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. Before hik­ing, 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.