Best Hiking Snacks

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From homemade to store-bought, we have you covered with all the Best Hiking Snacks! These healthy snacks are also perfect for everything from work to sports practices as well. You’ll find plenty of gluten-free and protein-packed options below to choose from. You’ll also learn about what makes a good hiking snack and how to choose the right option for your hike or outdoor adventure. So before you head out on your next adventure, be sure to load up for epic snacking.

A hand holding a no bake energy bite with a bite taken out of it against the backdrop of a lake with snow capped mountains in the distance.
The monster cookie version of my No Bake Energy Bites recipe on a backpacking trip.

There’s just something about snacks that tastes better with a good view! We love taking a good break along the trail for snacks, or snacking once we reach the destination. Either way, you’ll find us snacking a lot.

As a bonus, lots of snacks listed here today are also great to take with you to work and life in general. In fact, I always have Epic bacon bars in my purse for those ‘just in case’ moments that seem to happen frequently.

Also, you’ll pretty much always find my No Bake Energy Bars (10 Flavors!) in my freezer. And I hope you find some new favorites today to have on hand for everyday life, and for your next adventures!

A hand holding sliced meat, cheddar cheese, and cracker against a dessert background.
Roast Beef and Cheddar Lunchables from my Adult Lunchables (in Arches National Park)

How to pick a good hiking snack

  1. Weight – you want your snacks to be as light as possible in relation to how many calories they have. Having a good amount of calories while hiking is important for energy, but you don’t want too many things in your backpack. We love fresh fruit, especially some watermelon, but only when we’re on a short hike. More weight = more pain over the miles, so choose carefully! You can always have those heavier snacks when you get back to your vehicle.
  2. Nutritional profile – like weight, nutrition becomes more important the more miles you’re hiking. Ideally, most or all of your snacks would have a good amount of calories in ratio to their weight. We like to carry high-protein, high-fat, and salty snacks to keep our energy up. But don’t overlook good old-fashioned carbohydrates. A good way to start is to pack snacks that are similar to how you usually eat. We eat mostly protein, veggies, and healthy fats, so that’s what we’re used to. And so fruit satisfies our carbohydrate needs along with my homemade energy bites.
  3. Shelf stable – is a bonus whenever possible. We always carry some shelf-stable snacks in our daypacks for extra ‘just in case’ food. If you pack snacks that will spoil, be aware of how much time they can spend in a backpack. Things like homemade trail mix won’t last as long as a vacuum-sealed store-bought package, but it won’t spoil in a day.
  4. Packable – sturdy snacks like trail mix, dried fruit, nuts, etc. are all great for your backpack. Snacks like fresh fruit, chocolate, or cookies are all more delicate and should be packed with care near the top of your backpack for short distances.

Making your own snacks is budget friendly and you get to control what ingredients are used. It’s a win-win all around if you have a few minutes to spend in the kitchen.

Tip: If you can’t have oats in my No Bake Energy Bars, try my Almond Chocolate Chip Energy Bites. We love the extra carbs, but the energy bites are really great too if you can’t have grain. They’re like Larabars and you might enjoy my Peanut Butter Energy Bars and Lemon Energy Bars as well.

A hand holding an Rx Nut Butter Packet with mountains and blue sky in the background.
Hiking Tibbs Butte from the Beartooth Scenic Highway and enjoying Rx nut butter packets.

Our Favorite Hiking Snacks to Buy

  • EPIC meat bars the pork bacon flavor is our favorite. These are perfect for packable protein at 8 grams of protein per bar.
  • Rx nut butter packets The honey cinnamon, maple, and vanilla protein versions are our favorites with 9 grams of protein.
  • Trail mix – mix up your own favorite combination of nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate chips. Or you can buy ready-made mixes as well.
  • Fruit bars/fruit leatherPure Organic fruit bars are super tasty, almost like candy but made with fruit. We love packing these in our packs when fresh fruit is too heavy for our adventure of choice.
  • Crackers – we love the gluten-free crackers from Blue Diamond. Or you can make your own with my Paleo Rosemary Cracker recipe.
  • Potato chips – are one of our favorite hiking snacks because they’re nice and salty which is perfect for hiking. We often add them in with our Adult Lunchables. Our latest favorite is the avocado oil potato chips from Siete.
  • Tuna, beef, or chicken foil packets all 3 of these are a great way to bring extra protein with you. Both tuna and chicken have been around for a bit, but recently beef packets have been in our local health food store and are a great way to mix it up.
  • Cheese crisps – sometimes called cheese whisps are like little crackers made with cheese and they’re delicious. Moon cheese is tasty too, they’re like Whoopers but made with cheese and crunchy.
  • Beef Jerky / Chomps We really enjoy these steak strips from EPIC on our longer hikes.
  • Your favorite candy bar – we love the Unreal peanut butter cups or their M&M’s that are made with plant-based colors, (no artificial dyes).
  • Cheesesticks – these last next to other cold items in your pack for a couple of hours. Try looking for hard cheeses like cheddar because they last better. Costco was selling cheddar cheese sticks last year and we loved hiking with these.

Most of these store-bought snacks can be found in any local grocery store. But EPIC meat bars and Rx nut butter packets are easily found online.

Store-bought snacks are the ultimate convenience, especially when you don’t have time to whip up one of my snack recipes from above.

A hand holding a peanut butter cup with snow capped mountains in the background.
Unreal Peanut Butter Cups while hiking Piegan Pass in Glacier National Park

Bonus tip

Electrolytes might not be technically a ‘snack’ in the way of calories, but we always have them along with our snacks. A balanced diet is usually enough to replenish what you need.

However, when hiking all day, electrolytes are just as essential as calories for optimal energy. You will notice this more or less depending on the temperature, season, and where you’re hiking.

We double up on electrolytes when we hike down in the Utah desert. And it makes all the difference for our energy and hydration.

We recommend the Re-Lyte electrolytes because they’re the best we’ve ever tried, (and we’ve tried a lot of brands). The mango flavor is our favorite for hiking. Try adding freshly squeezed lime juice before you leave the house for an extra tasty drink.

A hand holding half a watermelon with a spoon stuck in it with a lake and mountains in the background.
Post-hike watermelon at Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park

Along with electrolytes, we love adding watermelon to our summer hikes. It’s incredibly hydrating and is like nature’s electrolytes.

3 ways to pack hydrating watermelon for a snack

  1. Keep the watermelon in your cooler for when you get back from hiking. That way you can dive right into some cold juicy watermelon to rehydrate and refresh yourself.
  2. Make my Watermelon Thirst Quencher by blending up some watermelon to carry in your pack. We usually carry 1 liter between the 2 of us in place of some of our water because it’s like natural electrolytes. It’s especially good on the hottest days of summer. I sometimes freeze it in our water bottles as ‘ice’ for our lunch.
  3. Pack a bit of cubed-up watermelon in a container for your lunch. Watermelon is heavy, so pack accordingly for your adventure. The more miles we’re planning on, the less weight we pack. So for long hikes, any fresh fruit stays in the cooler for when we finish the hike, (as pictured above).
  4. Bonus option- if you can find the cans of carbonated watermelon juice pictured below, these make an incredible treat on the trail. However, it’s best cold, and you need to pack the can back out. We take it on short adventures in our packs next to something frozen.
A hand holding a can of carbonated watermelon juice against a mountain backdrop with a lake.
Sparkling watermelon juice is one of our favorite refreshing ‘snacks’ to carry on short hikes, (pictured at Sun Point Nature Trail)!

Best Fresh Fruit Snacks

  1. Berries – blueberries are generally the most portable. But if you pack your berries gently at the top of your pack next to something cold, they’ll make it a couple of hours to your destination.
  2. Grapes – are heartier and much easier to pack than berries. I like to keep them next to our lunch along with something frozen if possible so they’re cold when we stop for lunch, or a mid-morning snack.
  3. Apples & oranges – are great for hiking because they’re so sturdy. Be sure to pack the orange peels & cores out with you, they don’t decompose well in nature!
  4. Banana – is perfect to pack for a mid-morning snack, especially with the Rx Nut Butter Packets. Again be sure to pack out the peels!
  5. Veggies – bonus points for taking veggies! Carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, and sliced cucumber are all very refreshing on the trail. Honestly we almost never bring them because they weigh too much for very few calories. For us fruit is our go-to with its natural sugars, carbs, and hydrating properties.
A hand holding a strawberry with a bite out of it with a lake and mountains in the background.
Fresh fruit is a luxury to carry in your pack, but it makes a very satisfying snack.

Best treats for hiking

  • Ice cream – has to be the ultimate treat in the wilderness! I fill a thermos about 3/4 full with barely softened ice cream and freeze overnight until hard. Then I pack it in our cooler between 2 blocks of ice for the drive to the trailhead. From there it goes into our packs along with our lunch. Then you have about 4-ish hours until you need to eat it up! Pictured below is my Peanut Butter Ice Cream from my e-book. You can also head over to my ice cream page for all my ice cream recipes. Our latest obsession is my Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream, so fresh and decadent. Be careful not to add melted ice cream to your thermos to freeze, this will warp your thermos. Defrost the ice cream just until it’s softened enough you can firmly pack it into the thermos for freezing.
  • Cookies – Any store-bought cookies work to pack, but especially sturdy cookies like Oreos because they stand up well in a pack. We like to carry my Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies, Double Chocolate Almond Butter Cookies, or No Bake Cookies. Just pack them near the top so they don’t get crushed.
  • Candy – of any kind, but our favorites are the M&M’s or peanut butter cups by Unreal brand. We also love taking these skinny-dipped chocolate almonds along. If these treats are wrapped up well and protected they’ll last half a day in your pack without melting, unless you’re in the desert!
Peanut butter ice cream in a thermos with a spoon stuck in it with a lake and mountains in the background.
Ice cream is the ultimate luxury snack to carry on your next adventure!


What snacks are best for hiking?

A mix of salty and sweet snacks is best for hiking. Salty snacks help you replace the salt you’re losing as you hike and sweet snacks are the perfect treat. Fresh fruit is also a great choice if your hike isn’t too long.

What are the best snacks for hiking in hot weather?

Salty snacks are generally recommended for hiking in hot weather to help you replace sodium lost in the heat. We like to carry electrolytes as well for hot weather because it can be difficult to eat enough salty snacks in hot weather.

How do you eat enough when hiking?

1. Be sure to bring high-calorie snacks and a lunch to meet the demands of your hike. 2. Take breaks to eat in the shade, hiking in the heat can make you lose your appetite. 3. Electrolytes help to keep you balanced which we have found helps us with our appetite. When your electrolytes become imbalanced and you’re low on salt it brings on all kinds of symptoms including headaches and loss of appetite. So it’s best to keep ahead of the problem!

Tips & Tricks

  • Pack lighter for longer hikes. More weight = more pain! Look for snacks and lunch items with a high calorie-to-weight ratio. For treats, we like to bring Unreal M&M’s or Skinny Dipped Chocolate Almonds because they don’t melt as easily as other things.
  • Pack all the fun snacks like fresh fruit and/or ice cream for short hikes and enjoy the luxury!
  • Try packing some store-bought packed snacks like Epic bars, Lara Bars, or Rx nut butter protein packets as extras just in case. We always have 1 of each in our packs for ’emergency’ supplies. And we have eaten them a few times when we decided to add on to our hike and needed more food.
Green grapes in a reusable Stasher bag at the top of a mountain.

How to pack your snacks

If your snacks come in a larger quantity, try using Stasher bags to pack a portion along for your hike!

We also have a few lightweight plastic containers with lids to pack lunches for hiking.

A hand holding sliced salami, cheese, and a cracker with a lake and mountain in the background.
Snacking on Adult Lunchables at a remote alpine lake.

I really hope you enjoy these Best Hiking Snacks! If you do get a chance to make any of the recipes, I would love to hear from you.

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