The 5 Best Hiking Snacks

Do you ever miss the days of when your mom used to pack your lunch? There were always creative little snacks. Sometimes it was surprising how you had everything you needed in the lunchbox to keep you satisfied. There was something sweet, salty, chewy, smooth, etc.

Why can’t hiking food be as delicious as regular food? The truth is, you can have just as much variety and deliciousness in your hiking food as you do with your regular fare, but many people just go for the typical choice of jerky. There’s nothing wrong with jerky, of course. It’s lightweight and gives you a boost of protein when you are expending a large amount of energy. But it can get a little boring if that’s what you turn to all the time.

Here are some other snack items that you can dress up to be more exciting and that will get you through a long rigorous hike. You’ll be sure to find at least one thing that you like on this list.

1. Trail Mix

Okay, trail mix is a pretty obvious choice. However, the mixes that you can buy in the store aren’t always the most exciting. How many hikes have you been on where all you end up eating is the chocolate candies in the trail mix?

Or worse yet, how many hikes have you been on where someone else at all the chocolate pieces and left you with peanuts and raisins?

It’s not a great spot to be in.

However, if you just buy all the ingredients yourself for your own customized trail mix, then you don’t need to even worry about being left with the parts that you don’t like. You know that store bought mixes put way more raisins in than anything else anyway. Who wants to spend more money on a mix that you’re getting cheated from?

A great trail mix has something crunchy, soft, salty, sweet, fiber, protein, and sugar. Of course these categories can overlap, and the sugar doesn’t have to be added sugar; it can be natural sugar from fruit, but it is important to have that in there when you’re hiking because it gives you a boost of immediate energy.

So here are some ideas to put in your own mix:


  • Peanuts
  • Roasted Soybeans
  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds

Dried (or freeze dried) Fruit:

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raisins
  • Craisins
  • Apples
  • Mangoes
  • Apricots

Add Ins:

  • Chocolate covered nuts
  • Chocolate covered peanut butter cups
  • White chocolate
  • Coconut
  • Popcorn
  • Dark chocolate chunks

2. Protein Balls

There are lots of Recipes for protein balls on the internet. So many people use them because they are lightweight and they are very filling for how big they are. They are a great option for healthy and efficient snacking, which is exactly what you want when you are out hiking. Here is one of my favorite recipes for these protein balls.

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/8 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks

In a mixing bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and mix. Then add all the dry ingredients except the chocolate and stir until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Form into 1” balls. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

You can store these in the fridge to keep them for longer, but they will absolutely be fine at room temperature for a couple of days. This makes them a great camping and hiking snack.

3. Energy Bars

Another great option for hiking snacks are energy bars. There are literally dozens of flavors and brands to choose from. It’s amazing; each time I go into the store it seems like the protein bar section of the aisle just gets bigger and bigger. Of course, we all have our favorites, and you really have to try a bunch to determine what ones you like. I’d suggest getting a variety pack if you are new to energy bars, or you can buy a bunch of single bars as well.

There are lots of vegan, dairy free, gluten free options out there, so these could quickly become a favorite “anytime” snack.

4. Nut Butter

Please tell me I’m not the only person who eats nut butter straight from the jar. I love all nut butters, but especially peanut butter, and the great thing about it, is that it is a great source of protein when you are out hiking. Your muscles need to recover and a great way to help them do this, is by giving your body protein.

There are individual packages of all natural nut butters in your local grocery store’s organic section, but you can also make your own. Just put as much peanut butter as you want in a resealable bag and push it toward the corner. When you are ready to eat it on your hike, just cut or rip the corner and squeeze right into your mouth.

In fact, if you make your own, you could consider putting in some other add ins like a fudge swirl, chocolate chips, or strawberry jelly just to keep things interesting. The only downside to this snack is that it makes you really thirsty.

5. Granola

Granola is a great snack for on the go. It is dry and lightweight and it has a lot of great nutritious attributes. Store bought granola might not be as healthy as homemade, but it will do in a pinch, if you don’t have time to make your own.

One thing to remember about granola is that it is really dry, so you might want to add in some things to add a little bit of moisture. You can add some things like yogurt bites, fresh fruit, or dried fruit to your basic granola to give it a little more life and make it easier to eat.

The sky is the limit with hiking food. If it isn’t too perishable, then bring it along on your next trip. You don’t have to stick with the same options that you always do. But even if you do pick a traditional snack, jazz it up with your own additions. Eating should be fun and fulfilling, so make some snacks you can look forward to!

The five best hiking snacks

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