Olive Oil while backpacking

Recently, sectionhiker.com posted a great article about olive oil being a great food item to bring backpacking. At first, you may think it is crazy to bring olive oil backpacking, but actually this is a common thing among ultralight backpackers. Olive oil has 240 calories per ounce, making it very calorically dense. It is easy to pack and has a great calorie-to-ounce ratio. As sectionhiker mentions, olive oil is a great option seeing how many other backpacking foods once carry 100 calories per ounce or less.

Olive oil would go great with Foccacia bread, or even Logan Bread. Another idea is to bring along with the bread is Parmesan cheese, as it keeps very well while backpacking, it’s very dry and dense with a low water content. Sectionhiker also offers the idea to add red pepper to the oil to “give it a little kick.”

Some fast food restaurants offer free olive oil packets, but beware, some may contain a small percent of real olive oil. You can repackage the oil into small plastic bottles for example, which you can buy at many stores including REI.

Share any ideas you have on your thoughts of using olive oil backpacking, what you can eat with it, or how you can repackage it!

From Sectionhiker

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by happyhiker! on October 12, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    I’ve used olive oil while backpacking for a long time. If you have some on bread or with pasta or just plain, it warms you up – great for right before bedtime!


  2. Posted by obamaforpresident on October 19, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    Didn’t even think to take olive oil but it makes sense! I’m amazed how many calories it has for such little weight. Hope I can try it out soon – winter is almost at my doorstep! I’ll just have to go on some treks to Mexico.


  3. Posted by CheapOair on October 27, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    The CheapOair blog is talking about backpacking and travel today. We’d love your input. Did we get it right? What would you do differently? Check it out at CheapOair.wordpress.com


  4. Posted by Kim on November 13, 2008 at 7:12 am

    Packit Gourmet carries little packets of 100% organic olive oil. I’ve been using these quite a bit recently for cooking and dipping sauces. Great flavor and convenient packaging.

    They also carry little packets of a canola/olive oil blend. Not as healthy but canola oil is good to have around sometimes and I haven’t been able to find these packets anywhere else.



  5. Posted by SierraHiker on April 4, 2009 at 9:39 am

    I also have used olive oil backpacking for a long time. I use it over pasta, add to mashed potatoes, add to soups, hummus and pita bread, in skillet when cooking dehydrated eggs, etc.

    It is one of the healthiest fats one can consume and a great way to slow the absorption of the large amount of carbohydrates consumed while backpacking or any other time for that matter.

    I buy extra virgin olive oil by the liter at Trader Joe’s and transfer into 125ml or 250ml Nalgene screw top bottles for backpacking. Just try to keep it cool and out of the sun.


  6. Posted by Brau Traveler on April 26, 2011 at 3:36 am

    Olive Oil, or any oil, is crucial when backpacking! When using your small backpack single burner stove, oils are a must for cooking nice breakfast eggs, to saute veggies, or perhaps just to make some nice french toast in the platz on a sunny morning to serve up to family, relations, or friends!

    This can all be done with one burner, a small travel stainless pan, and a few utensils, but CANNOT be done WITHOUT OILS!

    Some of you are survivalist backpackers, but others travel with family and explore, which means we each carry egg holders, insulated containers and ice packs we try to keep cold, or unused ice in the rare ice water glass to put in plastic zipper bag always near. Keep various 9 properly contained (paper,metal, cling film) TIP, if you’re on the chEEp, splurging for a night out, at a nice place, and they give you ice water, don’t waste the (probably petroleum) energy they put into making that ice and throw it away!

    Instead, drink your water down, then put that ice into the rolled plastic zipper bag stored in your pocket for easy access, priorly located thre because you planned! In the EU this will be welcomed, and if questioned and you say you’re trying to save energy, you will be seen like a hero. In the U.S. it is not understood, people will give you strange looks to pour your ice into the plastic bag. And, in general, they are so wasteful it is in some rare places considered rude to TAKE your leftover foodstuffs?! Rather than thrown them away (which is ‘normal’?!).

    So, for cooking while backpacking, everyone should carry 125ml or 200ml bottles of your favorite oils for cooking dishes on your camp stoves if you travel as such, you never know when the nice agriculturist you happen to be passing might have some eggs or fresh produce in exchange for a hand on the property or even a place to pitch your tent that night if the weather permits.

    A good trick is to also have a meal at an Italian cafe that serves bread dipping sauce, and if you have an empty 125ml bottle or whatever size, you can often discretely fill it at the table, SAVE THESE CALORIES! They will be dumped out and actually cost MORE energy for the waste systems to process! If you are not adept at pouring, make do with a spoon, or in the event you are presented with a stiff, disposable, paper placemat or other paper placing, take it and make a ‘Schuiulte’ or ‘funnel of paper’ out of anything handy! Use this to harvest the caloric values of the oil presented to you which would otherwise be discarded and remember not to waste food!

    Good luck to you and yours and with all your travels!


    • Posted by random coolzip on April 10, 2018 at 8:05 pm

      Hey, Brau – Spoken like a true traveller. Why don’t you steal the tips off the table too while you’re at it?


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