Food

19 of the Tastiest Hiking Snacks to Fuel Your Adventures

by Emily Pennington
Updated October 25, 2022

best hiking snacks
Photo: RB Media

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They say variety is the spice of life, and that’s doubly true when you’re out hiking or backpacking.

Not only do many exercise scientists recommend trying to eat about 100 calories per hour while you’re doing hardcore cardio (to help prevent bonking and to keep your energy up), but getting a healthy mix of carbs, fat, and salt is also key to avoiding hiker hanger out on the trail.

A good old fashioned hiking snack break has always been an epic excuse to take your pack off, get a little stretch, and enjoy the views you likely came for, whether they be expansive desert vistas or lush, shady evergreen forests.

I’m a big fan of packing too much food, even on day hikes, because there’s nothing worse than running out of snacks or reaching a summit to find all your protein bars dry and unappetizing.

Each of the snacks on this list were hand-selected and trail tested (the things we do for you people), with a keen eye on a variety of different flavors and types of treats. Many we tested did not make the cut, making these the true cream of the crop.

Okay, enough gabbing, time to unveil the snacks!

The Best Protein and Energy Bars

1. Barebells Protein Bars

When grocery giant Trader Joe’s first unleashed these delicious candy bar-esque morsels a few years ago, I was skeptical.

Most bars packing 20 grams of much-needed protein are chewy, chemical-filled messes, but not so with Barebells. From their texture-adding crisps on the outside to the chewy nougat-textured fillings, classic flavors like Cookies and Cream and Salty Peanut taste more like a dessert than a mid-hike meal.

2. Epic Bars

 

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With Keto-friendly options and Whole30 approved treats, it’s no wonder that Epic Provisions has taken off in recent years. The pitch for these unique, meat-based strips is simple: ditch the chewy beef jerky and opt for minimally processed, full-of-flavor meat bars instead.

The result is a delicious treasure trove of flavors, from Chicken Sriracha to Venison Sea Salt Pepper.

3. Blake’s Seed Based Crispy Treats

Have you ever eaten a vegan rice crispy treat? At Blake’s Seed Based, they’ve Fed the art of crispy, creamy, crunchy snack bars that are perfect for stuffing into your backpack or gym bag.

Coming in seriously delicious flavors like strawberry and chocolate chip, the bars even pack a bit of much-needed protein into your day, as the company’s seed-based ethos transfers into all their products.

4. Bobo’s Oat Bars

 

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From their quirky, colorful packaging to their truly unique flavors like Maple Pecan and Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip, Bobo’s Oat Bars are calorie-packed treats that’ll have you feeling like you’re indulging in an oatmeal cookie while out in the wilderness.

You won’t find much protein here (the bars typically come in at 3 grams per serving), but the tasty ingredients and energy found in these packable bites make them worth a grocery store splurge.

Related read: 15 Easy Camping Meals for the Whole Family

5. Honey Stinger Waffles

 

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If you’re searching for the ultimate blend of delicious, high calorie energy set in the smallest, lightest package (I’m looking at you, mountaineers), you can’t get any better than Honey Stinger Waffles.

That is, unless you really want to do shots of straight olive oil. Each 30 gram waffle is small enough to slip into the thinnest pocket and carries a whopping 150 easy-to-digest calories for your biggest outdoor pursuits.

6. Lenny & Larry’s Complete Cookie

 

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Yes, there’s a big-brand protein cookie on the market, and yes, it’s vegan. But after one bite of Lenny and Larry’s power-packed cookies (each one has a whopping 16 grams of protein), we’re sure you’ll become as addicted to them as we are.

Pro tip from someone who’s tried them all: snickerdoodle and oatmeal raisin are the best flavors, but you can definitely go ham and order a “baker’s dozen.”

7. UNiTE Gluten Free Protein Bars

 

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UNiTE recently noticed that there wasn’t a good amount of cultural diversity in today’s protein bar flavors, and they set out to change that with their new line of delicious, south of the border-inspired treats like Churro and Mexican Hot Chocolate.

Not only are these tasty bars gluten free, they’re also full of 10 grams of muscle-building protein.

8. PROBAR Meal Bars

 

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Though a little pricier than some of the bars on our list, PROBAR really stands out because of the diverse array of nutrients and vitamins they manage to squeeze into their healthy snacks.

Created with over 15 whole foods, these all natural, plant-based bars have about 10 grams of protein each and are loaded with fruits, nuts, and essential fatty acids. Spring for flavors like Superfood Slam and Original Trail Mix for a delectable hiking pick me up.

Related read: 10 Amazingly Simple Camping Recipes for Kids

The Best Nuts and Snack Mixes

9. Purely Elizabeth Granola

 

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With their epic Keto and grain free options and fan favorites like Honey Almond Probiotic, Purely Elizabeth is proving that granola need not be a full-time breakfast food.

Stuff a hearty and fiber-packed bag of their proprietary ancient grain blend into your pack next time you hit the trail for a crunchworthy snack break.

10. Lake Ellen Farm Grain-Free Granola and Trail Mix

 

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Sometimes, a hiker encounters those magical moments when a random grab at the grocery store becomes a new must-have trail treat.

That’s how it was with me and Lake Ellen Farm, a company whose sweet and salty sprouted trail mix has changed my views on GORP forever. Made with sprouted almonds, pepitas, and dried cherries, it’s always a welcome (and preservative-free) munch fest when I hike.

11. Pear’s Snacks Flavored Nuts

 

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Sometimes, sweet isn’t the answer and you find yourself craving handfuls of salty goodness when you’re sweating your way up a high mountain pass.

For moments like those, Pear’s Snacks comes to the rescue. With salt-forward flavors like Memphis Style BBQ and Everything Bagel, these are an excellent go-to when sugar doesn’t hit the spot.

12. LOVE CORN

Yet another snack on our list full of health-conscious buzzwords (the brand is gluten free, vegan, and non-GMO), LOVE CORN’s mission to create a delicious, crunchy chip alternative is really paying off.

Featuring ingredients you can actually pronounce, their lineup of salty corn flavors like habanero, sea salt, and BBQ are worth grabbing on your next trip to REI or Ralph’s.

13. Solely Dried Fruit

 

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Not only is Solely the purveyor of perfectly munchable dried fruit bars, they also peddle a variety of tasty, nutrient-filled dried fruit, perfect for on-the-go exercisers who want to add some purely organic, tree-hugging treats to their bag.

Chow down on a bag of dried mango strips or, for dessert, try a pack of their cacao-drizzled banana “bitecoins.”

Related read: 17 Easy Camping Side Dishes for Campfire Snacking

The Best Drink Mixes and Miscellaneous Snacks

14. Fuel for Fire Plant-Based Protein Smoothies

There’s a strange trend happening right now in the hiking world, where baby food-style smoothies are being peddled as though they were manna from heaven.

Thankfully, Fuel for Fire’s roster of protein-packed smoothies (in fun flavors like Berry Açai and Mango Coconut) are actually worth the price tag, with plant-based protein, non-GMO ingredients, and no added sugar.

15. 88 Acres Seed Butters

Wild flavors like watermelon and pumpkin seed have made it onto 88 Acres’ seed-based butter lineup, and intrepid hikers who like to try new and unusual flavors have taken notice.

Sure, the brand’s protein bars are also delicious, but I’ve found their easy-to-squeeze seed butters to keep me satiated and happy on day hikes and overnights alike. Feeling overwhelmed with choices? They even offer a fun sampler pack.

16. Clif Bloks Energy Chews

 

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These days, you don’t have to be a marathoner to know that adding easy-to-digest carbs and electrolytes is essential to getting out and back on a long trail comfortably.

Clif is famous for selling a variety of carb (and caffeine) loaded energy gels, but I feel that their energy chews are more delicious and more fun to eat when I’m pushing big miles outside.

Related read: 40+ Camping Food Ideas That Don’t Need Refrigeration

17. Nuun Hydration Tablets

 

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To help prevent bonking and muscle cramps, the savviest hikers know it’s crucial to pack a portable electrolyte mix into their pack.

Designed by athletes, for athletes, Nuun’s famous lineup of flavors like strawberry lemonade and watermelon turn your ordinary water bottle into a fizzy flavor fantasia. Runner Up: Amazing Grass’ portable fizzy green superfood tablets.

18. Justin’s Nut Butters

 

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When I hiked the John Muir Trail in 2021, one of the first things I nabbed from my resupply buckets was a creamy packet of Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut & Almond Butter.

The sweet, protein-packed baggy was always an easy to eat snack in a sea of Clif Bars and dehydrated meals. Over the years, many of their other flavors have happily found their way into my pack, too, from more traditional honey peanut butter to inspired gems like vanilla almond butter.

19. GOOD TO-GO Smoked Three Bean Chili

 

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Listen, there’s no shame in craving a hot meal when you’re just out for a day hike, and GOOD TO-GO has an epic lineup of curries and rice bowls to fill that hunger when it strikes. With a lightweight stove setup (like Jetboil’s MiniMo), making a hearty lunch on an afternoon snowshoe is a cinch.

Considering the extra weight it requires, we’re assuming that this advanced maneuver is mostly for trekkers on cold weather excursions, which is why we’re enthusiastically recommending their Smoked Three Bean Chili.

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