Backpacking Food Essentials, Tips + Sweepstakes | Gina Chong
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If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed that the hubs and I have been pretty obsessed with camping and backpacking lately. They're hobbies that are here to stay, so over the past few months we've gradually invested in all the equipment we need, and have been enjoying the outdoors every chance we get. Hubby has vast experience with backpacking and all things outdoors, but me not so much. So he teaches me a few things here and there, and we learn along the way together.

For example, on our first backpacking trip as we were eating dinner, we commented on it being a tad bland and lamented not thinking to bring hot sauce. On our second trip we remembered, and packed some in small (tiny, really) sauce containers meant for bentos, but of course it wasn't nearly enough. Soooo...on this last trip we finally got it right! We brought along perfect little portable bottles of El Yucateco® hot sauce and were never wanting for flavor. I was especially glad to have them this trip because we visited Point Reyes National Seashore just north of San Francisco, and the area is famous for oysters. We decided to start our trip with a lunch of fresh oysters, and our hot sauces came in very handy. Hubby jokes that "true oyster connoisseurs" can enjoy the flavor and texture of an un-garnished oyster, but...I am definitely no oyster expert and I need to douse those things in sauce to fully enjoy them.

For today's post, I documented some of our backpacking experience(s) and am sharing my backpacking food essentials and tips. Obviously the key with backpacking is to make your bag as light as possible. You definitely don't want to short yourself on food - you need plenty of energy for the hiking - so you need to find a good balance. One of my favorite tips is what I mentioned above: hot sauce. At a minimum, just one portable bottle of hot sauce is key to bring flavor to all of your meals. We use freeze-dried meals, so all you have to do is add water and hot sauce, and voila: meal's ready. Super easy meal, and it makes things real easy on your back too. Check out the rest of my tips and backpacking essentials below.

These El Yucateco® sauces are yum and have a great flavor to them. I used the Red Habanero Hot Sauce, Green Habanero Hot Sauce, and Black Label Reserve Hot Sauce. El Yucateco® is the #1 consumer choice. It is a fun flavorful brand that people love and make a part of their every day life. I carry mine in my backpack when camping but you can throw them in your purse as they're great to bring to a friends BBQ or favorite restaurant, the options are endless. The El Yucateco® Red Habanero Hot Sauce is made with fresh red habanero peppers, tomato, and select spices and seasonings. It is the perfect "all purpose" sauce. And the El Yucateco® Green Habanero Hot Sauce has fresh green habanero peppers, garlic, select spices and seasonings. Another thing that sticks out about these is that they use significantly less vinegar than other sauces, which lets you enjoy the flavor of the pepper better. They sell them all over, but I grabbed mine at Walmart in the Mexican section. You really can't go wrong with these; they are especially great for outdoor adventures because of their small, portable size and versatility.

What are your guys' favorite outdoor activities? You can check out some great outdoor recipes and more ways El Yucateco® fits into your adventures HERE. And check out their sweepstakes just below! They're giving you a chance to win one-of-a-kind custom designed surfboard, camping packages, and more! Definitely don't forget to enter:

Our Backpacking Essentials:

1. Apple Cinnamon Rice Crackers: they are light, and so good with peanut butter.
2. Peanut Butter Packets: high in protein, and makes everything taste better. We love them with the rice crackers, apple chips, and sandwich cookies.
3. Dried Mangoes: sweet snacks that give you nutrition and energy. I recommend getting unsweetened ones.

4. Banana Chips: these make the best munchies. Look for ones that are not fried in oil.
5. El Yucateco® hot sauces: these are portable all-purpose taste-improvers. They're a necessity for every meal.
6. Brownie Chips: we like to bring these or sandwich cookies for a sweet treat at the end of the day.

7+8. Freeze-dried meals: you won't find a lighter, more convenient meal for backpacking. Just add boiling water and hot sauce.

*Bring a water bottle that has measuring lines on the side. That way when it comes time to make your freeze-dried meal you can pour the right amount! We normally bring one camel back for our main water source, one water bottle, and a water purifier to refill them the next day.
*Keep an all-purpose knife on hand and use it to cut the tops off of your freeze-dried meal packets after they're cooked. They'll be easier to eat because you won't be reaching your whole arm in to get to the bottom.
*Bring hand wipes and sanitizer for easy cleanups.


  1. Fantastic tips for adventure camping now I want to hit the road =) #client

  2. What kind of backpacks do you have?! LOVE this post, we're going on a cross-country road trip very soon and we're slowly trying to figure out what to pack!

    1. Oh my gosh that sounds awesome! Where all are you guys going? So we both have Ospreys and love them. Justin has the aether 70 and mine is an aura 50. We fight over whose is better haha but they've seriously made backpacking so much nicer~ I can't wait to see your trip photos on Instagram!

  3. I'm loving all your camping adventures - it's actually made me want to go!! I love me some hot sauce and I'm defo no oyster expert. In fact, the last time I had some, I had a bad experience so I am a bit traumatized now..! HA

  4. Oh hi! Just found your blog from my friend Julie at jewelswandering! Xxoo

  5. Oh my! This looks like a lot of fun! And great tips! Thanks for sharing girl! :D

  6. So fun! You guys are really ambitious! Oysters while you backpack. hehe Glad you found something that works for you guys! We always want to be more into the outdoors. I think we need to start somewhere near us, so we aren't investing a ton before we have some skills. hehe XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

    1. Oh the oysters were before we started. We always like to eat lunch somewhere before we start our hike so that we don't get to the campsite too early. Cuz then we're just bored lol. You should try drive-in camping. You don't really need much, just pack your car with stuff from home. It's more comfortable too, and more fun with a set-up campfire.


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