The Hiker’s Diet: Food Tips For Your Next Hike

hiking foodIt doesn’t matter if you are going on a day hike or a week-long backpacking trip; you will need to pack food and water to take with you.

Don’t put yourself in a situation where you might end up dehydrated or hungry in the wilderness. Here are six things you should consider to make sure you pack nourishing, healthy food that will keep you safe on your next hike.

How Much Food Should You Pack?
How much food you need to pack will depend on a few factors, such as how long you are going for, how old you are, how many people are going, and the climate (if the weather is colder you will eat more). A good guide is to pack three meals and two snacks per person per day, which should be between 0.9kg and 1kg of food.

When Should You Eat?
Hikers should try to snack regularly instead of just eating three big meals. Big meals might make you feel sleepy and uncomfortable, which defeats the purpose of your whole excursion. Small, regular snacks every two hours will help to keep your energy levels up, and it is better for your digestive system as you are doing a strenuous physical activity as you eat.

To make regular snacking easy, remember to put your food at the top of your bag so it is easy to access.

How Much Water Should You Bring?
Water is the most important thing you will bring with you on a hike. You should try to pack around two cups of water for each hour of hiking, so if you are hiking for five hours you should pack around 10 cups of water. It is also useful to drink a few cups of water before you set off so that you are hydrated when you start.

What Kind Of Food Should You Pack?
To keep your energy levels up you will need to eat a mixture of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Your food should be well-balanced; around 50% should be carbohydrates, 35% should be fats and 15% should be protein.

Packing Food For A Day Trip
If you’re packing food for a day trip you can bring perishable foods like sandwiches and pastries, but you may need to bring an icepack along to keep them cold—especially if you are hiking in summer. As you have to carry the food with you as you hike it is best to pack light-weight food that contains lots of nutrients, such as trail mix, energy bars, granola bars, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, tuna salads, meat jerky, and tortillas.

Packing Food For A Multi-day Trip
If your hiking trip will last a few days, you need to spend more time thinking about what food you should pack. You can bring perishable foods for the first day, but after that you will need to have a meal plan for each day. Pack food that doesn’t need to be kept cool, such as energy bars, cereal, vegetables, fruit puree, dried pasta, rice and couscous, dried soup, or meat and fish pouches.