There is a laundry list of necessary supplies you’ll need to bring with you for winter hiking. Water, proper footwear, and extra layers are all important parts of being fully prepared for a winter hike.
However, having the best snacks for a winter hike is also among the most important things to bring along. There are snacks out there that are packaged specifically to fit into backpacks. Many are designed to help give you all the energy you need throughout your trek.
There are still three main categories that you want to focus on while packing. Snacks that boost your warmth; keep your calories up, and will never freeze are essential.
Warmth Boosting Snacks
Keeping warm is something all winter hikers will have to face at some point and packing up some of these snacks can easily help you stay cozy:
- Ramen noodles
- Miso soup
- Hot chocolate
Ramen and miso are staples in winter camping because of how cheap, light, and easy to cook they are. In particular for ramen, their packaging usually only requires that you pour boiling water in for you to cook it.
Not only are these dishes easy to cook but they are certainly filling and can warm you up like sitting next to a crackling bonfire. Also, while bread in itself is a good snack, it goes great with soup and adds a little extra carbs for energy on the trail.
As for warm drinks, tea and coffee are classics and just as easy to make as ramen. You’d also be surprised at how easy it is to make hot chocolate on the trail as well. Again, all you really need is boiling water, the ingredients, a thermos and you’ll be all set.
While coffee and tea can be great for extra energy and warmth, be wary that these drinks will actually dehydrate you so they are best used as campsite beverages rather than hiking ones. While it may not be too great for warmth, water is always the best thing to drink on like treks into the wilderness.
Calorie Dense Winter Hiking Snacks
When you’re out hiking, you are losing a lot of calories and part of having the right snack is having one that can replenish those calories and keep up your stamina. Here’s a few examples of popular calorie dense winter hiking snacks:
- Mac & Cheese
- Pre-cooked meats
While cheese is certainly a no for summer hikes unless you plan on hauling a cooler, for winter hikes, cheese will last much longer. Of course, always be careful and check to see if your cheese is still good before eating it though.
Dairy based products are always good for some carbohydrates and, surprisingly, avocado is also great for a filling meal on the trail. Preparing it can be somewhat of a struggle but you can use it in many ways and you can even pre-make guacamole without it taking up too much space in your pack.
Of course, there are also the meats available that make a great mid-hike lunch. Lunch meats like bologna, salami, and even pre-cooked sausage will keep well and ensure all the energy you’ll need for the trail ahead.
Snacks That Don’t Freeze
One of winter hiking’s main challenges is that things tend to freeze overnight or even during the day. Water needs to be kept fairly warm and snacks can freeze and become inedible until they’re thawed out too.
However, there are some trail snacks that are perfect for even the coldest winter hikes because they don’t freeze. A few examples of these kinds of snacks are:
- Dried fruit
- Fig Newtons
- Beef Jerky
Nuts and dried fruit are a classic even on summer hiking trips and really have it all in terms of calories, portability, and flavor. What’s more, they will be edible even in below freezing temperatures.
Fig Newtons are also a surprising addition to this being that the filling inside is fairly liquid-like and you would expect it to freeze easily. However, figs do not freeze easily and the outer bar surrounding it acts as a buffer so it is even more difficult to freeze all the way through.
Also, beef jerky is another classic hiking treat that is great to snack on while you’re walking and it will take some dangerous temperatures to freeze these. The cold will make it a little more stiff but it will certainly be edible.
That being said, all the foods on this list will freeze eventually if left in freezing temperatures for a long time. So don’t expect to leave all your supplies out for a whole day and your snacks to be nice and chewy.