10 Best Trail Snacks

©istockphoto/wundervisualsThe next time you head out on the trail, leave the squashed sand­wich­es at home. With these cre­ative trail snacks, you’ll be eat­ing like a pro on your next adven­ture.

Hum­mus
To enjoy this pro­tein-rich Mid­dle East­ern clas­sic in the back­coun­try, look for a dehy­drat­ed ver­sion at your local health food store or online. Sim­ply mix the pow­der with plen­ty of water, stir well, and enjoy with pita bread or car­rot slices.

Nut But­ter
Peanut but­ter is a clas­sic, but these days there are oth­er options to explore: cashews, almonds, wal­nuts, and sun­flower seeds are all being craft­ed into mouth-water­ing, high-pro­tein blends. Just be sure to check with your group for aller­gies, and avoid glass jars. Look for sin­gle-serv­ing pack­ets or mul­ti-serv­ing pouch­es.

Snick­ers Bars
They’re avail­able at almost every gas sta­tion, are tasti­er and cheap­er than pro­tein bars, and offer more nutri­ents than any oth­er can­dy bar. Plus: they’re deli­cious. It’s a per­fect trail snack.

Apples
Fresh fruit always tastes good on the trail, but del­i­cate pro­duce can eas­i­ly get bruised in the bot­tom of a back­pack. Apples are the hardi­est option, and can sur­vive sev­er­al days. They’re not dense in calo­ries, but the crisp, refresh­ing taste is often worth the wait. Pro-tip: add nut but­ter.

Peanut but­ter and jel­ly
This tried-and-true sand­wich is a clas­sic for a reason—the jel­ly gives an instant burst of ener­gy, while the peanut but­ter packs a pro­tein punch that’ll keep you going for hours. Pro tip: try swap­ping bread for a whole-grain tor­tilla.

Jerky
Store-bought options abound, but zeal­ous hik­ers often invest in dehy­dra­tors and exper­i­ment with mak­ing their own.

Cold Piz­za
If you’re just out hik­ing for the day, noth­ing tops a slice. And there’s noth­ing easier—just wrap in alu­minum foil and toss it in your pack. (Just be care­ful with meat if you don’t have a way to keep food cold.) Bonus: because the bread and cheese pro­vide nec­es­sary car­bo­hy­drates, pro­tein, and fat, you can indulge guilt-free.

Trail Mix
Most peo­ple asso­ciate trail mix with raisins and peanuts, but expe­ri­enced back­coun­try trav­el­ers know how to get cre­ative. Try vis­it­ing the bulk foods depart­ment of your local mar­ket, or buy ingre­di­ents indi­vid­u­al­ly to make your own mix. The sky’s the lim­it! Think: dark choco­late chips, yogurt-cov­ered espres­so beans, dried blue­ber­ries, banana chips, peanut but­ter pret­zels. Kids can even make their own com­bi­na­tions.

Tuna and Crack­ers
If you only buy tuna in cans, you’ve prob­a­bly assumed it’s too heavy to take on the trail. But in foil pouch­es, it’s the per­fect lunch. Pack crack­ers in a crush-proof plas­tic con­tain­er, and be sure to include a Ziplock bag for aro­mat­ic left­overs.

Dark Choco­late
It’s the per­fect ener­gy food: sug­ar, fat, and a lit­tle bit of caf­feine. And who doesn’t love a hik­ing part­ner who loves choco­late?

Always use prop­er food safe­ty han­dling tech­niques when pack­ing for the back­coun­try. Read about the prin­ci­ples of Leave No Trace here.