Hungry Hiker: What Food to Pack for a Big Hike

We are officially a week out from our Whitney hike, and boy are we excited! In addition to getting together our gear and packing for the rest of our trip, I have been focusing on pulling together what food we will need for our day out on the trail. While we have had to pack food for our various training hikes, there are different criteria that we are focusing on for the “big day.”

  • Weight: We are looking to minimize as much pack weight, so packing exactly what we need (and nothing else) is important.
  • Durability: Along with minimizing weight is minimizing our pack size, so we need foods that can deal with getting crushed.
  • Protein: We want food that is high in protein to keep us going throughout the long day.
  • Salt & Sugar: Salty foods will help keep our electrolytes balanced, and sugars (natural is preferred) will give us carbohydrates.

So what was on my shopping list? A list of items that rival a Michelin-star restaurant. NOT!

Hungry Hiker Photo (Jun 2014)

While this may change, right now I plan on feasting on protein bars, peanut and raisin mix and beef jerky. Enticing, huh? Let me explain why I’ve made these choices:

PROTEIN BARS: The name says it all. They’re packed with protein (21g) and their small and light-weight. I chose the peanut butter flavor to get my “sweet n’ salty” despite wanting something with chocolate (which I knew was going to end up as a gooey mess).

PEANUTS & RAISINS: This little homemade concoction is both simple and to-the-point. The nuts are a great source of protein and salt, and the raisins provide a little sugar! They are crush-proof and will be a great snack on the trail.

BEEF JERKY: Since there won’t be a Subway for me to grab a sandwich, the next alternative is to get “meat” through jerky. This really is not a favorite—more of an essential. It was this or canned sardines (YUCK—something suggested to me by another hiker).

So what does a hungry hiker eat after an epic hike like Mt. Whitney? Something DELICIOUS…and we are already scoping out where our “victory meal” will be when we return to town! I vote for a huge bowl of pasta, but I think Andy is eyeing the biggest ribeye steak he can find! What would you choose?

Do you have a big hike or outdoor excursion on the horizon? I hope some of my food packing ideas can help inspire your packing list when you’re getting ready for your next outdoor activity.

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