Expedition Food


As part of the planning for an expedition, participants are expected to plan a menu card which details what they will be eating on each day of their expedition. This menu card needs to be completed in advance of the expedition so that leaders can check the suitability of the food listed.

Pupils are provided with a trangia on which they should be able to cook all their meals. There are lots of recipes on the internet for meals that can be booked on a trangia so it’s worth researching some of these well in advance (http://www.naturetravels.co.uk/pdf/trangia-camping-recipes.pdf).

How many meals do I need to bring?

Participants need to make sure they bring breakfast, lunch and dinner for each day of their expedition, along with snacks for each day and emergency rations (meals they do not intend to eat but can keep as an emergency!). Each dinner should consist of a three-course meal with a starter, main and dessert.

How many calories should I be consuming?

Participants should aim to consume between 3000 and 4000 calories per day, which is much more than usual. This is due to strenuous physical activity they will be undertaking each day, which requires high energy levels and a high calorie consumption. Each menu card has a column to record the calories of each food item so that it is easy to keep a total of how many calories you are planning for each day.

How much water should I bring?

You should bring a 1-1.5 litre water bottle that can be refilled at campsites. If the weather is hot, you will be offered water top ups at checkpoints throughout the day.

How can I keep the weight of my food down?

There are lots of ways of keeping the weight of your food to a minimum:

  1. Empty all contents of tins into plastic containers (tins should not be brought due to their weight)
  2. Avoid bringing unnecessary food (ie, rather than bringing the whole box of tea-bags, count out how many you’ll need and put them into a plastic bag)
  3. Choose snacks that are lightweight (see recommendations below)
  4. Share food between tent groups (ie, one brings the pasta, the other the sauce)
  5. Choose foods which are lightweight (ie, pasta, rice, porridge pots), but only bring what you need (NOT THE WHOLE BAG!).

I’m still confused as to which foods to bring!

Remember, it is important to check that the foods you bring provide you with lots of calories and nutrition. Many outdoor stores sell expedition food pouches which meet these requirements (see below). Cheaper alternatives can be found in supermarkets (see below). Download some menu plan ideas here (pay special attention to calories, weight, etc).


This should provide around 20% of your day’s calorie requirement.

Top tip! If you choose to have cereal for your breakfast, minimize your weight and space taken up by preparing it at home and leaving the containers behind. Measure how out much you need in advance, add any necessary sugar, the dried milk powder and place it all in a plastic/freezer bag. Each morning you will only need to add water so this will limit what you need to bring with you and the associated weight.


This should provide around 30% of your day’s calorie requirement. Participants should avoid cooking at lunchtimes as this takes time and means having to unpack their kit to access trangia and fuel. They should try to bring suitable lunches that don’t require refrigeration.

Top tip! If you fancy a bigger lunch but it needs to be cooked, cook your lunch the night before at camp and then store this in plastic containers for the following day.


This should provide 50% of your day’s calorie requirement and must comprise of a cooked meal in order to pass your assessment.



This needs to be a cooked meal.

Expedition food packs from Go Outdoors are nutritious and calorie-packed and make an ideal main meal for an assessed expedition.

Wayfarer’s meals are also highly suitable for a main meal:

Cheaper alternatives are freeze-dried meals or boil-in-the bag meals available from most supermarkets (just make sure you check the calorie content on these as they are often not quite as high in calories as official expedition foods).

Top tip! To bulk out your meal why not add some chopped frankfurters or vegetables?

Top tip! When buying rice or pasta for your expedition check the cooking time on the back of the packet. Quick cook rice in sachets and 3-min pastas are the most suitable options when you are sharing a stove with someone!


Look for instant mix puddings, such as Bird’s Instant Custard or Rice Semolina. Rice puddings and custard pots are also good options.

Any dessert can be topped up with fruit or cake.

“Wayfarers” Meals www.westlerfoods.com/Wayfayrer.html or from camping shops

“Pack’n’Go” Meals http://http://www.bewellexpeditionfoods.com/deserts


Snacks are an important component of any meal plan and should be planned carefully to ensure you are bringing the kinds of snack that will provide you with the calorie boost you may need throughout the day.

Top Tip! Chocolate bars are high in sugar so will give you a quick release of energy – however, think carefully about bringing these if the weather is hot as nobody wants melted chocolate all over their equipment!

Trail mix is high-calorie snack that is highly suitable for expeditions. Buy it prepared or make your own!

Cereal bars and energy bars provide you with a nutritious and high energy snack!

You could also try making your own energy snacks. There are lots of recipes on the internet. Here are a few ideas:

Muesli Bars

Makes 12 bars Preparation time 10 minutes.


3 tablespoons of margarine, 280 grams of marshmallows, 300 grams of mixed nuts and raisins, 52 grams of corn flakes or rice crispy (or use any tyre of cereal you have and like) and 240 grams Muesli.

In a large pan, melt the margarine and slowly add the marshmallows, Heat very gently until the mixture is completely melted. Stir in the nuts and raisins, cereal and muesli and mix all the ingredients together. Pour the mixture on to a 35 x 25 cm sheet of grease proof paper, spread the mixture evenly. Allow to stand for 15 minutes and cut into bars. Wrap each bar individually. The bars are best eaten within four days.

Fruit Balls

Good for a quick energy fix, you can use any dried fruit, although apricots work really well because of their high sugar content. Makes 16 fruit balls Preparation time 10 minutes.


110 grams of dried apricots or any other dried fruit, 75 grams of shredded coconut, 2 tablespoons of icing sugar & 120ml condensed milk.

In a large bowl, mix the fruit and coconut together, Pour in the milk and mix well. Shape into about 16 balls and roll fruit balls in the icing sugar to coat. Pack them into an air tight food bag.


Nice ways to add calories to your meals are to think about the drinks you consume. Water is obviously a must throughout the day, but also think about drinks in the evening, such as a nice hot chocolate sachet before you go to bed!

Basic Rules to Remember!

  • No food should be brought which needs to be kept in a fridge
  • No glass containers (ie, jars) should be brought
  • No large tins should be brought
  • All dinners should be made up of three-courses
  • Pot noodle does not count as a main course (but is fine as a starter)!
  • Food needs to be high in calories and nutritious (so living on a bag of Haribo sweets for a day is not suitable!!).
    Thank you to Reigate Grammar School for their assistance with our DofE webpages.