June 22, 2020 / by Danny Mavis

Whether you are planning a quick afternoon hike or a weekend excursion, having the right food will ensure you feel great to tackle any trail. The best foods to eat while hiking are those that serve as fuel to get you started, keep you going and help you recover after a strenuous hiking trip. Simply said, foods that have lots of calories to sustain your energy.

Most of the time, it’s impossible to take with you all the foods you’d like to eat, so you have to make smart choices. It’s about balancing taste, weight and nutrition. Foods and meals that can be quickly prepared are your safest bet. For me, my outdoor time is precious and I prefer to spend it discovering and enjoying the nature surrounding me rather than prepping food. From smoothie packs and nuts to seeds and dehydrated meals, the list below incorporates foods that provide you with the right does of calories, protein, good fats, vitamins and other micronutrients to keep you healthy and energized when exploring the great outdoors.

smoothie packs

Smoothie Packs

A smoothie mix is a portable and convenient option for backpackers. Often made with real fruit combined with ice cream to give you a tasty drink on the run, smoothie packs are packed with energy and protein, making them a great way to get your day started. When you want to make a smoothie, you can just grab a bag, dump the contents into a cup along with water, shake it and enjoy a nourishing breakfast!

Dehydrated Meals

Although dehydrated meals aren’t very tasty, they are a nutritious choice when you want a warm meal on the go. Like smoothie mix packets, dehydrated meals can be found in stores that cater to backpackers and hikers. They contain dehydrated meal components, such as meat, poetry, vegetables, grains and fruits that can be cooked by adding boiling water and leaving the mixture in it. You will find a variety of dehydrated meal choices that contain high-quality ingredients. Just make sure to carefully read the labels and you’ll definitely find a healthy product that will satiate you.

nuts and seeds

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds make excellent snacks for those who are backpacking. They are high in minerals, vitamins, fibre, healthy fats and protein – all you need to stay fueled. Plus, they’re high in calories, yet small in size. Depending on the terrain you will be hiking in, you can burn thousands of calories per day, so choosing calorie-dense foods is important. For a tasty snack on the go, get mixed almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.

Dried Fruit

Fresh fruits are healthy and delicious, but they are highly perishable. Dried fruits, on the other hand, are heat-stable and have a long shelf life. The drying process removes excess water from the fruit, inhibiting the growth of bacteria that causes food to spoil. Still, dried fruit retains many of the nutrients found in fresh fruit, which means it provides a healthy source of minerals, vitamins, fibre, antioxidants and carbs. As an added bonus, dried fruit is compatible, which means it can be easily stored in a backpack and can be mixed with nuts and seeds to create a high-energy trail mix.



Fresh meat is often avoided by backpackers as it’s highly perishable and needs to be kept refrigerated. This makes jerky an excellent alternative to fresh meat as it is shelf-stable and backpacker-friendly. Since most of its moisture is removed during the drying process, jerky is lightweight and can be stored without refrigeration, making it a great choice for hikers. Available in different types, beef, chicken, turkey and even salmon varieties, jerky provides a good dose of protein when fresh sources aren’t available.

nut butter

Nut Butter

Nut butter, including almond butter and peanut butter, are delicious nutritious products that are common among backpackers. When shopping, make sure you stick with natural products that don’t have added sugars and other unhealthy ingredients. Since transporting a big jar of nut butter isn’t always possible, nut butter packets or dehydrated nut butters are great alternatives. They are high in calories, protein and healthy fats, which you will need to stay energized on the trail. Plus, nut butter is versatile and can be added to many snacks and meals.

Protein Bars

Depending on the type of hiking you will be doing, you may need to bump up your protein intake. Similarly to endurance athletes, you will need to consume high-quality protein sources to repair your muscle and stave off hunger. Protein bars are convenient, portable sources or high-quality protein that can fit any dietary requirements, including vegetarianism and veganism. Moreover, they’are shelf-stable and don’t need to be refrigerated. In order to buy high-quality protein bars, look for products containing limited, whole-food ingredients and avoid products containing artificial flavours. sweeteners or colours.

protein bars

Coffee and Tea

Who doesn’t love enjoying a cup of coffee or tea while exploring the outdoors? Lightweight and easy to prepare, coffee and tea are totally backpacker-friendly beverages. Plus, the caffeine found in caffeinated coffee and certain teas can help you stay focused and more energized during your adventure.