Few experiences top the accomplishment of tackling a spectacular hike. However, even the most amazing adventures can turn sour if hunger and fatigue settle in. Thankfully, the best hiking snacks can help prevent that dreaded mid-trail meltdown.
Eating on the trail is all about maximizing and sustaining energy while also enjoying your snack. A little extra thought and planning before heading out will pay off tremendously by the time you hit the summit. Let’s dive into 10 of the best hiking snacks to pack!
Overview: 10 Best Hiking Snacks to Fuel Your Active Hike
- Dark chocolate
- Trail mix
- Nut-butter stuffed dates
- Energy bars
- Fruit purees
- Energy gels
Best hiking snacks for your next adventure
From store-bought items to things you can customize in your own kitchen, the best hiking snacks are varied and delicious.
Calorically-dense foods make some of the best hiking snacks, and there are few better combinations of taste, weight and energy than dark chocolate. It also offers several additional benefits, including:
- Antioxidants to alleviate inflammation
- A dose of caffeine to elevate your mood
- Fiber for improving nutrient intake
To get the maximum benefits, go for the darkest chocolate you enjoy. More cocoa solids offer a more balanced energy source and also make the chocolate bar less prone to melting. If it does get too hot, try to solidify it in a cold stream during your hike.
There’s a reason this classic beloved food is called trail mix—there are few foods better suited for hiking!
The star ingredient, nuts, offer protein and heart-healthy fats, while additions like dried fruit, crackers, or candy add important fiber and “good” carbs. Together, they deliver an excellent energy source that’s easy to snack on during even the most strenuous hikes.
There are always plenty of varieties of pre-packaged trail mix to grab at the store, but making your own is also an excellent option. Not only does this allow you to customize the ingredients to your liking, but also tailor your mix to your specific activity.
Generally, the more challenging the outing, the more carbs and healthy fats you’ll need for sustained energy. Focus on a variety of nuts in your trail mix, then add in smaller amounts of dried fruit, dark chocolate (just be mindful of the weather—you don’t want it to melt!), pretzels or crackers.
Nut-butter stuffed dates
Nut butters are one of the best hiking snacks, densely packed with fiber, protein and beneficial fats. However, figuring out how to easily eat this sticky food can be somewhat tricky.
One convenient option is purchasing ready-to-eat squeezable pouches. Then, consider filling dried dates with the nut butter! A delicious sweet and salty combination, these little morsels can also be premade and wrapped in foil.
The dried dates add a hefty dose of extra energy through their natural sugars and carb content, and the snack tastes like a satisfying treat!
Although they’re not typically considered a snack food, avocados make for a delicious and nutrient-dense trail snack.
Favored by many long-distance runners, these fruits offer substantial servings of heart-healthy unsaturated fats, fiber, and protein. These nutrients work together to satisfy hunger and offer a prolonged energy source, while also stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Avocados also contain electrolytes, with more potassium per serving than a banana. It’s important to replenish these minerals during hiking and other exercise, since they aid in muscle function.
After throwing a few avocados into your pack, consider making a quick dip on the trail. Mash the avocado with a spoon and sprinkle with seasoning like an everything bagel blend or simple salt and pepper. You can also use the avocado halves as a “boats” and add a ready-made tuna or chicken packet for a protein-packed meal.
Choosing the best hiking snacks should be about enjoyment as well as nutrition. Flavorful and rich, hummus is a great pick for both taste and satisfaction. Plus, it can easily be paired with small bites like carrots, celery, cucumbers, corn chips or pretzels.
While you can purchase hummus at any store, making your own is fun and easy!
- Place two cups of pre-cooked chickpeas (sold canned, also known as garbanzo beans) into a food processor, along with half a cup of tahini and a quarter cup of olive oil.
- Blend, and add flavorings like paprika, lemon juice, and parsley.
- Adjust the final consistency to your liking with water.
Hiking typically expends about twice the calories of a normal day. In order to compensate for the added strain on the body, it’s important to snack, even when the body doesn’t crave food.
Energy bars offer an ideal solution, providing a quick bite that packs a tremendous energy punch, and that’s also easy to eat while on the move. Individually packaged, portable, and available in just about every imaginable flavor and variety, energy bars are essential in your hiking pack.
When choosing a brand, always double-check the ingredient list. Avoid artificial ingredients and added sugar, and be picky regarding its main energy source. Sugar derived from fruit is the best option, and you want a nice mix of complex carbs for a quick energy boost.
Almost all fruits are good to pack for a day on the trail, although some options are undoubtedly more hassle-free than others. Apples make some of the best hiking snacks, loaded with energy-boosting carbs and natural sugar.
Unlike other foods and particularly fruits, an apple’s nutrients take longer to break down in the bloodstream, preventing a sugar crash. In fact, when paired with nut butter, they’re one of the most satiating snacks on the trail!
Apples are not only energizing, but they’re also easy to carry. Simply wash and go, without worrying about juices, quick spoilage or easy bruising. If you prefer to snack on apple slices, prevent discoloration by spritzing them with lemon or lime juice before heading out.
Bonus: apples are safe for dogs (just remove any seeds and the core first!), so hikers who bring their four-legged friend along can share snacks.
Sure, fruit purees may be most closely associated with baby food, but they’re also some of the cleanest energy sources for the trail. Not only are these concoctions easy to stash, they’re also easy to eat on the go, inexpensive, and customizable. Many hikers experience a lack of appetite while out on adventures, and fruit pouches are an effortless snack to consume.
The easiest starting point is purchasing pre-packaged applesauce (pouches, not cups). However, consider purchasing a resealable baby food pouch and creating your own combinations.
Whether it’s a tropical version with pineapple and mango or a fall-inspired blend with a dose of boiled pumpkin and cinnamon, the sky’s the limit for flavors!
No matter what type of snacker you are, jerky is one of the best hiking snacks for the trail. Jerky is low in weight but very high in nutritional value, packed with protein, zinc, B12 and folate. Together, all of these things offer important calories and energy, and aid in muscle recovery.
While jerky is most often associated with meat like beef or turkey, today, there’s a vast range of chicken, fish and even vegan varieties available. Just be sure to drink plenty of water while snacking on jerky, due to its high sodium content.
Another benefit to choosing beef jerky as a hiking snack is that it has a long shelf life. That makes it convenient to buy several pouches when your favorite brand goes on sale, or even make your own in large batches.
With a simple food dehydrator and a base recipe, you can completely customize your own jerky! Most recipes call for a basic marinade that you can tweak with your choice of protein and seasonings, and some are even manageable with an oven.
We’ve all been there: you’re staring down that final ascent, the summit just within reach. However, there’s still a thigh-burning, sweat-inducing climb to get there, and your energy is low. This exact situation is why energy gels make some of the best hiking snacks!
Loaded with easily-digestible sugars, electrolytes and sometimes caffeine, gels offer a healthier energy boost than candy.
There are countless varieties, many of them catering to specific lifestyles and diets like vegan-friendly and low-carb, so find one that best meets your needs. Gatorade gels are tasty and easy to find, while brands like Huma offer easily-digestible ingredients.
One of our very own adventure coordinators, Erin R., suggests travelers to carry water drops, electrolyte tabs, and portable powders.
“Water drops, electrolyte tabs, and portable powders are EXCELLENT ways to enhance your water and increase consumption to stay hydrated!”— Erin R. Adventure Coordinator from MT Sobek
Does MT Sobek provide snacks on their trips?
Yes! A variety of ‘trail mix’ snacks will be readily available to you such as raisins, dried apricots and other dried fruit, and almonds. There will also be chocolate, crackers, cookies and candy bars.
Have a dietary restriction? While MT Sobek does provide snacks, we encourage travelers to pack their own snacks if they have special dietary needs, in the case we cannot assist their special needs.
Please communicate any dietary restrictions early. Have a chat with our travel experts at 800-974-0300 and they’ll answer any questions you have!
Take a bucket list-worthy hike with MT Sobek!
With a bit of forethought and planning, the best hiking snacks optimize nutrition, taste and portability so you have plenty of sustained energy to tackle the summit.
Grab your pack, plenty of water— and snacks, of course, and hit the trail. Consider joining Mountain Travel Sobek this year on one of our popular hiking trips!
Ask an Expert
We want you to have the best adventure, so don’t hesitate to call our expert team of adventure specialists at 800-974-0300 to learn more. Or click the button to use our online contact form.