Are you a backpacker looking for tips on how to enjoy mouthwatering bacon on your next trip? I’ve got the ultimate guide to share for everything related to backpacking bacon.
In this post, you’ll learn how to choose the right type of bacon, how to cook it up beforehand or while camping, and even get some creative ideas for incorporating it into your meals.
Read on for my comprehensive guide to backpacking bacon, aka MEAT CANDY!
🥓 The Ultimate Guide to Backpacking Bacon
The first time I precooked bacon when prepping for a backpacking trip I felt gleeful regarding this fabulous and brilliant new idea of mine. I paused and thought to myself…
💡 Can you take bacon backpacking?
Yes, ABSOLUTELY! Of course, you can! Bacon is an incredibly delicious food that can easily be taken on backpacking trips. Why hadn’t I thought of this before?
Regardless of whoever also thought of this idea, likely many decades or centuries before me, it was a new and exciting process that rocked my camping food game big time.
Since that “bacon discovery day”, whenever I can and feel the desire to, I pre-cook BACON for backpacking. We go camping in the winter and stay at remote winter cabins – it is on those trips, especially, that backpacking bacon is my hero food item.
✅ Remember to pre-cook your bacon everyone! Just do it! You can ALWAYS reheat it and crisp it up in a pan when on the trail!
🍖 Bacon and Other Shelf-Stable Meats for Backpacking
There are also many options besides bacon for meats that are more resilient to spoilage when refrigeration is not readily available. Let’s take a look at some below!
It’s important to note that while certain types of smoked meats may have a longer shelf life than regular bacon, they do still require refrigeration during longer periods.
👉 So, if you are backpacking in weather warmer than 40 degrees, consume any leftovers within 24 hours and keep your pack shaded as much as possible.
Additionally, any leftovers must be heated thoroughly before eating as they can become contaminated with harmful bacteria if left unrefrigerated for too long.
Lastly, always check the expiration date on the packaging before consuming any food while backpacking, as spoiled food can be very dangerous in these circumstances.
1. Uncured or Cured Raw Bacon
Uncured or Cured Raw Bacon needs to be cooked first prior to your backpacking trip. This reduces moisture content which in turn prevents spoiling as fast.
You will pack the cooked bacon properly before leaving your house to consume it within the next day or two. Crispy, salty, smokey, and oh-so-delicious, it is well worth the effort!
Consider vacuum-packing two slices at a time for use during the first few days of your trip! Remember, this option does add to your food packaging waste.
The vacuum-packing process is useful because the absence of moisture and oxygen slows down spoiling.
Bacon is the perfect breakfast treat but can also be incorporated into many other dishes. Not only does it taste great, but it’s also a good source of protein and other nutrients.
2. Shelf-Stable Pre-Cooked Bacon
Shelf-Stable Pre-Cooked Bacon is a great option if you can get your hands on some. It is edible right out of the package! How convenient is that?
This type of pre-cooked bacon is able to last quite a long time in its original packaging without being opened. Once opened, it should be consumed in a day or two, or, in one sitting if you are camping in warmer weather.
3. Real Bacon Bits
Real Bacon Bits are the perfect way to add a bit of crunch and flavor to your favorite dishes. Whether you’re making soups, tacos, or omelets, these pre-cooked bacon bits make meals taste better!
They come in resealable containers that make them easy to store in your pack. Real Bacon Bits will keep fresh for 5-7 days after opening, as long as it is not super hot outside.
4. Bacon Jerky
Bacon Jerky is a great snack food made of cured and smoked pork. It is usually sold in strips or pieces. It is a popular snack for people on the go with good reason! These days it can be found in convenience stores and supermarkets across the country.
Prosciutto is a type of Italian dry-cured ham which is thinly sliced. Check your grocery store, near the deli, for prosciutto that is sold in the non-refrigerated area!
These days this shelf-stable type of prosciutto is found more often but it may depend on local interest in your area. Prosciutto can be used in pasta dishes, with cheese and crackers, on sandwiches, and on wraps for a delicious salty flavor.
Shelf Stable Pepperoni sticks or slices are ubiquitous and that’s good because they are delicious options!
In Vermont and the surrounding states, VT Smoke and Cure Pepperoni sticks can be found in most grocery and convenience stores. Our family also enjoys Applegate pepperoni slices that are available in beef/pork or turkey.
Salami is made from pork, beef, or both and can be flavored with spices like garlic, pepper, and paprika. It can also be found as a shelf-stable option in the same section of your store as shelf-stable prosciutto.
Salami is often served as a part of an antipasto platter or on its own as a snack. It pairs well with cheese, olives, and nuts for a delicious backpacking snack.
8. Summer Sausage
VT Smoke and Cure Summer Sausage is a delicious option and one my kids, especially, love when we go backpacking. Between the four of us, in our family, we can devour the stick in one sitting so there is no need to store leftovers.
The summer sausage we buy is made with premium pork and beef and seasoned with brown sugar and garlic that give it a savory kick.
9. Meat Snack Sticks
Meat Snack Sticks are staples in my kids’ lunchboxes but also in our packs when we hike. A combination of beef and pork, chicken or venison; the options are endless nowadays.
Meat sticks are delicious, full of protein, and really hit the nail on the head for a quick snack when hunger attacks.
10. Salmon Jerky
Salmon Jerky, made from fresh wild-caught salmon, and cured with smoky sweet flavors, is to die for! However, it is important to note that salmon jerky is messy (oily) and will cause fish-scented fingers.
Be aware of your surroundings when you delve into eating fish in the wild! Salmon Jerky is known for being high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, making it a healthier choice than many of the other options in this list.
11. Imitation Bacon Bits
While they may be shrugged off by some, Imitation Bacon Bits are the best option for those who want to add smoky-bacon flavor to backpacking meals but want zero concerns regarding spoiling!
Some folks like to put them on nearly everything to add a flavorful crunch. From vegetable side dishes to soups and stews, these imitation bacon bits make a decent addition to your stash of condiments in the wild.
💡 How to Store Bacon After Opening
When preparing for a backpacking trip it is important to store your bacon properly after opening it so that you can enjoy its delicious flavor for as long as possible!
Fortunately, there are easy and effective ways to do this.
Bacon that has been opened, but not cooked, will last for about a week in the fridge. Or, in terms of backpacking, it will last a few days in your pack in cool crisp 40-degree weather before you can’t stand the waiting any longer and cook up the entire package for eating!
One of the best ways to store bacon when camping is in an airtight reusable zip-top silicone bag. This will help keep the bacon fresh and prevent any moisture from getting into the package which could cause it to spoil quickly.
Another method of storage is individual servings inside vacuum-sealed packages to lock out all moisture and oxygen, however, this does result in plastic waste.
Whichever method you choose, if you are on an extended trip of more than a week, be sure to label the bag with the date so you know when you opened it and how old it is before eating!
♨️ How do you dehydrate bacon for backpacking?
Unlock the potential of your camping food dehydrator by making delicious, dried bacon that can last in your pack for much longer excursions.
Dehydrating bacon for backpacking can be an effective way to preserve its smoky flavor and texture without needing to take up valuable space in your cooler or backpack.
It’s definitely is best to cook your bacon first before drying it to remove any bacteria that may be present.
✅ Place cooked strips of bacon on a drying tray and insert them into your dehydrator.
✅ Set the temperature for 135º and set the timer for 6-8 hours. Cool the dehydrated bacon to room temperature at this point.
✅ Once finished, store the dehydrated bacon in an airtight bag or jar until use. Now you have turned your bacon into a delicious and lightweight snack for your next backpacking trip!
🏕 FAQS: Backpacking Bacon
Bacon is one of the most popular and versatile ingredients for meat-eating campers, backpackers, and outdoor adventurers.
Not only does it taste delicious but bacon also has endless uses for meals that make it ideal for backpacking trips.
So, let’s answer some common questions that may arise for you!
What Bacon Doesn’t Need Refrigeration?
Bacon does not necessarily need to be refrigerated to stay fresh if you are only going on a 1-2 day trip in cooler weather. However, it will have a much shorter shelf-life if it is not kept cold.
For backpacking, you may want to consider purchasing pre-cooked bacon. This type of bacon is usually shelf-stable, meaning it doesn’t need refrigeration until after it has been opened.
For shelf-stable, cooked bacon, store the unopened product at 85 °F or below.
It should be noted that opened pre-cooked bacon is still perishable. However, this is good news – once a package of pre-cooked bacon is open it can be kept for two weeks in the refrigerator!
So, if you are backpacking in the shoulder season or winter camping when temps are 40 degrees or cooler, you really have nothing to worry about if you keep your bacon away from the warmth of the fire.
After opening, use your pre-cooked bacon within 5 to 14 days.
How long does bacon last backpacking?
The answer to this question depends largely on the type of bacon that you are packing and how well it has been stored before your trip.
Ultimately, it’s best to use your own judgment when determining how long you can keep your bacon before consuming it. Always check for signs of spoilage such as discoloration or an off-putting smell, and discard any bacon that is questionable.
By following these guidelines, you can enjoy a flavorful and safe backpacking experience – no refrigerator necessary!
How do you pack bacon for backpacking?
Pack bacon for backpacking trips in reusable sealable bags or vacuum-sealed packages.
I often add pieces of paper towel to soak up any residual grease but ONLY if I am going to be somewhere that I can burn that paper towel when I am done with it.
How long does cooked turkey bacon last?
Turkey bacon is a great alternative to traditional pork-based bacon. It’s leaner and healthier, yet still has the same delicious smoky flavor that we all love.
Your cooked turkey bacon should last just as long as regular bacon while backpacking (up to 3 days in cooler weather), making it a great option for those looking to add some smoky flavor to outdoor meals.
🍴How to Use Backpacking Bacon
Alright, I am going to keep this super simple! I am sharing my family’s favorite backpacking and EASY camping breakfast that takes only as long as boiling water and mixing everything together.
This is a satisfying breakfast that has fat, carbs, protein, fruit, and healthy seeds to keep everyone satiated until the next snack break on the trail!
☀️ Backpacker’s Breakfast with a Side of Bacon
- Instant oatmeal packets (1-2 per person) or homemade backpacking quick oats
- Stick of butter (1-2 tbs per person)
- Hemp Seeds (1 tbs per person)
- Chia Seeds (2 tsp per person)
- A small handful of dehydrated fruit or 1 tbs dried fruit powder, per person
- 2 strips of pre-cooked bacon per person
- Hard-boiled egg (optional addition)
Use one or two packets of instant oatmeal PER person. My kids and I eat one packet while my husband eats two.
In each bowl add the desired number of oatmeal packets and boiling water per the instructions on the packets. Mix well and add a splash more water if needed.
Top with the following: 1-2 tbs of butter, a sprinkling of dehydrated fruit such as raspberries and bananas (pictured above), hemp seeds, and chia seeds. Stick two slices of bacon into each bowl and nosh away! Enjoy your energy-packed breakfast!
🎒 Conclusion: Guide to Backpacking Bacon
Whether you’re a seasoned backpacker or just getting started, I hope this guide has given you all the information you need to make sure that your next outdoor adventure is a super tasty one!
With the right type of bacon, cooking and packing tips, and creative recipes, you’ll be able to make sure your backpacking meals are anything but boring.
So don’t wait any longer! Get ready for an unforgettable adventure with scrumptious bacon-filled meals!
Easy Backpacking Bacon Recipe
- 1 pound thick-cut bacon
- Preheat oven to 375F degrees.
- Line one sheet pan with parchment paper.*
- Lay bacon out evenly in a single layer on the sheet pan with as little overlapping as possible. The bacon will shrink while it cooks so a little overlapping is OK.
- Bake bacon for 15 minutes.
- At this point check the bacon for desired crispness. It is advised to bake as much moiture out of your backpacking bacon as possible. So, err on the side of more crisp but not burnt.
- If needed, bake your bacon for another 2 minutes
- Lay cooked bacon onto a plate lined with paper towel. This helps drain the extra grease from the bacon. In addition, dab the extra grease off the top of the slices of cooked bacon.
- Let the bacon cool and package the slices up into airtight baggies, either reusable or Ziploc bags.
- One pound of thick-cut bacon should fit perfectly one one sheet pan. If your bacon is thin-cut, use two sheet pans.