10 Snacks to Bring on a Hike (That Aren't Granola Bars)

Camping & Hiking expert Hannah K. shares 10 snacks that are satisfying, healthy, and easy to pack to bring along on your next hike. Never be caught hungry again!

A picnic table sits in a thicket of grass, next to a tree. The entire landscape is lush and green.

Photo by J. Remus

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Being on trail—regardless if you are out for a day hike, backpacking, or camping—is some hungry work. Moving your body, new and different experiences, and being out in the sun together brew the perfect storm of hunger. It is crucial to eat a higher amount of calories to keep your energy up. Between meals, what is the best and most trustworthy snack to keep our energy up and safely enjoy the outdoors? While we all have different answers, the trusty granola bar is what I see most of on trail. If you are sick of bringing along the same old granola bar, here are 10 other snacks that are just as satisfying.

Let’s start with some characteristics that we don’t want in a trail snack: heavy, big to pack/takes up too much space in your pack, not filling, doesn’t have enough vitamins/minerals/nutrition to help us stay safe and happy, makes us feel bloated or heavy or sluggish, and finally, doesn’t taste good.

Characteristics we do want in a snack: good source of nutrients/protein/carb/fat, decent sugar boost, very filling, light and easy to pack, gives us the fuel we need to continue our trek, and perhaps obviously—tastes good.

Now that we have agreed on that, here are some snacks that are loved and are perfect for the trail.

A man sits at a picnic table, smiling, with vegetables and a cutting board laid out in front of him. There's a still body of water to his left and hills in the background, with a blue sky above.

Photo by Gabe Reuter

1. Peanut butter and banana

This is an all-time favorite snack of mine for any day of the year. The fat and protein in peanut butter are great for caloric intake, and the high amounts of potassium in bananas will prevent any muscle cramps you may get along the way. I suggest eating this snack earlier in the hike to ensure you get all those yummy vitamins and resources in your body as soon as possible.

2. Beef jerky

Beef jerky or meat sticks are another popular option. They tend to be very lightweight and packable with high amounts of protein and a satisfying taste. If you are vegan like moi, trade out beef jerky for mushroom jerky. My mushroom of choice is a thick and juicy oyster mushroom that I add lots of spices to and dehydrate for half a day until they are at my preferred consistency. Throw them in a small baggy and enjoy.

3. Dried fruit

Dried fruit is a great snack to bring along due to its high sugar content. Not only does dried fruit taste amazing, but if you need an energy boost, this will definitely do that. Mango, pineapple, apricots, apples, and bananas are my favorite to dehydrate or buy. I also read that eating dried fruit before bed will prevent you from having to pee (or wilder-pee) in the middle of the night—I’ll give it a shot and let you know.

4. Veggies and hummus

Hummus is made from chickpeas, tahini, and garlic, lemon, olive oil to taste. It is incredibly filling when paired with carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers. Get your vitamins, some fat, some carbs, and some protein all in a few bites. If you don’t like garlic breath, I would eat this towards the end of your hike or make your own hummus without garlic. (Although if you don’t like garlic, I will just assume you are a vampire).

Radishes, cucumber, and apple slices sit in a square metal tin on top of a mossy log.

Photo by Markus Spiske

5. Peanut butter stuffed pretzels

Peanut butter stuffed pretzels are my favorite snack. The smooth, rich, fatty consistency of the peanut butter juxtaposes so nicely with the salty and crunchy pretzel. They are small, easy to pack, and quite enjoyable. The Trader Joe’s brand of peanut butter stuffed pretzels comes with a salted and unsalted version for you to choose from—although I find the salted version to be too salty for my tastebuds.

6. Medjool dates

This is similar to dried fruit because dates have high sugar content, are usually sticky, and will fill you up quickly. I normally only eat two or three at a time because the sugar overload and sweetness can be a bit overwhelming, so know your limit when you pack them.

Storytime!! My first boyfriend asked me out on a date by giving me a date because he knew they are my favorite fruit. Very cute. Highly recommended and 100% effective.

7. Chocolate-covered almonds

More sugar, anyone?? Dark chocolate-covered almonds are another tested and beloved trail snack. The smooth texture of the chocolate and the crunch of the almond are a complementary blend that leaves a beautiful aftertaste. Protein, fat, sugar, and more come in these tiny snacks and can offer lovely calories when you are running low on gas.

Someone holds up a sandwich and there are tall, jagged peaks in the distance.

Photo by Matteo di Iorio

8. Applesauce squeeze packets

I’m not talking about baby food here! There are actual squeeze packets with applesauce. If carrying an apple sounds too heavy and bulky to you, the squeeze packets are a great exchange. There are many brands out there, some adding more sugar than others, so try them out and see how they make you feel.

9. Cucumber

This may seem like an odd one, but there is nothing more refreshing than a cucumber under the hot sun. Cucumbers are mostly water, have a nice crunch, and have a subtle taste that is really satisfying. Recommended to eat at the top of the peak to rehydrate you!

10. Popcorn

Popcorn may seem like a weird trail snack, but hear me out: popcorn is light in weight, crunchy, salty, satisfying, and you can season it however you like. A few of my favorite spices to put on popcorn are paprika, cumin, and, my all-time go-to, nutritional yeast.

The most important thing in choosing a trail snack is to know what you like and don’t like and how that food impacts your body. You don’t want to eat something that will make you feel heavy, sluggish, or bloated. You want something easy to pack, lightweight, and will give you the continuous energy and vitamins your body needs to stay safe and healthy on the trail. A lack of good food (and water) are detrimental to your enjoyment of your time on trail. Listen to your body and learn what will best help you have a good time when you leave the couch.

Did I miss your favorite trail snack that isn’t a granola bar? Hit me up through my profile and let’s chat about all things outdoors! If you need someone to find you the perfect gear to bring on the trail, reach out to a Camping & Hiking expert here on Curated for free, personalized advice and recommendations.

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Although I've been hiking for most of my life, I didn't start backpacking and camping until college when I joined the University Outdoors Club at my school. My first backpacking trip was ambitious, the Batona Trail in the Pinelands in New Jersey done in two days. To do that, we had to walk a maratho...

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