As the weather turns warmer, a great outdoor activity is a day hike. Nothing beats hiking when the sun is shining, and the sky is blue. For your hike, you will need to bring essential items like hiking shoes, socks, and a backpack.
However, one item you should not overlook is a nutritious and filling snack. When your energy levels start to dip, the right snack can give you that extra push needed to complete the last mile of your hike.
For this article, we compiled a list of the best snacks for hiking in hot weather. These are foods that we would eat during our outdoor adventures. We also spent time researching which foods are the best for hiking.
When compiling our list, we considered things like the ingredients and nutritional facts of the snack. The foods that made this list had to be nutritious, energizing, and taste great.
What Makes An Energising Snack?
An energizing snack should balance the three macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Carbohydrates are easily and quickly processed by our bodies. They are the main energy source your body uses for hiking and other high endurance activities.
While proteins will fuel your body, they mostly help with recovery. Proteins will help repair the leg muscles you burn during your hike.
Fats act as an energy reserve. They should fuel your body for the entire day. However, you should not pick fatty junk foods for your hiking snack. Instead, pick food high in healthy fats like omega-3 or omega-6.
Salt is another key ingredient in a hiking snack. Salty foods will help replenish the electrolytes you lose from sweat. Food with a high water content like watermelon or cucumbers are good snacks as well.
They will keep you hydrated in hot weather. Sugar is something to be aware of. While sugar can give you a quick energy boost, the effect is short-lived.
So, if you need a little boost, a sugary snack is a good option. Just keep in mind that you may come down hard from the sugar high.
Lastly, foods high in electrolytes are good snacks. We already mentioned that salty food help replenishes electrolytes. Other examples include almonds, peanuts, bananas, raisins, broccoli, and spinach.
Best Snacks For Hiking In Hot Weather
Fruit is a good source of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs are packed full of nutrients, digest more slowly, and are more filling. This means that they will keep you fueled the entire day. Fruits like grapes or watermelon will help keep you hydrated during warm days. Apples, oranges, and bananas are good sources of potassium, which is an electrolyte.
Dry fruit is another great hiking snack. It is easy to pack, and they will not get squashed in your hiking backpack. Dry fruit also has all the nutrients of fresh fruit. Some examples include dried apricot, cranberries, raisins, and dates.
Vegetables are another source of complex carbohydrates. Vegetables like carrots or broccoli are good snacks because they are filling, and they will not spoil in hot weather.
Cucumbers or celery have tons of water in them, which will help quench your thirst on warm days.
These fruit pouches have the right blend of sugar and carbs to fuel your body on your hike. You can find premade applesauce pouches in most grocery stores. GoGo Squeez is a popular example of a premade applesauce pouch.
They are nutritious and contain no artificial ingredients. You can also make your own applesauce. You can find several applesauce recipes online.
This snack classic is a staple food for hiking enthusiasts. Most trail mixes contain nuts, dried fruit, seeds (e.g., sunflower or pumpkin seeds), granola, and other items like chocolate or candy.
The ingredients combine to make a nutritious snack. You will get the energy-boosting carbs from the fruit and granola. Plus, you get sustained energy from the fats in the nuts. And to top it all off, chocolate or candy is a tasty treat.
Trail mix also makes a great snack because they are light, portable, and will last all day in hot weather.
You can find prepackaged trail mixes at most grocery stores. You can also buy it in bulk or in large containers from stores like Costco.
However, premade trail mixes can contain unhealthy amounts of salt, sugar, and hydrogenated oils. For a healthier option, you can make your own trail mix.
Jerky is a great source of proteins and salt. They are easy to carry and will not get crushed in your pack. Plus, jerky can be left out for a long time without spoiling.
This makes it excellent and one of the best snacks for hiking in hot weather. You can buy jerky at grocery stores or your local butcher. Or if you are feeling ambitious, you can try making your own at home.
Best Snacks For Energy
Protein bars are a great snack when you need something to satisfy your hunger. The best protein bars are thick and contain a healthy blend of carbs, proteins, and fats.
However, some protein bars have been criticized for their high levels of sugar; they are sometimes called “candy bars in disguise”. Therefore, try to pick candy bars that are low in sugar (ideally 13 mg) and are made from natural ingredients.
Popular protein bars include RX Bar, Clif Bar, and Pure Protein Bar. You can also make your own protein bars at home.
Another good source of protein, fats, and other nutrients is cheese. They are best eaten at the midday point of your hike when you need to refuel your body.
The type of cheese you bring depends on how long it will last unrefrigerated. You do not want a cheese that will go bad by lunchtime. Overall, a good cheese to bring on a hike should be:
- Firm or semi-firm
- Have a low moisture content
If a cheese has these characteristics, it will last for the entire hike.
Some examples include cheddar, parmesan, and asiago cheeses. Avoid soft cheeses like brie or blue cheese. These will quickly spoil when left unrefrigerated. Babybel cheese is another great option. Since they are encased in wax, Babybel cheeses will last the entire time you hike.
Just like trail mixes, snack packs combine various foods together like crackers, cheese, dried fruit, nuts, and meats (e.g., pepperoni). Snack packs provide a great blend of your macronutrients. This helps fuel your body for those long, intense day hikes.
A classic snack pack is cheddar cheese, roasted nuts (either almonds or cashews), and cranberries. You can find snack packs at any grocery store. Plus, you can make your own snack combos.
How To Keep Cool Whilst You’re Hiking In Hot Weather
Arguably the best time to hike is during the summer. However, in summer hiking, the weather can get extremely hot. If you are not prepared for these warm days, then your hike will not be a pleasant experience. But there are things you can do to keep cool while hiking in hot weather.
The first step to take is to choose the type of hike you will do. For hot days, try to pick a hike in a forested area that provides plenty of shade. Also, try to find a hike close to a lake or river. The cold wind coming from the water will help keep you cool.
Easier, less intense hikes are a better option over strenuous mountain treks.
The second step is to pick a time to hike. Try to avoid hiking at the warmest points of the day, which is usually between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm.
Next, make sure you wear sun protection. Apply sunscreen to any exposed skin. You can also wear a sun hat to protect your face, ears, and neck from getting sunburn.
Clothing is another important factor to consider. Thick, heavy shirts and pants are not things you want to wear for a hike in hot weather. Instead, go with light clothing like shorts, tank tops, or sports shirts. For women, it is best to wear special sports bras. Also, make sure your clothes have good ventilation. This will prevent you from overheating.
Use a hiking daypack that is lightweight and well built, to allow ventilation.
During your hike, it is important to stay hydrated. That means drinking plenty of water. Dehydration will set in if you do not drink enough water. The symptoms include increased thirst, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.
How much water you bring and the amount you drink really depends on how hot it is. One general rule is to drink at least two cups of water for every one hour spent hiking.
On extremely hot days, some people will need to drink up to 1L of water every hour. But in general, make sure you pack enough water to last you the entire day. Plus, drink small amounts of water at regular intervals. This ensures your supply will last.
You should also replenish the electrolytes you lose from sweat.
Sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade are a good source of electrolytes. Foods that are high in sodium, potassium, magnesium, and other minerals will replenish any electrolytes you lose during your hike.
Lastly, electrolyte supplements like powders or tablets are a quick and easy way to keep your levels up.
Keeping your body fueled is an important part of hiking. Therefore, you will need a snack that is both energizing and tasty. We hope this article gave you some ideas of what snacks to bring on your next outdoor adventure.
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