Backpack a Punch: High Calorie, High-Protein Snacks for Hiking

Trekking up a rugged mountain or along a winding trail can unleash an appetite that’s as fierce as the landscapes you’re conquering. You’re burning up so many calories in your exploration that your body will need mid-hike fuel to keep you going strong. But here’s the catch – you’ve got to carry all your snack ammo up there with you! Whatever you want to wolf down to help you power to the summit or out the other side if the kloof is entirely up to you to carry. That’s where the beauty of the right high-calorie, high-protein hiking snacks comes into play. It helps if they’re compact, too. Forget those ordinary trail mix assortments; These Camp Master faves will help you elevate your hiking cuisine game, one nibble at a time.

The Science of Hiking Nutrition

Picture this: your body is a machine, and when you’re hiking, it needs the right fuel to keep chugging along. Every bite is like petrol to the 4×4 that is your feet. Calories are your jet fuel, powering those leg muscles as they tackle that next peak. But it’s not just about the energy; you need muscle-repairing, hunger-taming protein too. And let’s not forget about the challenge of lugging your sustenance all the way up the trail – it’s got to be compact and light as a feather. The ideal hiking snack should provide a balance of nutrients to keep you energized and nourished during your hike. Here are some key nutrients to consider when choosing snacks for hiking:

  • Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are essential for providing quick energy. Look for snacks that contain complex carbohydrates to sustain your energy levels over a longer period.
  • Protein: Protein helps to repair and build muscle tissue, which is important during a physically demanding activity like hiking.
  • Healthy fats: Healthy fats are a concentrated source of energy and can help keep you satiated during your hike. Look for snacks that contain sources of healthy fats – because good fats are NOT bad for you.
  • Fiber: Fiber helps to keep you feeling full and supports digestive health. Snacks with high fiber content can be a good option to add to your adventure prep.

  • Electrolytes: Electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium, are essential for maintaining hydration and preventing muscle cramps, especially during prolonged physical activities. Electrolyte-enhanced drinks can be a huge help too. We’re looking at you, Blue Powerade.
  • Vitamins and minerals: Choose snacks that provide a variety of vitamins and minerals for overall health, but especially to feel in tune with nature when you’re in the great outdoors.
  • Hydration: While not a nutrient, staying hydrated is crucial during hiking and adventuring. Consider snacks with high water content to make sure you’re doubling up on the power of water. Make a splash!

Top High-Calorie, High-Protein Hiking Snacks

1. Protein-Packed Energy Bites

You can’t go wrong with these delightful bites of goodness. Whip up a batch with rolled oats, peanut butter, honey, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and a dash of protein powder. Quick to make, easy to carry, and they’ll keep you powered up for that final stretch. You can add flavours you love to your secret recipe, and delight your hiking buddies when you share your snacks at the most scenic lookout point along your trail.

2. Drywors or Biltong

Ah, the classics! Biltong is a protein powerhouse, and it’s as South African as it gets. Choose your cuts with with minimal additives and feel that burst of savory delight as you power up the trail. Make sure not to dive into the biltong if you’re running low on water, though. Super salty, dried meat will leave you feeling way more parched than you were before. If you’re even a little worried about your water situation, keep the biltong for the beginning stretch of your trek.

3. Nut Butter Sachets

For a quick fix, these single-serving sachets of almond, peanut, or cashew butter are a lifesaver. Packed with healthy fats and protein, they’re just what you need to keep your energy levels soaring. You can make nut butter sachets yourself, too! Simply purchase small ziplock bags, fill them with your nut butter of choice (and maybe a few chia seeds for added texture), flatten and freeze them, and pop them in your pack to tear open next time you’re ravenous on the trail.

4. Tuna or Salmon Pouches

No draining, no fuss – just pure protein bliss. These ready-to-eat pouches bring you a dose of omega-3 fatty acids along with their protein punch. Pair them with some hearty whole-grain crackers for a well-rounded treat. You can get these pouches at most grovery stores, but you can also decant your own into sachets from larger tuna and salmon tins. Make sure to bring all your plastic waste down from the trail with you, though!

5. Roasted Chickpeas or Edamame

Crunchy, savoury, and a break from the ordinary trail mix monotony – roasted chickpeas or edamame are your go-to munchies. High in protein and fiber, they’re the satisfying snack you didn’t know you needed. Add herbs like paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper and chipotle to keep these snacks interestingly spicy. Just like you.

7. Protein Bars or Homemade Granola Bars

Look for the ones with real ingredients and minimal sugar. Or, better yet, channel your inner chef and whip up your own batch of granola bars. It’s a great way to have full control over what goes into your power-packed snack. If you’re anything like us, you’re going to want to dip them in chocolate, too. After all, you’ve earned it, adventurer.

7. Dried Seaweed Snacks

Feeling the need for something salty? Umami, even? These lightweight, nutrient-rich dried seaweed snacks are the way to go. Low in calories, high in iodine, and oh-so-crunchy, they’ll add a zing to your hiking adventure. You can shred them up to add to a trail mix, eat them like you’d eat a fruit rollup, or combine them with other snacks as a fun sort of “mountain sushi.”

8. Hard-Boiled Eggs

Simple yet powerful, hard-boiled eggs are a protein-rich delight. Easy to prepare and carry, they make for an egg-cellent snack for your shorter hikes. Just remember their perishability, and you’re good to go! Bring along a spice mix to sprinkle on top to level them up. We suggest adding Aromat, Salr, Pepper, Chilli Spice and Steak & Chops seasoning

Tips for Packing and Storing Hiking Snacks

Ah, the art of packing your backpack! It’s a skill that’s greatly debated, because everyone thinks their method is the best. Us included, so here goes. To keep your snacks fresh and ready-to-eat, opt for vacuum-sealed bags or sturdy containers. And here’s a tip: distribute the weight evenly to avoid feeling like you’re carrying a boulder on your back. Let’s also think about our beautiful planet – eco-friendly packaging is the way to go to keep our trails clean and green. Here are some nifty Camp master products that we feel are essential to packing the perfect snacking:

Let’s get packing for snacking!

When it comes to hiking and adventuring, it’s not just about the breathtaking views; it’s also about the journey your taste buds take. We think snacking might just be the best bit… Remember, the right snacks can make or break your adventure, especially if they’re effectively fuelling you to reach your goals. So, arm yourself with these protein-packed powerhouses and embark on your next trail knowing that you’re fully prepared. Don’t forget to embrace the spirit of nature and sustainability as you fuel your body and soul.  Then, go grab your essential Camp Master gear at a Game or Makro near you. Happy hiking!

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