Low Weight Meals for Tramping with Kids

Nutrition is one of the most important aspects of an overnight tramping trip, and more so if you’re hiking or camping with kids. You need light, compact, and nutrient-dense foods to help replenish spent energy and to refuel to get going. If you’re new to overnight tramping, or if you’re planning on camping with kids, this guide will help you plan for a stress-free adventure without hungry kids begging to go home.

Options and Ideas for Lightweight Tramping Meals: What is Good for Overnight Tramps?

To help you plan or organize lightweight tramping meals for the whole family, you need to know the requirements for ultralight tramping meals. Here are three things to keep in mind when planning your meals:

1. The Food Must Be Lightweight and Compact

You’ll be carrying the food you eat in your backpack so it has to be light enough that kids can carry some of the items themselves. Foods need to be as lightweight as possible and easy to carry. Ziplock bags and food pouches are ideal storage containers, rather than boxes.

2.No Cooking as Much as Possible

With nothing to cook, there is less to carry when it comes to cooking gear. Ready-to-eat meals or frozen dried packs are ideal since you’ll only need to add boiling water and nothing else.

3. Must Be Nutritious

And lastly, the food you bring must be nutrition-dense and high in calories to refuel the body.

Aside from light homemade meals for tramping, you can opt to purchase pre-packed dehydrated meals, snacks, or freeze-dried meals. Some of the meals are ready to eat and all you have to do is open a packet and eat the meals right out of the package.

Where to Get Lightweight Tramping Meals in New Zealand

There are plenty of outdoor gear and camping stores in New Zealand that sell tramping meals. Simply visit physical stores that cater to campers and hikers and you will find them offering a wide variety of lightweight tramping meals.

You can also purchase online, from sites such as www.ventureoutdoors.co.nz, which is considered to have the most comprehensive list of the best quality tramping meal brands in New Zealand. Another online retail store is www.Bivouac.com, which is a store that offers camping merchandise, such as clothing, gear, and tramping meals.

Most supermarkets also carry a good range of lightweight tramping meals, as well as dehydrated food that is great as kid’s snacks.

Lightweight Homemade Tramping Food Ideas

If buying dehydrated or frozen-dried tramping meals are not for you, you can also make homemade food you can bring with you on your tramping adventure.

First, if you have a dehydrator, this solves all of your tramping meal problems as you can simply dehydrate meals at home. You can also make dehydrated snacks, such as banana chips, dried mango, apple cinnamon chips, and other dried fruit options.

If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can purchase separate dehydrated ingredients and assemble them at the campsite where you simply add boiling water to each of the ingredients and make a complete meal.

You can also make simple, lightweight homemade meals you can eat while on the track, at dinner, and for breakfast the next day. Here are some ideas:


  • Prepare pita bread or naan (prepare a few pieces at home and place in a Ziploc), spread yogurt on top, and add dried fruits and nuts for a fruit pizza breakfast.
  • Add hot water to oatmeal, and top it with dried fruit and nuts.


  • Cheese and crackers
  • Beef jerky and pita or naan


  • Trail mix or granola bar


  • Pre-cooked chicken with instant noodles
  • Bacon bits and tortilla chips

If you’re going on a tramping adventure for several days, here is a list of the best lightweight hiking foods:

  • Trail Mix
  • Dried fruits
  • Jerky
  • Oatmeal
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Granola or energy bars
  • Peanut butter
  • Dehydrated meals
  • Frozen-dried meals

Are Dehydrated Tramping Meals Kids-Friendly?

Yes, dehydrated tramping meals are kid-friendly, though most packs feature only nutritional information based on adult needs. If you want to buy a product that is designed for kids, choose brands that make dehydrated meals for kids. These brands make smaller packs specifically to target the nutritional and caloric needs of children.

Beef jerky is one of the most popular dehydrated food options, and some brands offer different flavors that cater to kid’s palettes. Other popular dehydrated tramping meals for kids include mac and cheese, granola cereals, mashed potatoes, dehydrated chicken, oats, and dried fruit.

Our Pick: Best Ultraweight Tramping Meals

We’ve searched for the best lightweight tramping meals available in New Zealand and we’ve come up with three great products your whole family will enjoy on your next tramping trip. There are trusted and reliable brands that are known for offering high-quality products that are not only lightweight and nutrient-dense but also delicious, which kids will surely love.

Here are our top 3 picks for the best ultra lightweight tramping meals:

1. Real Meals Bacon Mash

Made from locally grown Agria potatoes, preservative-free bacon, with onions, chives, and spices in a creamy and smooth mash. Real Meals is a homegrown New Zealand brand owned by 6-time Adventure Racing World Champion Nathan Fa’avae, who is half Samoan. Inspired by the Maori people’s ancient drying food technique and the use of bull kelp to store food, Fa’avae created tramping meals for every meal of the day, from breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts, and even smoothies.

2. Adventure Food Pasta Bolognese

A pasta dish while out camping? Yes, you can, with Adventure Food’s Pasta Bolognese. It’s a pasta dish with beef and mixed veggies, freeze-dried in a spicy Italian tomato sauce. Adventure Food is owned by famous Dutch adventurer Hans van der Meulen and he took over the company in 2003, contributing his very own knowledge and experience in intensive expeditions to create the wide range of freeze-dried tramping meals offered by the brand.

3. Back Country Cuisine’s Beef and Pasta Hotpot

Back Country Cuisine is another homegrown company that offers ultra-lightweight tramping meals in New Zealand. They use locally sourced ingredients in their products, which are cooked by a chef before being freeze-dried. What we like about this brand is that it is one of the very few companies that offer family packs. One pack of their Beef and Pasta Hotpot family pack serves 5, making it a great option if you’re tramping with family and kids.

Tramping is a great outdoor adventure for the whole family but don’t let food preparation stop you from planning a trip with your kids. With ultra-lightweight tramping meals, you can have the adventure of a lifetime with your children without having to carry a ton of cooking equipment that will wear you down. You can enjoy a tramping adventure without you or your kids getting hungry with dehydrated or freeze-dried food that is just as yummy and nutritious as regular home-cooked meals.