You could probably hike more than 100 miles without food, if you had to. But hiking is supposed to be a fun adventure, not a have to experience. Keeping your engine fueled up with tasty, nutritious snacks while out on the trail for the day makes it much more enjoyable and easy.
The key thing to remember is to take something you like to eat. If it's chocolate, it might melt. If it's soft, it might squish. But, it will still taste good.
Here are a few choices for simple, convenient trail food.

Trail Mix

trail mix I have sitting in front of me a large bag of Kirkland Trail Mix from Costco. One ounce (28g) contains 150 calories. Of those 150 calories, 84 (or 56%) are Fat. Ouch! So much for the healthy trail mix fairy tale. It sure tastes good though, and some of it is just fine, but not handful after handful. You can see a Trail Mix recipe if you'd like to make some.

It's fine to consume more calories when you're in the outdoors burning off more calories than normal but you might as well make a bit of an effort to eat healthy food. One day of hiking and eating high-fat food probably won't hurt, but it also won't make the hike any more productive. Calories from simple sugars, complex carbohydrates, and fats are useful in different ways to your body. For ongoing energy boosts while hiking, the quickly metabolized carbohydrates should be preferred.

Here's a table of some foods, their approximate calories in 28g, and amount of carbohydrates, protein, and fat:

dried apple68.1g.3g18.5g
dried apricot67.2g.9g17.5g
granola bar1376.7g2.8g17.7g
peanut butter16514.3g7.2g5.3g

Dried Fruit

hiking food drying On day hikes, carrying a couple apples or other fresh fruit probably won't tip the scale on your pack and they include important water that you'd need to carry anyway. On longer treks, drying your own fruit is a great way to reduce weight and still get healthy food.
Dried fruits are a great choice as long as you dry them yourself and drink plenty of water when you eat them. Drying yourself means they do not have extra chemicals and sugars added. Water is needed to digest them - if you don't drink it, you'll get dehydrated digesting the fruit.
Fruit contains good vitamins and calories with very little fat.

Tuna and Crackers

hiking food tuna Grain is also a good source of carbohydrates. Breads and crackers are a good choice for day hikes.
Tuna fish contains high protein and is a good meal with cheese on crackers if you like the taste of tuna. Oh, don't get the tuna in a can - it comes in foil pouches now that mean much less weight and easy to pack. Don't forget a sturdy zip-loc bag for your trash, especially the smelly tuna pouch.
Have tuna fish recipes ready for your next hiking adventure.

Energy Bars

hiking food You can find these fancy treats in grocery stores or pay more for them at outdoors stores. They pack a lot of calories in a small, heavy bar but you may have to eat a few before finding one that you enjoy. I've gone through quite a few and most just don't taste that great to me. I do like the Lara Bars pretty well and some Clif Bar flavors are good.


hiking food jerky Dried meat isn't a source of carbohydrates, but it is a nice treat on the trail. I really prefer home-made jerky since I can spice it just how I want and make sure its as dry and chewy as I want.
I can make a bit of jerky last a long time when trodding over not-so-exciting stretches of trail. Just like dried fruit, make sure you're taking in plenty of water along with it to keep things moving along on the inside.

Be sure to take enough hiking food with you on your outings and try to keep it healthy. After all, you're out there to enjoy nature and do good things for your body, so you might as well give it good food for fuel. Treats like trail mix are fine in moderation and drink lots of water!

Hike On: Trek Food

 Mar 18, 2013 - Garrett Johnson
i think that this page was very resourceful on what and what not to eat since i am a boyscout that likes to hike. i didnt know what i should eat but this pag e halps.
Mar 25, 2013 - Jo
Just like the trail mix, you can make your own energy bars too! :)
Mar 31, 2013 - Arielle Carr
Made these and love them. Raw granola bars with only 5 ingredients

Nutrition wise if you make 24 bars it comes out to 7.2gfat (1.8g sat fat) 20.2g carbs (2.1g fiber 10.3g sugar) and 4.3g protein
Aug 01, 2014 - Erin
Using this page for a 100 mile cycling ride. Great suggestions, thanks!
Aug 26, 2014 - Ryan
Thanks mate! Great information!
Dec 10, 2014 - Shanif
Novice camper and hiker.  I am about to go out this weekend for the first time on my own.  Am very nervous but this site is really helping me prepare and easing my anxiety.

Jan 27, 2015 - Jay
Be careful with some of the power/protein bars. If it has more sugar than protein it's essentially junk. I like the strong & kind almond bars by Kind. 10g protein and only 6 grams of sugar! The flavors put me off at first but I like the sweet Thai chili and the jalapeņo ones a lot!
Feb 20, 2015 - Aamir Zakaria
Consuming fat is no longer considered nutritionally unhealthy, so I wouldn't use that as an argument to avoid trail mix.   Nevertheless, they are calorically dense.
Feb 20, 2015 - Hiking Dude
@Aamer - A mixture of fat, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins - from whatever source is needed.  Too much of one and not enough of others is nutritionally unhealthy.  Some trail mixes are tilted way too far to the fat-supplied calories when it is not necessary.  A good-tasting and more nutritionally balanced mix is possible.
Apr 16, 2015 - Little Bear
Remember that your body does need protein for muscle, carbohydrates for energy and even a small amount of fat for lubrication. When considering your outdoor activities, remember the exertion will cause your body to use all those ingredients to keep working, so even a bit of fat isn't an issue, since your body will use it. Carbohydrates are great energy as long as you balance them with protein. I try to deplete my body's supply of carbs over the week prior to my hikes by eating almost nothing but protein, then my body will grab and use all the carbs for an energy boost the day of the hike. I've been using this method for many years in Colorado in the mountains. Look up 'carbo loading' online and you'll see how it works. No tricks, just a method to help your body use everything you put in it for more energy. Hike safe and enjoy.

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