I enjoy walking around my local forests and mountains as much as the next person, but I don't know if I would call what I do "hiking." I'm more of a lax walker who likes to take in a nice view every once in a while. Hard-core hikers, unlike me, have fancy backpacks with tons of compartments filled with endless supplies. While I may not know much about hiking, I do know a lot about snacking, specifically, the nutritional side of snacks and what they do for the body. It's important to find the best hiking snacks to bring on your next adventure, so your body can perform at its best.

When you hike, your body exerts a lot of energy. It's crucial to give your body salt, protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates, and calories to replenish your body after sweating and exercising away all of this good stuff. Protein is especially essential when hiking because you're breaking your muscles down as you exercise, and you need to rebuild this loss with a mix of protein and carbohydrates. Besides that, healthy fats and calories keep you full, so you don't get hungry on the trail.

If you're unsure what to pack on your next outdoor escapade, here are some of the best hiking snacks to bring along.

1. Nut Butter

coffee, candy, dairy product, milk, cream, sweet, chocolate, peanut butter, spoon, jar
Caroline Ingalls

If you want the perfect excuse to eat a lot of peanut butter, go hiking. Nut butters, like scrumptious peanut butter, are full of protein, calories, and healthy fats, which fuel you up and keep you fuller for longer. If walking up and down a bunch of dangerous terrain means I get to eat peanut butter by the spoonful, count me in.

2. Bananas

banana, vegetable, pasture
Eunice Choi

Ready for a game changer? If you don't want to eat peanut butter by the spoonful and have it get stuck to the roof of your mouth, try spreading some on a banana. But without the nut butter, bananas are just as amazing because they're packed with potassium and they help fight off cramps.  

3. Beef Jerky

Tess Wei

I know a lot about this food thanks to my friends Jackson and Oliver from Hannah Montana because of their iconic song "Cheese Jerky." In regards to hiking, beef jerky has a ton of protein that'll help your body refuel. Maybe on your hike, you can eat some beef jerky and even come up with a song to pay homage to your Disney roots.

4. Tuna

sandwich, lettuce, bread, tomato, meat, cheese, toast, vegetable
Caitlin Johnson

If you're concerned about getting stinky breath from tuna, don't worry about it. I doubt that your hiking partner will want to be that close to you anyways when you're sweaty and tired. Ignoring the smell, tuna can be easily stashed and opened on the trail. All you need to do is spread some on bread or crackers to get your dose of protein.

5. Energy Bars

candy, chocolate
Emma Delaney

There are tons of energy bars on the market, which can make it confusing when it's time to choose one. The main thing to keep in mind is to get one that suits your needs. Get a bar that has high carbohydrates, fat, protein, or calories depending on your workout. PROBAR and Larabar are two examples of energy bar companies that make great snacks for hiking.

6. Dried Fruit

Hailey Nelson

Dried fruit is energy-dense and full of calories to help you climb every mountain like a boss. Plus, dried fruit won't get squished in your backpack. 

7. Granola

sweet, cereal, corn, chocolate, wheat flake, oatmeal, wheat, milk, bran
Hailey Maher

This is the best hiking snack if you want something sweet and crunchy that you can eat while you're walking. High in fat and calories, granola will keep you full and won't go bad after a long day of hiking.

8. Vegetables

vegetable, carrot, local produce, fresh vegetables, farmer's market
Sam Jesner

Carrots, celery, and broccoli are all great snacks to bring if you want to go hiking. Vegetables have great health benefits that boost immunity and help digestion, which is vital since there's no time for long potty breaks outdoors. When packing your veggies, choose heartier ones that can withstand long periods without refrigeration. 

9. Seeds

pumpkin seeds, nut, vegetable, salt
Steph Auble

Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are two great options to take on a hike because they're full of protein that will help replenish your muscles after a long hike. There's 5 grams of protein in two tablespoons of pumpkin seeds and 7 grams of protein in 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds

10. Trail Mix

nut, almond, peanut
Christin Urso

When I say that trail mix helps fuel your hike, I want to make it clear that you actually have to eat the nuts and raisins to get the valuable stuff for your body and not just the M&Ms. I wish I could just eat the chocolate and be strong as heck, but life doesn't work that way.

When you're looking to get the best hiking snacks for your next trip, check out some of these options. As long as your hiking snacks have healthy fats, calories, carbohydrates and protein to fuel your body, you'll be able to stay on the trail for a long time.