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Beyond Oatmeal: 6 Hot Backpacking Breakfasts

Beyond Oatmeal: 6 Hot Backpacking Breakfasts

On my first backpacking trip ever I discovered that I hate oatmeal. I hate the colour, I hate the texture and no matter how much dried fruit or sugar or milk you put in it, I just can’t stomach it. But it’s probably the most common breakfast food for backpackers: it’s light, quick to prepare with just hot water, and it fills you up. Over the years I’ve had to come up with some alternatives that fit the same criteria since I don’t usually want a cold breakfast (although sometimes a bagel with nut butter does hit the spot).  So here are my suggestions for 6 hot backpacking breakfasts for when you just can’t eat oatmeal but still want a quick, hot meal.

Hey there: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for your support. -Taryn

Instant Noodles

Instant noodles, Cup-o-Noodles or ramen aren’t a typical breakfast food, but who says you have to eat typical food! They are lightweight and tasty and you can add stuff to the typical grocery store mixes to make them more filling. I like to add jerky, bacon bits and dehydrated veggies. At the store look for mixes that you can just add water to instead of ones that require simmering on the stove – that way you’ll save fuel too. You can also repackage the noodles and mix in a single ziplock bag at home. Try different flavours to mix it up. Or branch out into Thai rice noodles. Pro tip: They’re super cheap if you buy them in bulk on Amazon.

Mashed Potatoes

Here’s another savoury option for a hot breakfast on the trail. I buy powdered mashed potatoes at the supermarket and then package it in a ziplock with some add-ins like bacon bits or parmesan cheese. I usually buy the Idahoan brand as they have different flavours like garlic and parmesan or cheddar cheese and you can even get ones that come with an add on just-add-water gravy packet. I usually buy a big package, then portion it out into ziploc bags for the trial.

Warm Granola

If you don’t like the texture of oatmeal, try warm crunchy granola. I used to make granola on the trail by mixing powdered milk with cold water, but it was so cold one morning in the Yukon that we warmed up the milk and I haven’t looked back. I like Nature Path’s almond granola. Buy: Amazon. I often premix the granola at home with diced dried fruit from the bulk section, nuts, powdered milk and sugar. At camp just add boiling water.

Cream of Wheat

If you don’t like oatmeal, you might not like this either as they have a similar texture. It’s basically a wheat porridge. Find it near the oatmeal in your grocery store or choose from a wide range of flavours on Amazon. (Some of the crazy flavors on offer: banana cream and Cinnabon. No, I haven’t tried them.) You can add the same sort of things to your cream of wheat as you would to your granola: dried fruit, nuts, powdered milk, cinnamon, sugar, etc.


In same family as oatmeal and cream of wheat you’ll find grits: it’s basically corn porridge. In America it’s easy to find instant grits in most grocery stores, but grits are far less common in Canada – you’ll have better luck on Amazon. But unlike oatmeal and cream of wheat, grits are usually served as a savoury dish. Package your grits with bacon bits, butter powder and salt and pepper. And of course you can always add cheese.

Freeze-Dried Eggs

Lots of dehydrated and freeze-dried backpacking food companies make breakfast packages that you can buy at your local outdoor store. And most of them are TERRIBLE. I know. I’ve eaten them. But there are a few gems out there. In particular, I recommend the freeze-dried egg meals from Mountain House as they actually look, feel and taste like eggs. It’s like magic. The breakfast skillet and bacon and eggs meals are the best ones. But they’ll cost you up to $7 per person for breakfast!

So what’s your favourite non-oatmeal backpacking breakfast? (My favourites are warm granola or noodles.) Give me your suggestions in the comments.

More Camping Food Ideas

Taryn Eyton


Monday 10th of October 2022

hot cheesy quesadillas, lots of carb lots of protein, add dehydrated salsa (reconstituted) for a punch; we sometimes add freeze dried eggs for a real treat

Rosy Sekhon

Sunday 2nd of January 2022

Chia hot chocolate is my go to hike breakfast. Chia seed, dried coconut, a bit of hot chocolate mix. Oatmeal and eggs don’t agree with my stomach so my choices are limited. I’m excited to try mashed potato mix.


Saturday 1st of August 2020

Amazon carries bulk dried egg powder (I got the 2 pound can from Augason Farms). It's easy to package into individual bags and add bacon bits and dried vegetables, and it rehydrates and cooks into perfect scrambled eggs! Much more affordable than $7 individual breakfast packs.

Taryn Eyton

Saturday 1st of August 2020

We have tried the egg powder - I agree it's definitely much more affordable. However, I don't think it's nearly as tasty as the freeze dried eggs. I guess its up to each person to decide if they want to splurge on backpacking eggs :)


Thursday 21st of November 2019

Another instant box food we love is scalloped potatoes. I dehydrate corned beef at home and mix it in. If you have a little extra time in the morning, frying the beef after it is rehydrated adds caramelization to the edges of the beef then add the potatoes and follow package directions with powdered milk and butter.


Friday 19th of July 2019

We are headed into backcountry soon and I am going to try overnight Chia Pudding. I have made it at home before, but never while backpacking. I am a chocoholic so I am going to mix Chia seeds with cocoa, coconut milk powder, honey crystals, and some cinnamon. Just add cold water to the mix the night before and mix well. You can add dried fruit, or whatever you prefer so it makes this very versatile. I hope it works! I am going to do a test run here at home before we go just to be sure.

Taryn Eyton

Friday 19th of July 2019

Oh that sounds really interesting Amanda! Let me know how it goes.