Whether you’re a seasoned hiker headed on your umpteenth mountain journey or a casual power-walker rounding the bend at your neighborhood park, having the right fuel is important.
As you trek along, tasty and healthy snacks don’t just keep you energized and help you make it to the summit (or back to the parking lot) — they’re also a delicious way to celebrate your achievement!
In the Jerky Universe, we know what it takes to pack energizing on-the-go snacks. Here are some of the best hiking snacks that’ll surely put a little pep in your step.
How To Choose the Best Hiking Snacks
If you want to choose the best snacks for hiking, you should definitely consider these qualities.
Unless you’re going on a super-lengthy hike or a multiday backpacking trip, there’s no need for your snacks to be extra lightweight. Just remember: You’ll be carrying these snacks in your bag — plus a water bottle and any accessories — so you might want to avoid heavy snacks, like a bag of apples or glass-bottled drinks.
Portable and Packable
You’ll also want to make sure your snacks are easily portable and packable as well as lightweight. Good hiking snacks won’t take up a ton of space, and they can withstand the jostling of sitting in your backpack over the course of your hike.
As tempting as it may be to wrap up a few pieces of leftover pizza or stop at a local fast food joint on the way to the trailhead, packing nutritious snacks is important. Avoid anything greasy or heavy on the stomach. The best healthy hiking snacks will keep your blood sugar up and have a good balance of fat, protein and carbohydrates.
Note: Your nutritional needs are unique, so speak with your doctor or dietitian before serious, strenuous exercise.
The less packaging you have to deal with, the less trash you’ll need to carry around, plain and simple.
Finally, don’t feel restricted to hiking snacks you aren’t happy about eating. A refreshing can of beer or a piece of mouthwatering chocolate can be a great way to celebrate reaching the top of the mountain. And the taste pairs perfectly with a breathtaking view!
Our Favorite Hiking Snack Ideas
If you want the best hiking trail snacks, we’ve got them. Let’s start climbing.
First things first, we’d be remiss not to mention jerky!
Jerky is not only perfectly portable — it’s also high in protein and comes in a variety of sure-to-please flavors. From traditional and teriyaki to bak kwa and basturma, you’re sure to find a unique jerky that’ll keep you going. It’s definitely one of the best hiking snacks for energy that lasts.
Nut butter is both delicious and versatile! Peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter — the list goes on and on. Spread it on crackers, sandwiches or fruit … or eat it straight out of the package.
It may seem like a simple choice, but crackers are great hiking snacks. Crackers are an excellent vessel for dips, butters, hummus and cheese. Just make sure to choose sturdy crackers and package them securely — no one wants crumbs in their backpack!
Dried fruit is nature’s candy (we’ll trademark that phrase now, thanks). It tastes great by itself or in trail mix. And unlike refined sugars, it has a fairly low glycemic index and provides long-lasting energy to keep you chugging along.
Nuts are super portable and high in protein, making them a perfect pick for any hiking trip. Plus, they’re some of the best snacks for hiking in hot weather — no worries about melting! Pack Macadamia nuts to hazelnuts to sunflower seeds: You can’t go wrong.
Endlessly customizable and easily packable, trail mix is also something you can make at home with a variety of healthy ingredients.
Just remember that if you’re hiking in warm weather, you might want to avoid yogurt-dipped raisins or chocolate. Odds are they’ll melt and make a mess (or at least make your trail mix a solid mass).
Naturally, fresh fruit can be a super-refreshing treat to munch on during your hike, and its natural sugar gives you a quick energy boost. Go with something that isn’t quick to bruise, like apple slices, unpeeled oranges or berries.
Similar to jerky, beef sticks are tasty, protein-packed and easy to toss in any backpack or hiking pouch. You can also find them in an array of flavors, from traditional to jalapeño and everything in between.
Meat bars are typically organic bars made from a variety of meats, spices, veggies and fruits. Think of them like granola bars … but meat! They’re a tasty and quick way to curb your appetite and up your protein intake.
Granola bars are simple to find, are full of flavor and stay fresh during the entirety of your hike. Rolled oats, nuts and a touch of sweetness make the perfect combo for one of the best high-energy snacks for hiking.
Tuna Salad Packets
If you’re looking for a tasty, nonperishable pack of protein, your search ends here. Premixed tuna salad packets — whether eaten alone or spread atop crackers — are a substantial hiking snack.
Chicken Salad Packets
Like tuna salad packets, ready-made chicken salad packets are a shelf-stable, protein-rich option. You can also find unique flavors like Buffalo chicken and herb-and-garlic chicken if you want to mix things up!
Tip: Don’t eat tuna or chicken salad leftovers after you’ve opened the package. You definitely don’t want to get sick in the middle of your trek.
OK, olives might not be the first food you think of when brainstorming hiking snack ideas, but they can really add a touch of sophistication to any trail!
Find some on-the-go packets, or drain the liquid and pack a can into a resealable container. Pair them with cheese, crackers and jerky for your very own on-the-move charcuterie spread!
Yes, cheese absolutely belongs with the best hiking snacks.
A dense, durable cheese like aged cheddar, smoked gouda or even good old-fashioned string cheese can make for a truly delicious on-the-move treat. Wrap unpackaged cheese in wax paper or place in a resealable container to keep the smell at bay … unless you’re into it.
High in calories and healthy fats, cheese crisps are a delicious alternative to normal cheese crackers (or crackers and cheese separately). Their durability and light weight make them perfect to pack — it’s an added bonus that they’re delectable salty snacks for hiking.
Tip: Why eat salty snacks when hiking? Exercise (like hiking) makes you sweat, and sweat leads to lost electrolytes. Along with water, sodium replenishes those electrolytes and helps prevent dehydration!
Protein cookies are packed with nutrients to help you feel full and energized without having to overeat. They also typically contain healthy, natural ingredients like vanilla and honey (and chocolate!). High-protein hiking snacks don’t get much easier.
Boost your immunity and your digestion with some fresh veggies. Pack a resealable container with celery, carrots and broccoli. Add cucumbers for extra hydration, and spice up the assortment with a little hummus or your favorite dip!
If you need vegan hiking snacks, fresh veggies are your lifeline.
Like protein cookies, protein bars are chock-full of nutrients and really fill you up quickly. They come in a wide variety of flavors and can help sustain you on longer hikes and backpacking trips. Look for brands that are actually baked with simple ingredients.
Bring a childhood staple on your hiking trip by packing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! You’ll get ample carbs from the bread and jelly and increase your protein and fat intake with the peanut butter.
Plus, unlike certain meat and vegetable alternatives, a PB&J won’t get soggy (as long as you don’t go overboard with the J).
While a loaf of bread takes up way too much space and smushes easily in most hiking backpacks, tortilla wraps are light, portable and practically non-squishable (and yummy, to boot).
Energy Chews or Gummies
Available in countless fun flavors, energy chews and gummies can truly keep you going on a hike. You can even find some with caffeine for an added energy boost! Just don’t overdo it — you want your heart pumping, not racing.
Don’t get the wrong idea — we’re not condoning restricting your hiking snacks to peanut butter cups and caramel-cookie bars. But there’s nothing wrong with reaching the high point of your hike and celebrating with a little something special. Plus, compact candy bars with peanuts (particularly one that rhymes with “knickers”) are light, portable and full of carbs, fats and protein.
Gummy bears are high in both calories and sugar, so these little guys can deliver an immediate energy boost in a pinch. And if you’re following a specific diet, you can even find keto-friendly and gluten-free gummies.
Homemade Energy Balls
Full of nutrients and easy to make, homemade no-bake energy balls are a superfood that definitely deserves its spot on this good hiking snacks list. Find energy ball recipes that are high in protein, healthy carbs, fats, fiber and flavor — you’ll never look back.
Dark chocolate with a high cacao content qualifies as one of the best hiking snacks we know of. Its unique flavor profile and high calorie count, paired with low sugar levels, give you the best of both worlds — an energy-boosting treat that also sates your sweet tooth.
Peanut Butter Pretzels
Sweet and salty? Yes, please! Peanut butter pretzels make for great hiking snacks. Lightweight and portable, they can keep you feeling full for hours.
And remember those important salty snacks for hiking? Peanut butter pretzels count.
It’s critical that you remain hydrated while hiking. But for some people, plain old H2O just doesn’t cut it. Flavored water additives can help keep your hydration levels up while adding a bit more pizzazz to your water intake.
Spoon your favorite hummus into a sealed container for a great on-the-go snack. Pair with crackers, cheese crisps, vegetables or tortillas for high-protein hiking snacks that’ll amplify your energy.
What’s the perfect way to refuel on a morning hike? Mini muffins, of course!
These treats are bite-sized and perfectly packable. And if you make them at home, you can load them with healthy ingredients like seeds, nuts and dried fruit for a nutrient-dense nibble.
Interested in snacking on a great source of protein? Bring hard-boiled eggs on your next hike. Just remember to keep them in a hard container so they don’t get crushed.
Tip: Make sure to keep them cool! Hard-boiled eggs aren’t necessarily the best snacks for hiking in hot weather.
We’ll end with a twist. When you think about hiking snacks, ideas like applesauce don’t really come to mind.
But applesauce isn’t just delicious, energy-boosting and pairable with other healthy foods. It’s now available in handy, shelf-stable squeeze packets that are ready to eat on the trail.
Explore the Jerky Universe, Wherever It Takes You
In the Jerky Universe, we’re ready to support you on any adventure, big or small. Hopefully our best snacks for hiking list has inspired you to get out there in the fresh air. (And if you’re intrigued, the Jerky Marketplace beckons.)
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