When you get out onto any trail, you want to make sure to be prepared for emergencies, which includes feeding yourself and keeping your energy up. Water is a must, along with basic emergency items in a pack like first aid, warm layers, and rain gear. When it comes to food, even if you’re just going on a trail you think would take an hour, you’ll want to make sure to pack tasty, energy-rich snacks. You never know when a wrong turn or a scenic stopover will lengthen your time away from your home base. Learn how to put together a quick day-hike kit before you head out on your trip.

Calories burned while you hike

The number of calories your body burns during exercise varies depending on your body weight and the amount of effort you’re expending. If you’re walking on a flat path and a slow pace, you won’t burn as many calories as when you’re climbing over boulders on a steep slope. The weather also factors in, as you could burn more energy if it’s, for example very hot and humid, than if the weather is mild. Most estimates, however, put calories burned while hiking around 400-600 per hour. When you head off on your hike, make sure you can replace these calories easily through high-energy snacks and you won’t run into a slump on your way back to camp.

What kind of food works best on the trail?

Naturally, the more easily you can carry a food, the better it is on the trail. Shelf-stable food like nuts or jerky are easy to throw in your camping supplies and bring in a backpack as well, without having to worry about spoilage. Fruit can be delicious, but keep in mind that you should keep it from getting bruised or crushed, and you’ll need to pack out your peels and cores, just as you would a granola bar wrapper. Remember to always Leave No Trace.

One great way to plan your hiking snacks is to portion out the treats by what they can provide you with, energy-wise. This blog post talks about the different sources for fats and oils that come naturally from some great trail foods. Great choices might come in the form of homemade granola with nuts, chocolate, and dried fruit, bound together with some kind of yummy oil source like a nut butter or coconut oil. Here’s a quick recipe to try for trail granola. Make it ahead of time and use it as a travel treat in the car, truck, or even fire-side, too!

Trick out your treats

GORP (good ole raisins and peanuts) have long been a trail snack staple, but we can get fancier, too. There are great ideas for homemade hiking snacks that include cinnamon roll protein bites, espresso and mocha protein balls, or crispy kale bars. Try a few recipes before your trip and you might find a new great snack for your non-trail time, too.

Want a quick kid-friendly recipe? Make these homemade fruit roll ups from fresh in-season berries:

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