A quick Google search will yield tons of recipes for tasty and healthy homemade treats for the backcountry. But let’s face it: you don’t always have access to a fully stocked kitchen when you’re heading out for an adventure, particularly if your trek involves travel.
That’s why it’s good to have a variety of snacks that can easily be found in mainstream grocery stores. For starters, you’re going to want snacks that pack a nutritional punch and won’t go bad after a few days. You’ll also want to make sure they aren’t taking up unnecessary space or weight in your pack.
Here are some easy backcountry snacks to keep you fueled up while you’re on the go.
Trail mix is an obvious one, but there’s a reason it’s so popular. Choose a mix with a variety of foods—nuts, seeds, and dried fruits—for a snack that offers different nutritional benefits. Better yet, head to a bulk food store to mix and match your optimal concoction. Think beyond good old raisins and peanuts, and toss in some macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, dried apple rings or whatever else tickles your fancy. Keep your bag of trail mix nearby, and grab a handful when you need an extra boost.
Fruit leather is really just dehydrated fruit puree, so it tastes delicious (kind of like Fruit Roll-Ups from your lunchbox days) but it also provides some much-needed energy while you’re out on the trail. It’s not easy to get vitamins and fiber from fresh fruit and veggies on longer trips, so be sure to bring a few fruit leathers with to get your fix.
Energy bars offer the ultimate convenience. Simply unwrap, shove in your mouth and feel your body soak up the nutrients and calories. There are so many brands and flavors out there that it’s easy to find something that tickles your fancy. A few particularly delicious options: PowerBar’s Chocolate Mint Cookie bar and the Nutz Over Chocolate Luna Bars. Mmmm…
Cheese on the trail is a delicious, delicate luxury. Of the items on this list, it’ll probably be the first to go bad, so enjoy it during your first few days on the trail. Plain old cheese sticks usually keep pretty well, as do individually packaged Babybel cheeses. Tip: as tempting as it is to peel off the wrapper pre-trip to avoid extra garbage, don’t do this. The wrapper helps keep the wax case from crumbling.
Keep your cheese away from heat, and you’ll have a few days worth of treats to keep you happy.
Whether you’re a pepperoni stick kind of person or a beef jerky buff, cured meats are delicious, salty, and packed full of protein. They’re typically pretty easy to find, and they’re a nice change from the usual nuts and granola. Not to mention they provide sustained energy while on the trail.
There are a million reasons not to bring chocolate with you, including the fact that it’s likely to melt, that it takes up space that could be used by something healthy and hearty, and that it doesn’t have much nutritional merit. But nothing tastes better than your favorite candy bar after a long day on the trails. It’ll give you more than just calories—it’ll give you the mental spike you need to set up camp and make a fire when all you want to do is collapse. Just keep it out of the heat, or it’ll get everywhere.