Hiking Trail Snack Ideas: Easy, Durable, Delicious

Posted: Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Replenishing Snacks to Help you Feel Energized Out on the Trail

As a hiker or backpacker, you know that magical moment when you're tromping through the wilderness, stop to refuel, and you open your pack to find your favorite snacks. When you sit down, take a break, enjoy a replenishing snack, and feel energized to head back out onto the trail, it's the greatest feeling.


Our favorite hiking snacks are unique, sometimes weird, and often only snacks that we enjoy while roughing it in the backcountry -- and something as simple as an apple can be the most decadent thing you’ve sunk your teeth into. 


We are excited to share some of our AGC wisdom about the best types of snacks, how much to pack, and our list of the top eight great hiking snacks to throw into your pack!


What Type of Snacks Are Best in Our Packs?

  • Durable: Snacks that don't melt, crush, or fall apart in your pack.

  • Packable: Choose snacks that are easy to grab, eat, and properly dispose of the trash.

  • High in Protein: High protein snacks will keep you full longer and support your muscles.

  • Consider Sugar: We often get a sweet tooth while hiking, so try to choose foods that have natural sugars instead of added sugars. 

 best trail snack ideas


How Much Food Should We Be Packing? Consider...

  • Length of Hike: Depending on if you’ll be hiking for a few hours, or a few days, list out a food plan for the length of your hike and this will help steer your choices.

  • Calories Needed: According to a great article from experts at REI, we should aim for 200-300 calories per hour--and this number is, of course, dependent on several other factors. But this calorie range is a good starting point when choosing snacks.


Best Hiking Snacks Ideas from the AGC Guides:

1. Protein & Energy Bars

Along with being super easy to pack as well as hassle-free, bars can provide lots of good energy for your body. Here are our guide’s favorite bars:

  • Lemon Luna Bars: These bars taste fantastic, and they are high in protein and gluten-free! Who doesn't love that?

  • Kind Bars: Looking for a nuttier type of bar? These come in a variety of packs and are full of heart-healthy nuts including peanuts and almonds!

  • CLIF Builder Bars: These are great protein-rich bars that are made with high-quality ingredients. CLIF Builder Bars are perfect for recovery on long hikes.


2. Dried Meats & Fruits

Dried foods can make for excellent snacks because they are easy to pack, they don't spoil quickly, and they often pack lots of nutrients without taking up a ton of space. Here are our favorite dried snacks:

  • Salmon Jerky: Whether you make it yourself or buy it, salmon jerky feels like an extra special snack while on the trail. And it packs in great fats & a ton of protein.

  • Salami and Beef Sticks: If you need a salty snack packed with protein, salami can be a great option. Cut it up into snack-sized pieces and enjoy! Or, buy these beef sticks in bulk for easy grab-no-go options. 

  • Dried Mango / Coconut Strips: Our guides love dried fruit from Trader Joe's. These make a perfect treat if you need a naturally sweet snack.


3. DIY Trail Mix

Trail mix is so much more fun when you craft your favorite mix yourself. Our guides shared their favorite DIY mixes, and they are each super unique & tasty.

  • Tropical Mix: Trader Joe's Coconut strips, macadamia nuts, and banana chips.

  • Nuts, Seeds & M&Ms: Grab each of your favorite nuts and add some M&Ms for an extra treat.

  • Fruit & Nut Mix: Cashews, almonds, and dried cranberries...This combo is tasty!


4. Fresh Snacks

It’s important to keep healthy snacks in your bag, too. These fresh foods keep well in a backpack and will give you a yummy treat to look forward to.

  • Sugar Snap Peas, Carrots & Humus: These are hardy veggies that can last a while in a pack without spoiling. Bonus tip: bring some hummus to dip your peas & carrots in!

  • Oranges: These make a good snack because they are easy to digest, and will give you lots of energy.


5. Something Sweet

Lots of us get a sweet tooth when we're out on long hikes. These are our personal favorite sweet snacks for when that moment comes.

6. Energy Chews

Sometimes you just need a pick-me-up and energy chews can be a great choice.

  • CLIF shot BLOKS: These are small, tasty, and will provide you with the quick upper you need on the trail.

  • Honey Stinger Energy Chews: They come in tons of flavors and are super yummy. You can also choose caffeinated chews or non-caffeinated! 


7. Bigger Meals: Lunch & Dinner

Taking a break for lunch or dinner while on a long hike feels so rewarding. Especially when you’ve packed your favorite trail lunch. You get to sit down, enjoy the views, and rest your legs and replenish your energy. Here are our guides’ go-to lunch ideas:

  • Packit Gourmet: If you’re looking for an easy-to-pack lunch that feels like a real meal, their cold soak lunches are great! Try the spicy or mango chicken salad.

  • Peanut Butter Sandwich: A plain and simple peanut butter & jelly or peanut butter & honey sandwich is *so* delicious on the trail.

  • Snicker Burrito: This might be categorized as a hearty dessert, but it's a super fun idea! Extra crunchy peanut butter on a tortilla with a snickers bar wrapped up inside.

  • Tuna Packets and Crackers: This is an easy lunch to pack & bring along. It will give you lots of great energy and always tastes amazing.


8. Electrolyte Drinks

It's often hard to stay hydrated while you're working your way through a tough hike, so liquid electrolytes added to your water can help you perform at a higher level and continue feeling good. 

  • Nuun Tablets: These tablets are a hydrating blend of electrolytes and they taste great.

  • LMNT Drink Mix: These are gluten-free, sugar-free, and keto-friendly.


Snacks are an important part of a great trail experience. You’ll be burning lots of calories and want to plan for a small snack every hour or two. Picking the right snacks for your hike is important, and we hope our list gives you some new ideas for your next hike!


Snacks & Leave No Trace

One more thing to think about: make sure as you’re snacking on the trail, you’re committed to Leave No Trace principles. What does this mean?

Of course, we need to pack out wrappers, packaging, and any other garbage that our food might come along with.

BUT, it's also very important that we pack out the more “natural” leftovers from our snacks, too. This means orange peels, nutshells, apple cores, tuna juice, and so on. Although we may think that these bits and pieces will eventually disappear, it's important we pack them out because they aren't natural for the environments we are hiking in. 

The bottom line for Leave No Trace: If it doesn't belong there naturally, pack it out.

If you’re looking for some delicious hiking meals that are made by trail-oriented food companies trying to help reduce our trash 'foodprint', check out...

  • Fernweh Food Company: Their dehydrated meals come in either a compostable bag or a reusable muslin bag.

  • Backpacker’s Pantry: Their backpacker meals use responsibly sourced organic ingredients, and their food pouches can be recycled.

  • Sun & Swell: They are committed to sustainability and social welfare in everything from their ingredient sourcing to their packaging. They make several delicious snack packs that are packaged in compostable or recyclable bags.

You can read more about Leave No Trace Trail food in this article from The Sierra Club Magazine.


What are your favorite hiking snacks?

Did we miss your favorite hiking snack? Let us know in the comments!






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