Eggs are a great source of protein and fat on any backpacking trip. With a high calorie-to-weight ratio, they make an excellent trail snack. Properly prepared and stored eggs can be a great addition to your backpack, but it can be a little tricky knowing how best to do this without losing flavor or running the risk of cracked eggs.
There are several ways to prepare eggs for a backpacking trip. Powdered or dehydrated eggs are a popular option for many people, as they are long-lasting and easy to carry; but some people really don’t like the taste. Hard-boiled or even raw eggs are also good options, you just have to know how to store them so there are no leaky disasters out on trail.
Here are our top tips for the best ways to prepare and store eggs on a backpacking trip…
Powdered / dehydrated eggs for backpacking
If there is one thing that backpackers love to do, it is dehydrate food. Over the years, outdoor stores and outlets have started to stock all manner of dehydrated foods to take out to the trail. Eggs are no exception!
Dehydrated (or powdered) eggs are a really neat way to pack those calories into a lightweight, manageable size, and it makes them much easier to store than whole eggs. Some people, however, feel that the dehydration process removes a lot of the flavor – and they seem to be a “love it or hate it” kind of backpacking food.
The process of dehydrating eggs is simple, it merely removes the water making the eggs much lighter and less susceptible to turning bad. Depending on the brand you buy (or whether you D.I.Y.), the shelf-life of these powdered eggs is up to a few weeks after opening.
How to pack powdered eggs into a backpack
One of the best things about powdered eggs is how easy they are to transport. You don’t need to worry about them cracking or squashing, and they can be easily packed into your food bag or bear box while hiking.
The best way to store them is in a flexible zip-lock bag or lock-top hard plastic container. If you choose the bag, just make sure you get most of the air out before you squash it into your backpack, otherwise it might pop!
Real vs Fake Powdered Eggs
Most of the leading brands are offering powdered mixtures made from real eggs, with varying quality.
If taste and quality is more important than price, then look for brands which dehydrate the eggs as fresh as possible, as opposed to later down the line. If you can’t find this information on the packet or with a quick internet search, then it is likely that the company doesn’t dehydrate their eggs very fresh – otherwise they would make it easy for you to find out.
Fake powdered eggs might sound like your nightmare. They do, however, make a decent vegan option for backpackers who want to retain their eating ethics while out on the trail. After reading many reviews (and trying one option for myself), I would always recommend taking some extra seasoning to add to your eggs, rather than relying on them to taste great out of the packet.
Bring salt, pepper, and your favorite spices – if you are that type of backpacker!
Best brands for powdered eggs?
OvaEasy Whole Egg Crystals
These are a really popular brand of powdered eggs, and can be bought online or at your local REI store. For $10 for 12 powdered eggs, they are certainly more expensive than buying regular eggs at the grocery store, but it cuts out the DIY dehydration process which can take up to 12 hours.
Pros: No artificial ingredients. Cheaper option. Backpack-friendly packaging.
Cons: Reportedly the taste and flavor isn’t as good as other brands. Not as long a shelf life as other brands.
More info: REI.com
Emergency Essentials Whole Egg Powder
Emergency Essentials are a well-known brand for “preppers” (survivalists), but some of their goods are really popular among backpackers too. Their egg powder contains 72 eggs for just under $30, which is a great value for the money, and even better – they don’t contain any artificial ingredients.
Pros: Good value. No artificial ingredients. Trusted brand.
Cons: Tub too large for backpack. 10 year shelf-life decreases when tub is opened.
More info: BePrepared.com
Mountain House Scrambled Eggs with Bacon
This is a little different in that it comes as a ready-meal as opposed to just eggs. There are a few more added ingredients in there to stabilize the mixture and make it feel more like fresh-cooked scrambled eggs; but user reviews are happy with the taste and texture! Great for anyone who likes an easy, tasty meal in the morning. (They do vegetarian options, also.)
Pros: Good taste. Recyclable packaging. Gluten-Free
Cons: More expensive than other options. Added ingredients and stabilizers may not be to everyone’s liking.
More info: MountainHouse.com
How to dehydrate eggs for backpacking
Dehydrated (powdered) eggs are actually very simple to make! You will, of course, need a dehydrator. You can pick these up reasonably cheaply and they are a great investment for regular backpackers. Dehydrated foods weigh a lot less in your pack, and keep a lot longer than regular foods.
DIY Powdered Eggs:
- Crack the eggs into a bowl. 5 is a good start for most dehydrators, but you’ll need to adjust the quantity depending on the size of your trays.
- Whisk very well, until the egg mixture is slightly foamy.
- Pour the egg mixture into your dehydrator tray
- Dehydrate at 140 degrees for 8-10 hours. The powdered eggs should be flaky, and oily enough to be easily removed. If they are a little sticky, dehydrate some more until they peel off easily.
- Place the egg flakes into a zip-lock bag and freeze for up to one hour.
- Remove from freezer and blend until they are completely powdered. If you find they stick to the sides of the blender, then dehydrate them some more.
- Place back into your zip-lock and into the freezer until your backpacking trip!
- Add 1 tablespoon of cold water per egg directly into your zip-lock
- Let it sit for 5 minutes. If the texture is not to your liking, add a teaspoon at a time until it looks right.
- Season and enjoy your eggy breakfast!
Hard-boiled eggs are a good option for short backpacking trips. They are very easy to transport, but unless you plan on keeping them refrigerated in your backpack then you should aim to eat them on day one.
How to prepare hard-boiled eggs
Hard-boiling eggs is very simple.
- Add your eggs to a saucepan (carefully!) and cover with water so that they are fully submerged.
- Add a teaspoon of vinegar (this helps to stop an egg running if it does crack) and bring water to the boil.
- Once boiled, turn off the heat and cover the pan with a lid for 10-12 minutes.
How to pack hard-boiled eggs in your backpack
Packing hard-boiled eggs is a lot easier than packing raw eggs. The best way is to place them in a hard plastic water bottle or container (with a wide mouth, like a Nalgene), and fill the empty space with uncooked rice or salt water. (Salt water is important so as to not draw salts out from inside the egg.)
This will exert a pressure on the eggs and act as a cushion in your backpack. It is not a perfect method, but if a hard-boiled egg cracks then the egg will still be edible, and the insides will not ooze out everywhere.
Do hard-boiled eggs spoil?
The FDA recommends eating hard-boiled eggs within 2 hours of boiling if not refrigerated. You can extend their life up to a week by cooling them, but this is a little tricky on a backpacking trip.
Due to this, I wouldn’t rate hard-boiled eggs as the best backpacking food, and would only really recommend them for day hikes. You may get away with eating them for breakfast on your second day if you are hiking in cool climates, and store them in a Nalgene with some cool salt water and ice.
Backpacking with raw eggs
Raw eggs will obviously be the most tasty option when out on a backpacking trip – especially farm fresh eggs. Unfortunately, they are the least easy-to-carry option on our list, and may end up being more trouble than they are worth.
I would always advise against carrying raw eggs for more than a 2-day trip, as you will need to treat your pack delicately and it may become a real annoyance. Remember that your energy and patience may start to drop on a long backpacking trip, and nothing will make that worse than opening up your backpack to a mush of cracked eggs.
The benefits of fresh eggs
By “fresh” eggs, I mean eggs that are straight from the chicken – or as close as can be. As soon as an egg is refrigerated – which most eggs are in a grocery store – they then need to be kept that way, otherwise they can start to “sweat” and promote bacteria growth once removed from a refrigerator.
It is very difficult and impractical to try to refrigerate foods on a backpacking trip, and so if you really do want to bring raw eggs on your trip, then best to buy them directly from your local farm.
How to prepare and carry fresh eggs on a backpacking trip
The hard plastic water bottle/ container method mentioned above is a good one to use for raw eggs, too. Obviously, raw eggs are much more difficult to carry as they are super susceptible to cracking. At least if they crack in a sealed container then they won’t spill raw egg goop over your backpack and belongings!
Some brands make dedicated egg carriers. These are also made from hard plastic, and provide a secure casing for each individual egg. They work pretty well, although nothing is guaranteed. It may be difficult to fit farm fresh eggs into these containers, as they are often not consistent sizes.
This Coghlan’s 12 Egg Carrier is a popular choice, and sold at most REI stores. I would always advise bagging an egg carrier in a zip-lock or plastic wrap, just for a little extra security!
How long do raw eggs last?
Again, this depends on where you bought them. If you bought them refrigerated at the grocery store from the USA, then they may only last a few hours once out of the refrigerator. This makes them a pretty terrible candidate for a backpacking trip.
If you buy eggs completely fresh, however, then they can last up to a month at room temperature. This is a much safer bet for a backpacking trip. It may cost you a little more, but they will be tastier and healthier in the long run!
My favorite way to bring eggs backpacking…
My all-time favorite egg recipe when out on the trail is super simple. It can be made with raw eggs cooked on trail too, but I am a lightweight backpacker so I generally dehydrate my foods in advance.
Prepare in advance:
- Dehydrated (powdered) eggs stored in a zip-lock bag
- Small packet of salt, pepper and paprika combined.
- Small vial of coconut oil. (I use coconut oil because it is solid at ambient temperatures – no leaks!)
- Crushed up cheesy chips (like Doritos) in another zip-lock bag
- Re-hydrate the eggs as above
- Heat up a small skillet with oil
- Add eggs and spice mix and fry slightly
- Top with cheesy chip crumbles and enjoy your eggy, crunchy breakfast
Okay, it’s not gourmet – but this is a backpacking meal!
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Suzie Hall has a passion for all things wild and is a scuba diver and Orcalab researcher based in Hanson Island off the north coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. She spends most of her time exploring this great wide earth and her travels have taken her to some remarkable locations including Patagonia, Kyrgyzstan and the wild British Columbia coast. Fueled by a drive to protect our wild spaces and their inhabitants, Suzie works in conservation projects around the globe and lives to write about the amazing people, places and wildlife she encounters.