Hiking Food: Easy hiking snacks for the trail and camping

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These may not be the healthiest options to have on an everyday basis, but their value for the trails could be argued!

These are budget-friendly hiking snacks that you can make quickly before you head out the door for your day hike. These are also pretty easy snacks to make if you’re hiking on vacation and have access to a kitchen. (Hello, airbnb!)

No matter what type of snacks you pack along for your hike, it’s always a good idea to carry more than you think you need! It’s a pretty horrible feeling to be out on the trail with no energy and no food to fuel you. So try to avoid this feeling by packing enough food as a part of your hiking essentials!

Precise measurements aren’t listed. The recipes here are also more or less dependent on personal taste, how long your hike is, how long you’ll be out, and how much food you want to pack in your backpack. So experiment away! (And take a look at this best daypack for hiking!)

And… what to wear hiking!

So, what are some easy hiking snacks you can make?

1. Chex mix alternative

– Ingredients:

  • Chex cereal of your choice. A mix of corn chex and wheat chex are good choices.
  • Option: Mini-pretzels
  • Option: Nuts
  • Option: Dried fruit pieces (Try tart cherries for their recovery benefits!)
  • Seasoned salt, to taste
  • Butter, maybe 1-2 tablespoons

– Needed for preparation:

  • Microwave
  • Microwavable bowl
  • Spoon
  • Tupperware containers – As many as you want to pack for your hike.

– How to make this hiking snack:

  • Microwave a couple tablespoons of butter until it’s melted. Depending on the strength of your microwave and how much butter you have, take it out every 10-15 seconds to stir it up and to check on it.
  • Stir in seasoned salt.
  • Fill your tupperware container up with chex, pretzels, and nuts. Don’t fill it up completely to give yourself room to mix. Pour in the butter and seasoned salt mixture. Stir away! You can fill up the rest of the container once you have the cereal mixture stirred together, and then cautiously stir to give the newly added cereal some flavor too.
  • Done!

Alternatively, to make the stirring easier, you can use a large bowl to mix the cereal and butter mixture. Using the tupperware as your mixing bowl, you have one less dish to wash. 😉

Another option is instead of using a plastic container, use a ziplock bag. It more or less depends on how much food you want to take with you. One pro of using a ziplock bag is that it will take up less volume in your backpack once you’re done with it. One con is that you need to make sure you pack it in such a way that it doesn’t get crushed in your backpack.

Pack a spoon too so your fingers don’t get oily. Or you could always pour the cereal directly into your mouth from the container or bag!

Don’t mind spending more time on food prep? Make the original version of Chex mix!

2. Puppy chow alternative

– Ingredients:

  • Chex cereal. Once again, corn chex and wheat chex will work well.
  • Nutella (yesss!)
  • Butter
  • Option: Powdered sugar (good for extra calories on the trail too)

– Needed for preparation:

  • Microwave
  • Microwavable bowl
  • Spoon
  • Tupperware container – As many as you want to pack for your hike

– How to make this hiking snack:

  • Microwave a couple tablespoons of nutella and butter together. Microwave 10-15 seconds at a time, stirring each time and monitoring the nutella mixture. You want it to be somewhat of a smooth creamy mixture with thinner consistency, which is what the butter can help with, so the cereal can be more evenly covered.
  • Pour the cereal into the tupperware.
  • Pour the nutella mixture over the cereal. Time is of the essence here, as you don’t want the chocolate mixture to harden up. That will make it more difficult to spread across the cereal.
  • Mix the cereal and nutella mixture together.
  • Once the cereal is well-covered with the nutella, pour the powdered sugar into the mixture and stir together.
  • Done!

As an alternative, using a large food storage bag may help to mix it up much better. It doesn’t have to be a ziplock bag, as you can just twist off the top and shake the bag. If you are preparing a lesser amount, a standard ziplock bag could work as well. This will probably help to cover the cereal more evenly with chocolate, and it will probably help to cover the chocolate more evenly with powdered sugar. If you have a twist-tie, like the kind from a loaf of bread, you can pack the cereal and nutella mix as is into your backpack!

Packing a spoon could be helpful with this snack too.

Don’t mind spending more time on food prep? Make the original version of puppy chow!

3. Tuna mashed potatoes

This is not as quick as the first 2 hiking snacks, but it’s still pretty easy. The “time-consuming” part is really just waiting for the potatoes to cook. This would be a good one to take with you if you’ll be stopping for a picnic on the trail, as you can make this into a pretty good quality lunch.

There’s a version of this that takes a few extra steps that can get you a bit of extra flavor. It’s a little bit extra effort, but it doesn’t take more time, because you can complete the extra steps while you’re waiting for the potatoes to cook!

For an even easier (and quicker) version, you can give this a try with instant potato flakes instead of whole potatoes.

– Ingredients:

  • 1-2 potatoes
  • Frozen peas
  • Can of tuna. Alternative: can of chickenSalt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Option: Milk
  • Option: Turmeric (for added health benefits!)
  • Option: Olive oil (for added calories, energy, and health benefits!)
  • Extra steps option: Cumin seeds
  • Extra steps option: Diced onion into small pieces

Ratio tip: 2 medium sized potatoes, 1 can of tuna, and 1/2 cup – 1 cup of peas would be a good ratio to try out. Canned chicken tends to be bigger than canned tuna, so for chicken try a little less than a whole can. You might think this makes a lot for a single person for a single meal! In this case, try cutting this in half. Or save the extra for another meal!

– Needed for preparation:

  • Pot to boil potatoes
  • Strainer
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Fork
  • Potato masher
  • Spatula or big spoon to mix
  • No extra steps option: Microwavable bowl
  • Extra steps option: Pan for sauteeing
  • Extra steps option: Knife for chopping onions
  • Tupperware container

– How to make this hiking snack:

  • Dice the potatoes into cubes so they’ll cook quicker. Put this in a pot full of water over heat on the stove. Add some salt to the water so you’ll get some added taste in the potatoes.
  • Extra steps option: In a pan on the stove, pour in some olive oil. Put in some cumin seeds first and let it be for a couple of minutes. During these couple of minutes, chop up the onions. Then add the onions into the pan. Let it be for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the frozen peas and mix it together a bit. Add some salt and pepper to the pan for added taste. Then let it be until the potatoes are done, stirring occasionally.
  • No extra steps option: Submerse the frozen peas into a bowl filled with water, then microwave them until they’re done. Drain the water.
  • Take the can of tuna and put it into the large mixing bowl. Use a fork to break up the tuna so it won’t be so chunky.
  • Keep monitoring the potatoes and stir occasionally. When you can poke the potatoes with a fork and it basically crumbles, you know it’ll be easier to mash!
  • Once the potatoes are done, dump the potatoes into the strainer to drain the water. Then dump them into the large mixing bowl on top of the tuna.
  • Then start mashing the potatoes.
  • Once the potatoes are well mashed, add in the peas (no extra steps option) or onion and peas mixture (extra steps option). With the no extra steps option, consider adding olive oil at this step for extra taste, extra calories (energy!), and extra nutrients! Add in some salt and pepper for extra flavor. Add in some turmeric for extra nutrition benefits! Depending on the consistency you like for the potatoes, you may want to add in some milk.
  • Mix it all up.
  • Place in tupperware.
  • Done!

It would be best to pack this in an insulated lunch bag or alongside an ice pack because of the tuna. Either that, or make this the night before and keep it in the fridge overnight. This will likely keep it cold enough on the day of your hike for a few hours in your backpack without insulation until you’re ready to eat it, as long as it’s not a super hot day. Or if you’re packing for a winter hike, then you might be fine without! Don’t forget to pack a spoon!

HAPPY HIKING!

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