My husband and I love to head out into the woods and go hiking whenever we can. Our children are teenagers and are forced to come with us as often as possible. Of course, being teenagers they would rather be playing video games or gossiping with friends but I think it is important for them to get out into the woods occasionally and appreciate nature. One way to keep cranky teenagers happy in the woods is to feed them frequently. Of course, that also keeps mommy happy, too, so we bring a lot of trail food on our adventures in the wild. I thought I would share some of the best trail food I have found with you and a few affiliate links so you can shop before you head into the woods!
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Best Trail Food Suggestions
The type of trail food you bring on your trip matters quite a bit. You want to pack foods that are light weight but that really pack a lot of nutrition into a small serving. You want high protein levels, lots of complex carbohydrates, some fiber to fill you up, and something that is easily transportable. Over the years, we have discovered some favorite trail foods and every time we hike I like to try one or two new things as well. If you are looking for the best trail food, here are a few ideas on what to throw in your backpack next time you head out.
The great thing about trail mix is how many different things you can toss into it. Nuts for protein, dried fruit and chocolate chips for carbohydrates, whole grain cereals, seeds, etc. Get creative and throw it into some small, zip to lock bags for your next hike.
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Although most dried meat can be slightly high in salt, it is also very high in protein and travels well. I have noticed a number of varieties of organic beef jerky online or you can buy a dehydrator and make your own. You can also buy dried salami and pack your Swiss Army Knife to slice it up along the trail. Honestly, all 4 of us have our own trail knife. You should never head out into the woods without one.
The great thing about dried fruit is how light weight it is. It is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth on the trail and offers plenty of quick energy and fiber to fill you up. It is also a LOT lighter than bringing actual fruit on the trail. Apples and oranges can get heavy and bananas are way too squish-able to carry in a backpack. However, banana chips and other dried fruits make some of the best trail food I have found.
Have you ever heard of the abbreviation MRE? That stands for Meals Ready to Eat. While they aren’t the tastiest trail food in the world, they come in a ton of different varieties and all you have to do is add water. These are great if you are backpacking quite a distance and want a filling meal and not just a snack. You are going to have to experiment a bit with which ones you like and which are downright disgusting. Read the reviews before you buy!
Oatmeal is a trail food staple if you are going to be overnight camping and want to bring breakfast. You can make DIY oatmeal packets if you want to save money. Just remember to bring a collapsable camping bowl and your backpacking silverware. You can also buy individual oatmeal packets online. Some of them allow the actual packet to be used as a container so you just add the water right to the pouch. Convenient and less mess to clean up!
Nutritional Powder Meals
There are a ton of ‘powder’ options out there. From complete meal replacements to weight lifting supplements. Aim to keep it minimally processed, high in nutrition and tasty.
Bread can be too bulky and fluffy for backpacking. Tortillas are compact and can take a beating. Great for wraps or even just a plain old peanut butter and jelly roll. They are a great alternative to sandwiches when you are on the trail.
This is seriously one of the best trail food options I have found. It is crammed with calories, fat, sodium and protein. It is ready-to-eat and goes with a ton of different foods. Great for sandwiches or for dipping things in, think beyond peanut butter to sunflower seed butter, cashew butter, almond butter, etc.
Heading out on the trail or for a backwoods camping trip means that you need to be able to feed yourself. The best trail food is high in nutrition, travels well, and requires very little preparation. Just make sure that you pack out all your trash! Leave no trace is one wilderness rule that you should always remember!
What trail food do YOU bring with you?
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.