Slackpacking Hiking Menu

Busy schedules, day jobs, responsibilities, husbands and general adulting leave very little time for gallivanting on the mountains – let alone the time and planning that goes into organizing a multi-day hike. But the joy of setting off for a few days with some friends and a backpack, and the ability to truly escape the mad rush of life is worth making a multiple day hiking trip a priority.

Our Multi-day Slackpacking Hiking Menu should help to take some of the stress out of planning for your next hike. It has been tried and tested on the hills of Sabie for the Fanie Botha Hike and along the Western Cape coast for the Whale Trail and is now our standard Menu whenever we do a long slackpacking hike.

Because leave days are worth more than gold in South Africa, whenever we do overnight hikes we do them in style. We see hiking as a holiday, and eating great food is an important part of any holiday! There are no baked beans, breakfast bars or Bully Beef on our menus and we have been known to prioritize space for wine above other hiking necessities… Who needs fresh socks anyway? And although a more traditional hiking menu may serve you well in terms of space and weight, when you have the luxury of slackpacking available, we highly recommend the 5 DAY Slackpacking Hiking Menu below.

We have used this menu for groups of 10 – 12 but it can be adjusted to suit groups of all sizes.

Shopping for all of this food, along with organizing it for each day and packing it into the limited space available when slackpacking can be a major challenge.

We usually let one person in the group do all the food shopping, instead of everyone bringing their own food, and we highly recommend this method. It takes up much less space than everyone bringing their own, it reduces waste, it minimizes the chances of items being forgotten and it helps to curbs those hikers who think that slackpacking means that they can pack a SteriStumpi for each day. Space is still limited when slackpacking so electing a shopper/ general food leader is important when organizing your multi-day hike.

Our shopping list includes everything that you will need for the multi-day slackpacking hiking menu above as well as a helpful guide on how to pack everything so that it stays fresh and is easily accessible each day.

Slackpacking is usually charged per item, including cooler bags. It can be quite expensive, and is often still limited to a maximum number of items per person. The size and weight of each item will also be closely controlled. A general guideline will be one cooler bag and one small crate per couple plus 2 additional crates per group of 10. That means that there is actually about the same amount of space available as when you are carrying your belongings. So although weight and refrigeration are less of a concern, space is still limited.

For our menu, when catering for groups of 10 – 12 you will need 3 standard sized cooler bags for the food (leaving 2 extra cooler bags for the beer and wine). These should be kept cold with freezer packs or dry ice. Additionally you will need 1 or 2 standard sized crates for general everyday food items. The remaining dry food should be packaged into individually labeled plastic bags per meal, per day and then divided amongst the hikers, to store in their belongings crates. The hikers must therefore leave space in their personal crates for some of the groups’ food.

Hikers should also be encouraged to keep all of their hiking snacks, for the full duration of the hike in their day packs (to free up space for the daily food items in their crates). Again, this helps to ensure that hikers pack sensible snacks and not SteriStumpies.

Once all your shopping is done, and everything is nicely labeled and separated and individually packed the shopper/ general food leader’s job is done. From here on out they should be exempt from any cooking or chopping or braaing that takes place – you can even go as far as ensuring that their feet are always up and their glass is always full during meal times because it is a mission getting everything together and they deserve a break!

We hope that our multi-day slackpacking menu and shopping list helps with your preparations for your next hike. Remember that there is always space for an extra bottle of wine and that comments like “there is not enough mayonnaise” or “I only eat real butter” are punishable offences while hiking.