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, and 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 hike!
15 Best Hiking Snacks For Your Next Day Hike
Written by Adventure Contributor Whitney Matthews
Featured: Theo Chocolate’s new Cookie Bites
Sometimes all you need is a little sugar 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 for a stashing in your daypack, and easily sharable too. Buy them online at Theo Chocolate or any Whole Foods!
1. Trail Mix
Trail mix, nuts, and seeds 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. There are so many different trail mix combinations out there that you’re sure to find something that you love, but here are a few of our favorites.
- Archer Farms Monster Trail Mix (Chocolate and peanut butter)
- Daily Nut Antioxidant Mix (7 types)
- 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.
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!
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, a little goes a long way, and they are great snacks to take hiking.
Each bite is packed with protein and flavor. But, it 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. They’re 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 Joes.
4. Fresh Fruits
As we mentioned earlier, sliced fruit (like an apple or a banana) pair great with a pouch of nut butter or a to-go pack of hummus.
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 Stasher Bags in the snack size to bag cut of whole fruit for our hiking snacks. They are also really useful for packing out any waste, like apple cores or orange peels too.
5. Dried Fruits
Dried fruit can be a great option if you’re looking for a sweet treat and a quick burst of energy. You can find dried fruits at Trader Joes or your favorite grocery store, and there’s often a dried fruits bulk section at your local health foods store.
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 provisions on the hiking snack list is fresh veggies! These healthy and wholesome trail snacks are cheap, easy to prepare, and are 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.
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 or Salmon Packet and Crackers
This is a great hiking snack or lunch option 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!
You can find cans of tuna and salmon packets at your favorite grocery or health foods store (just make sure to buy the one with the can tab for easy opening!) If you want to get a little fancy, our favorite hiking snacks brand for fish is Patagonia Provisions. You can find them online or at your nearest REI.
8. Protein Bars
There’s nothing wrong with bringing a couple of your favorite bars with you on the trail!
They are great for something quick while fueling your body. Depending on which bars you choose, they can have a lot of sugar in them and your digestion may not appreciate a day full of protein bars, 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 the 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. Energy Chews
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.
11. A Little Something Sweet
A little burst of sugar or protein is great, but sometimes all you need to get you through those last couple 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!
12. Fancy Carbohydrates
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.
13. Mixed Nuts and Seeds
BobbySue’s Mixed Nuts Pouches (See Prices at REI Here)
For keeping your energy levels up during long trails, mixed nuts 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.
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!
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, making homemade granola bars and putting them in reusable sandwich bags (like these ones from Stasher) is a great way to reduce trash on the trail and feel good about what’s going in your body!
15. 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.
A Few Hiking Snack Tips To Keep In Mind:
1. Avoid anything too heavy or in bulky 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.)
Pro Tip: instead of throwing everything into single-use Ziploc bags, try Stasher Bags for sustainable, earth-friendly snacking on the go.
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, they 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!
Have a poop emergency? Read our complete guide on camping hygiene here!
Keeping a health balance of fats, carbs, and protein can help sustain your energy levels throughout the day!
Pack Plenty of 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 hiking near a freshwater stream or alpine lake and don’t want to carry multiple bottles of water, try bringing a water filter instead.
Here’s a few of our favorite hiking water bottles and hydration packs.
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.
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.
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, it will likely take years, especially if they’re left in places that 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!
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!