If you’ve ever hiked for a long period of time, you know that you need to snack throughout your hike to stay energized. During intense hikes, your energy levels deplete and it’s important to be smart when choosing what to snack on. Hikers should be eating snacks every 60 to 90 minutes between meals so they don’t run through their glycogen stores.
Glycogen stores are the stored form of glucose (a type of sugar converted from carbohydrates) in your liver and muscles, and they act as a source of energy while you stay active. With more intense activities, you use up the stores more quickly. When your glycogen stores get too low while you’re exercising, you’ll feel run-down and tired.
In order to keep your energy high throughout your hike, you need to pack snacks that have a combination of carbs which provide your body with glucose, fats which act as slow-burning fuels, and protein which build and repair muscle. In addition to the nutritional value of snacks, you need to consider snacks that are portable and won’t get crushed during transport. PB&J sandwiches made with flatbread tortilla are a great choice. Also, try and avoid snacks that make a lot of crumbs like Nature Valley bars and instead go for granola, nuts, and wasabi peas.
Keep in mind the weather when packing your snacks as energy bites and bars made from coconut oil will soften and chocolate-based snacks will melt when it’s hot outside. During the winter, snacks with higher water content may harden and be difficult to eat.