8 Best Hiking Snacks | Fuel on the Trail
Whether you're embarking on a day hike or a multi-day backpacking trip, understanding the physical rigors ahead of you will help to determine your approach to nutrition. The amount of calories you burn will depend on a number of variables: distance of hike, elevation gain / loss, intensity of effort, pack weight, temperature, and your metabolism.
For a day hike, try to consume 200-300 calories per hour. If it’s a challenging hike, target closer to 300 calories per hour. And if you're unsure how much time a hike will take, you can estimate 15-40 minutes per mile, depending on your level of experience and the conditions. So, if you're an average hiker doing a 6 mile hike, you will have ~3 hours of moving time and 900 calories to consume.
While hiking, blood is moving away from your stomach, which reduces the sensation of hunger. So, even though you might not feel hungry while moving, it's critical to replenish the calories you burn. By having healthy and tasty options at the ready, you'll find that snacking every 20-30 minutes is actually enjoyable!
When considering what snacks make the cut, it's important to strike a balance of carbohydrates, sugars, protein, healthy fats, and sodium.
- Carbohydrates are the best source of energy. Complex carbs are digested slower than simple carbs which gives you sustainable, long lasting energy. Complex carbs also help keep your blood sugar more level, instead of spiking and then crashing
- Sugars, and especially natural sugars found in fruit and complex carbs, can help you maintain a steady blood glucose level. If you're feeling light headed, have some dried fruit
- Protein will keep you feeling full longer and help repair your muscles and tissues after your hike
- Healthy Fats will keep you energized and satiated throughout your hike
- Sodium or salt (an essential electrolyte) will help keep you hydrated as you want to replenish electrolytes lost in sweat
To help you achieve your goal of consuming 200-300 calories per hour we've assembled a list of 8 Popular Hiking Snacks on Gelvio. Just remember, leave no trace and don't share with the bears!
Energy Bar: Tahoe Trail Bar - Dark Chocolate Cherry
This energy bar features the winning combination of dark chocolate and Bing cherries – a delectable combo of sweet and tangy! Tahoe Trail Bar is made with 70% dark chocolate chunks, gluten-free oats, and various types of seeds. This calorie dense bar brings you high quality complex carbs, sugar from real fruit, and a healthy serving of protein.
Nut Butter: Trail Butter - Maple Syrup & Sea Salt
There's nothing quite like the flavor of real, unprocessed, maple syrup. The Maple Syrup & Sea Salt blend pairs dry-roasted almonds and cashews with a healthy pinch of Jacobsen Salt Co. You get slow-burning energy from the nuts, heart-healthy fats from the coconut oil, and sodium from the salt. You can eat directly from the resealable pouch or squeeze the nut butter onto a piece of apple or bread.
Trail Mix: Shar - Savory
Shar Trail Mix is not your everyday GORP (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts). This trail mix is made in small batches using only nine 100% organic ingredients. The nut and fruit mix provides slow burning energy, healthy fats, and a healthy dose of salt. A few of our favorite, energizing ingredients are: pistachios, pecans, cherries, golden berries.
Dried Fruit: Rind - Dried Orchard Fruit
This Orchard Blend has it all – tangy peaches, sweet persimmons, and chewy apples. The air-dried slices of fruit are bursting with flavor and all-natural sugar. This is the perfect snack to share with others or enjoy over the course of a full day. If you're in need of energy, the simple carbs in dried fruit will give you a boost of energy.
Beef Jerky: Prevail - Lemongrass
This beef jerky is tender and flavorful with a subtle hint of lemongrass that is super refreshing. Jerky is perfect for hiking as it's lightweight and packed with protein. You'd be hard pressed to find another food with more protein per ounce. The sodium in jerky is beneficial for regulating your body's hydration. But beware, the sodium in jerky will make you feel thirsty.
There is 30g of protein per bag, so space out your beef jerky consumption because in addition to protein, you want to be consuming carbohydrates too. Having 2-3 strips of jerky and half an energy bar together will help you hit a balanced mix of protein and carbohydrates.
Energy Chews: Honey Stinger - Fruit Smoothie
These Energy Chews taste like adult candy and they provide an immediate and sustained boost of energy. It's usually best to eat 2-4 energy chews at a time so that you spread out the energy boost and don't cause a glucose spike. And try to eat along with solid food and fluids. The chews are made with organic honey, organic sugar, and organic fruit juice as opposed to any synthetic sweeteners.
Nut Mix: Daily Crunch - Cacao & Sea Salt
These cacao-dusted almonds are crunchy, oil-free, and highly satisfying. Daily Crunch sprouts their almonds so they're easier to digest and more nutrient dense than raw almonds. Almonds are high in protein, fiber, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
The almonds are lightly coated in sea salt and cacao. While hiking, it's difficult to bring chocolate because it melts quickly, but these cacao dusted almonds are a welcome "trail approved" substitute.
Meat Stick: Vermont Smoke & Cure - Original Beef & Pork
Vermont combines simple ingredients like beef, pork, garlic, and cracked pepper to bring you an exceptional meat snack. This protein-rich product has only 1 carbohydrates so try pairing it with crackers, cheese, or an apple to create a balanced snack on the trail.