When I go hiking or backpacking, I like taking along a few snacks to keep me fueled for my adventures. These are usually the same snacks that I pack for fishing or camping too. There are many different options, so I have put together a list of the best snacks for hiking. What makes a good snack?
The right hiking snacks are important for energy and performance while going on a shorter or longer hike. Hiking and backpacking snacks should include healthy carbs, sugars, and protein. Here’s why you need a new the right mix and what you should look for on the ingredient list:
- Protein- Protein keeps you full longer and your energy higher. It also helps reduce body tissue breaking down and assists with a better recovery.
- Healthy Fats- Healthy fats are important to keep you energized during your hike. Always check your labels.
- Sodium- Sodium or salt is important for keeping your body hydrated. That’s why salty snacks can be popular, but I prefer a good hydration mix instead of all those good electrolytes.
- Carbohydrates- Carbs are the best way to get energy fast. You want complex carbs, not simple carbs. Complex carbs take longer to burn and are found in whole foods and grains. Simple carbs are fast to burn and are found in processed foods and foods high in sugar.
- Sugar- It’s important to maintain a steady blood glucose level. A sugar crash can be dangerous. Though it’s easy to find unhealthy and convenient foods with added and refined sugars, try fruit instead to get natural sugars. Sugars can also be a quick energy boost.
Snacks should be portable, light-weight if going for longer distances, and preferably healthy. Also, make sure you have enough snacks to stay fueled. A good rule is to plan for about 200 calories per hour of hiking. Shelf-stable snacks are preferred and ones that aren’t heavy, but find a good balance.
Besides snacks, you can always pack a light lunch and don’t forget to have plenty of water. Make sure to have a water bottle and even a hydration mix for proper hydration. Liquid IV and Skratch Labs are two of my favorites hydration mixes to stay hydrated on a hot day.
So, after these quicks tips for how to pick snacks, here is complete backpacking and hiking snack list of my family’s favorite snacks. It’s also a good list for camping snacks that don’t need a fridge. Most of these are healthy or healthy alternatives can be found. And many of these snacks can be found with all natural ingredients. Remember to check your labels for added sugars.
There is something here for everyone and every diet. Snacks that are keto, vegan and vegetarian have been included, be sure to check labels. Here are a few of our favorites:
Best Backpacking and Hiking Snacks
1. Applesauce Squeeze Pouches
I like apple sauce pouches for convenience and even part of a light meal. It doesn’t have to be apple sauce, there are lots of different flavors. Apple sauce makes a great hiking snack for any day hike.
2. Aussie Bites
Aussie bites originate from the indigenous peoples of Australia. These little bites are jam-packed with healthy proteins, carbs, and sugars. They usually include a good mix of grains and fruit.
3. Beef Jerky
Beef jerky is always a high-protein snack that is good for any trail snack. You can get it in many flavors. Old Trapper and T.O.P. Chops are two of our favorite brands. It also makes a good ingredient for camping and backpacking meals, like this beef jerky stew recipe. Jerky can also be something you can make at home and you can find an easy recipe in my “5 Ingredient Camping Cookbook”.
4. Bison Jerky
If you are looking for variety, bison jerky is a good beef jerky alternative. Bison is leaner than beef. As a supporter of made-in-Montana businesses, I love Roam Free Bison Jerky.
5. Candy Bar
Candy bars can be a great idea for a quick pick-me-up or even as a dessert. Chocolatey candy bars tend to melt quickly, so a simple hack is to freeze them before you put them in your day pack.
Cheese sticks or hard cheeses can stand up pretty well while hiking or backpacking. The harder the cheese, the better it will stay last and not melt. Good cheeses for hiking are hard cheddar, pecorino, or manchego. Beehive Cheese makes an awesome lavender espresso cheese that can be found in most grocery stores.
7. Cheese Snacks
Hard cookies can be a nice snack when backpacking or camping. I like to eat them with a thermos of coffee or hot tea as a nice afternoon snack (if I pack my camp stove). Biscotti and chocolate chips cookies are perfect.
9. Corn Nuts
Corn nuts can be a great source of fiber and salt. Love Corn is a healthier alternative to your traditional corn nut brand.
10. Chicken Salad Kit
Chicken and salad with crackers is a high protein, high carb snack. It’s filling and also shelf-stable. You can also make your chicken salad with a pouch of chicken and a packet of mayo.
Crackers are a good choice for a snack because they are lightweight and filling. They can be paired with almost anything like meat, cheese, and peanut butter.
Dates are a common ingredient in many protein bars. I like them on their own. This is one of my favorite trail snacks.
13. Dehydrated/ Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is something you can even make at home in the oven or a dehydrator. I like to mix different kinds. My favorites right now are dried watermelon and banana chips. Rind is a great brand of dehydrated fruit with no added sugar. Freeze-dried fruit is a yummy treat too. This is a good hiking snack, especially for kids.If you have a food dehydrator, it’s easy to make your own.
14. Dehydrated Meals
I try to find alternatives to ready-made dehydrated meals like recipes from MontYBoca, but it doesn’t hurt to have a quick hot meal. It’s not something I rely on, and I pack it for emergencies or if I get really hungry.
15. Dry Cereal
Cereal isn’t just a kid’s snack. Mix cheerios with raisins or cinnamon crunch with coconut. It’s delicious. Stick some in a plastic baggie or a reusable silicone bag.
16. Energy Balls
In my most recent cookbook, there is a recipe for peanut butter energy balls. Energy balls are a quick snack that you don’t need to sit down and eat. Many people make them themselves, but you can find lots of brands online like Frooze Balls, which are vegan. These are so good.
17. Energy Chews
If you are needing a quick jolt of energy, try some energy chews. After I got these in one of my Nomadik boxes, I have stashed a pack in my backpack for every hike. My favorite brand is Skratch Labs. But Honey Stinger energy chews are really good too.
18. Energy or Protein Bars
Everybody has their favorite go-to bar for hiking. I prefer ones with very few ingredients and that are packed with flavor and energy. Some great protein and energy bars for hiking are:
- Clif Bars
- Lara Bars
- RX Bars
- Made Good Bars
- KIND Bars
- Aloha Bars
19. Fig Bars
Whenever we would road trip as a kid, my dad always bought fig newtons. I still love them when traveling, but it’s pretty silly carrying a whole package of cookies while hiking. Instead, I’ll grab some fig bars, like the ones from Nature’s Bakery. If I can find them, I like the Trader Joe brand too.
20. Fresh Fruit
Apples, oranges, and pears make a great healthy snack for hiking. Try to avoid fruit that can easily bruise or get mushy. And don’t forget to pack out your apple cores and orange peels.
21. Fruit Leather
22. Fruit Smoothie Pouches
For a heartier snack check out these fruit smoothie pouches. I particularly like these for camping as well for a quick breakfast or to eat with a bagel.
23. Fruit snacks
I’m not a fruit snack fan, by my husband and kids love them. These are great for cooler hikes because they will melt in the hot sun.
Granola isn’t just for breakfast. It can be a nutritious snack as well. If you’re backpacking, bring along some powdered milk for a great breakfast.
25. Granola Bars
You can’t go wrong with good old granola bars. Granola bars are a staple for any hiking and backpacking trip and are the most popular snack. Not all granola bars are created equal. For a more nutritional snack, avoid ones with added sugars. I like the Made Good brand, and my kids love them.
26. Hemp Heart Bites
Hemp hearts are high in good fats, protein, and carbs, and also contain sugar and sodium. That’s why they are the perfect superfood for hiking. Try some hemp heart bites on your next hike.
27. Hardboiled Egg
If you are looking for a high-protein snack, pack a couple of hardboiled eggs. This is a healthy and easy snack.
28. Honey Packets
Honey is all-natural and has no added sugars. Eat it by itself or add it to a sandwich. Honey packets are very convenient. They can also be used as a sweetener and are shelf-stable.
Chickpeas are a good source of fats and protein and hummus can be a good snack for the trail. Add veggies and or crackers for a filling snack. You can get ready-made or a single-serve pack of just-add-water hummus.
30. Meat Sticks
My favorite meat sticks are made by Chomp. No sugar or carbs, and they are great for any trail snack. There are may different flavors. I think my favorite is the pepperoni one.
Whenever I need a heartier snack, I like to bring a muffin. I especially like the big ones that you can get from Costco. Even if they get a little mushed, they are still delicious.
32. Mushroom Jerky
Not only are mushrooms a superfood, but they make awesome vegan and paleo jerky. I bought some mushroom jerky the other day at a gas station and it was really good. It’s becoming popular and more readily available with so many delicious flavors and brands.
33. Nut Butter
Nut butter can be a quick snack on the go. You can get single-serve nut butter with made from many types of nuts: almond, peanut cashew, and even sunflower seeds. I like plain peanut butter or almond butter.
Mixed nuts or any nuts are a good protein snack. You really don’t need to worry about them going bad, but they can go rancid eventually. Store your nuts in the freezer for a longer shelf-life. What are your favorite nuts?
36. Pepperoni Sticks
Pepperoni sticks are delicious. It is a great alternative to beef jerky.
What is pemmican? Pemmican is the ultimate survival food, made out of ground dried meat, fat, and fruits. It came from the indigenous people of North America. I used to make my own but it is becoming more available online and even at local grocery stores. This is also my primary choice when hunting or fishing. Here is a good starter recipe for pemmican.
Dill pickles are not only great for a quick snack, but are useful in rehydrating and preventing muscle cramps. If you have a charlie horse, eat a dill pickle or drink pickle juice. And if you don’t like dill pickles, pickled veggies are yummy too.
Do you know that popcorn is a really easy snack that you can make while camping or backpacking? Or you can just make some at home and take it on the trail. I usually don’t add butter because then it gets soggy.
Pretzels store well on the trail and salty snacks while hiking help with getting enough salt. Our go-to pretzel is Dot’s, but the Snyder’s of Hanover Butter Snaps are really yummy too . Try pretzels with a bit of peanut butter for a more filling snack. Pretzels are the perfect salty snack.
41. Roasted Chickpeas
Roasted chickpeas are an awesome high-protein snack, especially if you are vegan or vegetarian. These are so good and you can’t stop at just one.
42. Salmon Jerky
Salmon jerky has become one of my favorite snacks. I made some Alton Brown’s salmon jerky recipe last year and it was the bomb. But, because it’s time consuming, I will sometimes buy it instead. There are some awesome flavors and good brands.
43. Sardines or Anchovies
Sardines and anchovies are my husbands favorite backpacking snack, eaten with crackers. It’s an easy way to get My kids like to eat these, tail first.
44. Sausage or Salami
Try taking some dry salami slices or summer sausage with you. I like to take summer sausage, cheese and crackers for a light lunch. Just use your pocket knife to cut slices. This is a favorite for longer hikes.
45. Sesame Snacks
Have you ever tried sesame snacks? My son (who seems to have adult tastes) will eat an entire bag in five minutes. Sesame snacks gives a bit of variety to your stash of go-to hiking snacks.
46. Seaweed Snacks
These may not be filling, but they are light-weight. Seaweed snacks are salty, and are keto-friendly. They are also easy to eat while you are walking and make a good portable snack. Ocean’s Halo seaweed snacks are my preference because there is no plastic tray.
These are so good, especially with hot tea or coffee. I like to put them over my cup for a minute or so, so that the instead gets gooey. If you are looking for a sweet snack with texture, try stroopwaffels. get the energy booster stroopwaffels for an energy bar substitute. Stroopwaffels are especially great for long hikes.
48. Sunflower Seeds
Shelled or not, sunflower seeds are a good snack. I like the dill pickle flavored ones.
49. Trail Mix
Gorp or trail mix is a traditional hiking and backpacking snack. As a matter of fact, you can make your own trail mix. There are so many different trail mix recipes. It’s just a bunch of dry ingredients mixed together that you can find at your local grocery store. I prefer to add cereal made with whole grains.
50. Tuna or Salmon Salad Kit
Salmon or tuna salad kits are perfect for hiking and backpacking. Tuna salad kits make a great mini-meal when backpacking or the perfect snack to tide you over until dinner.
51. Vegan or Plant-based Jerky
Vegan jerky is a thing, furthermore it’s an easy snack for vegetarians and vegans. As a matter of fact I wasn’t sure how good it would be. In fact, it’s really that good. Be sure to check out brands, because I think it comes down to personal taste.
52. Wasabi Peas
Wasabi peas are a great spicy snack if it’s your jam. As a matter of fact, I prefer this type of spicy than say jalapeno spicy.
What are some of your best hiking snacks? What type of snacks do you like the most? Which of these do you want to try on your next adventure? Did I forget something on this list? Let me know in the comments below so I can add it. Don’t forget to stay fueled and stay hydrated on a hot hike. Happy hiking and be outside with no limits.