I cannot believe it’s already the end of June and I haven’t even been hiking or camping this year! Things have been busy and with a new announcement for my business coming soon, you’ll see why. The good news is that I am super excited for whats the come, the bad news is I feel like I’ve had less than normal drive to go outside and explore, which I know will re-energize me and get me even more focused in on my goals.
I’m hoping by writing about some of my favorite hiking things, I’ll be more motivated to pack my bags and head outside. My family and I will usually have gone on a hike or a camping trip at least twice by this time in the year but unfortunately, life has gotten in the way. In the Adirondacks, it’s really not worth it (in my eyes) to go hiking until June anyway. Many will argue with me but hey, I don’t love being cold so for me optimal hiking/camping season is June-September. We are in no rush to reach all 46 High Peaks in the Adirondacks but one day hope to see all that they have to offer. I think since I’ve moved here 6 years ago, I have been on 11 High Peaks and many other smaller peaks.
I’m not sure what it is about being outside, in the wilderness with no cell service and no access to people other than who you are with, but for me it cures everything. I love being able to move my body, get an excellent workout all while be disconnected from email, social media and everything in between. Some people meditate, I instead, use moving my body in nature while shutting my brain off as a pseudo-meditation. What can I say, I’m terrible at sitting still.
This week, I wanted to show you what a dietitian would take or should I say does take with her while hiking and camping. I usually take a cool box with me if we are going camping so we can cook some proper food but I know not everyone will have one and if you’re only going hiking, there’s not much point in taking a lot of food. So, when I hike I am always looking for more portable and healthy items. Keep in mind that this is just for a day hike as I’m a fan of coming home to take a shower and sleep in my bed. It also means I can take a lighter bag, like those from Arkadia Supply, rather than lugging the kitchen sink around. Maybe one day I’ll get out there and go for a multiple day hiking extravaganza, but for now, I’ll stick to day hikes thank you very much.
Hiking Food & Snacks
When planning for any trip I always make sure I plan for what I’m going to eat and drink. It’s my #1 priority as I want to feel my best and also avoid a hanger-meltdown of the ages. Here are some of the most nutrient dense and portable foods I have found that satisfy my hunger and also fuel me for activity.
Water (and lots of it!)
I use a camelback on most hikes as it’s way easier to transport larger amounts of water in that device. I also pack at least 1 extra water bottle in my pack for easy access and for electrolyte replacement. The funny thing is that I don’t drink a lot when I hike, which is NOT recommended, I just need to be reminded. I even bought myself this in case I get stuck and need an easy way to pee!
That being said you need to make sure you pack enough water for yourself, your group, any dogs with you and so on. Water will be the heaviest thing you pack, so be smart and leave other unnecessary items at home in lieu of bringing water.
Canned Tuna/Salmon or Packets
I know, fish sounds weird, but hear me out. We usually each pack 1 can each of tuna or salmon to enjoy at the top of the mountain (with a reusable hiking spork) and believe me it is VERY enjoyable and delicious when you are hungry. The great news is that it’s easy to pack and relatively light. The other great news is that it is rich in protein which is hard to pack enough of on a hike.
The packets were a game changer for me because they are more lightweight and far easier with clean up, Pack a large plastic baggie and you’re good to go on the way in and the way out! Wild Planet is my favorite brand as the fish are sustainably sourced, no funky ingredients found on the label and downright tasty.
Fruit (i.e. apples, oranges, & bananas)
While I am really into berries & melons, they can create a mess in the backpack (believe me I’ve tried). So I’ve found over the years that apples & oranges are best. If I could eat bananas those would also be in my pack, so I’d suggest you pack those if you can eat bananas. Great source of carbs, easy to digest, portable/light-weight, and down right delicious when you are hiking.
Not to mention, your need for carbohydrate and water (found in fruit) increases with activity and sweat. Fruit is the perfect hiking snack. Apples will be the best option as they will be ok if you leave them out in the woods. If you pack oranges & bananas make sure you bring the peels back with you!
Jerky & Meat Sticks
Jerky and meat sticks were made for camping and hiking. They are incredibly portable, shelf stable (aka don’t need refrigeration) and are a rich source of protein. I LOVE the taste of jerky while hiking. These Epic Bars might be my favorite and tend to go on sale a lot, so win-win. I also love packs of jerky (like Krave) and meat sticks (like Vermont Smoke & Cure).
To top it off jerky is inherently salty which is much needed on days where you are sweating profusely. All around great snack idea for hiking adventures.
When hiking you tend to sweat a lot, especially on the uphill portions. In your sweat you lose not only water but also electrolytes. These Nuun tablets help to replace electrolytes and also are delicious and come in many flavors! I pack these and toss in the water bottle (not camelback!) to ensure I’m repleting electrolytes on top of also water.
When you hike (especially uphill) as I’ve mentioned, you sweat out electrolytes, sodium being one of them. I CRAVE salt as I hike much more than I do sweet stuff. So I usually pack some gluten-free pretzels, crackers, or chips to get my salt repleted and get some calories in there as well!
As you’ve seen protein is the name of the game, you need easy to transport foods, that are nutrient dense, taste good and are easy to digest. Protein balls fit all the above and I just love them. Make them with your favorite protein powders, nut butters, and fillings and you’ll probably be out because your friends will eat them all (speaking from experience).
Post Snack Goodness
After the hike is all said and done, it feels amazing to take your shoes and and then crack a cold beer/cider/beverage. I love love love finishing a hike with a water bottle in one hand and a crisp cider in the other. Nothing better! Not to mention I tend to finish the rest of my snacks and am ready for some tasty tacos and margaritas!
Alright, that’s enough about that, after all the whole point of hiking is to disconnect. Let me know below what you pack for hikes!