Bread is a staple in many parts of Europe and the western world. Having bread out in the backcountry or on long distance hiking trips is filling, easy to eat and comforting. Here is how and what kinds of bread to carry.
As a Dutch guy, bread is a staple for breakfast, lunch, and sometimes even a lazy dinner. You can do basically anything with it. From carrying some butter with you, cheese, olive oil, Nutella. The options go on and on. For many hikers that want to carry bread with them, they notice that the ordinary sandwich bread gets easily squashed in their backpack.
Here are the best options to take bread with you out backpacking and hiking.
Quick jump list
- Sourdough bread
- Whole wheat and Rye bread
- English muffins
- Kaiser rolls and other Bread rolls
- French bread or Baguette
- Pita Bread
- Flat Bread | Naan bread | Tortillas
- Knäckebröd| Wasa crisp bread | Crackers
A rustic loaf of Sourdough bread lasts for a long time in your backpack. Tough, chewy, and full of flavor. Sourdough bread is a great option when you want to carry bread with you are out on the trail. In the German bakeries that I visited in Nuremberg, Sourdough bread reigns over all other bread. Having backpacked with a heavy slice of it on many occasions this makes the top of the list. Partly because it is my favorite bread to eat, and for the reasons that are important for backpacking and hiking trips.
It lasts for a good week in most weather conditions, it is packed full with filling flavor. And does not squash easily in your food bag. It is on the heavier side though. However, it is very filling bread. You could eat like 3 tortillas for 1 slice of Sourdough bread.
Great topped with a bit of salted heavy butter, which also lasts for a few days out on the trail. Or with some olive oil. It can also easily be transformed into a nice Bruschetta with some Garlic and vegetables or a French Tartine with other toppings. Possibilities with bread are nearly endless.
Whole wheat and Rye bread
Most common in the Netherlands and easy to find in most other countries, a dense Whole Wheat or Rye bread is another great option to take with you hiking.
Kinda similar in qualities as Sourdough bread, Rye, and Whole-wheat loaves can be treated the same way. Top with whatever you want or use in Soups. Most common to find in grocery stores in the Netherlands and Germany, below is what I mean when talking about Rye and Whole Wheat bread:
Fried English Muffins add some more calories and fat to your diet while out hiking. These are ready to eat like that, or great when slightly toasted. Traditionally eaten with butter and a layer of jam or marmalade. These can be topped with anything you like. I once made a SPAM and Egg breakfast sandwich with these while out hiking. Great for a pick me up!
Boiled and cooked bagels last for a long time in your backpack. Because they are a bit chewier and generally have a protective crust around the outside. They do not tend to go bad quickly in your food bag. Great to have with a slice of hard cheese or dried meat and a bowl of soup.
Kaiser rolls and other Bread rolls
Kaiser rolls or other bread rolls can also be taken with you out on hiking trips. These however tend to get old or stale relatively quickly. I would recommend storing them in a Ziploc bag for best results.
Tasty when topped with simple ingredients, or go all out and whip up a nice egg topped with Stinging Nettle Spinach and cheese.
French bread or Baguette
French bread is very traditional to have over on camping sites here in the Netherlands, Germany, and of course, France. Great for eating on the go and a favorite of mine to carry with me for the first and second day.
Less efficient compared to other bread, since it is usually very light on the stomach, but it is a real treat. I remember on the Camino Portuguese a partially nice sandwich. Which contained Sheeps cheese, a big layer of Butter since it was melting so badly, and Spanish Fuet sausage. Simply amazing and a great pick me up. Holds its shape well and can be strapped on the outside of your backpack in good weather.
Bannock is the type of bread that is very popular in the bushcraft community. Easy to make out on a campfire or a backpacking stove, these breads can be easily mixed up in a Ziploc bag for minimal cleanup.
Combine with something sweet or something salty for your bannock sandwich.
To make Bannock, combine 1 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1 tablespoon of salt with water. Till a messy dough forms. Then scrape that out on a skillet or pot with a good bit of oil and butter and cook until it passes the Toothpick test.
Pita bread is a great option for out on hiking trips. These little pockets can be stuffed with anything you want. From various veggies, cheese, or meat. If only there was a way to carry a big pot of Garlic sauce with you. Then you would have a proper “Broodje Shoarma” or Döner out on a hiking trip. But hey, you can always carry a little bit with you in a packet or container.
Great to eat as is, but even better slightly toasted.
Flat Bread | Naan bread | Tortillas
Every culture on earth has its own version of some sort of flatbread. Easy to make and very good with all kinds of different toppings. For hearty to sweet. Use them to make the same stuff as with tortillas. Or treat them to some good olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Amazing anywhere, and especially on hiking trips.
Tortillas are a great hiking food since they are compact and easy to stuff into a backpack, with practically no fear of squashing. A staple for many hikers for lunch and dinners, topped with rice sides, couscous, some veggies, and some hot sauce. And you got yourself a backcountry burrito.
Knäckebröd| Wasa crisp bread | Crackers
A staple in Dutch culture is a cup of tea with a Knäckebröd with butter and cheese at 11 o’clock in the morning. Growing up, this was my favorite snack of the day. Knäckebröd or Wasa crisp bread and crackers are great to take out hiking with you.
When you get the whole wheat ones with a lot of added nuts and seeds on them they can be quite filling. Great with some Nutella on them or any spreadable condiment really. The little shelf-stable cream cheese slices are also a great option for taking with you out on the trail. All the options are shelf-stable and last forever, the only issue you can have is that they crumble in your backpack. To prevent this you can store a few packs in your cooking pot.
Hope that helps anybody that was wondering what bread to take hiking! Leave a comment on what your favorite bread and dish are out on the trail.