I think that one of the biggest mistakes a novice hiker can make is not bringing any food on a hike no matter how short the distance. You may not end up eating anything, but it’s always better to throw something in your pack and have it just in case. If you are hiking more than 4-5 miles, I would recommend bringing a few snacks. I don’t want to sound too alarmist, but you never know what could happen, even on a short hike, and it’s always better to be as prepared as you can be.
(Note: You ALWAYS want to bring water. Always. Always. Always. Even if you think it is silly to bring water because the hike is so short, do it. You never know what may happen and you want to be able to hydrate yourself.)
To give you a few ideas of what to bring along on your hikes, I’ll share some of my favorite things to snack on while hiking. I usually like to pack both sweet and salty snacks.
EAT Ultra Bars: For when you want an updated granola bar
Say farewell to those dry and cardboard-y Quaker Oat chocolate chip granola bars that your mom gave you when you were a kid. These cherry chocolate bars from Everyday Adventure Treats are a serious upgrade from your run-of-the-mill bar. Made with local and sustainable fruits and nuts, these bars are chewy and perfectly balanced. I love that there’s just a hint of salt to complement the natural sweetness. Plus, they are filling for a small snack. There’s five different flavors, so I’m sure you’ll find your favorite! You can get them via the Everyday Adventure Treats website.
Noka Superfood Smoothie: For when it’s so hot out, you can’t imagine eating solid food
These are one of my favorite snacks when hiking in hot weather. It’s like grown-up applesauce in a pouch. It’s made with all organic ingredients and also has some protein and other superfoods. They taste really great and aren’t full of sugar. My favorite flavors are Blueberry Beet and Mango Coconut, but I haven’t tried a flavor I didn’t like. You can get them via Amazon or their online store.
Honey Stinger Cracker Bar: For when you need the perfect balance of salty, sweet and crunchy
I love pretty much all of Honey Stinger’s products, but this cracker bar is lights-out good for a grab-and-go bar. It’s two multigrain crackers filled with a nut butter then dipped in chocolate. Sometimes, when I’m hiking, I just get so focused on the trail that I forget to take a break and eat. But, when you have a snack that you are excited about like this cracker bar, you make yourself take a seat and enjoy the view (and the treat). There’s three different varieties: Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate, Almond Butter Dark Chocolate and Cashew Butter Milk Chocolate. You can get them online from the Honey Stinger website or from REI.
PlayHard GiveBack Trail Mix: For when you want to mix up your trail mix
I’m not the biggest fan of trail mix overall. I mean, it’s fine, but it’s not something I normally go for. BUT! PlayHard GiveBack trail mix is so different and unique and great. Also, they are part of 1% For the Planet. (Members donate 1% of their revenue each year to organizations that give back to the environment.) Each flavor has their own type of little energy bites, almonds, and cranberries. The rest of the ingredients are dependent upon the flavor. My favorite is the chocolate banana goji which has banana chips, mini peanut butter cups, and goji berries. Check out their website for more!
Nick’s Sticks: the perfect salty snack
What’s a hike without jerky? These grass-fed, perfectly-spiced beef sticks leave those dry, tasteless meat flakes in the dust. These meat sticks have all the good stuff and none of the bad. Because there’s two sticks in each pack, it’s the perfect amount of saltiness for your day hike. I love the spicy beef, but there’s also turkey and chicken varieties. You can order via Amazon or their website.
Rip Van Wafels: For when you need a trail dessert
These stroopwafel-esque snacks aren’t the most nutritionally complete snack for hiking, but packing it alongside other snacks makes it feel like a trail dessert. If you aren’t familiar with stroopwafels, it’s like a very thin waffle with a filling. (They are even better if they are warmed up over a cup of coffee or tea when the filling becomes gooey.) This brand, Rip Van Wafel, uses quality ingredients with no artificial flavors or preservatives. My favorite kind is the dutch caramel and vanilla, but they have a handful of other fun flavors like cookies and cream and snickerdoodle.
Of course there’s hundreds of things to eat while hiking, but I’m hoping this will spark some new ideas for eating on the trail.
What’s your favorite thing to eat while hiking?