Ultimate Snacks for Hiking

Hiker enjoying hiking snack #bestsnacksforhiking

Who says hiking snacks have to be boring? Every Hike, whether a short day hike or a long hike, is to reach a particular destination, but the fun and enjoyment lie primarily in the experience. In this article, I discuss why snacks are essential for Hiking, what to look for in hiking snacks and provide you with top hiking snack ideas and DIY recipes. You’ll be amazed by all the hiking snack options, and after reading this article, I bet you’ll be looking forward to preparing hiking snacks for your next hike pitstops.

What makes a Good Hiking Snack

Hiking snacks Pure organic fruit bars, trail mix, pretzels, hummus, carrot sticks and crackers


The best snacks for Hiking got-to have the following qualities:

  • Hiking snacks should provide long-lasting energy.
  • Contains good fats, high in protein, with carbs and fibre.
  • Lightweight and easy to pack on the hike.
  • Non-crumbly, not causing a mess while hiking.
  • Backpack snacks should be easy to grab on the go.

All this makes them perfect as backpack snacks for day hikes, long hikes, camping, and any outdoor snacks. As hiking burns many calories, your energy levels might drop without the right snacks. So, to keep your energy up, pack the right food and hiking snacks to last the entire journey.

Read further, where I share the best hiking snack ideas. Besides a few hiking snack recipes, I’ll show you how to prepare high-energy snacks for long-distance trekking, ensuring you stay energized throughout your hike.

Not all must be store-bought, as most camping and day-hike snacks are easy and fun to prepare. Here are some camping snack ideas for Campers to help you prepare healthy camp snacks and easy DIY outdoor snack recipes.

The Best Hiking Snacks

  • Dried fruit and Fruit Leathers & Fruit rolls
  • Nuts and Trail mixes
  • Peanuts with raisins
  • Granola bars, seed bars and Fruit bars
  • Chocolate-covered granola bars
  • Biltong and Beef Jerky & Dry sausage
  • Nut butters & Health spreads.
  • Bovril, Marmite and cheese spread.
  • Pre-packed tuna.
  • Hard cheeses
  • Hummus
  • Rusks, and Biscuits.
  • Pretzels
  • Crackers and Snackbread
  • Fresh fruit and vegetable sticks

Fruits and Nuts

Nuts are loaded with Protein and healthy fats. Nuts, dried fruits, and trail mixes provide long-lasting energy and make excellent outdoor snacks for backpacking, any day hike, a long hiking trip, or camping. Moreover, it is easy to pack, and the dried fruits offer quick energy. Ziplock bags are ideal for packing hiking snacks such as dried fruits, nuts, and fruit rolls. Further below in this post, I provide recipes for Fruit trail mix, how to make dried fruit chips, as well as different seed- and health bars.

Fresh fruit or Dried Fruit

When bringing fresh produce on a short hike, I suggest only choosing fruits that don’t bruise easily. To pack these snacks, wrap them in tissue paper and place them inside a paper bag, then put the bag in the middle of your backpack to minimize bruising. However, bringing fruit leathers (fruit rolls) or dried fruit instead may be more convenient since they weigh less and are easier to clean up. This way, you can still enjoy the fresh fruit flavour on the trail without the hassle of packing and carrying fresh fruit.

Fruit chips are a great snack option for anyone looking for a quick and healthy energy boost. Plus, since they are gluten-free and suitable for vegans, they are a perfect choice for people with dietary restrictions. How to keep dried fruit fresher for longer? Keeping dried fruit in an airtight container in the refrigerator at home to ensure that they stay fresh. This way, you can enjoy their sweet and chewy goodness for days!

Trail Mixes

When it comes to snacking, making healthy choices is vital to keep our bodies fueled and energized. Choosing a trail mix packed with nutrients without any unnecessary additives is a great way to do that. It’s always good to be mindful of what we put into our bodies, even regarding snacks.

Making your Organic Trail mixes for sustained energy is relatively easy. Buy any bulk organic nuts and dried fruits and mix them to your liking. When making trail mix, one can use a variety of the following:

  • Then add nuts such as Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, peanuts, and pistachios.
  • Coconut flakes, banana chips, pineapple and mango pieces.
  • Cranberries, goji berries, raisins, sultanas.
  • Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are used for extra flavour and nutrition.

Best Gluten Free Hiking snacks - chick peas, gluten free crackers and rice cakes
Gluten-Free Hiking snacks

How to Roast Nuts

Oven Roasted Nuts: Pre-heat oven to 350°. Spread nuts evenly on wax paper in an oven pan. You’ll have to keep an eye on the nuts as some nuts need less roasting time than others. Pistachios, walnuts and pecan nuts need about 8-10 minutes whereas almonds, hazelnuts and macadamias 8-10 minutes roasting time.

Stovetop: Roasting nuts is a simple task anyone can master. Did you know that stovetop toasting is the perfect way to add some crunch and flavour to your snacks? It’s especially great for small batches of nuts or seeds! Give it a try, and your taste buds will thank you.

Cheese

Cheese is one of those glorious foods that complement and enhance the flavour of food. Due to its protein and high-fat content, it re-energizes you throughout the day. Did you know that the protein casein in cheese breaks down into the amino acid casomorphins that tickle the pleasure receptors in the brain?

Best Cheeses for Hiking

The best Cheese for Hiking and Cheese for Backpacking are processed cheeses such as Laughing Cow, Kraft wedges, and Babybel mini cheeses. If you prefer non-processed cheese, hard or semi-hard cheese like cheddar and parmesan. Avoid soft cheeses like camembert, brie, and mozzarella, as their high moisture content will cause the cheese to spoil faster. Cheese spread is not so healthy due to its saturated fat and sodium.

How to keep cheese fresher for longer?

Wrap the cheese in a slightly damp cloth and then in Cellophane to protect the backpacking cheese before hiking outdoors. This will also help to keep the cheese in good condition for longer. Plastic wrap is made from oil, whereas Cellophane is derived from biodegradable natural sources and can be composted in regular garbage. Another way is to wrap the cheese in wax paper, with the raw cut side wrapped in cheesecloth, and then place the cheese in a ziplock bag.

Salty hiking snacks

Biltong vs Beef Jerky

Biltong Beef Jerky and Dry Sausage #beefjerkyvsbiltong #beefjerkybiltong
Biltong Beef Jerky & Dry Sausage

South African Biltong and Dry Sausage

World-renowned Biltong is one of the tastiest high-protein snacks originating from South Africa. Biltong gets dried naturally by hanging the marinated pieces of meat on wire hooks in a cool, dry room.

Biltong meat can be lean or fatty, is more tender than beef jerky, and is widely available at butcheries and most supermarkets in South Africa.

Dry sausage is a traditional South African snack, a spiced air-dried meat sausage high in protein. The process involves mixing the meat with spices, stuffing it into casings, and then allowing it to dry naturally in a cool, dry room, similar to Biltong.

Beef Jerky

Let us look at Biltong vs Beef Jerky: Beef Jerky is lean marinated meat dried in an oven or food dehydrator. It’s widely available online or in supermarkets throughout the USA. Interestingly, its high salt content helps prevent bacteria growth, and it can be easily made at home without any special equipment. As for the difference between beef jerky and biltong, both are types of dry-cured meat. However, the Biltong spice, processing and drying techniques used for biltong and American beef jerky vary. Let Lesego tell you how to make real South African Biltong.

Bovril and Marmite

Being around for centuries, Marmite and Bovril are both tasty spreads known in most households. Our house always has Bovril, and for a quick snack at home. For a quick bite, spread Marmite or Bovril on top of your favourite cracker, and add a slice of cheese. Bovril vs Marmite: While Bovril is primarily made from beef extract, Marmite is strictly vegetarian, made of yeast extract and Umami (high in glutamate). Although when it comes to nutrition, Marmite is the winner.

Pretzels and Crackers

When it comes to carbs, pretzels and crackers are delicious on their own or with a topping. All sorts of healthy Crackers, snackbread, provitas and rice cakes are available at most local grocery stores. The variety, including gluten-free chips, is endless. We never go on long hikes without the following healthy high-protein toppings:

Hummus

What is Hummus?

Also spelt hummus, homos, hommus and even houmous, it is a savoury dish derived from the Middle East. It’s made from plant-based chickpeas (chickpeas), famous for their high nutritional value. Besides its high protein content, it’s rich in fibre and minerals. Chickpeas is a legume from the plant family Cicer arietinum, grown for their nutritious seeds. The seeds are commonly beige, although other black, red and green varieties exist.

Besides that, it’s healthy; Hummus is a tasty dish, spread or dip, made of cooked, mashed chickpeas mixed with tahini, lemon juice and garlic and is freely available in most supermarkets. Homemade Hummus (and Tahini) is easy to make and not a big deal. Further down in this post, you’ll find my easy step-by-step homemade Hummus and Homemade Tahini recipes. Hummus makes a tasty, healthy snack with Crackers, snack bread and vegetable sticks.

Ingredients for Hummus, Chick peas, lemon juice, olive oil and salt #howtomakehummusmediterranean #besthikingsnacks
Ingredients for making Hummus Mediterranean
Homemade Hummus Mediterranean with Gluten-free Crackers
Homemade Hummus with Crackers

Tuna-

Besides being an excellent source of Protein, tuna contains vitamin B, niacin (B3), and calcium. Besides fresh tuna, store-bought tuna comes in brine, salt water, vegetable- or olive oil. Is Pre-packaged tuna healthy? Canned Tuna and Tuna pouches are rich in omega-3 fatty amino-acid taurine and make a healthy hiking snack, although fresh tuna is higher in Protein. A diet rich in omega-three is associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Tuna is also one of the best low-calorie hiking snacks.

Nut butters

Besides being high in nutrients, Nut butter contains tryptophan, an amino acid that gets turned into serotonin in the brain and is a precursor to melatonin. Eaten Tuna with a banana makes tryptophan more available to your brain and increases sleep quality.

  • Almond butter contains healthy fat and the most nutrients of all nut butter. If you’re calorie-conscious or want to lose weight, almond butter is the recommended nut butter as it is high in fibre and low in sugar.
  • Peanut butter is highly nutritious and rich in protein, promotes muscle growth and reduces food cravings.
  • Honey Macadamia Nut Butter.

Nutella is described as a hazelnut chocolate spread, although it is not a nut butter or Nut spread. Nutella contains only about 13% hazelnuts combined with palm oil, cacao powder, sugar and milk powder.

Gluten-Free Hiking Snacks

Finding suitable snacks can sometimes be challenging for those who follow a gluten-free diet. However, gluten-free hiking snacks are becoming more widely available in supermarkets and health stores. Another option is to prepare gluten-free energy balls using oats, peanut butter, and honey.

hiking snacks for Gluten intolerance

If you’re looking for information on gluten-free hiking snacks, here are some commonly asked questions and answers. 

  • Tuna: One popular option for a gluten-free hiking snack is tuna, but many people wonder if canned tuna is gluten-free. The good news is that most canned tuna is gluten-free, but checking the label is essential as some varieties may contain wheat or barley.
  • Gluten-free nuts: Besides tuna, there are many gluten-free nuts, including almonds, peanuts, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, and macadamia nuts. 
  • Cheeses: As for cheeses, mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan, brie, blue cheese, and feta cheese are all gluten-free. Some types of cottage cheese are usually gluten-free, but it’s essential to check the label as some brands may contain wheat starch or modified food starch made from wheat. Cheese spreads and processed cheeses are generally gluten-free, but it’s always a good idea to double-check the label just to be sure.
  • Babybel cheese is plant-based, gluten-free, certified vegan, and non-GMO. Its red wax helps with preservation. 
  • Gluten-free crackers, rice cakes and snack bread are available at many stores. 
  • Rice crackers and Popcorn are lightweight and make excellent outdoor snacks.

I recommend you consult a medical professional or dietitian before making significant dietary changes.

Healthy Hiking Snacks Recipies

Here are some easy recipes to make dried fruit, delicious seed- and healthy granola bars. These bars are packed with essential nutrients and provide enough energy to keep you going throughout the day. So, let’s get started and whip up some tasty hiking treats you’ll love!

Banana chips Recipe

Ingredients: One only needs 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to make dried banana chips for 2-3 firm ripe bananas. 

Method:

  • Mix the lemon juice with 1/4 cup water in a bowl and put aside.
  • Cut bananas into 3 mm slices and brush the lemon juice on both sides.
  • Spread the banana pieces on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate for 7-10 hours at 135F.
  • Store in a dark place inside an airtight container.

Dried Cinnamon Apple Rings

Ingredients:

  • 4 apples
  • 4 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of ground cinnamon
  • Oven pan and parchment paper

Method: 

  • Combine the sugar and cinnamon and put aside.
  • Wash and core the apples and slice the apples in about 3 mm slices with a sharp knife or mandoline slicer.
  • Place the apple slices on mesh sheets and sprinkle with the cinnamon mix.
  • Place on wax- or parchment paper and dehydrate for 10-12 hours at 135 F.
  • Store cooled dried apple rings in an airtight container.

Fruity Oat Flaxseed Bars Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups chopped figs
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 Flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup pecans
  • Baking dish of 25×20 cm
  • Wax or parchment paper
  • Foil or wax paper for wrapping

Method:

  • Line the baking dish with wax or parchment paper.
  • Add the dates or figs to a food processor and process till paste.
  • Mix the rolled oats, seeds and nuts in a separate bowl.
  • Add the sticky paste to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Press the mixture firmly down in the dish.
  • Put in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut in desired bars,
  • Wrap and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Chocolate-Covered Granola Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pitted dates, pulsed,
  • 1 cup Nut butter of your choice
  • 1 cup puffed or popped Quinoa
  • 200g dark chocolate pieces
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup mixed seeds of choice
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • Baking dish of 25×20 cm
  • Parchment paper
  • Foil for wrapping bars
Chocolate Covered Granola Bars #snackbarswithchocolate #hikebars
Chocolate Granola Bars

Method:

  • Pulse the dates with oil and nut butter in a processor.
  • Mix the seeds, coconut, and puffed quinoa.
  • Combine all the ingrediënts and transfer to pan.
  • Press the mixture firmly down using a spatula).
  • Melt the chocolate over hot water on the stove.

  • Smear chocolate over the mixture.
  • Lastly, dust it with cocoa powder or chia seeds.
  • Let the mixture cool down and refrigerate overnight.
  • Cut into desired bars, and wrap hike bars in foil.
  • Store in an airtight container until needed.

Homemade Toppings

Dried Hummus

Chickpeas are high in protein and loaded with vitamins, minerals and fibre, making them an excellent health choice. However, hummus mixes are freely available in some supermarkets and health stores. To prepare homemade hummus is frankly easy and not such a big deal. Follow my easy step-by-step recipe on how to make hummus. Hummus with crackerbread or snackbread is one of the best trail food and snacks for hiking.

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas (drained)
  • 1 crushed garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon each paprika and cumin
  • 4 tablespoons of water
  • salt to taste
  • Olive oil*
  • Ziplock bags
  • Oven, pre-heated to 125°F.

Method

  • Mix all the ingredients (except for the olive oil) in a food processor for about 8-9 minutes until creamy. Scrape the paste from the sides before processing further.
  • Spread the paste evenly (about half a cm thick) on any baking- or parchment paper on dehydrator- or baking trays. In an oven, the drying process takes about 3-4,5 hours. Drying in a dehydrator will take about 8,5 to 10 hours. The mixture is ready when it flakes easily.
  • Leave to cool down before you grind the dried hummus into a powder. Store hummus powder in zip-lock bags in the freezer to prevent it from going rancid.
  • *Remember to add the olive oil just before serving.

Preparation on the hike: 5 minutes before serving, add 3-4 tablespoons of water to 2-3 tablespoons of hummus powder. Add 1 pouch of extra virgin olive oil, seal the bag and knead the mixture with your knuckles until thoroughly mixed. Serve with Snackbread, crackers, carrots, or other vegetable sticks. To minimize oxidation, make your own Tahini paste per the recipe below.

Homemade Tahini paste

Tahini is rich in calcium, magnesium, and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The benefits of Tahini are that it decreases blood pressure naturally, which lowers cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. Besides that, it’s easy to make; one needs only 3 ingredients. The advantage of homemade Tahini is that you can leave out the olive oil. After making dried hummus, add the Olive oil and keep it in a jar in the fridge. Tahini can be used as a dip for veggies, salad dressings, dishes and marinades and spread on crackers and wraps.

Ingredients

  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Salt
  • Cumin (optional)
  • Olive Oil
  • water if needed.
  • Patience.

Method

  • Roast the sesame seeds in a pan on the stovetop on low heat for a few minutes. Let the seeds cool down.
  •  Grind the seeds into a smooth paste. Frequently scrape the sides. You can add 2-3 tbsp water. Blend till creamy.
  •  Leave out the oil if you need some Tahini for dried hummus. If not, you can add the olive oil.
  •  Add salt and cumin to taste.

Hiking Smoothies

Smoothies are an excellent hiking meal and one of the best snacks for hiking with minimal effort. Make it in minutes during a pitstop or before leaving the campsite. You add all the dry ingredients in a ziplock bag and seal tightly. Yoghurt powder is a good alternative for fresh yoghurt and smoothies. Although nothing beats the taste of natural yoghurt, it makes a healthy hiking snack with protein and minerals and a much longer shelf life.

Banana and Chocolate Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons powdered nut butter
  • 2 tablespoons banana powder
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 30-gram egg white powder
  • 1 cup water and a zip-lock bag

How to prepare

Before the hike, add all the dry ingredients to a zip-lock bag and seal tightly. On the trail, pour the ingredients into your wide-mouth water bottle with 200-240 ml water. Shake well until dissolved, and leave to stand for about 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Fruity Vanilla Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1x scoop Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
  • 1/2 cup Freeze Dried Fruit Powder 
  • 2 tablespoons Milk powder
  • 1 tbsp Yogurt Powder
  • Ziplock bag

How to prepare

At home, add the dry ingredients to a ziplock bag. Pour the ingredients into your wide-mouth water bottle for preparation on the hike. Add 200 – 220 ml cold water and shake the smoothie mixture for 1-2 minutes. Leave the mixture to stand for a few minutes, and enjoy!

Store-bought Hiking Snacks

A large variety of all types of hiking snacks or outdoor snacks are available at your local grocery store. Stores offer some of the best hiking snacks, varying from Health bars, Trail mixes, biltong, meat sticks, pretzels and gluten-free snacks for hiking.

You might like to check out the following Posts:

You are welcome to send me your favourite Hiking snack recipes; I’d love to hear from you.


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