Picking Gluten-Free Backpacking Foods

When you hit the trail, it's always a good idea to bring something to eat along. Even if you're merely going on a day trip, snacks help keep the energy up while you're exerting your body more than you would in an average day. However, if you have celiac disease, you might be discouraged by the idea of finding gluten-free backpacking foods when the emphasis on carbohydrate-laden trail foods often include items that have gluten. However, don't despair! There are plenty of gluten-free backpacking foods to be had.

Fruits And Nuts

Some of the best gluten-free backpacking foods are fruits and nuts, which give plenty of energy in compact packages. They are dense foods, so taking a lot along will add weight to your backpack, but on the other hand, just a little will go a long way, since these snacks tend to give you a feeling of satisfaction that takes the edge off hunger.

Dried fruits and nuts also keep well, and if you don't want to go through the trouble of making little plastic bags filled with homemade trail mix, it should be easy to find mixes at the store, or even fruit and nut bars that are packed together like granola bars. Since in some rare cases, people with celiac disease can react to oats, fruit and nut bars are also the safest alternative to granola bars.


Jerky is the quintessential trail food, since it has a lot of flavor, keeps well, and packs a lot of nutrition. It's been used on the trail in the Old West and jerkies are still great gluten-free backpacking foods. Just as with dried fruits, the lack of moisture in the jerky helps keep it from spoiling, and the high salt content keeps bacteria from contaminating the meat. A small sack of jerky fits well in a backpack and can be used as a snack or to flavor camp meals while on the backpacking trail, making it a multitasking food.


For those with celiac disease, rice is one of the safest grains to eat, and there are plenty of gluten-free backpacking foods that feature rice as the main ingredient. As an alternative to crackers or bread as a pick-me-up on the trail, bring along some rice cakes. A small bag of rice will fit easily in a backpack and will make plenty to eat when you make camp as well, another portable snack.


If you're looking for gluten-free backpacking foods and aren't worried about calories, chocolate is a great choice. A single bar packs plenty of calories via carbohydrates and fats, tastes great, and is compact. Of course, keep in mind that chocolate tends to melt easily, but if you don't mind licking your fingers clean while on the trail, chocolate is one of the best and tastiest gluten-free trail foods around.

None Of The Above?

If none of these foods really strikes you as any good, then you'll just have to keep looking. However, as long as you're careful to find foods that will keep and that fit easily in a backpack, a trip through your local grocery or organic food store is sure to turn up plenty of other gluten-free backpacking foods, so you can get the energy you need without the discomfort that can come from foods with gluten.