A hiking day pack will carry all of your essentials for a day of hiking on the trail, to a mountain summit or wilderness forest. To feel your best and fuel your energy for the hike, you’ll need a good balance of food and hydration. These 5 power foods are what you should eat for your body to perform the way you want it to. The type of food you consume makes a difference when it comes to stamina throughout your hike. You’ll need sufficient nourishment as you tackle any trail.
Hikers Need Specific Foods To Fuel Their Bodies
Day backpacking trips are super fun. Spending the day exploring nature is so rewarding because as an outdoor enthusiast you can’t get enough of being outside. But, you will get hungry on the trail. You’ll need energizing foods that aren’t full of fat and sugar because they can make you bloated or feel heavy and sleepy. It may seem overwhelming to make sure you get all of your hiking gear in your hiking bag and that you pack enough without forgetting anything. Now, you have to worry about what food to bring? You’ve got this. Let’s start with breakfast.
As long as you don’t have a long drive to the hiking trailhead, you should eat a healthy filling breakfast at home and properly hydrate prior to your hike. Skip the coffee and focus on carbs and protein. You’ll want to hydrate with 8 ounces of water gradually before you hit the trail,don’t just chug it down. Give your body a chance to absorb it slowly.
Backpack Hiking Requires Carbs For Energy
A hiking day pack journey must be fueled with the right carbs that will convert to energy as you trek all kinds of terrain that will challenge your body. Without proper intake of the right carbs, you won’t be your awesome self. If you expect to amaze yourself with how far you can and what you can accomplish on your hiking trip, treat your body like your car engine. Put the right “gas” into it and it’ll perform a lot better. So, you may be wondering what are the best carbs to consume?
The best carbs to give you energy as fuel for backpack hiking is whole grains like oats and quinoa. You can take snacks such as granola bars with minimal sugar and fat. Whole grain foods and whole wheat bread with peanut butter helps combine the carbs with protein. These food combos are a hikers best friend. Choose fresh fruits that pack well. Soft fruits can get crushed and make a mess in your hiking bag. You may even prefer dried fruits like apples, raisins and pineapple in the form of trail mix combined with nuts. They will give you plenty of vitality as natural sugar that are a fast-acting carb.
Nut butters, like almond or Nutella provide a healthy form of carbs. You can eat them on a bagel or dip apple slices in them. If you are only going on a day hike, you can pack a veggie loaded pasta salad with a vinaigrette in a plastic container. Don’t forget a fork like I did my first hike out…hahaha. Packets of cream cheese and mayo need no refrigeration, so you can use these items on bread or crackers.
Protein For Backpacking Is Essential For Your Body
Beef or turkey jerky makes a great snack to include in your hiking backpack. You can put soft cheese like cottage or in a small insulated bag or get certain varieties that don’t have to be kept cold, such as cheddar, American, Brie or Gouda. Babybel cheese and string cheese for example, can be kept in your hiking pack for several hours.
Meats sticks like hard salami, summer sausage, prosciutto and pepperoni can be safely eaten on a day hike without being kept cold. Dehydrated meats like chicken and turkey are tasty options. Many hikers enjoy the packets of tuna, salmon and chicken that are readily available in grocery stores.
Eggs are wonderful protein. You can bring hard boiled eggs with precooked packaged bacon (found in grocery stores). If you have an insulated cooler bag, they will last longer. If not, make them your first snack on the trail because without refrigeration they are only safe to eat for about 2 hours.
Trail Backpacks; Yours Should Contain Several Snacks
Your hiking day pack trip will go smoothly if you pack four snacks in your backpack. One for mid-morning, one for mid afternoon, and another for after dinner. For example, let’s say you eat breakfast at home and hit the trail about 9am. Your first snack for energy can be around 11am. After that, you may stop for lunch by 1pm and rest awhile. Once you proceed on your hike, your afternoon snack can be around 3:30pm with dinner , let’s say about 6pm. Save a “dessert” snack for the trek back and eat that one 2 hours later. The times can be whatever you choose, this is just an idea of spacing to keep yourself fully energized and physically satiated. Examples of snacks are power bars, trail mix, granola, fresh or dried fruits and dates. A great dessert is a Snickers candy bar or any other brand with peanuts.
Trekkers Lunch; What Are The Best Choices?
Variety in your consumption is always good, but some hikers like to pack minimally and will just eat basically the same thing all day. If it’s nourishing and gives you the fuel you need to hike, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you like different choices, you can get creative with bagel sandwiches, cheese, nuts and crackers, dry cereal or jerky. Individual meat, tuna & chicken packets can be mixed with to-go packets of mustard, mayo, taco sauce or soy sauce. Many of these protein meat packets come already flavored which makes life very easy. Fruit or vegetable puree is available in squeezable pouches making this a lightweight and convenient backpacking item. A super easy suggestion is the ever-popular peanut butter sandwich with fruit spread.
Dining Out While You Are On The Hiking Trail
I have loved picnics since I was a child and my guess is, many hikers do also. There’s just something about eating outdoors that feels special. Your dinner meal can be made ahead of time at home. Quinoa or couscous are great choices when you add a salmon or chicken packet, some raw veggies plus the dressing of choice and bring it in a plastic container. Another satisfying dinner meal is a whole grain tortilla with a cream cheese packet, a pouch of chicken with some hot sauce or canned pineapple wrapped like a burrito.
Your hiking day pack can carry dehydrated complete meals that require hot water added to them. This is fine if you’ll be carrying a hikers stove. Many are lightweight and super portable. If you prefer non-cooked food for a day hiking trip, you could mix protein powder with oats and seeds in a peanut butter jar that’s almost empty for a nutritious supper that will fill you up. While you hike, you tend to eat completely different with the focus on food that will keep your body humming like a fine-tuned machine. Of course a steak dinner or some roasted chicken and baked potato would seem heavenly, but on the trail, you’ll want fast and easy preparation with lightweight carry options.
Enjoy Your Backpack Hike With Energy To Spare
The proper mix of snacks and meals during your hike will make a difference in your ability to traverse your hiking path. We’ve given you some ideas for lightweight, easy to pack foods that will give you energy and sustain you throughout your trek. NatureTrailBackpacks encourages hikers to help others who are just beginning to explore the wonder of backpack hiking. Please leave a comment below regarding your favorite nourishing trail food and snack that others haven’t tried yet. We are a hiking community that gives tips and ideas to each other so that everyone can experience happy hiking!