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The Best Types of Cheese to Take Hiking

Updated: Aug 8, 2023

When you're out on a hike, the last thing you want is to be carrying around a lot of weight. That's why it's important to pack light, but still have all the essentials with you. One of those essentials should be cheese! Believe it or not, there are many different types of cheese that are perfect for taking on hikes. In this blog post, we will discuss the best types of cheese to take hiking, as well as some tips on how to pack them. Let's get started!


Depending on how long you'll be away from refrigeration, different cheeses will perform better as snacks while backpacking. For a short trip, soft cheeses like brie or feta can suffice. If you're headed out for longer period of time, opt for harder aged cheeses such as cheddar which won't require book bag space and will last without being stored in cooler temps.

Remember, cheese has been around for thousands of years. It was originally used to store milk for long periods while still being digestible by humans without refrigeration. Cheese is a bacteria that is edible so mold grown on cheese can be cut away and the cheese will still be good.

Cheese that is good for backpacking typically has the following characteristics:

  • It is a Firm or semi-firm cheese

  • It has been aged

  • It has a low moisture content

If you're anything like me, then you love cheese. However, if you're bringing cheese backpacking with you, it's important to choose cheeses that won't go bad too quickly while intermixed with your other food items. To keep a few cheeses in your backpack while outdoors without them going bad, use a properly sized Tupperware container. For extra freshness, include a small long lasting ice pack in the container as well! Check out this perfect container I use: Cheese Container

Tip: Never cut a big piece of cheese into smaller pieces to make it more manageable. The larger the surface area of the cheese, the greater chance mold will have to grow on it.

Types Of Cheese That Do Not Need Refrigeration

There are many types of cheeses that do not necessarily need to be refrigerated and will taste great on the trail. These cheeses include:


-Gouda Cheese: This is a yellow cheese that hails from the Netherlands. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and can be eaten either sliced or melted. Gouda does not need to be refrigerated, but should be kept in a cool, dry place.


-Cheddar Cheese: Cheddar is probably the most popular type of cheese in the world. It originates from England and has a sharp, tangy flavor. Like gouda, cheddar does not need to be refrigerated but should instead be stored in a cool, dry place until ready to eat.

An important note about cheddar (and all other hard cheeses): if you plan on grating your cheddar before packing it for your trip (to make things easier when putting together meals), grate it just before you leave as grating toughens up the structure of hard cheeses making them more difficult to rehydrate later on down the road – no one wants rubbery cheese!

Hard Cheese

Hard cheeses are ideal for backpacking because they will not spoil as quickly in warm weather. If you are hiking in temperatures over 90 degrees for multiple days, it is probably best to left the cheese at home. But in cooler temperatures, these cheeses can last up to 2 weeks on a backpacking trip.

Before you go on your next backpacking trip, be sure to wrap your hard cheese in wax paper, then loose plastic wrap. Store this with the rest of your dry goods. If you are embarking on a particularly lengthy journey, check the cheese for signs of spoilage toward the end of the trip. You will be able to tell if a cheese has been un-refrigerated too long by its smell or appearance..

Did you know there are tons of cheeses that can last just as long as the ones below when taken backpacking? If you want to find out, ask your local deli employee about similar cheeses to the ones listed here and don't forgetto grab some cheese paper too!

Cheddar cheese is a great hard cheese for backpacking, as it will keep very well throughout a trip. You can add it to many recipes, eat it plain, or have it with apples and crackers.

Cheddar cheese is also especially fatty which is good for long lasting energy. If you take cheddar cheese on a long trip in hotter temperatures, the Cheese may get oily but should still be safe to eat; just wrap it in a bandanna first, which will soak up the oil andkeep the mold at bay.

Parmesan is an excellent hard cheese to take backpacking because it lasts a long time, has lots of protein and aids in bodily recovery after strenuous activities. You can even remove the rind before packing it to reduce weight. If you're planning on making pasta (another great backpacking meal), make sure to bring enough for everyone! link the the best parm cheese

Sadly, you can't keep waterlogged mozzarella (that tastes good on everything) for more than a day, but aged mozzarella that comes in hard chunks will last longer and still taste great. This cheese will begin to secrete oil sooner than other cheeses, but it'll still be edible for some time.

This cheese is semi-soft and will last at least a week, if not longer. It will start releasing oil like cheddar does, so keep it in a safe place in your bag to prevent the Oil from getting everywhere.

Soft Cheese

Be careful when travelling with soft cheeses, as they will not last nearly as long unrefrigerated as their harder counterparts. Some types of soft cheese can last up to a week if stored in cooler temperatures, but in warmer climates they may spoil within 2 days. After opening, store them in an airtight container away from light and heat. I love pairing different cheeses with trail mix while hiking: Trail Mix

Gourmet cheese lovers, this one's for you. This particular cheese is high in salt and has an edible rind, making it the perfect on-the-go snack. And if you're feeling generous, share a brie wheel around the campfire with some apples as an appetizer. For melted goodness, bake the brie wrapped in foil right in the fire. Another great option is this variety pack of hard cheeses : Cheeses if they can mail it to you, you can take it hiking!!






Goat Cheese

Goat cheese is soft, tasty and can be quite delicate. So if you're planning to take it backpacking, eat it during the first few days of your trip.

Cream Cheese

While 2 weeks may seem like a long time, cream cheese is an amazing food to have on-hand while camping or hiking. It can be stored in a backpack without any issue and will serve as a lovely snack for when you're out and about exploring nature. Plus, if you buy the small packets of cream cheese, you won't have to worry about carrying around extra weight or eating too much of it at once. And in case you were wondering, this delectable dairy product makes for an excellent milk or sour cream substitute in various recipes!

Babybeland cheeses and other similar single-serving firm or semi-firm cheeses are ideal for backpackers. They can last up to a week unrefrigerated, so pack several for snacks. Bring only as many as you need to minimize extra weight in your backpack.

Backpacking With Cheese Spread - Unless you have a cooler and really want to bring cheese spread, it's best avoided while backpacking. It doesn't keep well outside of the fridge and will go bad within a few hours, depending on the temperature it's exposed to.

There are plenty of other great cheeses you can bring with you so enjoy some cheese spread when you get off the trail.

Non-Refrigerated String Cheese – Non-refrigerated string cheese can be a safe option for up to one week, but it becomes unsafe to consume after 10 days. If you're taking a shorter trip, then string cheese might work for you; however, if you're traveling for an extended period of time, I would recommend another food item. It's important to note thatstring cheese is typically refrigerated all the time so if you are bringing some on your trip, be careful with how and where you store it.Pack the cheese deep in your bag and try to eat it earlier on in the tripif possible.


FAQs

How Long Will Waxed Cheese Last?

Cheese wrapped in wax has been used to preserve the food for almost as long as cheese has existed. Certain types of waxed cheeses, like Cheddar and Parmesan, can last years unrefrigerated if stored at room temperature. However, most store-bought waxed cheese is only meant to be left out a couple hours max before being refrigerated again due to bacteria build-up risking contamination.

Do Romano and Pecorino Cheese Need To Be Refrigerated?

Both Romano and Pecorino cheese will grow mold if unrefrigerated. If you're backpacking in colder climates, you might be able to bring these cheeses but monitor them for signs of spoilage.

Backpackers should treat these cheeses the same way they would cheddar cheese.

Does Gouda Need To Be Refrigerated?



Aged Gouda cheese is the best kind to bring backpacking, as it will keep its flavor and won't need refrigeration. If you likeGouda and want to bring some on your next hike, look for a wheel that's been aged two years or more. A lower moisture content in an already dried cheese means it will be firmer and easier to slice and eat.

What Happens If You Don’t Refrigerate Cheese?

If you don't refrigerate cheeses that need to be cooled, mold will gradually form on the exterior over an undefined period of time. Usually, it's safe to eat cheese that's been unrefrigerated overnight, but if it's been left out for longer, use caution. Although Cheese stored in the fridge can also grow mold given enough time, generally speaking it'll still be edible if you cut off the affected area.

Final Thoughts…

The next time you go backpacking, don't forget to bring cheese! Cheese is an amazing snack no matter what, but for some reason it always tastes even better after a long day hiking. Plus, it's great for your calcium intake, and the fats and proteins will help refuel your body. I hope you've learned a little more about cheese from this post and what the best types of cheese are for backpacking trips.



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