What Food Should I Bring On A Hike? | Hikers University

Those who go on hikes often find themselves wondering, “what food should I bring on a hike?” since they need quick energy to continue hiking with ease.

If you are looking to pack food for your upcoming hike, it is important to pack all the right items. After all, when you are tired and exhausted, you need fuel to energize you and ensure that you are able to complete the rest of your hike.

Some food items to bring on your hike include protein bars, fruits and vegetables, hummus, candied nuts, and granola bars. It is recommended to bring snacks that are easy to carry and do not require to be warmed. Easy-to-consume snacks are an essential part of hiking.

The food you choose should be able to provide you with an ample amount of energy so that you can get through tough hikes. Moreover, the more lightweight you pack, the easier it will be as you will tire less easily.

Here are some handy and nutritious snacks that are a treat to eat and will not take up too much space in your backpack. The best part is that they are versatile enough to be consumed in any way you want.

Table of contents


What Food Should I Bring on a Hike

Nutrition Bars

Nutrition bars are perfect for bringing on a hike as they do not take up too much space but are extremely nutritious. It is best to purchase those that are high in healthy fats, minerals, and vitamins and low in sugar so that your body has a chance to refuel without the risk of raising blood sugar levels.

Some nutrition bars use too much sugar. While consuming one bar a day with sugar will not make much difference, most hikers tend to consume more bars on a hike. This can be bad for your body and make you feel sluggish as you continue hiking when your sugar levels start to drop. Remember, the high might feel good when you consume sugar, but the lows are bad.

Peanut Butter Pretzels

A spoonful of peanut butter is what most people crave when hiking. It is healthy, full of necessary vitamins and good fats, and provides instant energy. However, most organic peanut butter comes in glass jars that can feel chunky on a hike.

The alternative is a peanut butter pretzel that contains peanut butter and a crunchy, salty pretzel that is a treat to eat. This makes a great snack because the pretzel overall contains sufficient amounts of salt and fat to keep you full for several hours. Moreover, the carbs and fat levels present in the pretzel will ensure that you feel energetic without making you feel too full and sluggish.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Many individuals forget that fresh fruits and vegetables make great options, especially when on a hike. Not only are they convenient to carry around, but they do not take up too much space and can be stored anywhere.

When you go on a hike, it is important that you do not forget your fruits and vegetables. Pack your favorites into a lunch box and snack on them whenever you feel dehydrated or need an energy boost. Carrots, celery, cucumbers, and bananas make wonderful options, especially since they will make you feel instantly more energetic. The best part is that most fruits and vegetables are low in calories, so you do not have to worry too much about consuming too much sugar or carbs.

Peanut Butter and Apples

There is no better combination than peanut butter and sliced apple. We admit that apples may feel a little heavy and bulky compared to other snacks we have listed, but think about hiking on a hot day and biting into a big, juicy apple when you are taking a break. Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?

Peanut butter and almond butter are great to pair with your apples. They are high in protein and healthy fats and are a great source of instant energy. There’s nothing like enjoying a delicious snack, especially on a hike.

Trail Mix

We cannot complete any hiking food list without talking about trail mix, can we? All you have to do is bulk shop at the grocery store and buy your favorite seeds, dried foods, and nuts to make trail mix at home. It is loaded with healthy fat and protein and can even be made sweeter by adding bits of chocolate- perfect for anyone who has a sweet tooth.

The trail mix you find at the supermarket might be loaded with sugar and preservatives, which is why we recommend that you check the nutrition section before buying too many packets. The easier option is to make your trail mix at home- believe us when we say that it is not at all complicated and can be made within a maximum time period of 10 minutes.

Crackers and Tuna Pockets

Tuna packets are versatile snacks that come in lots of flavors, making them perfect to snack on, especially when you are hiking. The best part is that you do not have to worry about spoons, forks, or knives, as tuna pockets can be eaten straight out of the packet. Moreover, the quality is always top-notch.

When going for long hikes, we would recommend that you pack tuna pockets with lots of cheddar crackers. You can scoop out the tuna with the help of the crackers whenever you rest or need to catch a breath. Forget about spoons and bowls, and just use your hands.

This is a great snack that is low in sugar and high in protein which will keep you energized for a long. However, we would recommend packing the tuna in a small garbage bag to avoid having to worry about the tuna juice spilling over your belongings.


Jerky can be packed easily when you go hiking as it does not take up too much space. Moreover, you can find different varieties of meat to choose from, such as turkey, salmon, and beef.

Jerky is a versatile snack that comes in various flavors, like sweet, spicy, peppery, and lots more. You can bulk up on your favorite kind of jerky and pop it in your backpack whenever you go hiking. Simply rip open the packet, feast on the jerky, and shut it up when you restart your hike. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?

Protein Bars

Protein bars are another great option to take on hikes as they are filling and do not take up too much space. They are particularly helpful on long hikes as you can snack on them every few hours without worrying about them filling you up too much and slowing you down.

You need to look for protein bars that have a high amount of protein and a low amount of sugar. Moreover, you must ensure that the bars are not too dense. Some protein bars tend to have all the right ingredients, but one bar feels too heavy on the stomach, making it difficult to continue the hike.

You can also make your own protein bars at home! These can be gluten-free, low-carb bars that do not even need to be baked. All you need are some old-fashioned rolled oats, protein powder, dates, maple syrup (or honey), vanilla extract, milk, and any chocolate of your choice. You can tweak the recipe any way you want to make it better suited to your needs.

Olive Packets

Very few people are aware of single-serving olive packets. These are easily available at big grocery stores and are absolutely perfect for taking on hikes.

Since olives are fatty and salty, they make a great snack. They are rich in antioxidants and vitamins, especially vitamin E, which helps boost the immune system. In the long run, olives are said to keep osteoporosis at bay as well.

If you are someone who loves having the option of consuming sweet and savory food when hiking, you will be very happy with some olive packets to snack on. These remain fresh and are compact so that you can easily fit them in your pocket.

Medjool Dates and Peanut Butter

Do you love candy but are always wary about consuming too many artificial flavors and sugars? What if you had an option to binge eat natural candy that will satisfy your sweet tooth whenever you want?

Medjool dates are what you are looking for! They are chewy and sweet, almost like caramel candy. You can pack them when you go hiking with a packet of peanut butter or almond butter to make them more filling. Think about this snack like jelly and peanut butter, just without using any bread.

Dates are a source of instant energy and can help raise your blood levels if you are ever feeling down or too exhausted. When hiking, most people sweat a lot and hence, tend to lose energy and feel fatigued. This snack combination will get you up and running within minutes.

Candied Nuts

When you go for long hikes, it is important that you consume sufficient calories that will keep you on your feet all day long. Hydration and energy are two of the most important things, especially when you know you are going to be spending long hours on the trail.

Nuts are great to snack on since they are loaded with calories, protein, and fats. Moreover, they do not weigh much, making them easier for you to carry around. If you are tired of the same old nuts, we would recommend packing some candied nuts. However, we have to warn you- they can be super addictive.

If you are looking to cut back on sugar, you can mix candied nuts with raw nuts. This will allow a balance and ensure that you do not end up consuming too much sugar.


Cheese is a great source of protein. It is high in calories and makes a great snack, especially when you go hiking on trails that will exhaust you. Cheese is a versatile snack that can be paired with lots of other food items, such as vegetables, crackers, fruits, and even vegetables.

The best part is that you can find different types of cheese to suit your taste palette. There are many sweet kinds of cheese available and savory ones for those who prefer salty snacks. However, you need to remember to opt for cheese types that don’t melt easily as this can create a disaster in your backpack, and let’s admit it- you do not want your belongings to smell like rotten cheese, especially when you are on a hike.


Hummus makes a great snack for hikes that are bound to exhaust you. This is because it is loaded with calories, protein, fiber, and carbohydrates. When consumed on a hike, it will allow you to re-energize instantly.

The best part is that hummus is versatile enough to be eaten on its own, as well as with crackers and bagels. You can scoop it up effortlessly without the use of cutlery and consume it without having to stop on the way.

Tips for Bringing Food on a Hike

  • When packing foods, it is important to pack as lightly as possible. Compact foods take up less space and are convenient to carry. These include freeze-dried meals, snacks, and dry food.
  • You do not want to go overboard with the food you pack. This means that you should have a rough idea of the number of calories you will be burning during the entire hike. Pack food accordingly so that you do not end up eating too much.
  • Focus on food that has high nutritious levels. The food you pack should offer you a good amount of sustainable energy. Make sure to hit all your macros and pack food that is high in calories, protein, and carbohydrates.
  • Choose meals that are easy to prepare. When hiking, you will not have access to utensils or fire in most cases. Hence, it is important to pack smart. Focus on foods that can be eaten straight from the packaging.
  • Do not pack cooking tools, especially if you plan on traveling light.
  • After you are done with your hike, make sure to treat yourself to a treat. This can be anything that is rich in carbohydrates and protein to help replenish the calories and energy you have burned. Popular options include Greek yogurt, lean meat, potatoes, oatmeal, rice, and pasta.


Peter Brooks

Peter Brooks

I’m a hiker, backpacker, and general outdoor enthusiast. I started hiking out of college while working for the National Forest Service, and have been hiking ever since. I’ve been solo hiking and leading hiking groups for two decades and have completed hundreds of small hikes and some majorones such as the Appalachian Train and the Pacific Crest Trail, and hiked on four continents. I’d love to share some of my insight with you.

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