Sample winter 3-night, 4-day snowshoeing backcountry trip

See menu.

3. Sample spring 7-night, 8-day backpacking trip

See menu and the review of this menu post trip here.

4. Sample 3-night, 4-day canoe trip for 5 people (2 adults, 3 kids)

See menu.

5. Sample 3-night, 4-day early May backpacking trip

See menu.

6. Sample 3-night, solo spring backpacking menu

See menu.

7. Sample 6-day, 65 km fall hike for 2 people

See menu.

8. Sample menu for 6 day, 80 km fall hike for 2 people

See a review of the menu (what worked/what didn’t, what we changed from the original planned menu).

Backcountry Food Preparation

1. Homemade beef jerky – backpacking snack or expensive cat treat?

2. How to dehydrate eggs for the backcountry

3. Perfecting dehydrated chicken

4. Flatbread in the dehydrator: veggies, nuts, seeds and a bit of experimentation

5. Winter food preparation

Backcountry Skills

1. How to easily hang a bear bag with 1 rope

2. Making a sled for backcountry camping (see review of the sled here)

3. Backcountry kitchen: how to make do with less

2 Responses to Backcountry Camping: Food, Planning and Skills

  1. Kat says:

    My sister & I travel up from New York (Syracuse area) every Autumn to camp for a week. This will be our 7th year. We always grab a site, and we cram in as many day hikes as we can. We’ve talked about backpacking, and have even made a few equipment purchases, but we’re nowhere near ready yet. We’d start out small…just to see how we’d do.

    Any advice would be most welcome. We’re not triathletes by any stretch of the imagination. We just love Algonquin, and would be interested in exploring more of it…off the beaten path.


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