The Five Essential Keto Backpacking Foods - Next Mile Meals

The Five Essential Keto Backpacking Foods

 Keto hiking in Zion

When you slip into the backcountry, you might leave civilization blissfully in your taillights, but your dietary needs don’t magically disappear. Whether you have gluten intolerance or find that a paleo or keto diet works for you, you need backpacking meals that work for the way you eat.

If you follow a paleo, gluten free, or keto diet, you’re probably already used to putting a little extra work into eating well. Keto backpacking is an extra challenge, but it’s totally doable.

Here are some tips for taking good care of yourself with healthy keto backpacking food that works for paleo and gluten free diets as well.

The Five Essential Keto Backpacking Foods

To get the protein, fat, and veggies you need in your diet, you need to choose wisely. These five foods pack well, provide good nutritional value for their weight, and are compatible with a gluten free, paleo, or keto diet.

Avocados are the superheros of the keto world


This wonder-food is full of nutrition and natural fats. Choose avocados in different stages of ripeness, so you can eat them throughout your trip. Underripe avocados are hard and don’t bruise easily, so they are a cinch to pack. We even mailed a few avocados in some of the post office packages along our Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike if we knew a particular trail town was sans grocery store.


Olive oil is a great way to get the fats you need in your diet. You can add it to your dinner each night or have it with a side of avocado (we clearly love avocados). Other oils, such as coconut oil, work well too and can even be mixed in with your morning coffee. You can find single-serve packets in some stores or carry the oil in bulk in a spill-proof travel container (we really like empty travel baby oil containers - easy to find at your local drug store and already designed to contain oils on the go).
Almonds are great while backpacking


Nuts provide fat and protein, with minimal carbs (though moderation is key). You might pack some keto trail mix or a bit of nut butter; just make sure you have it in a well-sealed container, so it doesn’t cause a disaster in your pack. Single-serve packets are extremely packable if you don't mind a few extra cents per serving for the convenience of a mess-free hike.


Jerky made from beef or other meats is the original protein-dense trail food. You can even find fish jerky or bacon jerky nowadays. But beware: commercial jerky often contains sugars, artificial flavors, MSG, nitrates, or other chemicals. Look for organic jerky, biltong or, better yet, make your own.


Gluten free, paleo, or keto backpacking doesn’t mean you have to eat bland food. When you plan your meals, measure out the spices you love into small baggies (be sure to label them). We recommend packing some salt, pepper, old bay seasoning, and sriracha.

At Next Mile Meals, we don’t think you should have to sacrifice flavor to stick to your keto diet. That’s why we include sauce and condiment packets with many of our ketogenic backpacking meals and carefully design our recipes with spices and seasoning in mind.

 Keto on the PCT

Bonus Tip: Keep it Simple

You could spend a lot of time preparing your food before a backcountry trip. If that’s what floats your boat, go for it! But if you are short on time, prepared trail food can be your savior. At the end of a long day, you’ll be grateful for a flavorful meal that just needs hot water. The trick is to find pre-packaged meals that work for your diet (hint: we know where you can get some.)

Healthy meals will keep your body strong on the trail. It is an extra challenge to eat a paleo, gluten free, or ketogenic diet on the trail, but challenge is what you signed up for, right? Now get out there!


The Five Essential Keto Backpacking Foods

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