Post Summary: 10 Best Hiking Snacks To Bring On Your Next Adventure
Have you ever been on a day hike and had snack-envy of the people around you?
You’re slowly eating your third Clif Bar of the day as you’re watching your friends, or others around you, snack on PB&Js, meat sticks, homemade trail mix, or even Snickers bars.
Those hiking snacks didn’t even occur to you as you were packing your backpack the night before!
It’s okay, we’ve all been there, settling for the quickest, easiest, and even cheapest snacks for hiking when prepping for the trail.
Thankfully, it’s never too late to up your snack game for your next adventure.
In hopes of saving you time at the grocery store, keep scrolling for our list of the 15 best hiking snacks for your next day’s hike!
- What Makes a Good Hiking Snack?
- 29 Best Hiking Snacks To Spice Up Your Trail Menu
- 1. Trail Mix Combinations
- 2. A Nut Butter Pouch
- 3. Jerky or Meat Sticks
- 4. Fresh Fruits
- 5. Dried Fruits + Fruit Leather
- 6. Fresh Veggies
- 7. Tuna Packets or Salmon Packets
- 8. Protein Bars
- 9. A PB&J Sandwich
- 10. Tortilla Wraps
- 11. Energy Chews and Gummies
- 12. Candy Bars + Sweet Treats
- 13. Fancy Snacks / Charcuterie Board
- 14. Mixed Nuts and Seeds
- 15. Granola (Homemade or Store-bought)
- 16. Homemade Energy Balls
- 17. Protein Cookies
- 18. Crackers
- 19. Olives
- 20. Cheese
- 21. Chocolate
- 22. Candy
- 23. Stroopwafels
- 24. Peanut Butter Pretzels
- 25. Mountain Merriments
- 25. Water Additives
- 26. Dips
- 27. Mini Muffins
- 28. Hard Boiled Eggs
- How to Pack Your Hiking Snacks
- Hiking Snacks Conclusion
- MORE HIKING & SNACKING POSTS
What Makes a Good Hiking Snack?
So, how do you know you’ve picked a good hiking snack? What makes it worth the extra weight in your backpack
Before you buy just another generic bag of trail mix, consider these things before adding it to your daypack:
Is it nutrient-dense? Does it replace calories? Does it have a good mix of protein, sugar, and carbs to maintain your energy levels?
Do you have a variety? The same hiking snacks can get incredibly boring. Bring a variety of flavors and textures to keep it interesting.
Is it shelf-stable? It’s okay to require refrigeration sometimes, but you’ll want to mostly stick with snacks that won’t spoil after a day in your pack.
Is it portable? Make sure your snacks are easy to carry, and won’t easily get smashed in your bag. If there’s a lot of bulky packaging, consider transferring to minimal packaging in a smaller more portable container.
Is it a morale booster? After a hard section of trail, nothing is better than opening up a pack of gummy worms or a snickers bar. Now is the time to pack your favorite sweet treats for a fun reward to look forward to!
Any allergies in the group? It’s important to ask those questions before your snack planneing endeavors commence. You do NOT want to bring anything that can be a risk for others! Peanuts, tree nuts, and gluten are the most common concerns. Ask before you pack!
29 Best Hiking Snacks To Spice Up Your Trail Menu
Written by Adventure Contributor Whitney Matthews / Update by Emily Mandagie on December 2022
1. Trail Mix Combinations
Trail mixes are all full of nutrients and calories, and they are an easy snack to munch on if you want to keep moving instead of taking a snack break. Just be wary if you’re traveling in a hot climate – depending on your trail mix recipe, some ingredients could melt!
There are so many different trail mix combinations out there that you’re sure to find something that you love. Here are a few of our favorites.
- Archer Farms Monster Trail Mix (Chocolate and peanut butter, and peanut butter M&Ms)
- Daily Nut Antioxidant Mix (7 types of nut, fruit, and seed combinations)
- Kirkland Signature Classic Trail Mix (Great value)
Want to make your own mix? Head to a local bulk food store and create your own custom trail blend. The sky is the limit to the things you can add, and creating your own hiking snacks is delicious and fun! Add things like dried fruit, your favorite nuts, chocolate, pretzels, and more!
2. A Nut Butter Pouch
Did you know that there are companies out there that make to-go pouches of various nut butters? Well, now you do! This is such an easy, and tasty, way to get quick protein while out on the trail.
Our favorites are Justin’s or RX Nut Butter Pouches, but there are plenty of other brands out there to try. You can also buy almond butter or peanut butter in bulk (like at Costco) and pack in as much as you want!
Not into eating it plain? No worries! Pack along your favorite crackers, fruits, or veggies to spread your nut butter on. Bananas are our favorite! Adding it as a topping can add a little dimension and variety to your hiking snacks.
You can find nut butter pouches at your local grocery or health foods store, REI, or online.
3. Jerky or Meat Sticks
Beef jerky (or turkey jerky – whatever’s your jam), can be a bit expensive. But the good news is, that a little goes a long way, and they are great snacks to take hiking.
These high protein hiking snacks are packed with flavor. But, they also has quite a bit of sodium, which can dehydrate you if you eat too much of it. So it’s best to be eaten in small quantities at a time or paired with plenty of water.
If you’re looking for a cheaper, often a bit healthier hiking snack with meat, try a meat stick like Chomps turkey sticks. These ready-made packs are just as tasty and are a great savory way to change it up from hiking snacks that are higher in sugar.
You can find jerky and meat sticks at your local grocery store, health foods store, REI, or Trader Joe’s. Alternatively, you could make your own! Use a dehydrator and different spices to creat the perfect blend for you.
4. Fresh Fruits
As we mentioned earlier, sliced fruit (like an apple or a banana) pairs great with a pouch of nut butter or a to-go pack of hummus.
The easiest fruit to bring is things that have tough skin (think mandarin oranges, apples, and bananas) that act as a package all in itself.
These are good hiking snacks for hot days (like these beautiful hikes in Sedona) because biting into a crisp cool apple or orange can be refreshing! For extra hot hikes, consider freezing grapes the night before, for an extra icy, juicy treat at your next shade break.
Don’t forget bananas, which are high in potassium and help fight off muscle cramps, for tough hikes like the East End of Rundle Trail near Banff.
For easy clean-up, and reduced spillage, we like to use these Compostic bags or Stasher Bags to store pre-peeled fruit for our hiking snacks. They are also really useful for packing out any waste, like apple cores or orange peels too.
Read More: Trail Etiquette 101: 15 Hiking Etiquette Tips You Need To Know (aka pack up your orange peels!)
5. Dried Fruits + Fruit Leather
Dried fruit can be a great option if you’re looking for a sweet treat and a quick burst of energy. You can find fruits at Trader Joes or your favorite grocery store, and there’s often a dried fruits bulk section at your local health foods store.
Dried fruit is easy to pack, and actually easy to make yourself if you have a dehydrator! (This way, you can monitor the sugar levels yourself too.) Some great fruit to start with would be apples, apricots, and mangoes.
If you don’t have easy access to fresh fruit, dried fruits are excellent and healthy snacks for hiking, especially if you are on the road away from grocery stores. They are easy to store and can last much longer than fresh produce!
Snacking on the road? Read the entire list of road trip essentials here!
6. Fresh Veggies
Probably the easiest provision on the hiking snack list is fresh veggies! These healthy and wholesome trail snacks are cheap, easy to prepare, and a great way to pack in your greens for the day.
Carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower are great nutrient-rich options to add to your day hiking essentials. Cut and prepare them into strips before you leave for easy grabbing on the go.
Cucumbers, bell peppers, and celery have a high water content, so you can get an extra boost of hydration at the same time. Talk about healthy hiking snacks!
7. Tuna Packets or Salmon Packets
Tuna packets are great hiking snacks or lunch options for once you make it to your destination. It’s a bit harder to eat AS you hike, but it’s the tastiest excuse to sit down, take a break, and soak in the views. (Especially if you are taking one of these hikes in Washington!)
A packet of fish paired with crackers is a great way to bring a lunch full of protein without having to carry too much weight. You can also use the crackers as a scoop or a spoon, so you can carry less. For a little less mess, roll tuna up in a tortilla!
You can find cans of tuna and salmon packets at your favorite grocery or health foods store. You can more easily buy the traditional one with the can tab for easy opening, or you can try to find the ones that come in thin foil packets.
If you want to get a little fancy, our favorite hiking snack brand for fish is Patagonia Provisions. You can find them online or at your nearest REI.
8. Protein Bars
Protein Bars are some of the easiest and most accessible hiking snacks on the market. You can find these store-bought hiking snacks across the entire country, in practically every grocer.
Some of our favorite hiking snacks filled with protein are from:
- Munk Pack (Use code MANDAGIES15 for 15% off their site!)
- Kind Bars
- RX Bars
- Clif Bar
- OverEasy Breakfast Bars
- Luna Bars
Protein bars are great for something quick while fueling your body. Depending on which bars you choose, they can have a lot of sugar in them so limit your bar intake to 1 or 2, and supplement with other snacks on this list.
You’ll be thankful for the snack variation in the long run!
9. A PB&J Sandwich
Packing a sandwich can be a delicious break, but it takes a bit more preparation than just throwing a bar in your backpacking and calling it good. You’ll have to prepare it the night before (or as soon as you wake up). You’ll also need to make sure it doesn’t get squished in your bag.
But despite a little bit of extra effort, a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich can be a tasty snack, and a great way to get a little protein and sugar-induced energy burst. Make sure to supplement it with other goodies like an apple or a handful of nuts to balance out your energy levels.
Be prepared if you plan on bringing sandwiches on the trail that have meats, cheeses, or anything that may spoil in the hot sun. On a long hiking trail in high temperatures, these ingredients can go bad quickly, so think ahead!
10. Tortilla Wraps
Worried about a sandwich getting smashed in your backpack? Wrap it in a tortilla instead!
Pre-made wraps are a great way to carry in deli meats, cheese, or a more complicated sandwich. It doesn’t easily get squished, so your ingredients are safer!
11. Energy Chews and Gummies
Energy chews are like the ultimate adult fruit snack. They’re such a great snack to store in an easily accessible backpack pocket for when you’re feeling a little slow and tired on the trail. They keep your blood sugar level balanced, and some even come with caffeine for an added boost of energy.
Looking for simplicity? Just grab your favorite generic gummy bear brand from the grocery store! They don’t have to be fancy, keep scrolling for more info!
12. Candy Bars + Sweet Treats
A little burst of sugar or protein is great, but sometimes all you need to get you through those last couple of miles is the promise of your favorite candy bar waiting for you at the end of it all.
While simple and definitely not the healthiest option, the simple reward of your favorite candy can really get you through some tough miles on the trail!
13. Fancy Snacks / Charcuterie Board
Have you ever seen someone hike up a mountain, only to enjoy a fresh baguette, cheese, and prosciutto at the top?
I know it can seem a little extra, but sometimes some fancy carbohydrates or seemingly “extra” hiking snacks can be just the thing to keep you motivated to reach your destination.
Packing Tip: For easy packing, choose small, stackable tupperware containers to keep things fresh and keep food from getting smushed in your bag! We also like to pack extra ziploc baggies to gather up any wrappers, wet things, or close up food that has had a bag rip.
14. Mixed Nuts and Seeds
BobbySue’s Mixed Nuts Pouches (See Prices at REI)
For keeping your energy levels up during long trails, mixed nuts and seeds make good hiking snacks! They can be combined together to make your own custom nut mixes, and are high in calories for a great pick-me-up.
A mix of nuts and seeds provide lasting energy from fats and adding dried fruit can even bring a burst of energy!
We like to keep these energy snacks for hiking stashed in the hip pouch of our backpacks, or in an accessible pocket to grab a handful for munching on the trail. Some of our favorite mixes include cashews, pumpkin seeds, pecans, and pistachios.
You can often find nuts in the bulk section at your closest health foods store and make your own mixture of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. You can even pack candied nuts for a little more added sweetness!
15. Granola (Homemade or Store-bought)
Granola is the hiking snack jackpot for all things sweet, energy-rich, and diverse!
You can head to the store and find your favorite mix of rolled oats, seeds, nuts, and other goodies, or you can go ahead and make your own.
If you are striving to be more zero-waste, try making these easy homemade hiking snacks. Put your granola bars in reusable sandwich bags (like these ones from Stasher) as is a great way to reduce trash on the trail and feel good about what’s going in your body!
16. Homemade Energy Balls
The best way to make healthy snacks for hiking is by making your own!
This way, you know exactly what you are eating, and you can pick the healthiest ingredients possible for the most energy on your next hike. Want tons of chocolate in them? Go for it. Hate raisins? Skip ’em! The recipe in completely your choice.
Follow this recipe for energy bites on the REI blog for an easy, on-the-go option. For storage, throw them in a reusable bag or stick them in the freezer to eat later.
17. Protein Cookies
Protein Cookies look similar to granola bars or energy bites, but they are jam-packed with, you guessed it, protein.
They are often dense, energy-packed hiking snacks that can act as a meal replacement or a substitute for breakfast.
Our favorite protein cookies are made by Munk Pack. Their double-dark chocolate and oatmeal raisin spice flavors are a much needed welcome after a hard few miles!
Crackers are great on their own but even better as vehicles for other hiking snacks too. (Think tuna, dips, spreads, etc.) However, they can easily get smashed in a backpack, so choose your cracker choice wisely.
Olives consist of high-quality fat that gives you lasting energy. You can smash them onto your favorite cracker or eat them plain – it’s up to you!
For a variety of flavors, grab a variety pack of these from OLOVES to bring on your next adventure.
Cheese is a great protein choice to add to your favorite hiking snacks, especially crackers. You can also just eat cheese on its own – those mini Babybel cheese wrapped in wax are a really good, portable choice.
Typically, harder cheese will last longer off of refrigeration.
Cheddar chunks, Swiss, and Parmigiano are good choices. Cheeses are rich in fat and protein meaning they bring long-lasting energy, as well as calcium, phosphorus, and sodium too!
Sometimes all you need is a little treat to put that extra pep in your step!
Theo Chocolate (based in Seattle!) recently released their new Cookie Bites, in dark chocolate, mint dark chocolate, and snickerdoodle cookies flavors.
They are the perfect size hiking snacks for stashing in your daypack, and easily sharable too. Buy them online at Theo Chocolate or any Whole Foods!
Similar to the above chocolate, candy can truly be a morale booster on the trail! There’s a little insider tip in the backpacking world to bring a Snickers bar to enjoy at the top of a summit.
Stroopwafels are probably one of my favorite hiking snacks – but a morning snack more than anything! Stroopwafels are small, thin waffle cookies, with caramel filling in between.
They are best eaten warmed up, which is why I like to place mine on top of my coffee mug in the morning on backpacking trips. It makes the caramel filling melt a little bit, making them extra gooey and delicious!
24. Peanut Butter Pretzels
Looking for a salty and sweet hiking snack combination? Peanut butter pretzels might be a perfect choice!
These little bite-sized snacks have a little bit of everything – carbohydrates, protein, sugar, and sodium. If you need a pick-me-up with a little more oomph, choose these.
Personally, we like to get the huge container of them at a place like Costco, and then portion out exactly what we need for the trail.
25. Mountain Merriments
What better way to celebrate a summit completion than with a little something bubbly? Pack up your favorite beer, canned wine, or special drink to commemorate the accomplishment!
Cans pack really well in a backpack, and you’ll be hiking down with significantly less weight!
Not into alcohol? No worries! Bring a La Croix or any other booze-free seltzer or fancy drink to celebrate.
25. Water Additives
Tip: Make sure to add your flavoring into a separate water bottle and not your water ladder. Otherwise, you’ll be tasting that flavor for the rest of the trip.
Spice up veggies, crackers, or fruits with your favorite dips!
Think hummus, Nutella, guacamole, and, as stated above, nut butter. Many of these choices come in single-serve packs, or you can portion them out yourself.
27. Mini Muffins
Heading out on a morning hike? Pack a portion of mini muffins to snack on as the sun comes up!
This is an excellent hiking snack for people with allergies – you can bake them at home so you know exactly wat ingredients are going into the muffins. We have a mini muffin tin at home too, so they can be baked bite-sized!
28. Hard Boiled Eggs
A hard-boiled egg is a hearty, filling hiking snack. We like to pack these for day-long hikes, for lasting energy and sustenance. We recommend eating these pretty early on our journey, especially if you are hiking in a hot climate!
How to Pack Your Hiking Snacks
Now, you have a plethora of hiking snacks to choose from! From here your thoughts probably race towards questions like “How much should I pack?” and “How do I pack them?”
Keep scrolling, because we’re giving essential tips on how to pack your hiking snacks to keep them lasting as long as possible on your next day hike!
1. Containers and Packaging
Steer clear of brings snacks that are heavy or have bulky packaging. Pre-cut your fruits and veggies, take snacks out of the bulky boxes they come in, and only bring what you need. (Or maybe a teeny bit extra, just in case.)
Consider hard-sided containers for things that can be easily crushed, like crackers, pretzels or sandwiches.
2. Keep a Lot of Snack Diversity
While it sounds obvious, sometimes you may feel the temptation to just buy a few protein bars and call it good. But we definitely don’t recommend this!
Not only will it become boring after your second bar of the day, but as we mentioned earlier, bars can be full of sugar (which is totally fine, and often important, in moderation).
Eating too many sugary bars can cause some digestive issues (the ingredient xylitol can do this if you consume too much of it!) and you don’t want those issues while in the backcountry!
Keeping a healthy balance of fats, carbs, and protein can help sustain your energy levels throughout the day!
Have a poop emergency? Read our complete guide on camping hygiene here!
3. Pack Enough Water
What about water?
You can have all the snacks your heart desires, but if you don’t have enough water, you’re in for a rough hike! There’s nothing worse than rationing your water – or running out of it! A general rule of thumb is to pack 0.5 liters for every hour of hiking.
If you’re taking a longer hike and can’t pack all your water, map out for a water source and bring a filtration system like the Katadyn or sawyer
If you’re hiking near a freshwater stream or alpine lake and don’t want to carry multiple bottles of water, try bringing a water filter instead. Our favorite is the Katadyn BeFree water filtration system.
This comes in handy if you’re taking a longer hike and can’t pack all the water you need. Make sure to look at a ma and find water sources along our route.
Here are a few of our favorite hiking water bottles and hydration packs.
- Osprey 2.5 Liter Reservoir
- HydraPak Shape Shift Reservoir (2 Liters)
- Gregory 3D Reservoir (2 Liters)
Pro Tip: Bring some electrolyte tablets, like Nuun of Liquid IV with you, too. Not only do they make your water taste good, but it’s an easy way to get your body important electrolytes, too. (Just add them to a separate bottle and not your bladder!)
4. Pack it in, Pack it out!
If you remember nothing else from this post, let it be this: if you pack it in, you have to pack it out.
It is essential to have a waste disposal plan Please do your part in ensuring that the wild places we all love to recreate in are kept pristine and beautiful for adventurers for generations to come.
That means, take all your trash back to the trailhead with you and dispose of it there, including anything that appears to be “biodegradable” like apple cores, banana and orange peels, etc.
While those things will degrade over time, they will likely take years, especially if they’re left in places where they are not naturally grown. Not to mention, seeing a banana peel on the side of the trail is a major eyesore to anyone else on the trail.
Pro tip: Don’t just stop at packing out your own trash. If you see other trash left along the trail (major bummer), grab it and pack it down with you. Leave it better than you found it!
5. Consider Refrigeration
Generally speaking, we recommend against hiking snacks that require staying cold.
However, sometimes the weather just demands a cold treat! Some of the best snacks for hiking in hot weather are frozen grapes, frozen yogurt packs, and crisp, crunch apple slices.
If you must bring cold items, try packing reusable ice packs, and eat these snacks first!. You can find these in blocks, or squishier gel packs for really tucking them in.
6. Consider Weight
Hiking snacks and food in general can definitely take up quite a bit of space and weight in your day pack. However, don’t skimp on the snacks! It’s better to have more than you need than not enough.
A good rule of thumb is about 200-300 calories consumed per hour. Check the labels of your snacks to make sure you’re packing enough.
Hiking Snacks Conclusion
Now that you know some of our tips and tricks for staying fueled and energized while on the trail, it’s time to get out there!
Hopefully, you feel more equipped with what hiking snacks to bring on your next trip to the grocery store so that you can kiss snack-envy goodbye!