27 Backpacking Snacks to Stay Fueled on the Trail

This post may contain affiliate links.

Breakfast is what gets you out of your sleeping bag… dinner is what you look forward to once you kick off your hiking shoes… but SNACKS are the MVP that get you through the day!

Backpacking snacks are a huge component of your backpacking food strategy. They not only make up close to half of your daily calories, but they will be a huge morale booster on the trail.

Consistently fueling is the key to avoiding “hitting the wall” (you know the feeling: you’re dead tired, and every step forward is a battle of will). It’s recommended that you eat 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour to keep your energy level up and avoid bonking (source).

Subscription Form (SAVE THIS POST-MAIN)

Save this post!

Enter your email and we'll send this post to your inbox! Plus, you'll receive our newsletter full of great tips for all your outdoor adventures.

It’s also important to pack a variety of snacks for backpacking! The last thing you want out on the trail is to look into your food bag and realize you just can’t stomach one more of the same old bar you packed a dozen of.

In this post we are sharing dozens of our favorite backpacking snacks! Some are healthy, some not so much, but all are delicious and will leave you looking forward to the next handful.

1. Heather’s Choice Packaroons

Created by a backpacker in Alaska, Heather’s Choice Packaroons are a tasty and compact snack to stash in your bag. These coconut cookies come in flavors like Chocolate Espresso, Cherry Almond, and Mint Chocolate and are gluten-free and vegan-friendly. They pack 160 calories per ounce, giving them a great calorie-to-weight ratio, too!

A person holds an open green snack pouch labeled "LivBar" with a small portion of a cherry matcha bar visible, standing on a dirt trail.

2. Energy Bars

What would a list of backpacking snacks be without energy bars? There are dozens of brands and flavors on the market, so be sure to pack a wide variety. Don’t make my mistake of only packing your one “favorite” flavor for a long hike, because TRUST ME, it will not be your favorite for very long!

3. Energy Cookies

Bars can be hit-or-miss, but who doesn’t like cookies?! “Energy” cookies are a fun snack that can help mix things up. Check out Alpenfuel Trail Cookies in flavors like German Chocolate and “Monster” or Lenny & Larry’s protein-packed cookies and mini cookie pouches.

4. Nut Butter

Perfect paired with dried fruit or crackers—or enjoyed straight out of the pouch! Nut butter contains fats and protein, and you can find it in a bunch of flavors, too. You can usually find these at the supermarket and Target.

Beef jerky stacked on a piece of parchment paper

5. Jerky and Meat Bars

Jerky and meat bars are another protein rich snack, perfect for backpacking. You can make your own jerky using a dehydrator, or there are tons of options at the grocery store. Meat bars tend to be less chewy than jerky and often have other tasty ingredients in them. We’re partial to EPIC bars and Wild Zora (especially the lamb flavor!).

6. Honey Stinger Waffles

Inspired by the Dutch stroopwafel, Honey Stinger’s waffles are layered with honey and made from organic ingredients. We think it’s a great morning snack with a second cup of instant coffee.

A person's hand holds a red cherry-shaped energy chew in front of an opened yellow and red Honey Stinger Energy Chews packet labeled "Fruit Smoothie Naturally Flavored," with a foot in a sneaker visible on the ground below.

7. Energy Gummies

My first experience with “trail magic” was finding a packet of Honey Stinger Energy Chews in my bear canister that I definitely did not pack. I found them right when I was starting to lose steam—and they were the perfect energy booster at that moment! 

8. Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels

These snack-sized peanut butter-filled pretzels are one of our favorite trail snacks. Salty, crunchy, peanut buttery… these have it all!

Olives in a snack bag

9. Olives

Pair these with some nuts or cheese! On short overnight trips, you can get away with packing jarred olives in a zippered bag. On longer trips or in resupply boxes, you’ll want to pack individually sealed packets like Oloves, Valesco, or the “Just a Handful” packs from Trader Joe’s.

10. Cheese

Cheese is another classic snack. Opt for hard or aged cheese which will last longer without refrigeration. Please use your own judgment, but according to the USDA, “as a general rule, hard cheeses such as cheddar, processed cheeses (American), and both block and grated Parmesan do not require refrigeration for safety.”

Or, to be completely safe, pack dried cheese snacks like Whisps or Trader Joe’s oven-baked cheese bites!

Megan holding a handful of homemade granola

11. Trail Mix

You can get really creative making your own trail mix! Here are a bunch of trail mix ideas to get you started. Trail mix can be heavy, so wherever you can, opt for high-calorie nuts like macadamia, pecans, and walnuts. 

12. Candy

Put this in the “not-so-healthy” but “very effective” column. Not only is your favorite candy going to be a huge morale booster, but it’s also great for a quick hit of energy to help you tackle that steep climb to the summit. We like bringing these organic Black Forest Gummy Bears, and sour gummy candies are always a hit, too. Avoid things coated in milk chocolate since it’s liable to melt in warmer temperatures.

Hummus in a green backpacking bowl on a rock

13. Hummus with Crackers

Powdered hummus is another great snack that can be enjoyed with crackers, pretzels, or dried veggie chips. You can often find powdered hummus in the bulk aisle, or you can make your own with a dehydrator! If you’re looking for convenience, check out these individual packets which come in a variety of flavors. Just add water, maybe a packet of olive oil, and enjoy!

14. Salami & Summer Sausage

Salami is another savory snack we always look forward to. We usually try to find smaller salamis since they fit better into our food storage. Thes bite-sized salamis are nice, and these German sausages will last a few days out of the fridge, and these preportioned salami bites come in mild and spicy versions. 

If you like summer sausage but don’t want to commit to a giant log, we recently came across these 5oz ones from Veremont Smoke & Cure, which are a great sharing size.

15. Yogurt Raisins

Yogurt-covered raisins are one of my favorite grocery store bulk bin snacks! They make the perfect little bite. One thing to note is that they can get melty in the heat, so you might want to skip these during sweltering summer days.

16. Sesame Seed Snaps

These sweet little sesame seed snap crackers are cheap and loaded with calories! They are the perfect size for stashing in your hip belt pockets.

Dried fruit in a reusable bag

17. Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is another classic backpacking snack. These can be found in grocery store bulk bins or in the snack aisle. Crunchy banana chips are a top pick since they have more calories per ounce than soft-dried fruit, and there are also tons of freeze-dried fruit options, which are not only a fun snack but also great to add to oatmeal in the morning for extra flavor.

18. Flavored Nuts

A handful of nuts is always an easy snack option. But, miles after miles of plain cashews might not cut it—which is why flavored nut mixes are great to have on hand! Think trail mix, without all the filler. Trader Joe’s has a lot of options (Thai Lime & Chili Cashews…mmmm), as does Sahale Snacks, Pear’s Snacks, and BobbySue’s Mixed Nuts.

19. Chocolate Waffle Cones 

Imagine the chocolate-filled bottom of a Drumstick ice cream cone… yep, that’s exactly what these Chocolate Waffle Cones are like. These came on my last backpacking trip, and they were the snacks I kept reaching for first! They come in dark chocolate, too!

20. Cookie Bites

I first picked these up at REI during a mid-shopping trip hunger crisis, and I’m so glad I did! These are basically freeze-dried cookie dough pieces and they are delicious. There is also a fudge brownie variety.

21. Wafer & Cream Cookies

Maybe not the typical item you’d see on a backpacking snack list, but I actually really loved these on my JMT hike. I think we brought a big bag of them, but you can find individually wrapped ones as well.

22. Mini Cookie Variety Packs

Maybe they aren’t as performance-souding as “energy cookies”, but you can’t go wrong with mini-sized childhood classics like Oreos and Nutter Butter cookies!

23. Annie’s Snack Packs

Another fun idea is Annie’s Snack Packs. With cheddar or graham bunnies, these are kid and adult-friendly.

24. Rice Krispies Treats Bars

I guess we are really leaning into the childhood nostalgia here, because up next are Rice Krispies Treat Bars! Who didn’t love these crunchy and sweet treats? These come in individual portions for easy packing.

A person in a yellow jacket holds a partially opened pack of energy bars with blue packaging and visible graphics on a hiking trail with soil, small stones, and some greenery nearby.

25. Fig Bars

Fig Newtons and Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars are another halfway healthy but convenient snack, filled with fruit and whole grains. Just be sure to pack them at the top of your bear canister so they don’t get totally squished.

26. Trader Joe’s Mochi Rice Nuggets

If you have access to Trader Joe’s, run, don’t walk, and grab a package of these for your next backpacking trip! They are pretty sturdy, so they won’t crumble in your pack, have a good calorie-to-weight ratio, and are the perfect salty-crunchy bite.

27. Favorite Day Snack Mixes

If you’re more of a sweet snack kind of person vs. savory trail mix, these snack mixes are worth checking out: Cookie Dough Trail Mix, Peanut Butter Chocolate Trail Mix, and S’mores Trail Mix all sound like delightful additions to your snack menu.

Subscription Form Bottom of Post

Save this post!

Enter your email and we'll send this post to your inbox! Plus, you'll receive our newsletter full of great tips for all your outdoor adventures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.