My favorite trail breakfast consists of three packs of instant wheat cereal and dried fruit and nuts. You just need to boil water to make it. I like to make mine the consistency of soup because the extra liquid helps me rehydrate in the morning and because it makes it much easier to clean up. You just need to swish some water in your cookpot a few times to get it passably clean.
Wheat cereal is pretty easy to find in the United States under the Cream of Wheat brand, although the generic store brand is my preference because it’s less expensive and indistinguishable in taste. It packs about 130 calories per packet while the added dried fruit/nut mix adds another 200 calories. I usually make mine with three packets bringing the total calorie count up to about 650 calories. In cold weather, when you can carry butter without it melting, you can add even more calories.
There’s something comforting about eating a hot breakfast on a cold morning, even though it takes a few minutes longer to prep. I know hikers who gulp down a few trail bars and drink a liter of water in the morning before setting off. But eating a hot breakfast gives me time to listen to the birds twittering and ease into the day. My time on backpacking trips is precious, but making miles has become less important to me over the years than savoring the solitude of the morning.
Truth is, I eat this same meal for dinner sometimes because it is so easy to make, filling, and satisfying. It’s perfect for those spur of the moment overnights when I just want to get out for one night. I just throw the ingredients into my Ursack and take off.
If you want to save money, time, and produce less trash, skip that Mountain House breakfast and roll your own. If you have food allergies, find something else that works similarly. Soup for breakfast is the real deal.Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the affiliate links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and some sellers may contribute a small portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.