11 Hiking Snacks for the Trail

A few summers ago, I found myself standing within 30 feet of a very large mama moose and her two babies. As I came around the corner on a trail, my boyfriend told me to back up back into the woods. At first, I thought it was a horse..a very large horse. We waited on the trail, ate some lunch, and let the mama bring her babies back into the woods. It was terrifying when she came back out of the woods and started to walk towards us. Let’s just say, I walked very fast for the next hour.

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Another time, our group accidentally got lost and hiked for several hours before we realized that maybe, we weren’t going the right way. Luckily, we found a shelter and constructed a cuddle huddle to stay warm since our clothes were wet from the thunderstorm that rolled in. The “mountain” crew survived.

Hiking is one of my favorite summer and fall activities. The mountains are beautiful – green or full of Vermont foliage. If you ever want to de-stress, just surround yourself by nature (and turn your phone off). Scramble over rocks because when you reach the top, the views will be spectacular every time.

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Mt. Hunger

Mt. Washington

Mt. Washington

Those views make up for the tough climbs that always leave me so hungry. At the end of a hiking day, I’m always starving and exhausted. Well worth it, though.

Hiking snacks should be portable, compact, easy to eat on-the-go, and calorie- and nutrient-dense. I rely heavily on nuts, dried fruit or some whole fruits, and energy bars or balls. Make sure to pack a snack with carbohydrate for fuel and protein for satiety and staying power.

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Depending on the length of the hike and intensity, you’ll want to pack more or less snacks. For a day hike, I usually pack several snacks, and will eat what I want based on my hunger. If you’re backpacking for several days, you’ll want to pack meals, tons of snacks, and a way to cook them. If you’re starved on the trail, there’s no store nearby.

On a day hike in the White Mountains a few weeks ago, I was in charge of packing the snacks.

Here are a few of my favorite trail snacks:

  • Apples (avoid fruits that may bruise in your bag)
  • Larabars*
  • Homemade energy balls/bars – we had chia seed bars with dates
  • Cheese – cheese sticks or individual portions pack well
  • Smoked salmon or deli meats
  • Beef or turkey jerky (have heard good things about these dried fruit & jerky mixes but they’re pricey)
  • Trail mix – make your own with dried fruit, nuts, and unsweetened coconut pieces
  • Chopped veggies – carrots, peppers, tomatoes
  • Avocado slices
  • Peanut or almond butter squeeze packs (squeeze onto an apple!)
  • Chia squeeze packs (Mamma Chia)

Of course, you’ll want to bring a large water bottle. If it’s a hot day or you sweat a lot, you can add a sprinkle of salt into your water to replenish electrolytes. If not, make sure to have some sodium and potassium later that day like a banana with salted nut butter.

When packing snacks in your bag, consider using small tupperware containers for foods that may bruise like whole fruits or avocado slices. Otherwise, pack your fruit on top, so it won’t bruise. Try to be efficient with packing, so you also do not have to take everything out of your bag to reach a snack. Consider having a separate side or front pocket for food.

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*Larabars are my favorite because they are made of dried fruit and nuts. Simple ingredient list with no added sugar (except a few chocolate flavored ones). Clif Bars are made with the endurance athlete in mind but contain around 22 g (~4 tsp) of sugar. If you are doing a strenuous hike, the high-carbohydrate and extra sugar will be helpful, but overall, I prefer to choose foods with natural (fruit) sugars.

What’s your favorite hike? What snacks do you bring on a hike?

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