Can You Bring Butter Backpacking? – Complete Guide

Butter is a great ingredient in the kitchen, whether at home or at camp. Not only is it used as a spread but is also used in cooking as it’s very nutritious and tasty. But can you bring it along while traveling?

Here is If You can Bring Butter Backpacking

Yes, you can carry butter on your backpacking trip because it can make a huge difference in your meals by adding flavor. The good news is that butter will not spoil because it is high in fat content which inhibits the growth of bacteria allowing it to last for months.

But is this applicable to all types of butter? Probably not. Before shopping for a backpacking trip, it is best to find out which type of butter is the best to pack and how best to pack it to ensure safety and longevity.


Bringing butter when backpacking

The truth is that butter melts and melted butter can be messy, especially if not packed in the right container but its importance outweighs its downsides.

The fact that you are going to spend more than a day away from home and possibly far from civilization requires you to pack necessary gear and that includes nutritious foods such as butter.

Backpacking is a source of great fun and a chance to experience the world away from your comfort zone. But you have to eat, and eat well at that.

Eating well means you have to eat healthy and tasty foods to stay strong and fit for the journey without missing home and home-cooked meals before the tour is over.

Butter is a dairy product and dairy products are rich in nutrients that are a source of energy. And because butter is flavored, a lot of people prefer it over other cooking oils.

At home, butter is usually refrigerated to solidify it as a way of preservation. For this reason, people doubt the safety of butter after a long day traversing the country.

But even refrigerated butter needs to be melted or softened in order to be used. In a way, this disqualifies the irrational doubt backpackers hold over backpacking butter to carry while traveling.

That begs the question, how long does butter last, and is it safe to use it at camp given that it will probably melt and solidify many times in one day?

How long does butter last when backpacking?

At room temperature or in the fridge, butter lasts 6 months or more but on the road, it’s best to pack butter in small quantities that won’t last more than three weeks at a time.

As much as butter is approved as an ingredient to be carried along on travels, it only means that one pack is just enough and in smaller quantities to be consumed in the shortest time possible.

This is to only serve for comfort and not luxury as the type of living standards do not permit because of the unfavorable weather conditions out there.

Good thing is that one can buy more along the way when they chance upon stores in different towns.

Furthermore, fresh is always better especially when it implies foodstuffs.

Generally, the quality and safety of butter are unquestioned safes for its flavor. Flavor can change given the type of storage and the temperatures it is subjected to.

When the flavor changes, it’s best to consider it not safe for use, especially for people with sensitive digestive systems.

How to store butter when backpacking?

Place the container of butter or butter sticks in which it carries the butter upright and in the middle of the backpack.

When backpacking, the best way to ensure that a lot of gear and necessities fit into the backpack is to choose not compact products as they take up a lot of unreplaceable space.

Read more: How to fit big sleeping bag into backpack

Many water bottles in this regard were designed to be watertight to avoid spillage and dampening of gear while butter sticks resemble toothpaste tubes hence taking up minimal space or almost none at all.

The only thing is to ensure that they pack well and in an upright position all the time just to avoid or minimize any accidental spillage.

How To Store Butter When Backpacking?

Melt butter and pour it into a butter stick or a 16oz narrow mouth Nalgene water bottle then place it upright in the middle of the backpack to avoid melted butter from spilling and messing up your backpack.

The idea here is to keep it airtight for two reasons;

  • One is to avoid butter from spilling therefore creating a mess and making every other gear in the backpack smell of butter.
  • The second is to avoid air from getting into the container. Science coupled with experience has it that butter that does not often come into contact with air does not spoil that fast.

Another alternative of making sure that air does not come into contact with butter when not in use aside from employing an air-tight container is to pour the batter into your preferred container. Pour it to a certain level, and then fill the container with water.

Water will dispel air and your butter will be safe and sound.

When evening comes and you need to use your butter for cooking or flavoring, all you need to do is to pour away the water and scoop butter from the container.

Water as an added advantage ensures that the butter remains solidified and not runny.

Powdered butter vs. regular butter

Powdered butter is dehydrated butter that lasts longer than regular butter but whose nutritional value is lower as compared to that of regular butter.

While a tablespoon of regular butter has 100 calories in it, a tablespoon of reconstituted powdered butter has just 35 of the same.

That said, regular butter is a by-product of milk made from the churned cream that constitutes lots of fats and proteins.

Its fat content stands at 80% and can be stored in the fridge to harden it but otherwise, it can be placed on the counter as a semi-solid under room temperatures.

Typically, regular butter which is the most common form of butter is used as follows;

  • As a spread.
  • Can be used as a condiment, which effectively enhances flavor in already cooked foods.
  • Used during pan-frying as an alternative to cooking oil.
  • As well as a great ingredient in baking as well as in sauces.

With the help of a mechanical butter churn, whole milk (mostly from cows) or cream is shaken up to separate fat globules from the butterfat.

Afterward, salt or food colorings are added to the butter.

Powdered butter on the other hand has no use for refrigeration like regular butter. You can therefore store it anywhere as long as it’s a clean and dry place and that includes easily carrying it in your backpack into the most remote of places.

Powdered butter-like all powdered products have to be reconstituted in order to be used, especially as a spread.

Add a little water to make a paste or sprinkle it into cooked foods and it will melt away.

But the advantage powdered butter has over regular butter is that it makes baking and blending way easier. Why?

During baking, other ingredients such as sugar, salt, and baking powder are measured in their powder or granular forms which makes mixing very easy.

Regular butter needs more time and more work during kneading before it blends and mixes properly in the dough.

But as a downside, powdered butter is considered less nutritious than regular butter.

Backpacking butter alternatives

Ghee is a superior form of butter that contains no water and does not need refrigeration while olive oil comes in its own smaller containers and is just as nutritious as butter.

Butter does not work for everyone and you might prefer other alternatives which offer and work almost the same as butter.

The first reason is that butter is not easy to pack and safely carry without spilling and the second reason is that butter makes food sticky especially when they go cold.

As a solution, there are two notable alternatives to butter;

  • Ghee
  • Olive oil


Ghee is butter that is boiled in a saucepan until every drop of water evaporates and any solid milk sinks to the bottom of the pan and impurities on the surface are skimmed.

What remains is a clean and clear liquid fat which is poured into a clean and dry storage container while the milk solids on the bottom are discarded.

Spices can be added to the liquid before it naturally solidifies and the color, taste, and texture largely depend on the quality of the butter.

Ghee is then used as an alternative to cooking oil and can be taken backpacking as it rarely melts.

Olive Oil

Olive oil falls under dietary fats and it is top-rated as very good and very healthy for human consumption.

Extracted from olives, fruits, olive oil and especially extra virgin is a source of saturated fats and polyunsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6.

But the fatty acid that stands out more in olive oil is oleic acid which is considered monounsaturated and makes up 73% of the overall oil content.

This is a very important aspect for backpackers because oleic acid is quite resistant to high temperatures making olive oil one of the best alternatives while backpacking.

Final Thoughts

Backpacking is a thrilling experience on its own and ensuring you have the best gear and cooking ingredients on board will make your touring expedition unforgettable.

Butter is good for breakfast as a spread, lunch, and supper when frying or flavoring foods. But it gives many people a headache trying to figure out how to pack and carry it.

But if you can’t hack the process or if butter is not your preferred choice then alternatives such as ghee and olive oil are available.