Looking for something better to eat while out on the trail? Here are 34 of the best hiking snacks for day hikers.
This list is in alphabetical order rather than best to worst as the best will depend on the person and their personal preferences. The key is to mix and match items on this list that complement each other nutritionally as well as in taste.
Without further ado, here are the 34 best hiking snacks for day hikers:
Let’s talk about almonds! They’re not just crunchy and delicious, they’re also a hiking snack powerhouse. Just a handful can keep your hunger at bay, and here’s why: they’re loaded with healthy fats and protein. These nutrients take longer to digest, keeping you feeling full and satisfied for longer periods. Plus, they’re easy to pack and they don’t spoil – just perfect for a day on the trails. Next time you hit the hiking path, don’t forget to throw some almonds into your backpack. Trust me, your stomach will thank you!
You know what’s a fantastic, quick-energy snack for those long, winding trails? Applesauce! It’s not just for kids, you know. Individual packets are super convenient, easy to pack, and a breeze to eat – no spoon required. Plus, they’re brimming with simple carbohydrates that your body can quickly convert to energy. Need a quick pick-me-up mid-hike? Tear open a packet of applesauce, and you’ll be back in your stride in no time. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!
3. Beef Jerky or Turkey Jerky
So, let’s chat about a hiker’s best friend: jerky. Whether it’s beef or turkey, this snack is a real champion. It’s not just about the rich, savory taste – although that’s definitely a plus! Jerky packs a serious protein punch which helps repair and build your muscles after those steep climbs. Best of all? No refrigeration is required. It’s lightweight, doesn’t take up much space in your pack, and stays good all day long. On your next hike, when you’re famished and miles from the nearest fridge, you’ll be glad you brought some trusty jerky along!
4. Hard Cheeses
Let’s dive into the world of cheese, a surprisingly great hiking buddy. Sure, it’s a staple on fancy dinner platters, but it’s equally at home in a hiker’s backpack. Specifically, we’re talking hard cheeses – think gouda, cheddar, or even Parmesan. They’re firm, packed with protein and fat for long-lasting energy, and here’s the kicker – they can last a day without refrigeration. So, if you’re tired of the same old trail mix and looking for something with a bit more personality, why not give cheese a shot? Just slice off a chunk when you need a pick-me-up – it’s like a gourmet treat in the great outdoors!
5. Cottage Cheese
Have you ever thought about bringing cottage cheese on a hike? I know it sounds a bit out of left field, but hear me out. Single-serve packs of this humble dairy product are a hiker’s dream. They’re super easy to carry and packed with protein to keep you chugging along those trails. Plus, the creamy texture and mild flavor are a refreshing change from the usual hiking snacks. So, why not switch it up a bit on your next outdoor adventure? Pop a single-serve pack of cottage cheese in your backpack – it’s a game-changer!
Let’s give a big shoutout to the humble cracker! They may be simple, but they’re a fantastic addition to any hiking backpack. Crackers are packed with carbohydrates, and that’s the kind of fuel your body loves when you’re hitting the trail. Plus, they’re light, easy to pack, and pair perfectly with other snacks like cheese or nut butter. If you’re feeling that mid-hike energy slump, munching on a few crackers can perk you right up. Don’t underestimate these little guys – they’re an underrated hero in the world of hiking snacks.
7. Dark Chocolate
Can we take a moment to appreciate dark chocolate? Not only does it satisfy those sweet cravings on the trail, but it’s also packed with antioxidants – those marvelous little compounds that help protect your cells. And that’s not all! Dark chocolate can also give you a little caffeine boost to pep up your steps when you’re flagging. Plus, let’s face it, there’s something quite luxurious about pausing to enjoy a square or two of good quality dark chocolate while you’re out in the wild. Just remember to store it somewhere cool in your pack during hot weather, and you’re golden!
8. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is where it’s at for a sweet, chewy pick-me-up on the hiking trail! Let’s say mango, pineapple, and apricot, for starters. Not only do they taste like little bursts of sunshine, but they’re also lightweight and don’t spoil, making them an excellent companion for your outdoor adventures. But the goodness doesn’t stop there – they’re a great source of fiber and quick energy from natural sugars. Plus, snacking on dried fruit feels like a little treat, which can be a real morale booster when you’re miles in. So, next time you pack for a hike, don’t forget to throw in a bag of your favorite dried fruit!
Let’s talk about a trail snack that’s a bit off the beaten path – edamame. Yep, these little green soybeans are not just for sushi restaurants! When you get them dried and roasted, they turn into a fantastic, crunchy snack that’s a powerhouse of nutrition. We’re talking high protein, high fiber, and just downright delicious. The best part? They’re lightweight and don’t require any special storage conditions, making them perfect for hiking. Give them a try on your next outing – you might be surprised how much you love these little green gems!
10. Energy Balls
Let’s shine a spotlight on one of the tastiest, most customizable hiking snacks out there: energy balls. Imagine this – your favorite ingredients like oats, nuts, and dried fruits, all rolled up into a perfect, bite-sized snack. It’s like having a wholesome mini-meal in the palm of your hand. And the best part? You can make them at home! That means you control what goes in, tailoring the flavors to your preference. Plus, they’re jam-packed with fiber, healthy fats, and protein to keep your energy levels high during your hike. So why not roll up your sleeves and whip up a batch for your next adventure? Trust me, you’ll be glad you did!
11. Fresh Fruit
Let’s chat about the freshest hiking snack around – fresh fruit! There’s nothing quite like biting into a crisp apple, a ripe banana, or a juicy orange when you’re out on the trail. It’s nature’s candy! These fruits are sturdy enough to survive a day in your backpack, and they offer a hydrating, healthy boost of natural sugars for quick energy. Plus, they’re loaded with vitamins and fiber to keep your body running smoothly. So next time you’re packing your snacks for a hike, toss in some fresh fruit – it’s a sweet, refreshing, and oh-so-satisfying way to refuel on the go.
12. Fruit Leather
You know what’s a sweet, chewy treat that deserves a spot in your hiking backpack? Fruit leather! Think of it as nature’s candy bar. It’s made from real fruit, and it gives you that sweet kick you sometimes crave mid-hike, but without any of the guilt. It’s lightweight, non-perishable, and packed into flat strips that can easily slip into any pocket. And here’s the real kicker – it’s a great source of quick, natural sugars to give you a fast energy boost. So next time you’re preparing for a hike and eyeing that candy bar, why not grab some fruit leather instead? Your taste buds and your energy levels will thank you!
13. Granola Bars
Let’s talk about the quintessential on-the-go snack – the granola bar. But not all granola bars are created equal, especially for a strenuous activity like hiking. The ones you’ll want to grab are high in protein and low in sugar. The protein keeps you feeling fuller for longer and helps with muscle recovery. And keeping the sugar content low means you’ll avoid those sudden energy crashes. With so many options available these days, you can find bars with delicious ingredients like nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and even dark chocolate. So, for your next hike, pick a granola bar that’s both tasty and tailored to your trail needs – it’s a compact, convenient, and energy-packed choice!
Let’s talk grapes – they’re like little hydrating, sweet bombs of joy when you’re on the trail. Perfect for popping in your mouth as you hike, grapes offer a refreshing, juicy burst of flavor and a quick source of carbs for energy. But here’s a hot tip: they’re best for cooler days or when you’ve got a way to keep them cool, because they can get a little squishy in the heat. So, if you’re hiking in the cool of fall, or you have a neat little cooler compartment in your backpack, consider packing some grapes. They’re a fun, hydrating, and downright delightful trail snack!
15. Hard Boiled Eggs
Let’s take a moment to appreciate the hard-boiled egg, one of the simplest and most nutritious hiking snacks out there. These little protein powerhouses are easy to prepare, pack, and peel, making them ideal for a day on the trail. Not only are they a fantastic source of protein, but they’re also rich in essential vitamins and minerals. And when you’re working your muscles hard, you need that protein for recovery and repair. So, next time you’re preparing your backpack for a day’s hike, consider boiling up a few eggs. They’re a straightforward, healthy, and satisfying snack that’ll help keep your energy levels steady.
16. Mixed Nuts: A Delicious Mix of Energy and Nutrients
Have you ever wondered why mixed nuts are such a popular snack for hikers? It’s all about their perfect blend of healthy fats and protein. Each type of nut brings its own nutrient game to the mix – almonds with their protein, walnuts with Omega-3s, and cashews with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Just a handful can keep you satiated for hours, providing slow-release energy as you navigate the trails. So next time you pack your hiking snacks, make sure to include a bag of mixed nuts. They’re a filling, nutritious, and oh-so tasty snack to keep your energy up and your stomach happy!
17. Nut Butter: Convenience in a Packet
Now, let’s talk about nut butter. Picture this: single-serving packets of almond or peanut butter, ready to be squeezed onto a cracker, a slice of apple, or even straight into your mouth. Sounds pretty convenient, right? That’s because they are! They’re a fantastic source of both protein and healthy fats, offering you long-lasting energy. And the best part? They’re lightweight, portable, and don’t require any refrigeration. So next time you’re preparing for a hike, consider adding some nut butter packets to your snack arsenal. They’re a creamy, delicious, and nutrient-packed option for your on-the-go eating needs!
18. Oatmeal Packets: Quick and Satisfying Fuel
Let’s delve into the world of oatmeal packets – a hiker’s breakfast dream. These handy little guys only need some hot water to turn into a quick, filling snack or even a whole meal. Oats are a great source of complex carbohydrates, providing you with steady, slow-release energy. They’re also rich in fiber, keeping you feeling fuller for longer. Pack a small stove or a thermos of hot water, and you can enjoy a warm, satisfying bowl of oatmeal right on the trail. It’s a cozy, comforting, and energizing way to refuel during your outdoor adventures.
19. Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich: Your Classic Trail Buddy
Who doesn’t love a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich? It’s a childhood favorite that works just as well on the hiking trail. This delightful duo offers a great balance of macronutrients – protein and healthy fats from the peanut butter, and quick-digesting carbs from the jelly and bread. Easy to make, easy to pack, and oh-so satisfying to eat, a PB&J is a tried-and-true hiking snack that never disappoints.
20. Pretzels: Your Crunchy Carb Companion
Craving something salty and crunchy on the trail? Say hello to pretzels. They’re not just a great munchie for parties, but also an excellent source of quick-digesting carbs to replenish your energy stores while hiking. Plus, their light weight and convenient packaging make them a perfect hiking snack. Pack some pretzels on your next hike, and you’ll have a tasty way to refuel and satisfy your salty cravings.
21. Protein Bars: Portable Protein Power
In the world of hiking snacks, protein bars are a superstar. They’re portable, easy to eat on the go, and packed with protein to help your muscles recover. However, be sure to pick bars that are low in sugar to avoid energy crashes. With a plethora of flavors and brands available, you can easily find one that suits your taste buds and dietary needs.
22. Pumpkin Seeds: A Flavorful, Nutritious Crunch
Pumpkin seeds, especially when roasted, make a flavorful and nutritious snack for hikers. They’re packed with protein and healthy fats, providing lasting energy for your trail adventures. Plus, their satisfying crunch adds a fun texture to your snacking. Don’t overlook these little seeds – they’re a powerhouse of nutrients in a tiny package.
23. Quinoa Salad: A Wholesome Meal on the Go
If you’re looking for a more substantial meal option while hiking, a quinoa salad could be just the ticket. It’s nutritious, versatile, and when kept cool, incredibly tasty. Quinoa is a complete protein and also provides a good amount of fiber, keeping you feeling full and energized. Mix in some veggies, a protein source like chicken or beans, and your favorite dressing, and you’ve got a wholesome, satisfying meal for your outdoor adventure.
24. Rice Cakes: A Light Bite for Quick Energy
Rice cakes, with their light texture and neutral flavor, can be a great addition to your hiking snacks. They’re a quick source of carbohydrates, giving you a fast energy boost when you need it. You can enjoy them plain, or add some flavor by topping them with nut butter, cheese, or avocado. Easy to pack and fun to munch on, rice cakes are a versatile snack for your hiking expeditions.
25. Rice Krispie Treats: A Sweet, Lightweight Treat
For a touch of sweet nostalgia on the trail, consider packing some Rice Krispie treats. They’re light, sweet, and give you a quick hit of energy from the simple carbs. Plus, who can resist that irresistible marshmallow-y crunch? It’s a fun, delicious way to bring a little joy to your hiking snack game.
26. Roasted Seaweed: A Lightweight Nutrient Booster
Roasted seaweed is a light, crispy snack that brings a taste of the sea to the hiking trail. But it’s more than just a tasty treat – it’s also a great source of vitamins and minerals, including iodine, vitamin K, and iron. Plus, its salty flavor can help replace some of the sodium you lose through sweat. So, why not add some seaweed snacks to your pack? They’re light, flavorful, and nutritionally dense.
27. Smoked Salmon: A Luxurious Protein Treat
For a rich, flavorful snack that’s packed with protein, consider packing smoked salmon. Available in vacuum-sealed packets, it doesn’t require refrigeration and can be eaten straight from the pack or on crackers. This protein-rich snack is perfect for a mid-hike boost and feels like a luxurious treat on the trail.
28. String Cheese: A Convenient Protein and Calcium Source
String cheese is an easy-to-pack, fun-to-eat snack that’s perfect for hiking. It’s an excellent source of both protein and calcium, providing valuable nutrients for active bodies. Plus, the individually wrapped servings are convenient and help to keep portion sizes in check. So go ahead and channel your inner kid on your next hike – pack some string cheese!
29. Sunflower Seeds: A Tiny but Mighty Snack
Don’t let their size fool you – sunflower seeds are a mighty snack for hikers. High in healthy fats and protein, they provide long-lasting energy and keep hunger at bay. Plus, they’re lightweight and easy to munch on while you’re on the move. Next time you’re preparing your hiking snacks, remember to include these little nutritional powerhouses.
30. Tangerines: A Burst of Sweetness and Vitamins
Looking for a sweet, refreshing snack? Tangerines have you covered. Easy to peel and packed with vitamin C, they’re a healthy and delicious way to satisfy your sweet tooth on the trail. Plus, their hydration and fiber content can help keep you feeling full and hydrated.
31. Trail Mix: A Classic Hiker’s Companion
Trail mix is a classic hiking snack for a reason. It’s a customizable blend of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and sometimes a sweet treat like chocolate. This mix provides a balanced dose of carbs, fats, and protein for sustained energy. Every bite is a little different, keeping your trail snacking fun and flavorful.
32. Tuna Packets: Convenient and Protein-Rich
Single-serving tuna packets are a convenient and lightweight protein source for hikers. They can be eaten straight from the packet for a quick protein boost or spread on crackers for a more substantial snack. It’s a no-fuss, nutritious choice for any hiking expedition.
33. Wasabi Peas: A Spicy Kick on the Trail
For hikers who like a little spice, wasabi peas are the way to go. These crunchy, spicy treats are a fun way to mix up your snack game. Plus, peas are a great source of fiber and protein. So if you like a snack with a kick, grab a bag of wasabi peas for your next hike.
34. Whole Grain Bread: A Nutritious, Versatile Base
When it comes to packing hiking snacks, you can’t go wrong with whole grain bread. It’s a great source of complex carbs for sustained energy and full of fiber to keep you feeling satisfied. Pair it with nut butter for a protein boost or cheese for some added fat and protein. Whichever way you slice it, whole grain bread is a versatile and nutritious choice for the trail.