Preparation is key for long hikes.
While you might like the romantic notion of just grabbing your backpack, boots, and heading out into the great unknown, the reality is very different. Without the right supplies in your kit, you can run into difficulty all too easily.
You should eat a snack every hour, to replace those electrolytes you lose through perspiration. Hiking burns a high number of calories, and if you underestimate how weak you’ll become without snacks, you face trouble. The average 160-lb hiker will burn anywhere from 430 to 440 calories for each hour, while someone closer to 200-lb will use up around 550 calories in the same period.
Surprised? This is all the more reason to be prepared.
To help you stay energized, focused, and satisfied on your hikes, we’ve put together five essential snacks. Enjoy!
#1: Dried Fruit
Dried fruits are delicious, quick to eat, and packed with fiber. By dehydrating fruits, excess water is removed, making them lighter in your backpack.
On top of this, fresh fruit is prone to bruising and spoiling in your backpack, leading to off-putting smells and remains. With dried fruit, you can package it neatly in clear bags without having to worry about damage, odors, or excess weight.
Go for apricots, banana slices, raisins, prunes, cranberries, and anything else that tempts your taste buds.
Want to keep your food dry on wet days? Take a waterproof backpack made with lightweight materials, which not only keeps your goods safe but also prevents any leaking drinks from seeping through to your clothes.
#2: Carb-rich Treats
As well as dried fruits, take a selection of crunchy, salty snacks with you. Pretzels are a favorite of so many of us, and their complex carbohydrates are just what you need to replenish that spent energy.
Crackers are another great option, particularly stronger ones unlikely to leave broken remains in your wake. Just like dried fruit, these can be stored with a minimum of fuss and weigh next to nothing.
#3: Wholegrain Pasta or Quinoa
Snacks are vital, but you’ll want a proper meal during longer hikes. Sticking with carbs, wholegrain pastas are a top option: their glucose provides slow-release energy over time. These will keep you going for longer than snacks alone.
Add vegetables for crucial vitamins, minerals, and extra flavor. Quinoa is another slow-releasing food, and like pasta, can be stored in airtight boxes for long-lasting freshness. These may take up a little more space than snacks, but they’re relatively lightweight.
#4: Soups for Warmth
During winter, hiking is a totally different experience. Rather than worrying about just overheating and sunburn, you have to balance your layers properly so you stay warm without getting too hot.
One way to help stay warm is by eating soup at regular intervals. Fill a flask with hearty soup, packed with vegetables (for that all-important energy) and perhaps a little spice for added heat.
Flasks filled with fluid bring more weight to your backpack, but you’ll be glad of a hot food on the coldest hikes.
Think cereal’s just for breakfast?
Granola, muesli, bran flakes, and other healthy cereals are packed with vitamins and minerals, and can really boost your energy. Luckily, cereal weighs almost nothing at all, so buy small boxes or prepare snack-sized portions that can sit neatly in your backpack’s side-pockets.
We hope this inspires you to explore a wide variety of snacks and meals while out exploring the world! You can even use these as rewards for accomplishing certain milestones during your hikes, creating incentives for your efforts.