Maybe your favorite backpacking food is a freeze-dried turkey dinner. There really is no "best" backpacking food. There are reasons to bring certain foods, though. Here are ten foods, and the reasons you might want to consider them.
1. Nuts. This is one of the most calorie-packed foods you can take. That means less weight to carry. With lots of protein and other nutritonal benefits, nuts are one of the best backpacking foods.
2. Olive oil. Add a little to your soups or dip bread in it. The best of the oils health-wise, you can eat it before sleeping, to stay warm, because fats generate heat when digested.
3. Trail mixes. Any mix with raisins and nuts is great for backpacking. Vitamins, minerals, protein, and the best reason - convenience.
4. Corn products. Tortilla chips or corn nuts are convenient, and they don't seem to cause the tiredness that potato chips and other simple carbohydrates can cause.
5. Ramen noodles. When you need a hot meal fast, there isn't much that's better.
6. Instant coffee. A necessity for caffeine addicts, and it's good to have a stimulant available for emergencies.
7. Wild edible berries. Learn to identify a few, and you'll have a nutricious excuse for a break along the trail.
8. Instant sports drinks. Pour a little in your water bottle and shake. Replacing electrolytes doesn't get more convenient.
9. Instant refried beans. When you want sustained energy, eat beans.
10. Your favorites. Having your favorite foods can help salvage a rainy backpacking trip spent in the tent.
Always consider the nature of the trip when you choose your backpacking food. Hot meals are much more important in cold climates, and convenience is king, if you want to make miles. A bottle of rum might even be appropriate, if it's a trip wih friends.
Steve Gillman is a long-time backpacker, and advocate of ultralight backpacking. His advice and stories can be found at http://www.TheBackpackingSite.com