Food and Cooking

You need to plan and buy all your food before the trip.  You are not allowed to go shopping during the hike so you must carry all your food and cooking equipment.

This page has tips on what to buy and how to feed yourself on expeditions. Here is a download with some more tips on expedition food. There are further downloads with more details at the foot of this page.

On expeditions you will use up more energy than normal and need to eat and drink plenty.  You must cook at least one substantial meal per day (pot noodles are not substantial!).  

Do not forget your WATER as well.  Dehydration is a real risk for people on expeditions. You must carry 1.5- 2 litres of water each. Ordinary water bottles are OK, hydration systems are not necessary or recommended.

Pack in lots of calories into the least weight and volume. Check labels. You’ll need between three to five thousand calories every day. Choose foods high in sugars, carbohydrates and fats.

Food can be heavy so look for food that is lightweight, low in bulk and with little packaging.  Remove excess packaging and re-pack food to minimize waste. Dried, cured, smoked or vegetarian foods will usually all last well.

Download this menu plan for Bronze and Silver expeditions (Gold will issue a separate plan)


Start the day with a substantial breakfast and a hot drink. This can include cereals, muesli, porridge, noodles or even a full English with tea, coffee or hot chocolate.  You can buy readymade all day breakfast pouches.

Tip: Make up your own porridge before you go with oats, nuts, dried fruit and muesli, then add milk powder / sugar to taste. Once on expedition simply add hot water to make quick porridge. 

Lunch & Snacks

Sandwiches, pitta bread or wraps with other high energy foods like flapjacks, cereal bars, nuts, dried fruit, biscuits, chocolate bars, dried sweets, jelly, mint cake and so on. Some teams prefer to have only a short 15 minute rest and ‘drip feed’ high energy snacks continuously whilst journeying, it’s up to you to decide as a team. 

Tip: Lunches need to be made from things that will not deteriorate over the course of the expedition. Things such as oatcakes or flapjacks are better than bread.

Pitta bread lasts longer than bread and you can add favourite fillings: Marmite and cheese, or Tahini, ham and mustard, tinned sardines, tuna and tomato.

Bananas, nature’s own energy bars, are useful but they easily get squashed.

Energy bars are a good alternative.  They contain a mixture of complex carbohydrates in the form of oats and cereals and natural sugars from the fruit, such as apricots, which together provide a sustained energy source.


Soup, curry, stews, pasta, bangers and smash or noodle stir-fry are great expedition meals. Try hot chocolate cake, biscuits or crumble and custard for pud.

At the end of the day you need to replace your carbohydrate stores. 

Special dried meals or boil in the bag meals can also be bought from camping shops.


Most camp cooking involves bringing water to boil, adding the food and simmering it on a stove.  You will be shown how to use a Trangia stove safely.

When buying food check packets for cooking time and instructions.  Meals that can be quickly cooked in a pot of boiling water are best. 

Hygiene and food safety is important on expeditions.  Avoid tummy upsets by washing your hands and cleaning utensils before and after cooking. 

Planning Meals

You should plan every meal and know what you’ll eat every day.  For Gold hikes you will need to present menus to the assessors. 

For Bronze and Silver you are required simply to have enough food to cater for your group for the whole duration of the hike.  This will be checked.

Do not cook food on your lunch stop.

A menu example for one day:

Muesli / PorridgeSandwich / Trail Mix / biscuits                          Packet soup                 
Dried milkapple                              Boil in the bag meal    
Sugar      Flapjack barsPasta/Rice/sauce        
Choc/Tea / coffeeOat crackers                 Cheese                          
 Drinks: tea, coffee, hot chocolate pitta bread wrap with spreads                         Hot choc pud + custard      

Food Tips for Gold Duke of Edinburgh Hikes

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