by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
One of the best ways to get in a good workout is to go for a hike. Even better is that you can go hiking all year long, regardless of the season and temperature outside. That said, it’s a smart idea to pack some hiking snacks in case you get hungry on your adventure, as well as be able to provide yourself with some added fuel should you find yourself dragging along the trail.
In this article, we are going to look at different hiking snacks you can pack as well as the reasoning behind why you should toss them in your pack for the hike.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is recommended that you speak with your healthcare professional before starting up hiking to ensure you are healthy enough to do so.
Why Do You Need Hiking Snacks
Nearly 59 million people in the US have hiked at least once in 2021, and hiking, in general, has shown a growth rate of around 80%. More and more people are finding hiking as an outlet to not only get in a good workout but a great way to get outdoors, enjoy nature, and destress. But in doing so, many are trying to figure out how to fuel their body and what hiking snacks are necessary.
Here are three things to think about:
How Long Are Your Hikes?
Depending on your hike length, you should consider adding hiking snacks. If you’re only going for a short 30-minute hike, you may be able to get away with just packing some water, but even then, hiking snacks are light enough that you can easily toss something in your pack just in case you need it.
How Challenging is the Trail?
Something else to consider is how hard you’re going to be pushing yourself. Are you hiking on a flat trail or something with huge shifts in elevation change? The more intense and challenging the hike, the more likely you’ll need to pack some hiking snacks to fuel you along the way.
Where is Your Trail?
The last thing you’ll want to consider is where you are hiking. If you’re out in the middle of nowhere or hiking a trail you’ve never been on, hiking snacks can ensure you have something to eat should you get lost or stranded. You should always have adequate water with you and plan for the unexpected. As they say, “It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.”
What Hiking Snacks Should You Pack?
Below is a list of great choices when it comes to hiking snacks. These can easily fit in your pack for the day and are light enough not to weigh you down and slow down your pace.
1. Nutrition Bars
It doesn’t matter if it’s a protein bar, nutrition bar, granola bar, or straight carbohydrate bar, having a bar on hand is a quick and convenient way to get in some energy to help get you through your hike. When it comes to hiking snacks, you want to make sure if you choose a bar, it has an adequate amount of carbohydrates in it to help fuel your activity.
2. Trail Mix
Trail mix is one of the perfect hiking snacks to get you through the toughest terrain. Trail mix contains a good amount of calories, including fast-digesting carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein.
3. Dried Fruit
Carbohydrates and sugars are a great way to fuel your hike, which is why dried fruit made the list of healthy hiking snacks you can pack for your adventure. This can be anything from dried apples, peaches, bananas, cherries, strawberries, etc.
4. PB&J Sandwich
If you want something that you can pack with you as hiking snacks, a PB&J sandwich is a great option. You get the carbs from the bread, sugars from the jelly, and healthy fats from the peanut butter. This is a great option for hiking snacks, especially if you’re hiking with someone else and you want to stop for a quick bite during your trek.
5. Electrolyte Packets
Electrolyte packs are just that… electrolytes. If you’re out on a hot and steamy day, you’re going to sweat. To replenish the nutrients lost in your sweat, it’s ideal that you have some sort of electrolyte packets on you to add to your water. These are essential hiking snacks to help improve your hydration.
6. Rice Cakes
Rice cakes are awesome hiking snacks and can be eaten as you go. They are easy to throw in your pack and provide you with some carbohydrates that can help you finish your hike with enough energy to maintain your pace.
7. Energy Gels
The same thing you see cyclists and marathon runners use are energy gels. They are primarily made up of carbs and sugar to help fuel your body during your hike. You can easily put a few in your pack, and they won’t add hardly any weight, which makes them one of the ideal hiking snacks to have on hand.