Hiking is a wonderful way to appreciate the great outdoors and enjoy exercise! For any movement, your body requires fuel to function. Hiking and hunger do not mix well; you can end up angry and hungry or hungry if you are not adequately prepared with a snack on your journey.
The Social Side of Trail Snacking
Bringing along a snack on your hike is the best way to keep your morale high, energy going, and your body moving. This article is a quick guide to helping you figure out your perfect trail snack.
Food is vital for many reasons, not just fueling our bodies. Food can build community and help make connections, especially in the outdoors! Sharing snacks with fellow hungry hikers is a fun way to meet new people and ensure everyone feels happy and safe outdoors.
Bringing extra snacks is always good, especially if they are sweet treats or savory if you prefer!
Factors to Consider When Packing Your Trail Snacks
Many factors come into play when packing a snack for the trails. The size, weight, crushability, packability, preservation needs, and how well it will fuel your body to meet your needs and taste! Weight and size can be determined by the container in which you store your snacks. Lugging around a heavy, awkward-shaped food container can be cumbersome and stressful on your hike.
Packing compact containers or neatly prepackaged snacks can help you snack more efficiently. The crushability is essential to consider before you pack your snacks. Ensure anything you bring is put in the proper container so things don't get squished, crumble, or damaged. Snacks such as fruit, granola bars, chocolates, and bread are fragile on the trails.
Considering preservation when you pack your snacks is necessary if you bring along perishable items that could spoil if not appropriately preserved. If you bring dairy products or meats as a snack, you have them chilled and adequately sealed. If the meat and dairy spoil, your hike could be regretful.
The Importance of Knowing Your Caloric Needs
(Trigger Warning: The remainder of the article discusses calories and calorie counts.)
It is essential to consider how much fuel your body may need on the hike, especially if you are going on a big hike. It is equally important to listen to your body and your body's needs while hiking, whether for fun exercise or both!
One way to determine how much fuel your body needs is by looking at how many calories your food has and how many calories you are likely to burn. The average adult hiker will burn about 175-200 calories per mile, depending on the trail's grade. At the average hiking speed of 2.4 miles per hour, an adult hiker can expect to burn 300-400 calories per hour.
While this can be a helpful tool, it is most important to pay attention to your body and know what it needs so you can pack accordingly. Knowing how many calories are in your snacks can be helpful if you are planning a strenuous, more demanding hike or backpacking trip.
Expert Recommendations: Ranger-Approved Snacks
Some of the LARPD Open Space Rangers were interviewed on their favorite snacks while hiking, and here are the tasty results:
- Salmon jerky = 130 calories
- Bowl of mixed fruit = 95-100 calories
- Cheese and crackers = 200 calories
- Beef jerky = 200 calories
- Sourdough bread, fruit, and salami = 935 calories
- Peanut butter and jelly on a tortilla = 517 calories
- Trail mix = 693 calories
(Please note: Calorie count is per serving.)
Enjoy your hike and food, and don't get "hangry" on the trails! ~ Ranger Seth