This is especially important for me when I know I am climbing a mountain or I have a scenic lake or waterfall as my target destination. There is nothing better than reaching my goal and enjoying a sandwich while taking in the view.
But, I have also learned that food for hiking services a dual purpose. The right foods can help keep my muscles strong and my energy levels up so that I can actually finish.
Here are the things I usually pack.
- Trail Mix. In a previous post, I shared with you my recipe for making trail mix. I love trail mix so much I always pack it. This is what I munch on during break time on the trail.
- Sport drinks. I especially take drinks like Powerade or Gatorade with me when it is hot out but I insist on hiking anyway. I’ve been dehydrated and it isn’t fun.
- Water. I don’t rely on sports drinks. I use those only if I feel I am sweating too much. I love the taste of real water plus I think it’s best to get H20 from water and not rely on sports drinks. I also like to take water purification tablets with me, just in case.
- Sandwich. I always pack a sandwich or two. I usually do one peanut butter and jelly and another that is ham and cheese. I used to pack turkey and cheese but find that the turkey gets weird on the trail. And by weird I mean inedible.
- Crunchy, salty foods. Pretzels, baked potato chips, tortilla chips – nothing hits the spot like carbohydrate rich foods doused in salt. You lose so much sweat on the trail our bodies welcome the salt.
- Dried fruit. I always take dried fruit, extra bonus if it is covered with chocolate. The sugars from the fruit give me energy and the chocolate makes me happy. I don’t like taking fresh fruit because I don’t like carrying around the peels and pits and seeds…. and I’d have to carry them around so I can “leave no trace”.
Do I take freeze dried meals? Only if the hike is going to be very long. And by very I mean 6 hours or more. I did a hike that took all day once (Cactus to the Clouds in Palm Springs, CA) and I was SO HUNGRY by the end.
I knew there was a restaurant at the top but if there wasn’t, I would have taken a few meals with me just in case. I would have also needed a stove and something to cook it in, though, and that’s just extra weight. These are an essential on my pack list while backpacking overnight, though.
What do you like to eat while hiking? Leave a message in the comments – I love to hear from you!