Menu for 3-Day Grand Canyon Backpacking
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When we were planning for our 3-day Grand Canyon backpacking trip I just knew that I was going to have to break away from my standard backpacking menu of dehydrated and instant foods. The weather predicted a heatwave and temperatures at the bottom of the canyon were going to be over 100 degrees. I knew that if I was going to stay happy during my sweltering Grand Canyon backpacking adventure I had to find a menu that would keep me satisfied without having to boil water or slave over a hot pot.
When I hiked the John Muir Trail in 2017 my menu consisted of homemade dehydrated meals, ramen, instant potatoes, PB&J tortilla “sandwiches,” and oatmeal. I used the freezer bag cooking method to rehydrate all of my hot meals, and while the freezer bags made clean-up a breeze I felt extremely wasteful every time I threw one of them away. And since I was going through 2-3 Ziploc freezer bags a day I was producing a lot of trash!
I’ve been searching for a more earth-friendly cooking option. I’ve ditched the plastic bags and now use a reusable take-out food container to rehydrate my meals (the bowl is flat enough to lick clean, it has a lid, and it fits perfectly in my food cozy!).
But, I’m still not satisfied! What worked for the John Muir Trail wasn’t going to work for my Grand Canyon backpacking trip. I didn’t want to limit myself to hot dehydrated meals, and I didn’t want to carry the weight of a stove and fuel. So I re-vamped my menu and I ditched the stove for my Grand Canyon backpacking trip. If you want to ditch the stove, check out my 3-day meal plan below.
WHY I CHOSE TO DITCH THE STOVE
Blistering summer temperatures and early morning wake-up calls were my main reasons for ditching the stove. Temperatures at the bottom of the Grand Canyon often soar over 100 degrees during the day, and after hiking in the blazing sun the last thing I want to do is slave over a hot stove (or eat a hot meal)! While many minimalist backpackers would survive on jerky, bars, nuts, and dried fruit, I’m choosing to indulge in wraps and other savory meals that feature fresh, wholesome ingredients.
While some of these food items may be heavier and bulkier than the traditional dehydrated meals, not having to carry a pot, stove, and fuel means that I have extra room for food! I’ve also chosen to use fresh ingredients like sun-dried tomato, tortillas, spinach, and avocado to make the meals extra delicious while reducing the amount of ingredients I need to carry.
OUR GRAND CANYON RIM TO RIM HIKING ROUTE
I’m a big fan of slow hikes that allow plenty of time to take in the scenery and can accommodate side trips. Because this is probably a once in a lifetime trip we chose to spend two nights and three days hiking the Grand Canyon. We start our hike on the South Kaibab Trail and spend the first night camping at the Bright Angel campground. The second night we will camp at Cottonwood before ascending the North Kaibab Trail on our third day. Temperatures at the bottom of the canyon can reach over 100 degrees, so you need to make sure that you don’t carry food that will spoil (and it is the main reason that I planned to eat my spinach on day 1 and save the avocado for day 2!).
MY GRAND CANYON BACKPACKING MENU
Breakfast at the Maswik Lodge before starting hike at 7am. (Breakfast consisted of a muffin, an apple, and coffee from the hotel coffeemaker.)
Lunch: Mediterranean wrap with Casbah instant hummus, sun-dried tomato, tortilla, and spinach.
Dinner: Chicken wrap with Ranch dressing, spinach, and bacon bits.
Breakfast at Phantom Ranch (Breakfast is served family style and must be reserved in advance. Breakfast at Phantom Ranch was one of the highlights of the hike!)
Lunch: Tuna Salad wraps with tortilla, sun-dried tomatoes, Sunkist Tuna Salad pouch (2), and avocado
Dinner: Cold-soak Dr. McDougall’s brand or Sam’s Choice quinoa or couscous salad and top with leftover avocado. (These mixes are pre-seasoned all you need to do is add cold water to the dry ingredients approximately 3 hours before you want to eat)
Breakfast: Bagel with 2 packets of Barney Butter’s Espresso Almond Butter and 2 packets of Bonne Maman jam
Special Snack (in case the Barney’s Butter doesn’t have enough caffeine!): Carnation Instant Breakfast and Starbucks Via
Lunch: nuts and dried fruit in case I need an extra boost (you’ll want to start hiking before the sun rises to avoid the heat)
Other items: snacks and supplements for all 3 days
Snacks: Beef jerky or salami, chips, trail mix, granola bars
Electrolytes or Gatorade powder
Other items: salt, pepper, and olive oil to spice up meals when needed
MY SHOPPING LIST
This shopping list will feed two hungry hikers. (Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links. Purchasing products through these links won’t cost you any additional money, but they do help me earn a few pennies to cover the website maintenance fees.)
- Mission Tortilla Wraps – 6 count (I chose the Spinach Herb flavor)
- 2 packets Sunkist Tuna Salad
- 1 packet pre-cooked chicken (one packet feeds two people)
- Shelf-stable Ranch dressing (or the Buffalo and Barbecue sauces from Chick-fil-A are great!)
- 1 avocado
- 1 packet sun-dried tomatoes
- Large handful of fresh spinach packed in a ziploc bag
- Bacon bits
- Casbah Instant Hummus (one box feeds two people)
- Dr. McDougall’s brand quinoa or couscous salad (one per person), or one packet of Sam’s Choice Bulgar (this will feed 2 people)
- Bagels (the store-bought kind like Sara Lee or Thomas’ brand bagels)
- Barney Butter’s Espresso Almond Butter
- Jam packets
- Starbucks Via
- Carnation Instant Breakfast (2 packets)
- Seasonings: salt, pepper, olive oil (I store my olive oil in a plastic airline-sized booze bottle)
- Your favorite snack items including: beef jerky, chips, trail mix, granola bars, nuts and dried fruit
- Gatorade powder
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