How To Up Your Protein & Calories as a Plant-Based Backpacker

How To Up Your Protein & Calories as a Plant-Based Backpacker

The Best Vegetarian and Vegan Options for Your Next Camping Trip

It can be challenging to plan vegan and vegetarian meals for a backpacking trip. You want to make sure you are able to get the protein and calories you need to sustain, while still packing meals you enjoy and are excited to eat. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to add plant-based protein and extra calories into your trail meals and snacks without adding too much weight or space. Here are a few of our favorite ways of doing so:

  • As you build each meal, start with a protein-dense base, such as beans, chickpeas, lentils, oats, rice, or quinoa. From there, you can customize based on your own nutritional needs and taste preferences. 
  • Increase your calories by adding peanut butter, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, or even protein powder into desserts and sweet breakfasts, like oatmeal.
  • Add lightweight protein to both sweet and savory meals with chia seeds, hemp hearts, and flax seeds. 
  • Bring small packets of olive oil or tahini with you and add them to savory meals.
  • Toss chickpeas, rice, or quinoa in pesto to elevate the base of your meal and add extra calories- pesto is typically oil-based and full of calorie-dense healthy fats. 

We also have an extensive menu of delicious, hearty, and filling vegan and vegetarian meals that will satisfy all of your nutritional needs while out on trail and require no additional effort on your part! Not only will you love them, but the meat eaters in your group will too. Here are just a few you may love:


Pad Thai: Did you know that our best-selling meal is actually vegan? This delicious blend of rice noodles and veggies in a flavor-packed peanut sauce allows you to enjoy authentic Thai street food no matter where your adventures take you. This meal packs in 730 calories and 23 grams of protein.


Three Bean Veggie Stew: This stew is perfect for times when you want something a little lighter and fresher without sacrificing the calories you need to keep you going strong. It’s choc full of pinto beans, red beans, and chickpeas for protein, as well as onion, broccoli, tomato, and other tasty veggies for additional nutrients. This one comes out to 620 calories and a whopping 36 grams of protein. 

Louisiana Red Beans and Rice: This delicious blend of protein-dense red beans and rice is topped with tomatoes and onions and perfectly seasoned with Louisiana’s best Cajun spices. This is a great option for anyone looking for a single-serve meal, and comes out at 330 calories and 13 grams of protein. 


Mushroom Stroganoff: This comforting dish features tagliatelle egg noodles and wild mushrooms smothered in a savory red wine sauce and finished with parmesan cheese and sour cream. It sneaks in 590 calories and 22 grams of protein. 

Hatch Green Chili Mac and Cheese: This zesty mac and cheese is a southwestern spin on our classic mac and cheese, providing both a spice and a protein kick. With 450 calories and 22 grams of protein, this is another excellent option for those looking for a single-serve meal. 

Wild West Chili and Beans: This hearty dish is full of some of the best vegan protein sources out there: black beans and pinto beans. It’s also choc full of tomatoes and other veggies, and is one of our spicier options for those looking for a bit of heat. It has 530 calories and 29 grams of protein. 

When on trail, it’s important that you do your best to pack protein and calories into all of your meals and snacks in order to keep your energy levels up throughout the day. Thankfully, all of our breakfast options are also vegetarian, and many are vegan as well. 

Have any other vegan or vegetarian meal-planning tips? Leave a comment below!