There are some foods which give you energy, a good balance of vitamins and nutrients, are relatively light-weight, and won't spill all over your backpack.
Nuts and legumes tend to pack a lot of punch. They have fats, proteins and carbohydrates needed for sustainable energy and do not take up a lot of space. Trail mix is traditionally popular among hikers for being light in weight, easy to prepare, and have different healthy ingredients. Make sure the ingredients of your trail mix are high quality and do not have too much added salt as it may make you more thirsty during the hike.
It is great if you can pack some fruit because all fruit is made up of lots of liquids and having a fruit snack will help you stay hydrated. The trick with fruit is to bring fruit that won't get squished in your bag and does not have to be re-washed in case it gets dirty. Bananas are great to bring along, but they aren't too light so it is difficult to bring many. Apples tend to be pretty sturdy, but also heavy and require careful re-washing in case they get dirty. Dried fruit take up less space, but have less liquids since they are dried. There is always some trade-off between most sturdy, hydrating, and light fruit that you can bring along with you.
Hiking Lunch Break
There are no stores in forests, so you have no choice but to pack something. If you are comfortable in the kitchen, try to pack a container with a little bit of brown rice, a mix of veggies, and a fork. If you just want to grab something and go, maybe make yourself a sandwich with some good ingredients thrown in and nicely wrapped so it doesn't fall apart in your backpack. If you really do not wan to prepare food for the hike, a bagel and some random stuff will do. Just be prepared to envy the other hikers who brought a nice meal to eat on the hike.
Various Energy and Health Bars
Various snack bars are popular among hikers because they are very light, take very little space, and are shaped in a compact manner which allows people to throw a few of them into an already full backpack, and still fit without a problem. These bars tend to be loaded with vitamins and proteins, but since some of them claim claim to be types of vitamin supplements, they do not get tested by the FDA, so be careful about completely trusting the companies who make these products.
Trail mix is a great option for many people because it tends to be healthy, non-processed food that weighs comparatively little with the amount of energy that the foods in the trail mix gives you. Of course, there are different types of trail mix. The most optimal is a combination of healthy nuts such as almonds or walnuts, and dried fruit like cranberry, blueberry, or raisins. Many stores sell more "fun" kinds of trail mix that have bits of candy or chocolate inside, but those aren't as optimal for giving you the most energy. Also, keep in mind that the dried food has less water than other kinds of food, so make sure to drink a little bit more fluids if your main source of food is trail mix.
Bring Plenty of Water
The body loses a lot of fluids during hiking. In addition to food, make sure to bring enough water to keep you hydrated, especially in dry and arid conditions. Sufficient hydration can be the difference between getting a bad leg cramp in the middle of the woods or not. Don't neglect water. It will help you get through the hike in good shape and in a better mood.
Chocolate, Wine and Cheese
Of course, if you want to want to make the experience more special, you can bring along some items that will make things more pleasant instead of simply being being optimized for maximum hydration and least carrying weight. If wine is too heavy, something nice to bring along is a bar of chocolate that you can share with the rest of the hikers. Sharing food tends to open people up and is a very nice way to bond while taking a break from the hike.
Join Us On The Hikes
If you like to hike or be outdoors, or even if you are curious about it, feel welcome to join a hike that is scheduled through our site, or even start your own hike. The site was made with the goal of making hiking and being outdoors more accessible and educational so the more the merrier - we will be glad to have you join! :)
Bringing Along a Small Grill
If you want to go all out, you can buy a very small grill that you can bring along with you on the hikes. Such grills are very popular among people who enjoy longer hikes and camping trips, since they know that they will be in the outdoors for at least a few meals, and want to eat some tasty hot food.
There is one new and very cool grill that literally folds up to fit inside your pocket. That grill is aptly named the Pocket Grill and you can take read more about it our hiking and camping grill overview page.