Packing appropriate hiking snacks is essential to any adventure!
If you’re an outdoorsy person, like many in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, then you’re no stranger to adventure. So how do you fuel your fun? By packing snacks that will give your body the boost it needs.
Whether you’re going on a short hike or a multi-day hike, packing the right food is key to keeping you active.
In this post, we’ll cover why it’s crucial to pack hiking snacks, what snacks to take on a hike, 9 examples of healthy hiking snacks to pack, and what to take on a multi-day hike.
Why Is It Important To Have Hiking Snacks?
The most important part of a hike is the preparation. If you’re hiking in the Gorge, you’re planning is going to be different than if you were hiking Mt. St. Helens. The same would be said about the foods you’d pack.
Part of a successful hike preparation includes making sure you have the right foods to sustain your energy on your adventure to get you where you’re going. Not being adequately prepared could be the difference between life or death.
The average backpacker can burn 3,000 to 5,000 calories a day, depending on how strenuous the hike is. So what happens if you don’t consume enough calories? If the body doesn’t have enough fuel or food, it will burn extra fat. While that sounds great, once your body burns through the excess fat, it starts to burn muscle.
To avoid depleting your calories while hiking, you want to snack every hour. This will provide your body with a steady stream of calories to keep you going.
What Snacks To Take On A Hike
The best snacks to take hiking are easy to hold (you can eat and walk), lightweight, compact, packed full of protein, and aren’t full of empty calories.
The primary fuel for your muscles comes from carbohydrates, so be sure to pack an easily digestible carb in your pack (#8 banana, listed below, is an example of easily digestible carbs).
A good rule of thumb is to look for foods that provide roughly 100 calories per ounce. A high calorie-to-ounce ratio is critical. Also, include incredibly nutrient-dense foods.
Ultimately, when deciding what snacks to take on a hike, focus on lasting energy.
9 Examples Of Healthy Hiking Snacks To Pack
Now that we’ve covered the importance of packing quality snacks on your hike and what to look for in your snacks, let’s dive into the examples. Here are 9 great healthy hiking snack options to include on your next PNW adventure.
Hazelnuts are packed full of protein and calories (plus they’re delicious) and will fuel your body throughout your adventure. Plus, what better way to fuel your fun while hiking the Pacific Northwest than by consuming Oregon hazelnuts?! They contain roughly 180 calories per ounce, meeting the general calorie-to-ounce ratio guideline. Plus, hazelnuts provide carbs and protein. If you need a little extra sodium, then you can opt for lightly salted roasted hazelnuts. All in all, they’re the perfect hiking snack!
These 5oz roasted hazelnuts are the perfect hiking snack!
2. Peanut Butter Pretzels
Nut butter is an incredible fuel source. It provides protein, healthy fats, and ample calories to keep the body going. They satisfy the sweet-and-salty craving you may get while hiking but make no mistake; they’ll keep you going!
3. Chocolate-Covered Hazelnuts
Chocolate-covered hazelnuts have the benefits of hazelnuts plus the extra boost of chocolate which contains sugars for a quick fuel source. They’re one of those day hike snacks that’s good to pack for if you have a sweet tooth. However, make sure that it isn’t the only snack you pack. You’ll need a complex carb or fiber to balance out the sugar to make sure you don’t crash.
Snag your chocolate-covered hazelnuts for your next hike!
4. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is lightweight and calorie-dense, making it an excellent snack to pack. Plus, it won’t spoil since it’s dried out! Dried fruit contains a lot of natural sugar, which can help if you start to feel faint during your hike.
Dried Fruit Options:
5. Trail Mix
How can you not include a snack that’s named “trail mix”?! It’s easy to pack, lightweight, packed with protein and calories. Plus, there are a ton of different options to choose from! You can buy premade mixes or make your own.
6. Beef Jerky
Beef jerky is packed full of protein! It’s a good hiking snack to pack since it doesn’t take up much space (unless you want a giant bag), and it’s easy to eat while trekking along.
7. Protein Bar/Energy Bar
Protein and energy bars are packed with protein (duh), natural sugars, and complex carbs. They’re also small and easy to pack. There are many different protein/energy bars to choose from at the store, and, like trail mix, you can even make your own.
Bananas are packed full of potassium which is excellent for fighting cramps during a long trek. Bonus tip, spread some peanut butter on your banana to get an even more significant boost of sustained energy!
Veggies are packed full of nutrients that the body needs to stay healthy. Snap peas, carrots, celery, and broccoli are great hiking snack options because they can withstand more extended periods between refrigeration than others.
What Should I Eat On A Multi-Day Hike?
If you’re planning on trekking for multiple days, you will need to plan for meals and hiking snacks to get your body through the journey safely.
Keep a focus on lightweight foods since you will have to pack more for the multi-day hike. You will also want to focus on good nutrition. Estimate how many calories you will burn each day of your trek and pack enough food to meet that number. A fitness tool like WebMD’s exercise calculator can help you get an idea of how many calories you’d burn.
The foods listed above are great snack options, but for a multi-day hike, consider including oatmeal and freeze-dried meals. They’re easy meals that take up little space; however, be sure to account for the amount of water you will need to make these meals as well.
Hiking tip: if you know the area you’ll be hiking in has a water source, bring water purification tablets. This will allow you to cut down your pack’s weight.
Your Next Hiking Adventure
Packing the right hiking snacks is an essential part of hiking preparation. It’s best to look for foods that are nutrient-dense and lightweight. Remember the calorie-to-ounce ratio rule of thumb when picking foods to pack, and be sure to pack enough. You want to be sure that you’re foods can keep your body going for your adventure! Be safe, eat well, and have fun!