Bikepacking is an exhilarating way to explore the great outdoors. With a bike, some gear, and a sense of adventure, you can travel to places that are off the beaten path. As you plan your bikepacking trip, one essential factor to consider is your food. What you eat will impact your performance, energy levels, and overall enjoyment of the trip. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about bikepacking food.

Bikepacking food is an essential aspect of any bikepacking trip. In this activity, riders travel long distances on bicycles while carrying all of their necessary supplies, including food. Since space and weight are limited, bikepacking food should be carefully planned and packed to ensure sufficient nutrition for the journey. In this article, we will explore the principles of bikepacking food and some tips for selecting the right foods for your next bikepacking adventure.

Understanding the Importance of Food in Bikepacking

Bikepacking involves physical exertion and endurance that requires fueling the body with the right nutrients. The food you eat must be high in energy, easy to carry, and quick to prepare. Consuming the right amount of calories and nutrients will help you to maintain your energy levels throughout the trip and keep you going for longer.

Misconception 1: Just Pack Snacks

Many bikepackers make the mistake of only packing snacks for their trip. While snacks are a great option for quick energy boosts, they cannot provide you with the necessary nutrients and calories for a sustained period. It is vital to pack a variety of foods that will provide you with a balanced diet.

Misconception 2: Eat Anything You Want

It is tempting to indulge in unhealthy food during a bikepacking trip. However, consuming unhealthy foods can lead to digestive problems, fatigue, and a lack of energy. It is essential to focus on nutrient-dense foods that will fuel your body and provide you with the energy you need to complete your trip.

Planning Your Bikepacking Food

Planning your bikepacking food requires research, preparation, and organization. Before you set off on your adventure, you must plan your meals and snacks, taking into account your nutritional needs, dietary preferences, and the duration of your trip.

Key takeaway: Planning and choosing the right bikepacking foods is essential for maintaining energy levels, endurance, and overall enjoyment during the trip. It is crucial to focus on nutrient-dense foods, consider portability, shelf life, accessibility, and hydration when selecting your food items. Avoid misconceptions such as just packing snacks or indulging in unhealthy foods. Take the time to research the terrain, determine your nutritional needs, and plan your meals and snacks accordingly.

Planning your bikepacking food requires research, preparation, and organization. Before you set off on your adventure, you must plan your meals and snacks, taking into account your nutritional needs, dietary preferences, and the duration of your trip.

Research the Terrain

Different types of terrain require different amounts of energy. Researching the terrain of your bikepacking route will help you to determine the amount of energy you will need and the type of food to pack.

Determine Your Nutritional Needs

Your nutritional needs will depend on your body composition, height, weight, gender, and fitness level. It is essential to calculate your daily caloric requirements and the right balance of macronutrients, including carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Plan Your Meals and Snacks

Once you have determined your nutritional needs, you can plan your meals and snacks. It is best to pack a combination of easy-to-prepare meals and portable snacks that you can eat on the go.

Choosing the right bikepacking foods

When choosing the right bikepacking foods, you must consider the following factors:

Key Takeaway: Bikepacking requires careful planning and consideration of the right foods to pack. Snacks alone cannot sustain the body for the physical exertion and endurance needed in bikepacking. Bikepackers must research the terrain, determine their nutritional needs, plan their meals and snacks, and choose foods high in energy, portable, with a long shelf life, and accessible for consumption while on the go. Staying hydrated is also crucial, and bringing a water filter or purification tablets is recommended.

When choosing the right bikepacking foods, you must consider the following factors:


The food you pack must be high in energy, nutrients, and calories. The right balance of macronutrients is essential to maintain your energy levels throughout the trip.


Bikepacking requires carrying all your gear and food on your bike. Therefore, it is essential to choose lightweight, compact, and easy-to-carry food items.

Shelf Life

Your food must have a long shelf life to avoid spoilage during your trip. Choosing foods with a long shelf life will also reduce the need to carry bulky cooking equipment.


The food you pack must be easy to access and consume while on the go. It is best to choose food items that do not require cooking or preparation.

Examples of Bikepacking Foods

Here are some examples of bikepacking foods that meet the above criteria:

Portable Snacks

  • Trail mix
  • Energy bars
  • Beef jerky
  • Dried fruits

Easy-to-Prepare Meals

  • Instant oatmeal
  • Dehydrated pasta dishes
  • Tuna and crackers
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches


Staying hydrated is crucial during a bikepacking trip. Carrying a water filter or purification tablets can help you to access water sources during your trip.

FAQs for Bikepacking Food

What kinds of food are good for bikepacking?

When planning for your bikepacking trip, it’s important to consider compact, high-energy foods that require little preparation. Trail mix, energy bars, jerky, and dried fruit all make excellent snack choices. For meals, dehydrated or freeze-dried options can provide necessary nutrition without taking up too much space in your pack. Instant noodles, peanut butter and crackers, and pre-packaged meals like tuna packets and rice dishes are all good options. Don’t forget to also pack some electrolyte or hydration tablets to keep your body hydrated during your adventure.

How much food should I pack for a bikepacking trip?

The amount of food you need to pack depends on the duration of your bikepacking trip and your individual caloric needs. As a general rule of thumb, aim for 2,500-3,000 calories per day. Plan out your meals and snacks ahead of time and be sure to pack a little extra food in case of emergencies or unexpected changes to your itinerary. To save space and weight, consider repackaging your food into smaller portions and utilizing a vacuum-sealer or other space-saving means of storage.

What are some good ways to carry food during a bikepacking trip?

When it comes to carrying food, there are several options for bikepacking enthusiasts. Frame bags, handlebar bags, and seat bags can all be used to store snacks and meals. If you prefer to cook your own meals, a stove and cooking set can also be attached to your bike. Additionally, some bikepacking bags have specific areas designated for food storage, such as a mesh pocket or elastic strap system.

How should I handle food safety during a bikepacking trip?

Maintaining food safety during a bikepacking trip is important to ensure that you don’t get sick. To minimize the risk of foodborne illness, it’s important to practice good food hygiene. This means washing your hands and using a hand sanitizer before handling food, minimizing the amount of contact your food has with your hands or other surfaces, and properly disposing of any food waste. Additionally, always keep your food stored in an airtight container or bag to prevent contamination from dirt and pests.

Can I bring fresh food on a bikepacking trip?

While fresh food items such as fruits and vegetables are generally not recommended for bikepacking trips due to their perishability, there are some exceptions. Hardier fruits like apples or oranges can be carried for a few days of a trip, but it’s important to pack them carefully to prevent bruising. Vegetables like carrots or bell peppers can also be kept for a few days. However, it’s important to note that fresh food adds additional weight and bulk to your bikepacking setup and increases the risk of spoilage or contamination. Ultimately, it’s up to the individual to determine if the added weight and risk are worth it for the added nutritional value.


By Frank

Frank Thompson, a seasoned cyclist and bike aficionado, has been passionate about all things bicycle-related since his childhood. Born and raised in the beautiful Seattle, Frank has spent countless hours exploring the winding trails, scenic roads, and vibrant urban landscapes on two wheels. With over 20 years of experience in the cycling world, Frank has garnered an extensive knowledge of bicycle mechanics, maintenance, and customization. After completing his degree in Mechanical Engineering, Frank pursued a career in the bicycle industry, working with renowned bike manufacturers and local bike shops. His expertise led him to become a sought-after consultant for professional cyclists, weekend warriors, and bike enthusiasts alike. Throughout the years, he has also volunteered with various cycling advocacy groups, promoting safe and accessible cycling infrastructure in the community. Frank's passion for cycling extends beyond his professional life, as he has participated in numerous local and international bike races and charity events. His love for adventure has taken him on several memorable cycling expeditions, from the breathtaking mountain trails of the Rockies to the picturesque coastal roads of the Mediterranean. As a valued contributor to West Seattle Cyclery, Frank shares his wealth of knowledge and experience with our readers through informative articles, how-to guides, and gear reviews. Always eager to help fellow cyclists, Frank is dedicated to making the world of cycling more approachable and enjoyable for everyone. When he's not busy tinkering with bikes or writing for the blog, you can find him exploring new routes, coaching beginner cyclists, or spending quality time with his family and their beloved golden retriever, Buddy.