How Do You Pack Meat For Backpacking?

Meat is an essential item in our everyday diet. It has the most vitamins and minerals and many more food values than other foods. So, when you go backpacking camping, you should not ignore meat in your meals.

However, you can not just pack the meat for backpacking. There are specific ways to pack it to keep it well for days and save it from bears and other wild animals when you are out in the wild. So, in this article, we are going to talk about how you pack meat for backpacking.

Related: How to pack meat for camping?

Best Ways To Pack Meat for Backpacking

How to Pack Meat for Backpacking

If you are a beginner backpacker and do not know how to pack meat for backpacking, you might not be able to make your delicious meals last till your last day of backpacking. Also, there is a high risk of bears and other wild animals smelling the food and eating it or destroying your stay. So, make sure to learn about how to pack meat for backpacking.

When you are headed for a backpacking trip instead of your mountain house, you will not have a refrigerator with you. So, you need to pack the food very carefully so it does not get ruined.

If you wish to carry fresh meat, place it in individual plastic bags in your backpack and cover it in a napkin with a freeze pack next to them. But this can only guarantee you only the first day of hiking with fresh meat. And do not forget to take lots of cold water and hot water for drinking.

However, if you want meat that lasts a week, then canned meat, cured or processed meat options like- sausage, foiled chicken, salami, bacon, etc., are good options to consider. You can choose more than one meat type from them. These types of processed food taste great and will last several days. And as for packing, make sure to pack each meat type in separate packs.

Lastly, try to stuff soft food on top of everything else in your backpack. This reduces the risk of mold and spoiled food. They are also more enjoyable to eat. Packaging food into ziplock bags is also fantastic because it saves a lot of weight and keeps things clean and organized. If you want to know how to keep meat fresh when camping, here are a few tips: 10 Awesome Tricks to keep Meat Fresh

Related: How much firewood do I need for camping?

Type of Meat Should You Pack for Backpacking

Store Meat for Backpacking

Packing meat for backpacking needs to be packed with extra caution as you are going to pack it with your clothes and other camping gear. You might need to pack the food in separate pouches and repack them in ziplock bags. Also, you can choose only certain types of meat for backpacking. Such as- 

Shelf-stable meat

Shelf-stable or shelf-lives meat is known as a backpacking essential. This meat should be your first meal choice as it stays well for a few days. So, it can be taken for longer backpacking or hiking trips. Shelf-stable meat is cured without a refrigerator only by drying, salting, or smoking. However, keep in mind that this is high in sodium and a little expensive to purchase. You can buy it dehydrated or prepare it yourself with a quality dehydrator.

Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is a great food to take for backpacking. It is high in protein and sodium. It is very lightweight and helps to regulate the hydration of your body. This will give you the refueling to keep going on trips like- backpacking and hiking.

Summer sausage

Summer sausages are usually made with beef and pork. They are found in various seasonings and flavors, and you can buy them in sealed packages. They are great for backpacking because they do not need to be refrigerated. However, it is better if you keep them in some place cool and dry. Although summer sausages are high in fat, you can consume them for energy on the backpacking trip as you will be active most of the time.


Salami is excellent for backpacking as it is hard or dry-processed, it can last till a year if you keep it unopened, even without a refrigerator. It usually comes with a natural casing, but if you find it without the casing, you should consume it within two weeks. Salami is preserved with curing salt. So, it is high in sodium. So, if you take salami for your trip, drink enough water with it.


Prosciutto is a dried ham that can stay well for a week without refrigerating. So, it can be a good option for your backpacking trips. You need to wrap it in plastic for your trip, or else it can dry out. You can have it with parmesan cheese, prosciutto-wrapped dates, crackers, or whatever you like. You can also you can easily make this food item at home if you have the necessary ingredients.


There is a type of bacon that is pre-cooked, known as backpacking bacon. It is a good option for backpacking and tastes excellent with salad dressing. It fits in every meal as it can be a sweet breakfast meal treat to start your day, or it can also be perfect for dinner.

Foiled chicken/turkey

Foiled chicken and turkey are packed with protein, iron, and vitamins, but they are still a lightweight meal option. They are not so heavy as beef and pork. Also, the foil packing makes them easy to carry. Foods in foil-packaged meals are cooked ahead of time before being sealed in airtight foil packaging, which is often vacuum-packed to eliminate moisture and excess oxygen. However, it is essential to vacuum seal your foil-packed meat if you cook them at home.  

Related: Things To Consider Before Packing Water For Camping

How Do You Store Meat for Backpacking?

store Meat for Backpacking

To store meat for backpacking, you need to pack it so that oxygen and moisture can not come in touch with the meat. Keep in mind that even an ounce of water can destroy your meal. Packing like this ensures the food is dried and preserved, so mold and other bacteria can not easily come in contact with it and ruin it. Warmth increases the growth of toxic germs such as Salmonella or E. Coli. Therefore it is best not to carry raw meat on a hiking trip if you can not maintain it at fridge temperature.

You can also wrap them with paper towels so that they would absorb any moisture in the meat. And it is best if you finish all the meat you bring on your trip because backpacking meat in the middle of your trip can be tricky and might ruin the food. Also, this will add extra weight to your backpack that was supposed to be off, which may fall hard on you for the rest of the trip.

Most of the above-mentioned meat items should be kept at or below 64-68 degrees Fahrenheit, which is considered room temperature. So, before you go for backpacking meat, ensure the temperature is between 64 and 68. Otherwise, your food will be ruined. 

What are the Things to Keep in Mind while Backpacking Meat?

Besides the packaging and storing, there are other factors to consider while you are backpacking meat. You should make sure that no animals get to your food because this will not only hamper your trip but also destroy their natural food habitat. Also, make sure not to litter the campsites.

Mind while Backpacking Meat

Make sure to pack other food too

While you have decided to pack meat for backpacking, do not forget to take a few other types of food too like- black beans, instant rice, energy bars, instant hot meals, trail snacks, fruit, etc. This will increase your backpacking and hiking food options. 

Watch out for bears and other animals

If you are out in the woods, keep your food in a bear canister if possible. Many campers have faced accidents due to sudden bear attacks as bears came to their tents and campsites by smelling the food. That is why you need to protect your food from them. However, in case of emergency, do not forget to take a bear spray with you.

While camping out in the wilderness, little animals like squirrels and chipmunks might come and steal your food in a jiffy if they find it open. This might seem cute initially, but it destroys their natural food habitat. They become dependent on humans for food and can even die without food. And you do not know which food is right for them. The wrong food can make them sick.

Jays, squirrels, and chipmunks may swiftly snare food during the daytime without causing harm, but other species come foraging at night. All backpacking trips necessitate the carrying of food. So it is worth investing in a few things and learning techniques like dangling food up in the trees to keep your food safe.

If animals fall in danger like this, this can be harmful to the environment as well. So, be very careful of your actions.

Do not litter

Food, garbage, or other fragrant, and flavors of food items should never be left inside your tent when you are out exploring. Make sure always to keep an eye on your meal. When camping in the wild and that is not a regular campsite, make sure to pick your litter because there is no one to clean them after you. If you do not clean the little by yourself, it can threaten the natural environment. And of course, the odor of the litter can attract the animals too. 

Related: 7 Ways to heat the tent while camping

Final Words

Meat can be an excellent source of protein and extra calories. but it can be considered a dehydrated meal if you do not drink enough water. you can try drinking a little hot water after having meat as this will help to digest the food. Careful food preparation helps keep you healthy on the trail and prevents you from gaining weight. Including meat in your diet will help you feel more energized and satisfied for longer periods. It also offers you something to anticipate once you return to camp.

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