Categories: Hiking

10 Hiking Experts Reveal Their Favorite Backpacking Food

​You ​certainly know that planning your next hike doesn't go without carefully choosing what food you are going to take with you.

Your hiking food must provide you with sufficient energy to complete your trip and at the same time must be light enough not to become a burden.

​Whenever you look on the Internet for what to eat when hiking, you will usually find the typical porridge, pasta, tuna, and rice recipes. ​

But I am sure you'd be interested in knowing what food other hikers carry in their backpacks. I would!

So I decided to ask some hiking experts what is their favorite food when they hit the trails. I was nicely surprised by the answers I got that will undoubtedly bring some originality for my next hiking trip.

So without further ado, here are ​some hiking food ideas directly from the experts.

Keep in mind that the responses are listed in the order they were received (no favoritism here, I like all of them!!!)

Paul Mags

Pecorino Romano cheese is one of my absolute favorite hiking foods. Long lasting in the field, keeps well even in hot weather, has a good amount of sodium for some needed salty goodness, chock full of protein, fats, and calories per ounce, too. Best of all? Very scrumptious. 

The Roman Legions carried a hunk of this cheese on the march. Good enough for them. Good enough for me.

Who is Paul Mags:
Twenty years of online presence in the hiking community. He completed the Triple Crown of hiking (AT, PCT, CDT).
He writes about his outdoor trips and sometimes his gear all with an eye towards practicality, to the point with no-frills, some wry humor, and the occasional musing that he thought of while out somewhere.

His blog:

Cris Hazzard

I really like anything that's nutritionally dense, healthy, and easy to eat without prep. Probars fit the bill nicely.

They cross off all of the checkboxes for health, vegan, blended not cooked, low-GI, high-fiber, and the list goes on.

What I really like about them is that the mix of nutrients gives me a slow-burn energy that goes on for a long time.

There's no sugar rush (and crash) like you get with some other bars. And lots of flavors means I don't get burnt out on them.

Who is Cris Hazzard:
Experiencing the outdoors through hiking is the easy way to have some fun, get fit, and let nature recharge your batteries. Cris is sharing these easy hiking directions and hiking tips to help you live some adventure too. His website features everything you need to know for your next hiking adventure.

His blog:

Aaron Johnson

Most of my hikes are day hikes, so I'm packing snacks and a lunch that give me the power I need to hike the last five miles back to the trailhead. I go for low-glycemic, calorie and protein-rich foods. For good calories and sugars, I pack strawberries and fresh blueberries in a container. I'm not a fan of most energy bars, but I do like Kind Bars because they tend to be low on the sugar and high on the protein. I also pack a high cocoa % dark chocolate. For protein, you just can't beat beef jerky. However, I usually boil a couple of eggs the night before and pack them in a lightweight plastic container. 

Who is Aaron Johnson:
Aaron is the founder of
Day Hikes Near Denver helps you and your family quickly find a day hike and get out on the trail.
​He profiles Colorado hiking trails, giving you directions to the trailhead, links to maps, and all the important information you need to find the best hikes.

Max & Kim Karren 

One of my favorite lunchtime foods is a fish taco. My local grocer sells delicious homemade flour tortillas that I like to bring backpacking.

I also take a tuna packet, mayo packets, and hot sauce (preferably Sriracha) squeezed into a smaller container.

This taco concoction gives me a real energy boost on a long hike.

The only problem is it smells so good I have to ward off hungry campmates and bears.

Who are Max & Kim Karren:
Max and Kim Karren are the authors of, a publication written to inspire people to reap the benefits of the outdoors. She is an ICU nurse and he is a freelance web developer. They can be spotted hiking anywhere in the American west with their dog Arrow and baby Maia, but they currently live in Tucson, Arizona. Their favorite cactus is the Organ Pipe because it looks like it has tentacles.

Their blog:

Megan Maxwell

For me, I try to still eat enough vegetables and fruit while I’m in the outdoors.

I love to make a Southwest rice dish in the evenings on hiking trips. It’s basically Southwest-flavored rice, dehydrated veggies, freeze-dried beef, and cheese all mixed together.

As far as foods go, chocolate and coffee are two must haves for me.

For snacks, I’m a sucker for tasty dried fruits like mango, pineapple, and apricot.

Who is Megan Maxwell:
She's a long-distance hiker, blogger, author, and outdoor professional.
She travels all over the world (and sometimes stay home in the USA) in search of mountains and trails.
She founds her love of hiking on the Appalachian Trail back in 2012 and since then have hiked in the Himalayas, the Andes, and a few countries in Europe.
On her blog, she provides information on hiking and backpacking all over the world. Whether you're a first-timer or a thru-hiker, there's something there for you.

Rick McCharles

Most nights tenting in the backcountry I cook up the same basic dinner:
Instant mashed potatoes with instant soup (often Knorr brand).
Instant mashed potatoes are available in small grocery shops the world over as is instant soup.
To keep gear as light as possible I cook, eat and drink out of one pot.
I carry only one metal spoon. No knife, fork or spork.
To enhance the fairly bland base meal I add chili powder or lemon pepper. Then something like peanuts, raisins or tuna.
I never seem to tire of this grub. Cook up is fast using very little fuel. Clean-up quick and easy.

Who is Rick McCharles:
Rick McCharles, from Canada, is the editor of
Rick spends much of the year hiking around the world. The rest of the year planning his next hikes.
He’s hiked many of the best ​trails in 30 nations. Five times, so far, in Nepal for example.

His blog:

​Mallory Moskowitz​

In my pre-keto days, some of my favorite trail snacks were the crunchy Nature Valley granola bars and fig newtons because they were too easy to just grab and go, even in tiny towns with limited variety for resupply.

My favorite go-to backpacking meal, before I went keto, was a package of Knorr rice sides with a packet of tuna/salmon/chicken added in - again because this is too easy to make and you can usually find those things in just about any town.

Now that I’m keto though, my go-to snacks are string cheese and homemade (sugar-free) beef jerky.

The best keto meal I’ve made on the trail, so far, is a package of broccoli/cauliflower rice cooked in olive oil, then add in precooked chicken and shredded, melty cheese.

Who is ​Mallory Moskowitz:
​Mallory Moskowitz is the owner, certified professional coach, and guide at Your Adventure Coach.
Her goal is to provide free resources, information, coaching programs and workshops to hikers of all experience levels and from every walk of life.

​​Bridget Carlson​

My favorite meal out on the trail is Mountain House Biscuits & Gravy. I can eat them anytime of the day! They taste homemade and are my guilty pleasure when hiking.

My favorite quick meal, however, is what I call a Tuna Salad wrap which is just a packet of premixed tuna packet on a tortilla with a side of diced peaches to go with it.

My favorite snack by far is the Kind Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter bar.

Who is ​Bridget Carlson:
​Bridget (aka Nutty Hiker) is a military wife, freelance journalist, avid hiker, and the face behind Antics of a Nutty Hiker & Military Spouse where she shares her expertise on outdoor adventure and travel (with some military life adventure mixed in).
She is currently preparing to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail with her husband, who will be freshly retired from the Army, in 2020 and has recently taken up vlogging on her YouTube channel. Her ultimate goal in life is to thru-hike every long trail in the United States.

Her blog:

​Thomas Smallwood

These days, due to work and family commitments, I don’t get out for more than 3 days at a time. The up side is that it is easy to carry supplies, so if there is the chance of making a fire I can pack my Wolf and Grizzly portable grill and a couple of steaks. Grilled, with a little olive oil, salt and a squeeze of lemon - you can’t go wrong.

When it comes to snacks, I make my own trail mix with cashews, almonds and cranberries. I also pack in a few Nakd bars which are simply delicious!

Quick cook porridge is my breakfast choice because it sets me up for a day of walking and I like to add a little honey or dried apricots.

Who is ​Thomas Smallwood:
​​​Tom quit the rat-race to embark on a more adventurous life, balancing entrepreneurial ventures with his passion for nature and blogging about the benefits of time spent outdoors.
He is also a member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild.

​Chica and Sunsets

Hiking foods we liked:

Chica – I took advantage of eating whatever I wanted: Jolly Ranchers and Sweetart mini’s for snacks and tortillas with chicken nuggets and mayo or Triscuits with cheese for meals.

Sunsets – I am a simple man, give me jerky, or any meat snack, and I am good. I never got tired of jerky no matter how often I ate it. I also, enjoyed dried fruit, particularly mango dusted in chili powder – mmmm. 

We did get very tired of a few meals on our Appalachian Trail thru-hike: Knorr Sides, Idahoian Mashed Potatoes, and peanut butter.

Who ​are Chicas and Sunsets:
​​​​Chica and Sunsets (aka Jen and Greg Seymour) are adventures, former expats, living a simplified lifestyle with a focus on adventures.
​They thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2017, and most recently completed the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile pilgrimage across northern Spain.
​Jen is the author of six books, all of which can be found on Amazon under “Jen Beck Seymour.”
Greg is the author of two books about assimilating to expat life in Costa Rica and he has co-authored, with his wife, a tip book for prospective thru-hikers of the Appalachian Trail.

​Their blog:

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