For much of the world, the summer months are the best for hiking, biking, hiking, kayaking, camping, and many other outdoor activities. You’ll need proper attire and equipment, but it’s also always good to bring water and a snack, even on short trips. And not just any snack, but something that will give you the energy and strength to keep going. Here are the 20 best portable snacks to fuel your outdoor adventure. (And please don’t forget to carry whatever you are carrying!)
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You’ll need protein to fuel your outdoor activities, and cheese is a great way to grab it on the go. Pre-packaged cheese like these Babybel Little Wheels are easy to pack and unpack anywhere and anytime, or you can opt for the stick varieties – they’re not just for kids’ breakfasts anymore! Want to have class while camping? You can safely wrap hard cheese like aged cheddar, gouda or gruyere in a resealable container.
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No need to worry about your bananas turning brown or bruising your peach when you pack a stash of dried fruit. Many options, from raisins and cranberries to mango, apricots and berries, are available at the grocery store and contain the same amount of nutrients as fresh produce. You can make your own in your oven with these tips from Pop Sugar!
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Not everything on this list is bought and consumed as is – here is one you can cook at home! Energy Balls are basically many foods that are high in protein and energy all rolled into one. There are many recipes, but we like this one from chef Savvy because it only requires five ingredients: peanut butter, oats, chocolate chips, flax seeds and honey.
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CLIF, RXBAR, Larabar, and many other brands all make energy or protein bars specifically designed to provide you with different levels and combinations of protein, carbohydrates, calories, and nutrients. As you walk down the aisle to the bar, be sure to read the ingredient list; the more ingredients you recognize, the better.
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Of course, we are not against fresh fruit. Dried fruit might be a bit more portable, but there’s no reason not to pack a fresh apple, orange, watermelon (chunks, not a whole), grapes (try freezing them! ) or other juicy fruits for your outing. Even more delicate fruits would work – just wrap them tightly in an airtight container.
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This one is also great for kids (if SpongeBob SquarePants wasn’t a sufficient clue). Freeze Go-Gurt or other tube yogurts overnight, so that when you eat them a few hours later, they will still be cold. They can even be still frozen, which will give you and your children a particularly refreshing treat.
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It’s like Fruit Roll-Ups, but for adults (and kids too!). Additionally, fruit leather can be much healthier, as you can make it yourself at home in an endless number of flavors and varieties. Do not worry, Fresh off the Grid can show you the way.
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High in carbohydrates and high in calories, granola is one of our favorite snacks for hiking, biking and kayaking. It has a long shelf life, packs easily, is resistant to the elements, can be eaten as a garnish or as a standalone snack, and contains just the right amount of sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth. You can create your own (Cookie and Kate can tell you how), or go the other way around and buy it prepackaged and / or bar.
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Protein, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals … what’s not to love about hummus? It’s also a super portable super food. If you’re venturing out for the day, the hummus just needs to be wrapped in an airtight (and leak-proof!) Container. For longer trips, you can buy instant hummus (just add water) or make it yourself at home with these tips from Fresh Off the Grid.
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We’re not talking about ultra-processed, chemical-packed jerky like Slim Jims, but quality jerky that’s packed with protein, vitamins and minerals. It’s meat without heat, and most jerky varieties have a long shelf life and come in resealable packaging, perfect for snacks on the go. If you have a food dehydrator, you can even make your own jerky from everything from beef, turkey, and venison to wild boar, ostrich, and alligator.
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Almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter, all are good as a snack or high calorie meal. Spread it on bread or use it as a dip for fruits, vegetables or crackers. To take it on the road, pour it into a small, airtight container or search your grocery store for individual sachets or mugs that you can easily squeeze onto your snacks (and into your backpack).
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Nuts and seeds are both high in protein and easy to pack in your bag. Peanuts and almonds have the most protein in the nut category (9.5 grams and 7 grams, respectively, per cup serving) and pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds (9 grams and 6 grams, respectively, per 1 ounce serving) have the most amount of snack seeds.
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It’s not just our crazy idea: eating olives on outdoor adventures really is one thing. In fact, some hobby stores (and grocery stores!) Even sell bagged olives for on-the-go bites. Olives contain antioxidants and healthy fats, and if you pair them with cheese, you can really categorize your excursion.
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Popcorn actually contains protein (3 grams per ounce) and fiber (3.5 grams), and it will satisfy your hunger cravings without filling you up or slowing you down. Do not go for bagged varieties with artificial ingredients – make one at home and put it in an airtight container to protect it from being crushed. Or put it on a campfire!
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For a quick fix of carbs without a lot of calories, pull out the pretzels and snack. The little sprinkled salt will also help replace sodium in your body, which is an essential electrolyte lost through sweating. You can even use pretzels to make hummus and other healthy dips!
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Waffles are a popular breakfast for outdoor enthusiasts, including stroopwafels, which are thin, wafer-like waffles usually covered in caramel. A number of companies have even started making portable and packaged versions of these waffles, including the Honey Stinger and GU brands. One of the old brand’s stroopwafels has 150 calories and 21 grams of carbohydrate, and they’re becoming a must-have snack for active people.
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Tortillas are a very versatile backpacking food with many benefits. They pack easily and don’t crush like bread. Wraps are less messy than sandwiches. They go well with dips like hummus or peanut butter. Heck, you can even eat them on their own for some quick carbs!
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Okay, technically we’re cheating here, as our list already has the ingredients for trail mix of nuts, dried fruit, seeds, candy, and stroopwafels (maybe not the latter). But how could we leave the mix off the track, which is the go-to power source? We can’t, because we love our trail mix.
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Low in calories but high in protein (not to mention heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids), tuna can be a fantastic food for trail, mountain and water adventures. Not only is it good for you, but it also has a long lifespan. And if opening a can and mixing tuna seems like too much of a job on the go, you can even buy pre-mixed pouches in the store.
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Celery, cucumber, carrots, cauliflower, peppers, broccoli, tomatoes … they are packed with vitamins, minerals and water, which you will definitely want a lot. Most vegetables contain around 90% water, so you can put a damp paper towel in the bag or container. If you’ve brought a lot of them and don’t want them to be crispy, try storing them in your kitchen gear.