Before you head off on your next winter adventure, it’s important to pack smart and bring the fuel your body needs to make it out in one piece. There are lots of ways to get the right nutrients for an outdoor mission, but here are 13 trail-ready items I always throw in my backpack.


Photo by Tiare Brown

1. Granola Bars

These portable snacks are a hiking staple, but be cautious which types you pack. Opt for granola bars with a higher fat content, because consuming fats in the morning will slow digestion and increase energy production all day.

2. Fruit

Besides containing nutrients like potassium, which reduces muscle cramps, fruit is chock-full of the sugars your brain needs to wake up in the morning and function all day. For example, a cutie or tangerine would be a perfect snack and its super easy to pack.


Photo by Tiare Brown

3. Peanut Butter

Not only does peanut butter taste great on just about anything, but it also gives your body some very important fuel. It’s high in protein, a building block of the body that is especially important after strenuous activity. It also contains a lot of fat, which packs twice as much energy per gram as carbs, giving you maximum efficiency if you want to pack a light bag for your trip.

4. Jerky

If you’re looking for something to snack on late in the day, jerky is the perfect choice. The high protein content helps your body rebuild muscles worn down during the day, making it a smart choice after a long hike.

5. Hummus

Yet another protein-packed snack that always hits the spot. If you don’t want to struggle with a sloppy tub of hummus, opt for a portable pack that goes great with chips, crackers and veggies.

6. Coconut Chips

If you have never tried coconut chips, it is time to expand your horizon because these things are delicious. Plus, they’re rich in fiber and complex carbs that absorb slowly, giving you energy for hours. They are the ultimate hiking necessity.


Photo by Tiare Brown

7. Fruit Snacks

Aside from being sweet and delectable, fruit snacks are great for giving you the short bursts of energy your brain needs in the afternoon. Again, these little guys are super easy to pack in your bag. Just grab and go.

8. Vitamins

If you’re heading out on a winter trip with a big group of people, it is super important to put health first and watch out for all the colds going around. One way to do that is to stop sickness before it even starts with vitamin supplements.

9. Seeds

A pack of seeds is a highly portable snack to have at hand if you need long lasting energy for a strenuous day. They are also relatively light for the amount of energy they pack, making them an efficient choice.

10. Candy

It might seem counter intuitive to pack something sugar-filled alongside a more healthy array of snacks, but candy has its place in a good day pack. The simple sugar in candy creates fast heat energy, which your brain needs right before difficult activities like summiting a mountain, so go ahead and indulge.

11. Trail Mix

This classic hiking snack has a place in most backpacks for a reason. Not only is it versatile and easily customizable, it is also an excellent balance of sugars and fats, which is exactly what your body needs for a day on the trails.

12. Hummus Chips

They’re salty, they’re crunchy, and they have a great combination of fats and starches. What more could you ask for in a bag of chips?


Photo by Tiare Brown

13. Water

This, of course, is the most important item in any hiker’s bag. If you’re out all day you should be drinking about three liters of water, so make sure to pack enough for your entire trip. Proper hydration can help with everything from muscle cramps to hypothermia meaning you shouldn’t try to lighten your load by under-packing water.