Even on a relatively level trail, backpacking can be an exhausting adventure. It’s important to bring plenty of food to recharge your batteries while hiking. On an extended trip, a backpacker can burn 4,000-9,000 calories a day, which means your body will need a lot of fuel.
The best backpacking foods are compact, easy to prepare, dense in calories and can be eaten with a camping knife or multi-tool. Luckily, there are a number of lightweight, compact food items that still pack a caloric punch. The following are the top four trail foods that offer a high amount of calories per weight. Yum!
1. Peanut butter. Not just for kids anymore! Peanut butter is high in calories and protein, both of which you need to keep your energy up during a long hike. Use your camping knife to spread some on a tortilla, or use a pre-filled tube, and you’ve got a high-calorie hiking wrap.
2. Chocolate. It may seem like just a sweet treat, but chocolate is one of the best foods you can take hiking. It’s compact, full of carbs and protein, and it’s also a treat! Add small chocolate candies to your trail mix, or bring along some candy bars. Snickers is a perennial backpacking favorite.
3. Nuts. They’re all natural, delicious and packed full of protein. Pair them with some dried fruit and you have a healthy trail mix that will give you all the energy you need. And the best part is you don’t need your multi tool or camping knife to eat them. Make sure to get unsalted ones, though – you don’t want to dehydrate.
4. SPAM. This trail food isn’t for everyone, but it is a high-calorie, high-protein snack that can be easily eaten with a fork or multi-tool. One can is probably enough for a day-trip – you don’t want to live on SPAM alone, even in the woods.
[Photo by: Andy Coan]