Hiking may seem like a gentle activity, but it consumes a lot of energy. Even if you stick with easy and meandering trails, you’ll need plenty of fuel to ensure you have the strength to make it down through the day.

According to experts, you may need to consume as much as 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day, depending on age and other relevant factors.

Here is some excellent advice on what to bring the next time you go on a hiking trip.

Food for Day Trips

peanuts on table
Various nuts are a great source of energy on the trail.

Even if your hiking adventure isn’t going to last for an entire day, you will still need plenty of sustenance to bring with you on the trail. Naturally, you shouldn’t bring things like fast food because they’re not meant to be uneaten and unrefrigerated for prolonged periods.

What you need are foods that not only travel well but also don’t require heat to eat.

When packing food for a day of hiking, be sure to focus on food that can give you quick energy and won’t make you feel sluggish. For this reason, skip carbohydrates that make you feel bloated and sleepy afterward.

  • Fresh Fruits. You will want the sweet flavors and natural sugars provided by fruits. However, you don’t want to bring fruits that need refrigeration or those that bruise easily. Apples and oranges are great because they don’t require much preparation to eat. Berries are also acceptable if you put them in a sturdy container.
  • Tortilla Wraps. Sometimes you will need heavier fare for longer day trips. Tortilla wraps are excellent because they have enough carbs to be filling but not enough to make you drowsy. Fill the wraps with food that won’t spoil so skip anything with mayonnaise or eggs. Tuna is an excellent filling, so does bean mixture and cheese.
  • Nuts. Food like almonds, peanuts and cashews contain plenty of protein and they can offer you a quick energy boost. Pop a handful of your favorite kind of roasted nuts and you are good to go. Because you will have limited water, do not bring salted varieties with you on hiking trips.
  • Energy Bars. There are countless energy bar brands in supermarkets but not all of them are suitable for hiking. Choose options that aren’t slathered in chocolate that may cause you to sugar crash or drink way too much water. Pick ones with plenty of granola, nuts and coconut shavings.

Food for Prolonged Trips

cooking food
Longer trips will need meals you can cook outdoors.

When you are planning a prolonged hiking and camping trip, will need to bring more than just snacks for your stay. You’ll need breakfast foods and heavy fare that you can rely on for stable sources of energy. You can bring prepared meals, but unless you are hiking with a cooler, you may not be able to bring enough to last you for more than a couple of meals.

You may need to bring food you can cook on the trail. Obey all rules regarding fire and ignition sources when going hiking so you don’t start a wildfire.

  • Cereal. Although recently labeled a breakfast food, you can eat high-fiber and nutrient rich cereals for dinner on a hiking trip. If you can bring milk in tetra packs, you may enjoy them as usual but you can also eat cereal in bar form.
  • Fruit and Vegetable Products. Fruits may be difficult to keep fresh for prolonged hiking trips. You will need to buy processes produces. For example, you can bring dehydrated banana chips for snacks, vegetable puree to make soup with or freeze-dried fruits to flavor your breakfasts.
  • Packet Condiments. Hiking food can be unpalatable or need a little more flavor. For that, you can bring condiment packs from fast food orders. Bring a handful of ketchup, mustard and other types of condiments with you and you’ll be able to enjoy your meals. Make sure to pick up any packets you use on the trial as you don’t want to litter and attract wildlife.
  • Tinned Meats. Jerky and other shelf-stable meats are better of as snacks instead of full meals. You will need to bring canned produce like corned beef and canned process meats. Naturally, you should cook these products before eating.
  • Pasta Mixes. There are plenty of products on grocery shelves that feature pasta meals that only need boiling water to prepare. Choose products carefully to ensure that they don’t need extraneous ingredients such as eggs or sauces. A quick pasta meal can be a great lunch or dinner, especially if you have set up camp for the day.

Hiking is tiring and you must replenish your energies after a few hours on the trail. Bringing junk food and takeout meals with you may seem like a good idea until you need the right kind of energy. Be smart and bring proper camping and hiking meals with you to ensure you have a great experience outdoors.

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