Over the course of our travels, we’ve had the opportunity to test a ton of the best trail snacks to see which really are the best to take on a hiking or walking journey.
When you’re out in the backcountry, or just visiting a local trail putting in full days of activity, you want food that will nourish you, strengthen you, revitalize you and taste really good. You want something filling, that’s easy to pack and isn’t filled with garbage right?
Follow these tips to ensure you have a nourishing and safe food experience on your next outdoor adventure.
Pack Light, and Stay Healthy
Consider calorie dense but nutritious food. On average packaged food at 125 calories per ounce will weigh about 30% less than less healthy option. So think about taking plain granolas, and skip the kind with the M&Ms. Maybe even try some 100 calorie Gold Fish snacks.
Keep in mind that you can actually pack perishable foods, such as sandwiches, just be sure you have a cold source like an ice pack, or frozen water bottle to keep foods properly chilled.
The more you stash in a backpack, the harder it is to hike, so opt mainly for non-perishable foods that are relatively lightweight and nutrient dense.
Remember Your Protein!
Getting enough protein in has always a challenge on the trail. It can be hard to think of a way to get in your protein in a way that isn’t eating just salty nuts, which zap you of hydration. There are several creative strategies to remedy this; try carrying cheese, powdered milk, unsalted nuts, and healthier high-protein energy bars.
You may also try veggie protein like almond butter in backpacking convenient pouches. You can usually find these in your grocery store in the peanut butter aisle.
If you’re vegan most options will be the same as the veggie proteins, however be sure you read the ingredients. Often times there are animal products in foods you’d never imagine, and if you get tummy troubles from animal proteins or fats a hiking trip might end up being miserable.
If you like your meat protein is a little easier to come by, but again, keep an eye out for the salt content you don’t want to dehydrate on the trail. There are lots of meat based jerky to choose from. Some of our favorites are Bison Jerky and Turkey Jerky. You could also get fancy and bring a hard, dry salami or a pouch of tuna in olive oil.
Our Choices for Best Snacks
Dried fruits are a great choice as long as you dry them yourself and drink plenty of water when you eat them.
Fruit contains good vitamins and calories with very little fat.
Dried fruit is energy-dense and full of calories to help you climb every mountain like a boss.
NutButters & Bananas
If you’re walking scenic trails all day, your calves and toes will be very grateful for a protein and potassium pick-me-up.
When looking for the perfect excuse to eat a lot of peanut butter, we find it’s best to go hiking. When walking up and down a new terrain means you get to eat peanut butter by the spoonful, count us in.
Ready for a game changer? Bananas are so amazing on the trail because they’re packed with potassium and they help fight off cramps. Just be sure to pack them in the top of your back back, they bruise so easily.
While dried meat isn’t a source of carbohydrates, it is a nice treat on the trail. But don’t indulge too much or you’ll end up wasting all of your water on replenishing yourself from your snack.
When hiking beef jerky has a ton of protein that’ll help your body refuel. You can make a bit of jerky last a long time when walking over not-so-exciting stretches of trail. Just like dried fruit, make sure you’re taking in plenty of water along with it to keep things moving along on the inside.
Granola & Trail Mix
This is the best hiking snack if you want something sweet and crunchy that you can eat while you’re walking. Most trail mixes are high in fat and calories, but granola based snacks will keep you full and won’t go bad after a long day of hiking.
It’s fine to consume more calories when you’re in the outdoors and burning off more calories than usual but you might as well make a bit of an effort to eat healthy food. Try and stick with a lower calorie trail mix, or a granola with all natural ingredients. If you’re really feeling the vibe you could even try a home made granola!
Be sure to take enough hiking food with you on your outings and try to keep it healthy.