Backpacking Snack Ideas: Tips for Nutritious and Easy-to-carry Options

Explore a world of delectable snack ideas to fuel your next backpacking adventure, made for easy packing and guaranteed to keep energy levels high.

When it comes to backpacking, the right snack choices can make all the difference. They should be lightweight, non-perishable, nutritious, and of course, delicious.

From protein-packed jerkies to energy-boosting trail mixes, there’s a vast variety of options to keep your stomach satisfied and your energy levels high during your outdoor adventures.

This article will delve into the best backpacking snack ideas, taking into account factors such as nutritional value, weight, and taste.

Stay tuned for a detailed guide that will help you make the best snack choices for your next backpacking trip.

Trail Mix

trail mix

One of the most versatile snacks, trail mix allows for a variety of ingredients tailored to personal preference. Usually combining nuts, dried fruit, and sometimes chocolate, this portable snack offers a balanced blend of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Nuts like almonds, cashews, and walnuts are proteins and fats powerhouses, fueling your body for strenuous backpacking activities. Dried fruits such as cranberries, apricots, or raisins add a hint of sweetness and supply needed carbohydrates for energy.

The possible addition of M&M’s or other small chocolate pieces provides a delightful sugary boost. However, they have a lower melting point so take this into consideration when backpacking in hot climates.

Portioning trail mix into individual servings before heading out will make life easier on the trail, allowing you to control intake and avoid overeating. Quicker and more convenient than cooking, reaching for a pouch of trail mix is a great way to refuel on the move.



Lean and high in protein, jerky shines as a prime pick for backpacking nourishment. Varieties range from beef to venison, chicken, and even salmon, each adding their own unique flavor profile to your snack repertoire.

Besides protein, jerky also serves up essential vitamins like B12 and minerals such as zinc and iron, delivering necessary nutrition in a lightweight, compact format. Dehydrated to reduce water content, jerky stays edible for extended periods without refrigeration, making it essential for long trips.

Its pliable nature makes it simple to pack, even in the tightest spaces. With an array of brands offering heartily-spiced or subtly-smoked choices, you can easily find a selection that suits your palate.

Dried Fruit

dried fruit

Offering a delightful package of concentrated natural sugars and dietary fiber, dried fruit stands as an ideal calorie-dense backpacking snack. Ranging from apricots, figs, and dates to raisins, mangoes, and pineapples — the variety is deliciously vast. Notably, these fruits retain most of the antioxidant benefits of their fresh counterparts, making them not only tasty but beneficial for health as well.

Dried fruit is both lightweight and non-perishable, perfect for those long trails when refrigeration isn’t an option. Plus, it’s incredibly versatile; eat it straight from the bag, rehydrate it with a little water for a juicier texture, or even add it to instant oatmeal or trail mix for a sweet kick. Just remember to consume it in moderation, as dried fruit can be relatively high in sugar. Be cautious of options that include added sugars — the best choices are those dried naturally without any extras.

So, as a backpacker, keeping a stash of dried fruit can be your secret to a sweet, quick energy boost on your next adventure!

Almond Butter

almond butter

Packed with protein, healthy fats and fiber, almond butter offers nutritious energy for hikers. It’s a versatile snack option: consumed directly from the pack or smeared on whole grain crackers for added complexity.

Portion it into individual containers or choose pre-packaged single servings for convenience. Remember, though rich in nutrients, almond butter is high in calories, so make sure to consume it in moderation.

Despite its density, it’s incredibly satiating, meaning you won’t need to eat a lot to feel fueled, making it an efficient backpacking snack.

Energy Bars

energy bars

With protein, fiber, and a shelf-stable form, Energy Bars truly earn their place in any backpacker’s food sack. They are perfect for long hikes – easy to pack, lightweight, and require zero preparation. Energy bars come in an array of flavors, like fruits, nuts, chocolate, and many more, offering a tasty pick-me-up when energy lags.

Even better, many energy bars on the market today are tailored to specific dietary needs. For instance, there are Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free options as well. These nutrition-dense bars are also a great source of essential vitamins and minerals. A vital point to consider, however, is sugar content — opt for ones lower in sugar yet high in other vital nutrients.

Remember, while energy bars are a convenient snack, they shouldn’t replace whole foods entirely. Including a variety of food items ensures a balance of nutrients for your backpacking adventure.



Ideal for their light weight and long shelf life, crackers are a versatile backbone to many a backpacker’s diet.

Opt for whole grain varieties for an added boost of fiber and nutrition.

They pair well with hard cheeses or spreads like almond butter for sustained energy release.

Individual packs ensure freshness, and minimize the hazard of crushing during transportation.

Crackers also offer a satisfying crunch, providing a comforting contrast to the typical soft-textured trail meals.

Baby Carrots

baby carrots

Rich in potassium, fiber, and Vitamin A, baby carrots make an ideal backpacking snack.

This nutrient-packed snack contributes to the overall vitality, eyesight, and digestion of hikers, vital factors while on the trails.

For convenience, baby carrots require no intense preparation or refrigeration and can be easily tossed into a backpack in a reusable bag.

Their crunchiness can offer a satisfying break from other soft or chewy snacks.

Pair them with hummus or almond butter for added protein and flavor.

Safety note: ensure baby carrots are kept at a cool temperature to maintain freshness during your outdoor adventure.

Dark Chocolate

dark chocolate

Packed with antioxidants and offering a small caffeine boost, dark chocolate serves as an enjoyable and beneficial backpacking snack.

When selecting dark chocolate, aim for options that have a high percentage of cocoa (70% or more) to maximize its health benefits.

Its ability to remain solid at room temperatures makes it ideal for long treks, but avoid extreme heat to prevent melting.

Consider portion-packed squares for convenience and easy consumption during trail breaks.

Lastly, dark chocolate’s mood-enhancing properties can give a psychological lift, perfect for when you are facing challenging terrains.

Cheese Sticks

cheese sticks

Cheese sticks make a great snack for backpackers for a variety of reasons. First, their portable and individual packaging means they are easy to carry and consume. Secondly, they provide essential nutrients required when engaging in physical activities; rich in protein for muscle repair and calcium for bone health. Additionally, they also offer a decent amount of fat, which is a great energy source, and contain vitamin A for eye health.

Last but not least, they have a long shelf-life, which makes them an ideal choice to toss in your backpack before a journey. Be sure to choose cheese types like mozzarella or cheddar which are best-suited for prolonged stays at room temperature.



Offering a crunch that backpackers often miss while on trail, pretzels are a versatile must-have snack. High in carbohydrates, they provide needed energy for long hikes.

Available in various shapes and sizes, they can be enjoyed solo or used to scoop up spreads like hummus or almond butter. With their compactness and the fact they don’t require refrigeration, they’re easy to pack.

An additional bonus is their extended shelf-life, allowing you to stock up for multi-day trips. For a sodium boost, which is crucial when sweating excessively, consider salted versions. Just remember to stay hydrated.

Rice Cakes

rice cakes

Light, crunchy, and versatile, rice cakes constitute a great snack option for backpackers. Here are a few notable points:

  • High in carbohydrates: They provide a quick energy boost. Ideal when you need an instant pick-me-up after a strenuous hike.
  • Low in calories: Despite providing effective energy, they don’t overload your diet – an appealing factor to fitness-conscious trekkers.
  • Portable and sturdy: They do not require refrigeration and can endure tough conditions in your backpack without getting squashed.
  • Versatile: They can be enjoyed plain or topped up with spreads like almond butter or avocado for a nutrition-packed snack.
  • Add Variety: Comes in different flavors, presenting a nice change from traditional hiking food options.

It’s worth noting while rice cakes are quite filling, they should be paired with a protein or fat source to provide a balanced snack.



Brimming with fiber, apples make a satisfying snack that’s easy to tote around. Not only are they packed with nutrients like vitamin C and antioxidants, but they’re also refreshingly juicy, satiating your thirst on those long, dusty trails.

Due to their firmness, they resist bruising, maintaining their crisp texture even in rugged conditions. Opt for smaller, lunchbox-sized apples to save on space and weight. Bonus: once you’re done, the core is completely biodegradable making them an eco-friendly choice.

Perfect for snacking on their own, they pair wonderfully with almond or pea-nut butter for a protein punch. Keep your apples fresh in a hard cooler or enjoy them within the first few days of your journey.

Nut-Butter Packets

nut butter packets

Packed with healthy fats and protein, these handy snacks often come in single-serving packages that are perfect for backpackers. They provide sustained energy on long hikes and help keep hunger pangs at bay.

They are available in a variety of flavors, including almond, hazelnut, cashew, and classic peanut. For those preferring slightly sweeter options, opt for versions mixed with honey or chocolate.

Pack them conveniently alongside bread, crackers, or even fruits for a fulfilling snack. The compact, lightweight quality makes them an ideal choice for outdoor activities. Just be mindful to keep them in a cool place to avoid unwanted melting.

Tuna Pouches

tuna pouches

Offering both a high protein and omega-3 fatty acid boost, tuna pouches are an unmatched energy source for hikers. The convenience of no-drain, ready-to-eat pouches makes them an ideal choice.

A wide variety of flavors is available, including hickory smoked, Ranch, lemon pepper, and jalapeno, to name a few. It’s not just for a snack, you can also incorporate it into other backpacking meals.

Moreover, the light weight ensures it doesn’t add unnecessary burden to your backpack. It’s crucial to discard the empty pouches responsibly to maintain the trail’s clean environment.

Lastly, if you are sodium sensitive, reach for the low sodium varieties. They provide a healthier option without compromising on taste. Remember, stay adequately hydrated while consuming high-protein snacks.



Packed with fiber and protein, granola is a must-have as you hit the trails. Choose varieties that are loaded with nuts and seeds to ensure you’re getting extra perks like heart-healthy fats and additional protein.

Opt for low-sugar versions to dodge unnecessary calories. Small, resealable packets are also an excellent choice for easy access and less mess. With a delightful crunch and endurance-boosting properties, it complements a morning meal or acts as a satisfying mid-hike nibble.

Don’t forget, you can also use it as a topping on dehydrated yogurt or instant oatmeal for extra flavor and texture! Keep it versatile and enjoyable.

Hard Boiled Eggs

hard boiled eggs

A portable and protein-rich choice, hard-boiled eggs can be prepared in batches at home ahead of your trip. They should be consumed within a couple of days if not refrigerated, although they can last a week if kept cool.

Eggs provide the necessary energy for strenuous activities and their shell naturally prevents spoilage and contamination, making them an ideal on-the-go snack. To add flavor, consider packing salt and pepper or spice blends in small containers.

Remember, if the shell cracks, consume the egg immediately to avoid any potential bacterial growth.



Abundant in essential nutrients like potassium and vitamins C and B6, bananas make a prime choice for your backpacking trip.

Convenient and portable, they don’t require any sort of preparation or special packaging.

Yet, their vulnerability to bruising can be a concern for some backpackers.

To counter this issue, opt for slightly unripe bananas; they tend to have a longer lifespan and are less likely to get squished in your pack.

Apart from pure consumption, they can be used in a versatile manner – mash them up and mix with oatmeal for a hearty breakfast, or slice them into your yogurt for a nutritious snack.

Instant Oatmeal

instant oatmeal

Packing instant oatmeal ensures a nutritious start to your day when backpacking. It’s light, occupies little space, and easy to prepare – just add hot water. This high-fiber food can provide the much-needed energy boost for your adventure-filled day ahead.

Adding dehydrated fruits or nuts to your oatmeal enriches the nutritional value and enhances the taste. No need to worry about refrigeration or if it will spoil as it remains good for longer durations. For extra protein, consider mixing in a scoop of whey protein powder. A versatile option for those cold mornings in the wilderness.

Pumpkin Seeds

pumpkin seeds

Packed with protein, fiber, and a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, pumpkin seeds make an excellent choice for a healthy and hearty backpacking snack.

These compact but powerful seeds boast substantial energy-boosting properties, vital for long treks.

Easy to carry, they can be devoured raw or you could roast them in advance for added flavors.

For an exciting twist, consider flavored options like spicy, salted, or sweet.

Remember, they are also known for their sustainable, long-lasting nature, which makes them an excellent choice for days or weeks on the trail.

Dehydrated Yogurt

dehydrated yogurt

Once you’ve tried dehydrated yogurt, there’s no turning back – it’s a trail-friendly, lightweight, nutritious, and delicious backpacking snack! There’s a variety to choose from in the market, from fruits & cream variety packs to Greek style. What makes them amazing is their long shelf-life. Unlike ordinary yogurt, they don’t need to be refrigerated which is perfect for a hiking trip.

Pack them in individual servings for ease. They can be eaten as is, right out of the pack – crunchy and tangy. Alternatively, you can rehydrate them with a bit of water and voila, you’ve got tangy, creamy yogurt to enjoy with granola or fruits you may have. A quick resurgence of flavor on your palate, they deliver the calcium and probiotics that your body desires, especially after a long hike!