Whether you’re summiting a mountain or traipsing through fields of wildflowers, bringing the right hiking gear is a must. We all know to wear the right shoes, bring plenty of water, and grab sunscreen… but what’s missing? That’s right— the snacks!
Staying nourished throughout the day is essential for any successful hike, and bringing the right snacks on your journey plays a huge role in that. The best hiking snacks will blend carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and sodium to keep you fueled.
While carbs give you a quick boost of energy, fats will help you sustain that energy. Protein keeps you feeling satisfied, while sodium regulates your hydration levels. Oh, and don’t forget that your snacks should be travel-friendly and backpack-safe.
If this all sounds a little overwhelming, don’t worry. At Mahogany Smoked Meats, we’d like to think we know a thing or two about snacking. Today, our team is sharing our top picks for healthy snacks that will provide all the fuel you need to stay nourished.
Here are the best hiking snacks to fuel your next adventure:
Protein BarsProtein bars are easily some of the most popular hiking snacks. They’re easy to transport, backpack-safe, and packed with nutrients. Additionally, most protein bars contain plenty of carbs, making for an energizing and fulfilling on-the-go snack.
When you scour the grocery store shelves, you will find that there are plenty of protein bars to choose from. With so many options, how do you know which one to grab? As a general rule of thumb, try to avoid protein bars with tons of added sugars and stick to the ones that have a high concentration of protein with limited ingredients.
Beef JerkyA favorite among carnivores and avid hikers, beef jerky is packed with protein and sodium. Therefore, this healthy snack offers a great way to stay fueled on a hike and prevent muscle cramps. Not only that, but you can easily pack your jerky into a sealable bag and toss it into your backpack.
At Mahogany Smoked Meats, we offer a wide variety of premium jerky products that don’t skimp on flavor. Not a fan of beef? No problem. Our expansive jerky collection features turkey, elk, buffalo, and wild boar jerky to accommodate all sorts of diets.
Trail MixTrail mix is a classic hiking snack – and for good reason! This hearty snack is perfect for anyone looking for a sweet and salty combination. Typically made with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and dark chocolate, trail mix can be found at the store or made at home.
This healthy snack idea provides a triple threat of protein, carbs, and healthy fats. Keep in mind that a little goes a long way, so you only need a handful at a time to give yourself a quick boost of sustenance. If you want to make your own DIY trail mix, we recommend making a big batch that you can use for multiple adventures.
Smoked MeatsAs you can probably imagine, smoked meats are an excellent source of protein. If you’re embarking on a long-haul hike or overnight trip, you’ll need a cooler to bring along your favorite smoked meats. However, if you’re planning a shorter expedition, you can easily store some meat and crackers in your backpack to enjoy.
We feature a vast selection of mouthwatering smoked meats that are great for making sandwiches, piling on top of crackers, or enjoying on their own. Want to see for yourself? Try some of our smoked bacon, ham, pork loin chops, sausages, or turkey.
Dried FruitJust like the fresh version, you can purchase dried fruit from most grocery stores. Because they deliver a good dose of natural sugars, dried fruit is great in a pinch when your blood sugar levels are getting low. As a lightweight, calorie-dense, and backpack-safe hiking snack, dried fruit gets the seal of approval from us.
Tuna or Salmon PacketsPortable tuna and salmon packets are hearty sources of protein that are great for grabbing on the go. They’re guaranteed to serve as a substantial snack on the trail and pair beautifully with crackers, vegetable chips, or wrapped in a tortilla.
Fresh FruitApples, bananas, and oranges are all great snacks to munch on during a hiking trip. The natural sugars in fruit are fantastic for regulating your blood sugar, especially when you start to feel faint or light-headed. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about picking up wrappers, plastics, or other forms of waste.
Nut ButterWhether it’s eaten in combination with something else or on its own, nut butter is one of the best hiking snacks to fuel your adventure. Not only are there plenty of options to choose from—cashew butter, sunflower butter, almond butter, and peanut butter—but there are many different ways to enjoy them.
You can make sandwiches, enjoy nut butter with apples, or pair it with crackers. Nut butter is loaded with protein, healthy fats, and enough calories to keep you feeling energized throughout your hike. Many grocery stores have single-serving packs of nut butter that would work great for storing in your backpack.
ElectrolytesWhile electrolytes aren’t a snack per se, they are a wonderful addition to long and gruesome hikes. Replenishing your electrolyte levels can provide a much-needed boost when you’re feeling run-down, lightheaded, or nauseous. You can get electrolytes from sports drinks or in powdered form in an individual-sized package that dissolves in water.
GingerLast but not least, ginger is handy to bring along if you’re hiking in the mountains or at high elevations. Throughout history, it has been widely used for its medicinal properties. Specifically, ginger is great for easing symptoms of nausea and vomiting, both of which are commonly associated with altitude sickness.
Additionally, ginger has been known to have anti-inflammatory benefits that help to reduce pain and muscle soreness. If you plan on trekking high into the mountains, you might want to bring along some candied ginger.
Tips for Packing Hiking SnacksNow that you which hiking snacks to add to your packing list, here are some tips and tricks to prepare for your journey.
- Stay hydrated: It’s always a good idea to hydrate before your hike. Then, we recommend packing roughly 2 cups of water for every hour of hiking. Always bring more water than you think you’ll need, as many hiking trails don’t offer places to fill your water bottle.
- Clean up after yourself: You shouldn’t leave any non-natural remnants of your snacks on the trail. This means picking up your wrappers and plastics, as well as any others you find along the way. Keep the trails clean for your fellow hikers!
- Avoid the trail trash cans: If it’s possible, avoid using the trail trash cans. More often than not, the trail bins get overfilled and are a hassle to dispose of. Of course, it’s better to use the bins than to throw trash on the ground. However, storing your trash in your backpack is the most eco-friendly solution.
- Bring hand wipes or sanitizer: Your sanitary precautions shouldn’t wane just because you’re on an adventure. Make sure to pack hand sanitizer or wipes to clean your hands before touching any food.
- Pack non-perishables: When it comes to hiking food, it’s best to pack non-perishable items so you don’t have to worry about them going bad. Perishable food should not be left out for longer than two hours.
Healthy Hiking Snacks FAQsHow many calories should I eat on a hike?
The amount of calories you should eat on a hike depends on your height and weight, as well as the type of hike you’re embarking on. Generally, 200-300 calories per hour is a good place to start for the average person.
How much water should I bring on a hike?
It’s necessary to pre-hydrate before setting foot on the trail, so drink plenty of water before you head out. Then, make sure to pack at least a half-liter of water per hour. It’s also a good idea to find out whether there will be clean drinking water available on the trail so you know if you’ll be able to fill up your bottle during the adventure.
What nutrition should I look for in hiking snacks?
For sustainable energy, your hiking snacks should have a healthy combination of protein, healthy fats and sugars, complex carbohydrates, and sodium.
While it may be tempting to toss potato chips or candy bars into your hiking bag, opting instead for nutrient-rich snacks is the best way to fuel your body for outdoor activities like hiking. We hope these hiking snack ideas have provided some inspiration for your next great adventure and we can’t wait to hear about it! In the meantime, stay tuned for more blog posts on all things snacking and adventure-related.