Best Foods to Eat While Hiking
You have planned the perfect hike, you have all your things packed and ready but then it hits you that food is a big part of hiking. The safety of our solo hikers, always comes first in everything we do at OutdoorGearLab. These are some foods to eat while hiking that are easy to make or are readily available at most grocery stores.
With the lack of large quantities of water on top of the physical toll hiking takes on your body, there’s no better reason to bring along nutrition bars, energy gels and sports drinks for refueling while you’re out in the backcountry. Since all three categories contain different ingredients with specific purposes it’s important to be informed about what goes into them before choosing one over another. This applies to what you bring for lunch with you too, since the foods hikers eat on the trail are directly related to how they feel during and after their hike.
The following lists contain examples of some hiking-friendly snacks that are designed with your footwear in mind. Some items will work better than others depending on where you’re headed but all can be valuable sources of calories, energy, electrolytes or fluids when endured over long distances or intense periods of time.
To start with we have brought together our favorite bars with great ingredients; these are nutrient-packed choices rich in protein and fiber. Most importantly they taste good so hikers won’t feel like they’re simply eating another item off their backpacking menu. We recommend bringing at least one bar per person for a typical day of backpacking.
For those that want to pack as light as possible and save room, we have picked out some other foods that can also be used for snacking along the trail. For those interested in taking drinks with them on the trail, check out our best water bottles article which contains reviews of several different kinds of drink bottles.
Top 5 Energy Bars
1) Clif Bar – This bar is an excellent choice for hikers since it’s full of fiber and can give you upwards of 100 calories per serving (most bars average around 200 – 300). The chocolate chip flavor is rich and tasty enough to satisfy any sweet tooth cravings; we recommend bringing at least two servings (four bars) per person or one serving per day on average.
2) Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Sea Salt Kind Bar – For those that are looking for something savory you can’t go wrong with this nutty bar. It’s full of dark chocolate chunks mixed in with peanuts, crisped rice and sea salt which make it not only vegan friendly but also gluten free. You don’t have to worry about weight or price since these bars come at one dollar each making them very affordable too.
3) ProBar Fuel – This is an excellent choice if you’re looking for big food portions with even bigger flavors. This bar has a better ratio of ingredients to calories than most others on the market which makes it one of our favorites since hikers can eat large portions without overcompensating on calories. Don’t let the spicy Sriracha Peanut Butter scare you off, its savory qualities are addicting.
4) Zing Energy Bar- This bar has a very unique texture to it since it’s soft and chewy but also crispy at the same time. Though it may sound strange, many hikers have come back telling us that they crave this bar even after being out in the backcountry for several days. It comes in four flavors all with varying ingredients so be sure to choose one that suits your taste buds well.
5) Clif Kit’s Organic Food Bar – If you’re looking for something high in fat this is the choice for you since most of these are made from peanuts or almonds. They’re also a good option if you’re watching your weight since they pack in 160 calories or less with each bar. The white chocolate macadamia nut is one of the most popular flavors due to its luscious sweetness which compliments the creaminess of this nutty treat.
Top 5 Energy Gels
1) GU Roctane – A mix of complex and simple sugars along with amino acids and caffeine, this gel will give you the extra boost you need. It has no taste so hikers can choose their favorite flavor depending on their preference such as grape, fruit punch or lemon lime. One serving contains 100 calories, 27 grams of carbohydrates and 200mg of sodium for those that want to hydrated too. Be sure to check out our top 5 energy gels article which has more information on how these work.
2) GU – If you’re looking for a gel that doesn’t have caffeine then this is the choice for you since it’s one of their many flavors without any stimulants. It also has maltodextrin along with fructose, sucrose and water making it an excellent source of carbohydrates. Keep in mind that even though there are no stimulants, all GU products will boost your metabolism so expect some extra energy soon after consumption.
3) Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gel- This gel comes packed with electrolytes, amino acids, complex carbs and antioxidants making them one of the most nutritious choices on the market. Some hikers love this gel because it’s not too sweet, though the taste might not be for everyone. It also costs less than other brands so many hikers opt to go with this one.
4) PowerBar Performance Energy Blasts – If you’re a fan of cherry flavored anything then you’ll love this product since it comes in a few different types of gummies. They use maltodextrin as their main source of carbohydrates which is why they have 100 calories per serving and 25 grams of sugar, making them tasty but very sugary as well.
5) Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix- This isn’t technically an energy gel but instead a hydration mix that can be added to your water or any drink to provide fast electrolyte replacement. It’s ideal for those that don’t like or can’t stand the taste of traditional gels since it comes in a powdered form which is dissolved into any beverage you want. One order contains 10 packets, each having 2 servings so they’re very cheap and easy to bring with you on every hike!
We hope this article has been helpful and provided some insight as to what food choices make the best hiking snacks. Remember that these are only suggestions, feel free to try others if you’d like since there are many great products out there today from companies large and small alike. We also highly recommend checking out our energy gel post for more tips on how much to take along with you as well as detailed reviews of a few top choices. Be safe out there and happy trails!