First things first, you’ll need to make sure you have enough clean water to last you the whole trip, so bring a water treatment tool. (You can find portable filters and tablets in any outdoor retailer.) You can store your H2O in a hydration bladder, which Carney says is a nice way to save weight and space in your pack. Putting it in a reusable bottle is also an option. Carney and Haywood opt for metal ones because they’re durable and plastic-free.
Then comes the fun part, the food! Trail snacks are a must, and you can save on some pesky packaging by making your own ahead of time and storing them in reusable Stasher bags (great for small stuff like nuts) or Beeswax wraps (ideal for sandwiches and cheese). Trail mix with peanut m&ms, apple slices with aged gouda, and homemade gluten-free protein brownies are all fuel you’ll find in these adventurers’ packs. Coffee is optional on the trail for some people, but if you’re not one of them, Sullivan says that Canyon Coffee’s instant coffee is the best of the best.
Nut butter sandwiches are a great option for lunch, while dinner can be your opportunity to get a little fancier. Garcia notes that while freeze-dried meals are standard camping fare, homemade pre-prepped meals tend to be healthier and tastier, plus they come with less packaging. She’ll head to the bulk bin section of her local grocery store to stock up on staples like oats, rice, and dry pasta before a trip. You can load these base ingredients up with non-perishables like nuts, canned fish, freeze-dried vegetables, and spices. Just add boiling water and you have yourself a meal.
Lightweight, portable Jetboils are a popular cooking system among many backpackers, and Garcia also recommends the Seed and Summit X-Pot, made from heat-resistant collapsable silicone. “I really like that pot because you can saute things in the bottom of it and you can also use it to boil water, so it has more than just one use.” Be sure to pack a reusable fork and spoon (or spork!) to gobble it all up with.