The below is from when we did the Salkantay Trek in Peru (5 days/4 night hike) by ourselves in December 2016. This hiking menu DOES NOT include anything fancy or hard-to-get (e.g. dehydrated meals or coconut milk powder).
Warning: This menu is hardly going to be the most nutritious or gourmet meals you've ever eaten haha. But it's easy-peasy straightforward stuff and it will be nice and light. :) If you can get dehydrated meal packets, they would be a nice (albeit expensive) choice for dinners.
Where can you get food on the Salkantay Trek?
The below lays out which meals need to be brought with you (non-italicised) whilst the italicised indicates opportunities where you can buy a meal.
Day 1: Breakfast (in Mollepata), Lunch, Dinner
Day 2: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (only if you camp in Chaullay; if you don't you will have to bring your own food)
Day 3: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (only if you camp in La Playa, might be possible to buy dinner and bring with you if you want to camp elsewhere)
Day 4: Breakfast, Lunch (in Hidroelectrica - depending if you can make it the 5-6 hours walking to Hidroelectrica without lunch, just on snacks), Dinner (if you stay in Aguas Calientes)
Day 5: Breakfast (if you stay in Aguas Calientes), Lunch (brought from AC to Machu Picchu), Dinner (from AC/Hidroelectrica)
We were able to get water every day of the hike, either fill up at campsites or villages you pass through. There are natural sources of water, however, we avoided drinking this if we could as there is a lot of animal/faeces all over the trail that could easily get in the water.
Note: We brought a Steripen with us, which is a UV light pen which you can use to sterilise water.
Hiking menu for multi-day
Below I lay out a 4-day hiking menu for you to have a look at, take some ideas and adapt to suit your needs. :) You can click between the days below.
Below I talk about each item that we brought, so that you can see how to tailor the menu to you and your hike. The weights next to each item is how much we brought for 2 people for 4 - 4.5 days. I make recommendations on how much to bring of each; however note that we are average-sized eaters.
· Fruit and nut mix (1000g)
o Get your own mix made at the Central Market in Cuzco, my recommendations would be your choice of nuts, raisins, dried mango, apricots. 1kg cost us about 48 sols ($USD 15)
· Chocolate (180g)
o One bar per person (90g) as a treat
· Peanut bar x 12 (300g)
o I really, really recommend these. They’re peanut bars held together with honey. Super delicious and chock full of protein. Bought them from the PlazaVea supermarket.
· Reflection: Honestly these snacks along with the oats were probably our main sustenance during the hike. It rained everyday so these snacks were ready-to-go and easy to eat when we couldn’t be bothered having a big lunch/dinner. However, if you have better weather, I would plan for a total snack weight of 100g / person / day.
· Instant oats (900g)
o If you can't be bothered cooking, we simply combined oats, powdered milk, water and cinnamon in our shaker bottle and shook it up. Easy, minimal clean-up and we could walk and drink at the same time. Tasty too. :) I'd recommend about 110g of oats per person per breakfast.
· Powdered milk packet x 3 (360g)
o Bought from PlazaVea supermarket. Each packet (120g) made 1L of milk
· Cinnamon (15g)
· Reflection: Would recommend this breakfast (especially with some raisins!). Top, healthy breakfast.
· Olive bread baguettes x 2 (500g)
o What you want here is a filling, dense bread – NOT sandwich bread. Alternatives include mountain bread, rye bread. If you’re in Cuzco, we got these from a place called Green Point. The loaves are big, flavourful and yummy. Ate it over the first 2 days.
· Cheddar cheese (400g)
o You can bring cheddar or cheeses with skins (e.g. camembert, brie) as they keep quite well, even in hot weather. Best brought wrapped in cloth, not plastic. I’d recommend that 25g per person per day should be enough, we brought far too much.
· Salami sticks x 8 (310g)
o I’d recommend bringing a dried meat on the hike, easy to eat and keep well. However, 20g per person per day seemed to be enough for us. If you are a big meat eater, maybe bring more.
· Crackers x 3 (135g)
o Brought these for once we finished the olive bread. However, rice crackers would also be a great alternative as they are healthier and more filling. Wraps are another popular hiking option. :)
· Reflections: Satisfying, yummy and easy foods, especially when you really can’t be bothered cooking.
· Tomato sauce (600g) and pasta (200g)
o We ate ours with some salami to make it extra filling. However, this was a lot of weight for just one meal. A better option is if you can find dehydrated pasta sauces. If your supermarket doesn't have it, you could even try dehydrated tomato soup as sauce, adding in mixed herbs/garlic powder for flavour
· Instant noodle packets x 5 (425g)
o I ate 2, Mr. Human ate 3. My favourite meal of the hike, but that’s because I luuuurrrVVEE instant noodles haha. A hike isn’t complete without instant noodles, as I say!
· Dehydrated mashed potato packet x 2 (240g)
o I would not recommend this, they generally need butter. We ate one of the packets with milk powder, no butter, added a spice packet for flavour. Tasted absolutely awful. Bring zero.
· Soup packet x 3 (225g)
o Good as backup food, or if you can’t be bothered cooking/cleaning much.
· Spice packet x 3 (15g)
o I'd recommend trying to find some mixed herbs/powdered garlic/onion or even making your own mix, especially if you plan on making pasta sauce from tomato soup packets.
· Tuna can x 3 (510g)
o We only ate 2 of our cans during 4 days. Depends on if you're a big tuna eater or not.
· Reflection: It rained for hours everyday of our hike, so often we would not be bothered doing much for lunch/dinner. That's why we ate a lot of our snack foods instead. However, I've also done much drier treks and then you're a little more bothered to cook. Thus keep this in mind as you'll probably have bigger lunches and dinners than us.
Finally, this a summary of all the food we brought for our multi-day hiking menu, including exact weights. I also broke it down to 'What we brought' versus 'What we actually ate', you can click between the two.
The below is for two people (Mr. Human and I) who are medium-sized eaters. From my research, the general recommendation seems to be about 600 - 900g of food / person / day.
Hope this helps ya, sonnies and daughtahs! Happy hiking! :)