Going on a hike? Having a well-packed backpack is important for making it through a long or difficult hike. Going backpacking? Having fuel between meals will keep you going on your journey. Carrying weight on your back, climbing hills and mountains, and walking nonstop will burn a lot of extra calories. This is not the time to diet! You need the fuel not only to feed your body but for maintaining your mental energy to keep going. If you’re starving, it’s easy to lose motivation and want to quit early.
For packing snacks, there are a lot of options from sugar foods like candy and cookies to healthier options like fruit and trail mix. I personally buy larger sizes of snack containers since it’s more economical and portion out into portion-control baggies. This is especially great for backpacking so you can have one baggie per snack per day. Also, if your trip is multiple days, make sure to incorporate variety! Trust me, it will make a big difference on your morale!
Note: This is not a discussion on what you should or should not eat on your hike.
Hard Candy – Lifesavers, Jolly Ranchers, Werthers
Chewy candy – Sour Patch Kids, gummy bears, Bit-O-Honey, Starburst
Dried Fruit – banana chips, apple, pineapple, blueberries, mango, plantain chips, raisins, craisins Fruit leather Fruit snacks Cookies
Energy Gels, Honey Stingers
Banana Chips, Bit-O-Honey
Salty and Less Sugary Selections
Trail Mix – I love the Archer Farms Monster mix.
Dried vegetables – carrot chips, dried peas
Meat sticks – Nick’s Sticks (antibiotic and hormone-free)
Cured Meats – pepperoni, salami, summer sausage
Protein/Energy bars – gomacro bar, PROBAR, Bobo’s bar, RXBAR, Clif Bar
Nut clusters Packaged olives
Epic bars (also a great Paleo snack)
Kind Bars Granola bars Tuna pouches Beef jerky Babybel cheese Fig newtons Sandwich crackers Hemp & Chia Seeds
Monster Trail Mix
Kind Bars, Larabars
Great options for Hiking (but NOT for backpacking)
Items are on this list for various reasons. Anything that takes up a lot of space, melts in hot weather, is heavy, breaks easily, or will get squished is not great backpacking food. However, it might be a great option for hiking as long as you account for weather and backpack space.
Candy bars – Snickers, Twix, Almond Joy
Salty snack mixes – Chex Mix/Pub mix/Gardettos
Covered pretzels – Yogurt Pretzels, chocolate pretzels Fruit Hummus Granola Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches Celery and peanut butter Triscuits String cheese Pretzels
Puppy chow >> Not sure what this is? Trust me, you need to know. Find the recipe here