Last Updated On: March 16, 2022

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Backpacking into remote locations over hilly terrain can take a lot of energy. So you need to take in more calories.

This guide will show you some best food to take hunting and tell you why. Keep reading:

20 Best Food To Take Hunting

How Many Calories Do Hunters Burn?

The actual amount depends on the types and levels of physical activity that are exerted.

What Can Happen If You Don’t Add More Calories ?

hunter food list

The rule of thumb for maintaining body weight is that you have to take in as many calories as you burn.

When you’re out walking, climbing, dressing and hauling an animal, you exert a lot of physical energy and it burns more calories.

If they are not replaced, you will not have enough fuel to generate more energy and you can become fatigued more easily.

The odds are in favor of you losing weight while hunting.

It’s difficult to bring your calorie count high enough to prevent it.

This is why it is so important to have healthy foods that are high in calories and nutritional value.

Why Calorie Dense Food Is Recommended ?

Most hunters carry a backpack to store essentials including food for the day.

In order to keep the backpack light, try to choose items that contain 100 calories for every ounce of their weight.

Why is this important?

This will help you to make up for the calories that you’ll be burning.

What food to avoid?

Avoid foods that contain empty calories such as those with high sugar or starch content.

The sugar may give you a rush, but your energy levels will soon be depleted.

You need solid nutrition that makes the fuel your body requires for giving you energy.

What food you should take?

When you’re physically active, the best types of foods will be those that have a high protein count along with fats and carbohydrates.

Other Considerations When Choosing Your Menu

a) Package in containers

Your food choices should include items that are packaged in containers. You will easily fit them into a backpack.

b) You enjoy eating them

c) Choose lighter options with high calories

For example, an apple is heavy and the caloric count is low. You should leave them at home.

d) Easy to open

Make sure that the foods you take for your backpack are easy to open and ready to eat.

e) Ready to eat

You can save the heavier items and those that will need preparation when you get back to camp for the evening.

Some hunters plan on having a big breakfast before heading out, while others skip it altogether and opt for snacking until dinner time.

It’s best to start out with a nutritious meal if possible.

This can help to tide you over along with the snacks that you carry until the evening meal.

The Best Food To Take Hunting For Your Backpack:

1. Jerky:

Jerky will give you a supply of fat and protein for more energy.

Deer jerky calories: 90 calories/ ounce and it is easy to carry in a backpack.


2. Trail Mix:

Trail mix is an excellent source of nutritious calories.

It packs 160 calories per ounce and contains nuts and fruit which offer extra nutrients. The including nuts offer omega 3 fatty acids.

Trail mix

3. Summer Sausage:

Summer sausage is a great choice that offers protein and a fairly high fat count.

It supplies 90 calories per ounce.

Summer sausage

4. Wheat Thins:

These healthy snack crackers give you 120 calories for every ounce.

They are lightweight and offer carbohydrates and roughage in your hunting menu.

Wheat Thins

5. Snickers Bar:

While a Snickers bar does contain quite a bit of sugar, it also has peanuts and nougat.

If you have a sweet tooth, this candy bar can offer you a treat that contains 132 calories per ounce.

While it’s a great idea to watch the amount of sugar you take in, there is no need to totally eliminate it from your hunting diet.

Snickers bar

6. Granola:

Granola contains 100 calories per ounce and is good to eat in a snack bar while out in the field.

It provides fat and complex carbohydrates for maintaining a good store of energy.


7. Nuts:

Packing a bag of nuts that weighs 5 to 6 ounces can give you a tremendous calorie boost.

Choose your favorite type so you’ll enjoy the snack. Here is the caloric breakdown:

  • Peanuts: 170 calories per ounce
  • Cashews: – 160 calories per ounce
  • Brazil nuts: 184 calories per ounce
  • Pitachios: – 160 calories per ounce
  • Sunflower seeds: 173 calories per ounce
  • Walnuts: 183 calories per ounce

Nuts are high in Omega 3 fatty acids. This is the good type of fat that gives you good health and higher energy levels.

They also provide you with protein for converting calories into energy.


8. Peanut Butter:

Peanut butter can be purchased in a variety of different sizes.

It gives you 165 calories per ounce and is packaged in plastic jars so it is more lightweight for carrying.

If you like the taste, you could eat it on a sandwich or on crackers for a quick pick me up.

It contains a lot of protein along with a little bit of fat, for an ideal energy food.

Peanut Butter

9. Tortillas:

You can also spread peanut butter, jam or nutella (150 calories per ounce) on a flour tortilla which has 87 calories per ounce.

Tortillas are easy to pack in a backpack and they don’t weigh much.

They supply you with additional carbohydrates and can reduce your craving for bread.

Easier to carry

Bread has a tendency to become smashed or crumble when placed in a backpack.

Additional menu for Tortillas:

You can also prepare filled tortillas in advance using re-fried beans. They will add:

  • 1.5 grams of protein
  • 25.5 calories
  • a small amount of fat per ounce.

Put cheese in the burrito and you add:

  • 114 calories
  • 9.4 grams of fat
  • .36 grams of carbohydrate
  • 7.06 grams of protein per ounce

This is a good solution for hunters who hunt through the lunch hour instead of going back to camp for a meal.


10. Peanut M&Ms:

It contains peanuts which contain healthy nutrients and the addition of fat which slows the rate of calorie burn slightly.

M&Ms contain 160 calories per ounce.

A package is lightweight and easy to carry in a backpack or in your pocket.

They will supply enough energy that you will need to make that great shot, follow up with dressing and recover your deer back to camp.

Peanut M&Ms

Morning Lunch and Evening Meals:

Some hunters go all out when it comes to meal preparation in camp. Others may skip a meal and depend on snacks and a single meal in the evening.

The best advice that you can take is to resist the urge to skip meals.

Instead of eating less, you need to be taking in more.

Here are some calorie dense meals that will give you a good supply of the nutrients that you need for a great hunting trip.

These foods are ideal for hunters who have set up a camp and have equipment for cooking and storing perishable foods.

11. Scrambled eggs:

Scrambled eggs contain 60 calories per ounce and offer 4.5 grams of fat and nearly 4 grams of protein.

A 4 ounce serving will give you 240 calories.

12. Bacon:

One ounce of bacon has 151 calories and gives you some fat and protein to work with.

They burn slowly throughout the day.


13. Dehydrated Whole Milk:

The dehydrated form of whole milk has many benefits: 

  • Easy to carry in a backpack
  • Useful in preparing meals
  • Drinking for hydration
  • Adds 150 calories per ounce
  • Fast and easy breakfast: it can also be used with granola cereal and add more 100 calories/ounce
Dehydrated whole milk

14. Maple and Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal:

Oatmeal is a grain that contains a good amount of carbohydrates with some simple sugars.

It contains 107 calories/ounce.

The caloric count can be enhanced by adding a few ounces of powdered milk which has been dehydrated.

instant oatmeal

15. Boxed Macaroni and Cheese:

This is an easy side dish that can be quickly made in camp for dinner.

Macaroni and cheese supplies 108 calories/ounce and is high in carbohydrates.

When eaten at the evening meal, this popular comfort food can help you to sleep better. It has a relaxing effect due to the high level of carbs it offers.

macaroni and cheese

16. Olive Oil

Take along a small bottle of olive oil for use in meal preparation.

It adds 238 calories per ounce.

It can be used to prepare fried foods or in pasta dishes.

Olive oil

17. Tuna:

Tuna is now sold in convenient pouches and do not require a can opener to access.

You can use tuna for the protein it contains.

The calorie count is low at 25 cal/ounce.

Also it can be combined with other foods like macaroni and cheese. They are great to your hunting meal plan if you add them in a sandwich or on crackers.

Use it for lunch or dinner menu planning.

7. tuna

18. Powdered Cocoa Beverage

Cocoa powder is easy to carry. All you need to have is a cup of hot water for 112 calories/ounce of pure enjoyment.

Great for drinking after a long day of hunting when it’s time to relax after the evening meal.

Powdered cocoa

19. Mountain House Breakfast Skillet

This dehydrated meal is a great alternative for breakfast or dinner meal.

It gives you 145 calories/ ounce and makes the perfect filling for tortillas.

9. Mountain House breakfast skillet

20. Canned Chicken

Canned white chicken meat adds only 45 calories/ ounce, but it provide a generous amount of protein.

It can easily be incorporated into any pasta side dish and is easy to pack because of the small size of the can.

An alternative to canned chicken (if you have a cooler at base camp/ truck).

Take chicken breasts which may be prepared with olive oil for more calories and served with a side dish.

10. canned chicken

Stay Hydrated and Add a Few More Calories

Adding Gatorade in powdered form to water adds 100 calories/ ounce.

This is a good way to stay hydrated and beef up your daily calorie count.

It can also make plain water more enjoyable, encouraging you to drink more to avoid dehydration.

See also: Why Dry Firing a Bow Can Make You Become an Idiot ?

Final Thoughts:

These 20 best food to take hunting is the good choice for keeping your energy and calorie count when hunting.

Dehydrated meals are usually good choices because of their light weight and ease in preparation.

When you’re making meal plans for hunting, take extra care to:

  • Calories dense foods
  • Pack high nutritional value
  • Provide protein, fats and carbohydrates
  • Favorite food

Be creative and prepared because it can make a difference in how much you enjoy the trip.

Leave comment below if you have other recommendation.

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  1. I’m heading out this year to tag my first deer, your informative site gave me a better perspective .I might be hunting in snow, or not. Knowing what items such as mac and cheese is a comfort food helping the evening easier to catch some zzzs.

  2. Deer hunting is always tough. Your guide certainly makes it easy for me. I am dreaming for hunting deer at least one time in life. This kind awesome guide surely keeps me motivated. Thank you

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About the Author

Hi, I'm Robert Gate, a hunter from Texas and Founder of ArcheryTopic.

I first learned archery from my dad when I was 12 years old. He gave me a Mathew bow as a gift and instantly fell in love with the pursuit.