hiking snacks

24 Best High-Energy Hiking Snack Ideas

Enjoying the trails is one of the most healthful activities we can do. It is good for the mind and good for the body. Our body needs the energy to keep up the pace through the day on a hike, but all food is not created equal. The hiking snack ideas in this article are high in energy and tasty. Those day-hike food ideas will keep you energized even on challenging trails. They are also perfect for camping and backpacking. 

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hiking food ideas
idées de collations pour la randonnée

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To consider when choosing a snack for hiking

  • Taste just because we like our food tasty. Why not benefit from high-energy, healthy foods that also taste good? 
  • Weight since we must carry it with us for part of the day. Make sure to have enough food for your day hike but don’t overdo it and weigh down your pack unnecessarily. 
  • High-energy food for those challenging trails. Whatever hiking snack you choose, the primary reason is to have quick but lasting energy to keep hiking. 
  • A bit of salt to help with hydration. As you lose water through sweat, you also lose electrolytes. Some hiking food ideas will help replace those electrolytes and keep you hydrated throughout the day.

Best Hiking Snacks: the Famous Trail mix

There are many variations of the trail’s mix. Here are my favourite homemade trail mix recipes, full of taste and texture. Those trail mixes provide ample energy for the hiker’s needs. You can mix and match any nuts in the recipes below. Add more or less depending on your preference or what you have in your pantry.  

Hiker’s Trail mix

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup almonds
  • ¼ cup cashews 
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • A drizzle cinnamon

Directions:

Spread the three types of nuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in the oven for about 8 minutes at 350o F, stirring once halfway. Let cool. Add roasted nuts, raisins and honey in a big bowl and mix well. Add a dash of cinnamon for taste. Store in a sealed container or Ziploc bag once the mixture is at room temperature. Do not seal it before it has cooled down entirely, as this would create condensation. 

This makes 2-3 portions. Don’t hesitate to double or triple the recipe to make a bigger batch. Half a cup of this trail mix is often plenty as a snack on a day hike.

nuts and raisins to mix for a trail mix, perfect for a day hike snack

Happy Trail mix

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup almonds
  • ¼ cup cashews 
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup M&M’s or Smarties (or chocolate chips)
  • 1 tbsp honey

Directions:

Spread the three types of nuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in the oven for about 8 minutes at 350o F, stirring once halfway. Let cool completely before continuing. Add roasted nuts, M&Ms and honey in a big bowl and mix well. Store in a sealed container or Ziploc bag. 

This makes 2-3 portions. Don’t hesitate to double or triple the recipe to make a bigger batch. Half a cup of this trail mix is often plenty to fill up on the trail.

trail mix with smarties as a hiking snack

Healthy Trail mix

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup chopped Brazil nuts
  • ¼ cup halved macadamia nuts
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup dried mango (substitute for any dried fruit)
  • 1 tbsp honey

Directions:

Spread the three types of nuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in the oven for about 8 minutes at 350o F, stirring once halfway. Let cool. Add roasted nuts, raisins, dried mango and honey in a big bowl and mix well. Store in a sealed container or Ziploc bag once the mixture is at room temperature. Do not seal it before it has cooled down entirely, as this would create condensation. 

This makes a good three portions. Don’t hesitate to double or triple the recipe to make a bigger batch. Half a cup of this trail mix is often plenty as a snack on a day hike.

trail mix with dried fruits as a hiking snack

Pressed for time? Buy this healthy trail mix on Amazon.

The Best Snacks for Hiking in Hot Weather: Fruits

They are tasty and juicy. Fresh fruits help hydrate and quickly turn their natural sugars into energy. Most fruits will keep throughout the day without being refrigerated. They are also all great as a post-hike snack. 

Here are some fruit ideas as a snack for a day hike:

*A side note: When eating fruits as snacks on trails, bring back the peel of any fruit. Yes, it is natural and will decompose in nature, but the peels can harm some animals. Therefore, it is always best to bring it back and dispose of it properly after your hike. “Pack it in, pack it out” also applies to fruits and peels.

fruits as hiking food ideas

Best Hiking Snacks: a Nutty Affair

Nuts and peanuts are often the preferred snacks of hikers. They keep well; no need to refrigerate them. They taste good, and you can use a variety of them for diversity’s sake. In addition, they are a perfect mix of protein, carbs and healthy fats, making them the ideal high-energy hiking snack.

Quinoa Peanut Butter balls 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peanut butter *can be swapped for almond butter
  • 1 cup protein powder
  • ¼ cup Quinoa

Directions

Cook Quinoa according to package instructions. While Quinoa is cooking, mix the peanut butter and the protein powder in a bowl. Depending on the consistency of your nut butter, you might have to play around with the amount of protein powder to add. You want a sticky mix that holds together. Once Quinoa is cooked and has cooled, add to the mixture. Mix well until all blended. Use a spoon or an ice cream scoop to scoop up the mixture and roll it into a small ball (about one inch in diameter). Store in a sealed container in the fridge or the freezer. Two to three balls will make an excellent snack on the trail.

peanut butter energy balls are a good hiking food idea

Chocolate Peanut Energy Balls 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peanut butter *can be swapped for any nut butter
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup protein powder
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds 
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds

Directions

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until blended. Depending on the consistency of your nut butter, you might have to play around with the amount of protein powder to add. You want a sticky mix that holds together. Use a spoon or an ice cream scoop to scoop up the mixture and roll it into a small ball (about one inch in diameter). Store in a sealed container in the fridge or the freezer. Bring two or three balls as a snack when hiking.

A handful of mixed nuts 

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Pecans
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Macadamia nuts

A quarter to one-third cup is often plenty as a hiking snack to replenish energy and keep you going on the trail.

nuts are a perfect hiking snack

Granola chunks 

Ingredients

  • 2 cup oats
  • ½ cup chopped nuts of your choice
  •  ⅓ cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • *optional dried fruits, chocolate chips or shredded coconut (no more than ¼ cup total)

Directions

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl (oats, nuts, cinnamon and any optional ingredients you choose). Add in the honey and mix well. Spread the mixture in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Press the granola with a wooden spoon or spatula. Bake at 300o F for 20 minutes or until golden. Let cool. Break into chunks. Store in a sealed container once the granola has cooled completely.

Pressed for time? Try these granola minis from Made Good on Amazon.

Best Hiking Snacks: the Jerky list

High in protein and energy, any meat jerky is a perfect snack for a day hike. They keep well without being refrigerated. Most will come in different flavours, choose your favourite and pack it. You can also try dehydrating your own with this simple beef jerky recipe.

Here are some jerky ideas for hiking snacks:

  • Beef jerky
  • Salmon jerky
  • Turkey jerky
  • Bacon jerky
  • Salami chips or sticks
beef jerky recipe
courtesy of Once Upon a Chef

More High-Energy Hiking Food Ideas

  • Cheese (hard cheese is best, or prewrapped cheese like Babybels) with crackers
  • Can of tuna with crackers
  • Protein bars
  • Granola bars
  • A handful of mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin) with dried fruits or raisins
  • Banana bread with walnuts or pecans (I also add chocolate chips because… chocolate!) 

More on the best hiking snack ideas

Want more hiking food ideas? I have included the following articles if you want more ideas on meals and healthy hiking snacks for multi-day hikes. The meal recipes and the snack ideas in this backpacking menu are rich in flavour and energy.

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