Shopping for backpacking food can be a trek on its own. Trying to find grocery stores that sell the types of foods or packaged meals you’re looking can be a daunting task if you’re not sure where to look. Sometimes, it involves driving far away to find the right store, or going up and down the aisles of your local grocery store trying to get what you need. Before you even get in the car, see if your town has one of these grocery stores to make food shopping for your hike that much easier.
1. Trader Joe’s
If you’re looking to find good, healthy meals for your trip, then you’ll be sure to find it here. Trader Joe’s is all about the customer experience, and you can feel the good vibes the moment you walk in and see all the employees donning their Hawaiian shirts. You’ll find everything from trail snacks to hearty granola and instant dishes to make your backpacking experience as easy and delicious as possible. Look to see if there is a Trader Joe’s near you!
2. Whole Foods
Whole Foods, like Trader Joe’s, is a backcountry chef’s paradise. Here, you can find plenty of smart options for the trail, down each and every aisle. In fact, it is known as “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store.” Anything you need for cooking in the outdoors, whether it be an array of Clif bars, dry foods, Earth Balance products, or boxed food, can be found here. Check out store locations to start shopping now.
3. Ethnic Supermarkets
Asian, Indian, Kosher, Halal, or any other ethnic supermarkets are a great way to get what you need for the trail. You might find products you haven’t heard of, but you’ll soon discover what a great option they are once you’re outdoors. Even if some foods may not be familiar, being a backpacker is all about trying new things. If it makes cooking in the outdoors easier, why not? You might be pleasantly surprised with your choices. If anything, these places are good spots to find useful spices and delicious snacks.
4. Cracker Barrel
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is rare gem that when found, is a great resource for backpackers. However, if you manage to drive by one while you’re heading out to your next backcountry destination, stop by to take a look inside. From delicious soup mixes, tasty jams for your tortillas, pancake mixes, and of course, crackers, you can’t go wrong here. If you can’t make it to one of the stores, you can order online or check your local grocery store to see if they carry any of the products.
5. Farmers Markets or Local Stores
It is no question that Farmers Markets are one of the best grocery stores for backpackers. First of all, you can trust the food (for the most part), which is important for someone who spends so much time appreciating the environment and the outdoors. No matter where you live, there should be some kind of Farmers Market or local grocery store that sells a variety of products you can bring with you backpacking or camping (and not just fruits and veggies). Support the local farmers and upgrade your backpacking pantry.
6. Your Reliable Waldbaum’s, Albertson’s, Pathmark, or Target
Believe it or not, the grocery store where you normally shop when you’re not going backpacking may be just as good as any one of these. If you know you’re town well, then you already know which stores have a better selection for what you’re looking for. While you might need to get creative, it’s pretty easy to find anything you’re looking for in any grocery aisle out there.
7. Any Outdoor Store
If you’re not in the mood to get creative and you’d like everything just prepared for you, then head to any outdoor store near you. REI, Patagonia, Columbia, EMS, or even Dick’s Sporting Goods, each have a wide selection of freeze-dried foods and camping food for your convenience.
Who said you actually need to go to the store? Nowadays, the Internet is your best friend when it comes to getting your backpacking food. Log on to Amazon, Mountain House, or the website of the store or brand you’re looking for and have the food shipped right to your house. There are even independent companies that specialize in making backpacking foods, like Trek N’ Eat, Backpacker’s Pantry, Tasty Bite, and many, many others.
These are just a few of the many grocery stores where you can buy backpacking foods and ingredients for the trail. Keep in mind that the U.S is a big country, and not all stores are available everywhere. However, the stores on this list tend to have more location than others. Read up on recipes and tips to make the most of cooking in the outdoors.