There’s no hunger like “scaling a mountain” hungry. Unless you count “trekking across a desert” level of hunger. Or “trudging through the forest” level of hunger. Don’t get us wrong – that unplugged time in nature is 100 p worth it, but without some serious snacks, hiking can end up being a prolonged hangry fest.
So before you hit the trails, we’re making sure you know what snacks to pack for long-lasting energy on those long-lasting hikes.
What makes a good hiking snack?
A mile long stroll around the lake? Pack whatever. A longer trek that takes at least an hour or two? Hard pass on that ham and cheese with mayo – it’s not going to be attractive after it’s been warming up in your backpack.
3. Doesn’t hold you down
When you’re taking a longer hike, every ounce counts. Snacks that require containers and utensils take up room in your pack and add extra weight… not cool when you’re starting to feel the burn on that uphill climb.
Carbs do have their place on a hike, but for sustained energy, you’ve got to pack in the protein too. So while it’s not a bad idea to pack some granola bars and fruit, balance out the carbs with a source of protein and fat too.
No, not as in BEING salty, but having a salty snack. Now we don’t mean potato-chip level salty, but a little salt in some of your snacks will help keep your electrolytes balanced when you’re sweating your way down the trail. (Obviously, you should drink a ton of water too.)
Best Healthy Hiking Snacks
Basking in nature is cool and all but basking in nature with a favorite snack in your hand is really where it’s at. Variety is fun, especially if you need to stay fueled and motivated on a longer hike, so pack a few different types of snacks to take hiking. These are some of our go-to hiking snacks that check the boxes above!
Image via Nurture My Gut
It’s called trail mix for a reason, right? A good trail mix will give you a quick boost of carbs from dried fruit plus lasting energy from the fat and protein in the nuts and seeds. The Enjoy Life trail mix is a great one if you’re looking for clean ingredients, but prepping your own is super easy too.
Image via Purely Elizabeth
Even if you usually eat low carb, long hikes call for some carbs to replenish your muscles’ glycogen stores and keep you moving. Bear Naked or Purely Elizabeth granola does the trick with whole grains and a little extra sweetness. They also offer grain-free, refined sugar-free flavors for the paleo crowd.
Image via LÄRABAR
Kind of like trail mix in bar form, Lara Bars are basically just dates and nuts… except they somehow manage to make them taste like all your favorite desserts.
Fruit is nature’s pre-packaged, portable healthy carb source. Just be smart and don’t pack something that bruises easily or needs refrigeration.
Country Archer Jerky and Meat Sticks
All of the above are great, but remember: for long-lasting energy, you’ve gotta pair those carbs with some protein. That’s where non-perishable, high-protein snacks like Country Archer jerky and meat sticks come in. They pack a ton of protein into a small package, and it doesn't hurt that they taste amazing too. All the woodland creatures within smelling distance are sure to be jealous. (Just promise you won’t actually feed them.)
A full bag of jerky is great for sharing when you’re hiking with a group, while the sticks are the perfect single-serve, lightweight snack for just you. Though if you did eat an entire bag of jerky on your hike, we wouldn’t blame you.
Image via RX Bar
Nut Butter Packet
Nut butter is another great source of protein and fat. For obvious reasons, you probably don’t want to pack an entire jar of peanut butter, so opt for those little squeezy packets instead.