Trail Treats: Seven Snack Ideas for Your Next Hike

To keep you going, packing a combination of protein, fiber, and carbs is key
Hikers reading signage
Hiking on the Big Bog Trail

Joanna Gilkeson/USFWS/Flickr

Whether you’re preparing for a trek on the Superior Hiking Trail or getting ready for a stroll around the neighborhood, tasty bites are always welcome. From tang and spice to sweet-tooth satisfaction, stocking up on snack-packing options is easier than ever. And many of those store-bought classics are simple enough to whip up at home, too. These seven snack ideas, both sweet and savory, provide fuel and flavor for any outing. 

Hiker snacking

Fruit and Nut Butter

Fruit and nuts provide a double whammy of outdoor sustenance. Best buds fiber and protein pair together to keep you full and energized. Pack up some fresh fruit, like apples or bananas, along with nut butter packets like Justin’s. Maple cashew butter and cinnamon almond butter pair perfectly with apples. Squeeze a little bit of the spread onto your fruit before each bite, and you’ll be good to go for hours.

Olive Packets

This salty, briny snack stands in contrast to many other sugary hiking snacks—and it’s light, too. Trader Joe’s stocks juice-less olive packets for ultimate convenience, and Oloves (order here) has green olives with basil & garlic, chili & oregano, and lemon & rosemary flavors—plus, chili & garlic black olives. 

Homemade Energy Bites

These little balls are newer on the snack scene and center around powerhouses like dates, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit—plus goodies like chocolate and coconut. There are endless variations. Mango energy bites from Minimalist Baker are only six ingredients with a tropical twist. Peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough balls from Pinch of Yum are basically dessert, but secretly pack a protein punch. Savory hummus bites from Sinful Nutrition take the concept even further and utilize spice blends and seeds.

Banana chips

Cara Faus/Flickr

Banana Chips

This classic dried fruit provides crunch and versatility. Plus, you can make them at home. These are easy to customize by sprinkling cinnamon or cayenne pepper over them before baking, and should be stored in an airtight container after baking. My recipe has a ratio of 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for every banana, but can be easily upped. Firmer bananas are easier to thinly slice.

1 ripe banana
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
spices to sprinkle, optional (try cinnamon, chili powder, or jerk seasoning)

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Slice banana thinly, about 1/8-inch thick.
  2. Arrange banana slices on the prepared cookie sheet, ensuring they don’t touch each other. Using a pastry brush, brush the slices with lemon juice. If using spices, sprinkle lightly over slices.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 2-2 1/2 hours, turning once at the halfway point. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet. Keep in mind that these will further harden as they cool, but if they have not hardened after 10-15 minutes of cooling time, continue baking for an additional 15-20 minutes or until they are the desirable texture.

Tuna and Crackers

Pack up some portable tuna packets like StarKist Tuna Creations (with 17 flavors to boot) and your favorite robust crackers in a reusable container to reduce crushing. This savory combo can take on many incarnations, but remains a classic for its protein and easy transport.

ZENB Veggie Snacks

ZENB plant-based snacks come in sticks and bites (one pack of bites provides one cup of vegetables) and a variety of flavors including carrot, beet, corn, pumpkin, red bell pepper, edamame, and sweet potato. These full-of-fiber snacks are USDA organic, and ZENB is committed to using more of the vegetable—skin, seeds, and stem—to reduce food waste. You can order in bulk from the website to stock up for your next outings.

Chili Lime Cashews

These crunchy, tangy nuts are the perfect companion to spice up time in the outdoors. It’s a simple job of tossing and roasting to make them yourself at home. If you can get your hands on a chili-lime seasoning like Tajin, it’s even quicker. 

1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon lime zest (from one large lime)
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 cups raw cashews

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil. Whisk together oil, salt, chili powder, lime zest, and lime juice in a bowl big enough to hold the cashews. Add cashews to bowl and toss well to coat.
  2. Spread cashews in a single layer on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes.