Next to water, I think bringing the best hiking snacks is my #1 priority when I head out on a hiking trip. I typically do short hikes all the way to full day hikes – no backpacking.
No matter the length of the trip, I always want to have something good to eat on hand. It doesn’t help anyone when I get hangry.
And I can get hangry pretty easily.
So I know all about which hiking snacks keep me full the longest and taste best! I’ve tried many of them out, trust me. Whether I’m spending a weekend in Linville Gorge, hiking near Winston-Salem, or hitting one of the best hiking trails in the southeast, I never leave home without snacks!
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Should I Bring Snacks on a Hike?
Number one – what kind of question is that? I ALWAYS have snacks with me. This became even more important when we found out that my husband was a Type I Diabetic.
He has to have food with him at all times in case his blood sugar gets low.
But even for completely healthy people snacks are an important way to keep your body going. Plus it’s nice to have a reward when you get to the summit or down to the waterfall.
What Should I Eat While Hiking?
What you should eat depends on the length of the hike and how strenuous it is. For long, tough hikes you’ll want something high in complex carbs – so an energy bar like a CLIF bar for example.
Snacks high in protein will also help keep your energy up on longer hikes.
If you are going on a short hike then the nutritional value isn’t as important so maybe go for taste instead of ingredients.
You’ll also want to think about the weather when packing your hiking snacks. If it’s going to be super hot, your stomach may not like you for packing that candy bar.
If you don’t have a small cooler to fit in your daypack then you also won’t want to pack anything that needs to stay cool or even chocolate on a hot day.
The best hiking snacks are usually small and individually wrapped. They are easily eaten with just your hands and don’t require any prep work.
Side note: Make sure to pack out all of your trash that comes from the wrapping.
The Absolute Best Hiking Snacks
Energy Bars/Protein Bars
These are my go-to hiking snacks. I can easily throw them in my bag and I don’t worry too much about them melting.
I prefer the Chocolate Chip CLIF bars or the Coconut Chocolate Chip. Even if these get a little melty, they are still completely edible.
They also fill you up almost like a whole meal so they are great for tough hikes or ones that are a little longer.
These also have a long shelf life so it doesn’t matter if you take a short hiking hiatus.
Fruit is great for naturally raising your blood sugar so it gives you a boost of energy. If you are looking for healthy hiking snacks then this is a great option.
Be careful when packing these though since fruit can be easily bruised. Some good options are apples, oranges, clementines, and pears.
Bananas are my favorite fruit but be very careful with these as they can get squashed easily and are one of the quickest fruits to bruise.
Dehydrating fruit makes it much easier to carry around although I personally prefer the flavor of fresh fruit to dehydrated fruit.
Did you know that you can dehydrate fruit yourself? Instead of buying it at the grocery store or on Amazon you could try it at home.
If you don’t have a dehydrator – though they are super useful – then you can dehydrate fruit in your oven.
I have always loved applesauce and these packets are so handy. No spoon needed and everything is kept nice and clean.
You may want to bring a ziploc bag to pack out your trash in case the outside of the packet gets messy.
Ziploc bags are always a good idea anyways though.
Another fan favorite here. Trail mix was meant to be used on a trail. Maybe, but I’m actually not sure about that.
Making trail mix at home is nice because then you can tailor it to your tastes. Then just pack some of it in a bag to take with you and off you go.
Jerky is one of Tyler’s favorite hiking snacks. We always take a bag of it when we go camping and know that we will be doing lots of outside activities.
High in protein, jerky is a great snack to keep you fueled. While store-bought jerky is great, Tyler also makes his own at home.
We have a dehydrator and if you couldn’t already tell, it gets a lot of use.
Check out this traditional beef jerky.
Mixed nuts are an easy snack to pick up at the store and if you don’t like all the frill of trail mix then this is perfect.
Nuts are a high calorie snack and easy to pack and eat along the trail. They come in so many different flavors now too so it’s a tasty snack.
They make the little JIF single packs now that I find super handy for travel and hiking snacks. Bring something to dip in the pack!
The snack of my childhood. I can’t tell you how many Quaker Granola Bars I ate when I was little.
If you don’t like the cardboard taste of energy bars then this is a good alternative. It won’t pack the same punch but it will taste a lot better!
While this won’t give you tons of energy, it’s definitely the healthy way to go. If you are trying to be health-conscious and you are on a short hike then pack some veggies!
Small carrot sticks are great or celery stalks. You could even do sliced green peppers or cherry tomatoes.
I love the peanut butter filled pretzels and they also make them with cheese filling. It’s an easy snack to toss in a ziploc bag or hard container so they don’t break.
Can’t go wrong with a PB&J. Though this is more of a lunch item it’s great for longer hikes and super easy.
I don’t like when my bread gets soggy though so I’ve actually taken jars of peanut butter and jelly and put my bread in a ziploc bag and then made the sandwich on the trail.
Packaged Tuna or Chicken
This is a great source of protein!
While this one may not sustain you for very long, it’s a sweet treat that you’ll love. The Stroopwafel is a Danish snack that’s made of two thin waffles with honey in the middle.
You may have heard of Honey Stinger Waffles and they are actually made specifically for an energy snack. They suggest eating them before or during activity.
Peanut Butter & Banana Tortilla Wrap
Another healthy snack option that packs a punch. The banana will give you an initial boost and the peanut butter and tortilla provides long-lasting energy.
Not to mention these taste fantastic. They are easily made ahead that morning and then pack them in an air-tight container.
Lance crackers started in Charlotte, NC so of course I had to include them. These are the best peanut butter cracker sandwiches.
It’s filling and has a great carb/protein combo to keep you going on a long hike. Just make sure you have plenty of water cause you’ll need it to get all these crackers down!
Hard Cheese Sticks
Cheese sticks are easy to toss in your pack and you don’t have to worry about them getting damaged. They also come in such a different variety of flavors.
I am not a huge pickle fan, but my sister eats these like it’s going out of style. These are also easily packed, just make sure you don’t puncture the top.
You wouldn’t want pickle juice leaking over your whole pack. This one is another great option for a short hike though.
Mt. Olive also started in NC so check out these Mt. Olive Pickle Paks.
Homemade Energy Bites
If you have never tried homemade energy bites then you are missing out! They are so so good and pretty easy to make.
Try this recipe if you would like. Be aware of ingredients in these that might melt though. These would be another good one to put in a small cooler bag if you have one.
Multigrain or Cheese Crisp Crackers
Plain crackers can actually be a really good snack if you get the right ones. I take Wheat Thins sometimes which go great with one of the cheese sticks.
Try out different crackers though and see which ones are your favorite. You don’t even have to have anything to go with them.
Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars
I’ve recently found these and LOVE them. They are absolutely delicious and have almost the same amount of carbs as CLIF bars. Though some of those come from sugars.
There are multiple flavors but my favorite is the traditional fig flavor. Two fig bars come in a pack and they are definitely one of the best hiking snacks that you’ll find.
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Best Hiking Snacks Review
I really hope that this gave you some unique ideas for hiking snacks to take on your next hike! I always love having a good snack to look forward to – sometimes that is what keeps me going.
Try them out and see which one you like the best. Leave a comment below if you have any other ideas for the best hiking snacks to take on the trail!