Backpacking is awesome, but keto backpacking is even more awesome.
Because fat has twice as much energy per gram as carbs or protein, resulting in significantly less weight in your backpack for the same number of calories.
So relax, nobody is going to be hungry. Here are the most packable high-energy snacks to take with you.
Fat bombs are totally killing it. Designed specifically to give you energy during outdoor activities, this one gets maximum stars for every possible criterion—packability, weight, energy, taste, convenience, and everything else you can think of.
Consider this: it fits perfectly into a hip pocket of your jeans, so you don’t even have to take off and open your backpack when a sudden pang of hunger strikes. Don’t worry about it losing consistency—it’s meant to be creamy. All you need is to knead it, tear off the top, and enjoy an all-natural fuel pack.
Speaking of which—each serving provides 215 calories coming out of 22g fat, 2g protein, and 1g net carbs. It’s made from a blend of macadamia nut butter with sea salt, and it’s perfect for any keto trip.
And yes, you don’t need a knife or fork to enjoy these—the utility of the design makes your hands remain perfectly clean.
I’ll be completely honest with you—putting the Wild Boar Salami on a second place was a mistake. Actually, the only reason for this is that you can’t eat it without making your fingers greasy (I really hate it).
Regarding everything else, this salami is apparently designed for backpacking. Properly cured, it lasts days out of the fridge. And yes, it’s supposed to be a bit moldy because it’s part of the curing process.
The flavor is savory yet subtle, not overwhelmed by the seasonings, and more Italy-like than American-like (meaning it’s more on the sweet side than hot side). If you ever tasted a non-gamey wild boar salami in Italy, you’ll see how this one tastes every bit as good as the original.
Honestly, it’s nearly impossible not to fall in love with such a flavor that begs for more and more bites. It’s nutritious, impeccable for keto, and has a delectable (and impossible to describe) savoriness.
And yes, the only reason it ended up as a runner-up is because you need a knife to cut it and your fingers might become greasy. If this is not a problem for you, Wild Boar Salami hits the top without a doubt.
UPDATE: Creminelli introduced Salami Minis. Now you can enjoy the flavor of Italy with your fingers clean. Magnificent.
No matter how far from home you travel, cheese is one of the staple foods in any culture. Keto backpacking is no exception—cheese-based products fit perfectly into low-carb hiking.
Of course, you can just grab a piece of cheese from your fridge and put it into your backpack as you go trekking. But the problem is—most sorts of cheese will melt over the course of the day, not even mentioning the entire weekend.
Just The Cheese solves this problem by taking 100% natural Wisconsin cheese and baking it to crisp. They use only one ingredient (yes, cheese), and bake it in the oven until it becomes crunchy.
It’s that simple and yet it makes these snack bars perfect for grab-and-go keto hiking, backpacking, and any other outdoor activities. They spare you hours of cooking and let you concentrate on the future trail instead of spending time finding recipes.
Just The Cheese bars come in 4 various flavors and they also have a variety box option so your taste receptors aren’t bored while you explore the beauty of nature.
Why you should trust us
KetoWatt’s team of low-carb devotees has been exploring the world of keto for many years even before keto became mainstream. As of trekking and backpacking, one of us hikes almost every weekend, exploring the beauty of the national parks in the Western US, and another one once cycled a hundred miles with just a knapsack and no plastic. When it comes to keto, there’s no such thing we haven’t tried—and if there’s, we’ll test it and write about it.
How we choose the best keto backpacking food
Setting out on a journey, whether it’s a one-day hiking trip or a week of backpacking, you have a lot of things to worry about. Our goal is to make you not worry about food.
That’s why we developed a set of criteria to help pick out the best of the best:
- Size and weight. Avocados are great, but the pit is bitter and takes up too much space. Avocados are great to eat at home, but they might be not the best foods for backpacking. If you aim for the least volume and weight, they aren’t the best for sure.
- Convenience. While hiking, we need something readily accessible and handy to eat. Soft cheese is great at home, but you definitely don’t want it to melt all over your bag during your trip. Being able to eat without a knife and fork is also a great option.
- Nutrition. We opt for natural low-carb foods at home. Why break good habits while backpacking? Everything we recommend is nourishing, natural, and keto-friendly.
- Price and value. Getting the best bang for your buck doesn’t mean buying the most expensive stuff. But it doesn’t mean buying the cheapest stuff either. We pick out those foods we can trust and which are priced reasonably for what they provide.
- Taste. Ten men, ten tastes—that’s so true. But all rotten fish taste the same—that’s also true. We make sure to avoid rotten fish.
The Best Keto Backpacking Food: Macadamia Fat Bomb
They say that Macadamia FBOMB is designed with the knowledge that high-quality fats should be accessible wherever life takes you.
And they are absolutely right. The utility of the design is what soars this snack up to the top of our list—you can literally eat it anywhere. The packets are durable and yet extremely easy to open. You can tear off the entire top or just the corner, depending on how ravenous or in-a-hurry you are.
Each pack includes 10 pouches, each of those containing 215 calories—2150 in total, which is a day’s worth of calories for a regular person. Given the 1 fl oz packet volume (about 2 tbs) it’s really a savior for those who always don’t have enough space in their bags (like me).
The consistency of this fbomb is quite runny and somewhat resembles syrup, which actually makes sense because it helps you squeeze it out. There are two ways to eat these while backpacking: for example, you can do it like runners do—squeeze it directly into your mouth and chase it with water or any electrolyte drink. Or you can put this fbomb atop a keto-friendly waffle and pair it with high-fat bulletproof coffee or anything else to your taste.
Keep in mind that you have to knead it before eating. Otherwise, the consistency will be thicker than you need at hiking. The temperature also plays a huge role—the colder it is outside, the denser this fbomb will be.
In simple words, this is the best on-the-go nut butter I’ve met so far. It might seem a bit pricey because of macadamia nuts (which are the most nutritious nuts for keto), but it is definitely worth it.
We examine a lot of foods and only include the best of the best into the top 3 list. But some options are worth to be mentioned anyway. Here they are:
Nuts and seeds. Isn’t it the first thing that came to your mind when you first thought of keto backpacking?
They are probably the most portable, last for long (they are the definition of how long something can last), and are extremely easy to snack.
The best nuts for keto (in descending order based on the amount of carbs) are pecans, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, pine nuts, almonds. Avoid pistachios and cashews.
As for seeds, pumpkin and sunflower are great.
The biggest problem with nuts, at least for me, is that I simply can’t satisfy my hunger with just nuts. They are nutritious, they taste great, but they absolutely don’t stop me from craving something else. I use them as merely a snack.
Hard cheeses. As for me, the best option is the oven baked cheese bars I mentioned above. But some other sorts of cheese are also suitable for keto backpacking.
Namely: old gouda, parmigiano, sharp cheddar, romano, and other hard cheeses. The older and dryer, the better.
Wrap the cheese over in paper to soak up any liquid and then put it into a Tupperware container. To help it last longer, don’t cut the cheese at home but do it right before eating. You’re not going on a trail without a knife, are you?
Tuna packets. StarKist Chunk Light Tuna is the easiest way to add seafood to your backpacking keto diet. It’s a healthy source of protein which also contains Omega 3s.
This is a perfect choice for those who prefer plain tuna without any fancy taste. Yes, pouches are a little bit more expensive, but they save you from carrying excess weight and volume (because cans usually have too much water inside).
Why I didn’t include tuna in the top 3 list (and I’m a huge fan of tuna) is because one pouch is simply not enough for me. Many people say that each pouch is enough to make a sandwich but unfortunately it seems to be not my case. And two packets are a little bit too much.
Dehydrated veggies. Many people recommend those, but I’m clearly not a fan of cooking veggie soups on my journey. Partly because I’m not a huge fan of soups, partly because carrying a pot in my backpack for the entire day is not what I’m looking for.
Dried Meat. Aside from the runner-up salami option I mentioned, beef jerky might also be a good choice for active backpackers. But you need to be extra careful because the majority of manufacturers add roughly 3g sugar per serving. Luckily, El Norteno Beef Jerky has just 1.5g carbs per serving and only 0.5g sugar, which makes it a decent choice.
And yes, it doesn’t need to be refrigerated but you still should eat it shortly after opening the bag.
Keto Hiking Advice
I’m not going to write the ultimate hiking guide here—google is decent for that. Instead, I will give you three pieces of advice about keto backpacking that really helped me as a beginner.
Don’t go hiking before you fully transitioned to keto. I don’t mean walking around your local park, I mean real dawn-to-dusk hiking. When your body hasn’t yet started working completely on fats but already doesn’t get enough carbs, putting it into more challenge is too cruel.
Of course, it varies from person to person, and for somebody it might be even easier to transition to keto when they are physically active. But, from my experience, it might be hard to be active during the transition state.
Listen to your body. For many people, keto means lack of burst speed but also an ability to go further at a moderate pace. Don’t try to set records running uphill—take as much time as you need. After all, hiking is about the process, not about timings, isn’t it?
Don’t be obsessed with carbs. Precisely, with not eating carbs. Actually, the truth is—you can eat a little bit more carbs when you’re physically active. A person with a sedentary lifestyle might be knocked out of ketosis after eating just 30g carbs a day; an athlete can get 100g carbs a day and still be in ketosis.
Why this happens? Because ketosis occurs in absence of carbs, and you can burn these 100g carbs in just an hour of being active. What people tend to forget is that keto is not about the process, it’s about the result—the more happier, healthier, and good-looking version of you. A dozen extra grams of carbs might give you a burst of energy you need to keep moving. So what if it kicks you out of ketosis for a couple of hours? In this time you will burn more calories than you digested, and become stronger, leaner, and healthier. Isn’t it worth it?
Of course, it’s hard to manipulate your carb intake when you first dive into keto. But as you get more experience, you will be able to precisely target your needs with a proper amount of carbs without being kicked out of ketosis. For now, just know that if your regular daily intake is 30–40g carbs, you might increase it to 50–60g carbs while backpacking if you just feel like doing it.
The Bottom Line
Backpacking is awesome, and ketogenic diet goes really well with it. In fact, no other diet can help you save so much space in your backpack while still providing nutritious and healthy foods.
Speaking of which—I definitely haven’t covered all possible options. What is your favorite food choice for backpacking?
Share it in the comment section below!