Determine the length of your hike. For a short trip, pack an assortment of small snacks. Weight will be less of an issue, so you can pack fresh fruit, hard cheeses, cans of tuna and other heavier items. If you are planning a longer hike, pack lighter. Opt for dried fruit instead of fresh and use lightweight tuna pouches that take up less space. Food for longer hikes should also be able to last for the length of the trip. Crackers, jerky and peanut butter are good choices.
Plan to eat a snack at least once an hour, drink continuously throughout the hike and consume a full breakfast, lunch and dinner on each day of your hike. Many novice hikers fail to bring enough food, so you should always err on the side of safety. You will need to consume many more calories while hiking than you do in a typical day.
Select simple meals that will be easy to prepare on the hike. Try granola bars, oatmeal and dried fruit for breakfast, tuna and crackers, trail mix and jerky for lunch and pasta, powdered soups and dehydrated meals for dinner.
Take note of how your various food selections need to be stored throughout the trip. Foods that need to stay cold can be frozen before you leave and stored with a cold pack while you hike. Remember that cold foods won't last long. For longer trips, focus on non perishable items.
Include plenty of protein and energy building foods for long hikes. Take a few packets of energy gel, such as Clif Shot energy gel or Honey Stinger energy gel packets. Each packet provides a quick shot of electrolytes and carbohydrates to keep you energized.
Great tips. I watched a program on the tele about a long distance cyclist, and he had packets of shortbread biscuits. Each was 100 calories and he would know how many calories he had burnt (with some electronic device I think) and eat a shortbread biscuit when he needed to replenish.
I think Clif bars are probably the best hiking snack bars out there. That and 5 hour energy, in the case that you really need a boost for something, but definitely not for normal use.
For a hiking trip 5 hour energy is flat out stupid. No calories to speak of, mainly water. Except for one day trips carrying water is generally foolish.
Which does touch on one thing. For most of us a decent hike is more excercise than we are used to. That means more food consumption is required. One burns a lot more calories walking 10 miles throughthe woods with a 20 Lb. pack on their mback than sitting at a desk all day. (And yes both of those are on the low end for a multiday trip).
I always bring extra water in large bottles, so by the end of the day, even if it's an all day thing, we still haven't run out. It can get a bit heavy, but it's worth it. If there is one thing you don't want to be without even for a couple of hours, it's water.
As for food, I will normally just bring various granola bars, dried fruit and packets of crisps... something easy like that.
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if you are out for the day - the most important thing is hydration.
you need enough water, and everyone needs access to their OWN water. That is really important. You can carry some water bottles, but it gets heavy. If there are good streams in the area, get a simple water filter that removes giardia from the stream. Then you can re-fill at your hearts content. Learn to fill your stomach with water often ... better too much than too little.
snacks are really easy.
granola bars - moist ones are better. the dry ones are terrible.
some crackers, a can of tuna, and some small cheeses work really well.
a couple of chocolate chip cookies are excellent for improving morale.