9 Healthy Fastpacking Snacks & Ideas
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Whether you’re a long-distance hiker or a weekend backpacker looking to cut down on the weight you’re carrying, you don’t have to stick to energy gels and protein bars to go ultralight, and the same goes for Fastpacking.
Naturally, on many lightweight fastpacking, you can pack food for convenience. Still, with some thinking and preparation, you may also pack healthy, delicious foods that are portable, high in calories, and quick to cook. Here I drop my 9 favorite choices.
Since many of the principles and ideas for typical backpacking meals overlap, there is plenty of information to read.
Eating processed food while fastpacking is okay if you only do it three times a year, but if you do it a few times a month, you should think about healthy snacks.
As a result, I sometimes compromise on food quality while fast-packing, but I still try to make it as nutritious as possible.
My Healthy Fastpacking Snacks
These are a few of the things I take and eat while out on the trail. The idea is to take food that is high in calories and fat. It’s a simple concept, but some people have yet to hear about these ideas or brands.
Jerky (Grass-fed and Regenerative Farmed)
Due to its high perishability and necessity for refrigeration, travelers often avoid fresh meat. In place of perishable fresh meat, jerky is a fantastic, shelf-stable, lightweight fastpacking option.
Produced by dehydrating seafood or meat, it serves as a preservative.
Because the bulk of the moisture is removed during the drying process, it is lightweight and can be stored without immediate refrigeration, making it the best alternative for multi-day adventures.
Jerky is available in many flavors and textures, from beef to chicken to turkey to even fish and organs.
Now, there are plenty of brands out there to choose from, but they are not all equal. Most jerky brands add too much sugar and unnecessary fillers. My go-to, which is only grass-fed meat and salt (Redmond Real Salt), is Carnivore Crisps.
Carnivore Crisps is straight-up dehydrated meat. My favorite combination while on the trail is the following:
Macro Balanced Protein Bars
Protein bars are the no-brainer of the group, but like jerky, there are some horrible brands, and then there are some amazing brands. The amazing brands all have high-quality ingredients with low sugar content, organic ingredients, and minimal preservatives.
We have come a long way since the Cliff Bar, which in my opinion, is overloaded with sugar and suboptimal ingredients.
We now have companies like KION, which make energy bars with a balance of macro-nutrients, and about half of those ingredients are organic. Plus, they only use honey as a sweetener, no high-fructose corn syrup, and each bar has 9 grams of protein and an abundance of calories.
The other cool thing about KION is that they offer our readers a 10% discount on single purchases, a 15% discount on bundle packages, and 20% on subscriptions. Just use this link or type in WILDLUMENS at checkout
Seeds, Nuts, and Dried Fruit
Nuts and seeds provide lightweight, compact options for fastpackers. Those who are on the road will appreciate the tasty snacks.
The high levels of energy-sustaining vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, fiber, and protein found in nuts and seeds are essential for those on extended outdoor excursions.
They pack a lot of calories into a small package. Depending on the conditions, a fastpacker could quickly burn several thousand calories daily.
Therefore, it is essential to choose high-calorie foods. Dried fruit, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds make a delicious on-the-go snack.
Hard cheeses are versatile, provide protein and healthy fats while fastpacking, and last for a long time without going bad. Compared to soft cheeses, the reduced moisture content of hard, aged cheeses extends their shelf life and inhibits the growth of bacteria.
Parmesan, aged cheddar, and pecorino romano are a few examples of such cheeses.
These cheeses are versatile enough to be eaten in pieces as a snack with dried fruit or shredded over meals for an extra dose of flavor.
Calcium, phosphate, B vitamins, and healthy fats can all be found in cheese. Because of its high protein content, cheese is a popular choice as a midday snack.
Coconut Milk Powder
My heart belongs to coconut milk powder, haha! It’s high in both calories and healthy fats. Grab a bag if you want to take some with you on a hike.
Put a scoop on your meals. It’s fantastic in liquid dishes like soup. In no circumstances should you ever mix milk powder with anything that has been dehydrated.
The milk powder will spoil as soon as it comes into contact with the moisture in the other ingredients. Once everything else is done cooking, stir in the coconut milk powder at the end.
Anothony’s brand makes a great organic and affordable coconut milk pwder.
If you’re often on the move and setting up camp in the great outdoors, you’ll want to eat things that won’t weigh you down.
Tortillas are softer, more packable, and lighter than bread. You can put just about anything inside of them.
If you want to be super healthy or if you have a gluten intolerance, there are options. I have a gluten and grain issue, so I’ve been experimenting with Cassava Flour Tortillas.
Having a little container of hummus dip on hand can significantly expand your snacking possibilities. Use it in sandwiches or tortillas, as a veggie dip, and so on.
Whether you buy them or whip up a batch on your own, there is no shortage of energy ball recipes and ideas.
They are designed to keep you going by giving you little jolts of energy as you need them. No time to make and bake them…try these: Protein Power Balls.
Cacao is a fantastic food to bring on a trip because it is high in calories and contains several valuable nutrients, including zinc and antioxidants.
Cacao and cocoa are entirely different things, so don’t get confused about that.
When compared to chocolate, cocoa has fewer calories but more nutrients, like magnesium. I like to get dark chocolate bars with a high concentration of cacao, like, 90%. For some reason, they give you an immediate boost of energy.
Also, Cacao powder is an excellent addition to homemade protein bars or energy balls.
Additional Food-Additive Ideas
These aren’t snacks, but these are things you can do to add flavor and energy to your meals.
Bring a little bottle of healthy oil with you on your fastpack such as beef tallow, lard, or coconut oil.
Add a few drops or chunks when cooking low-calorie, starchy dishes. Aside from making the plate higher in calories, the oil also improves the flavor.
Eating the same thing every day can get boring when on the trail for a few days or so. Bringing along a few single-serve packages of ingredients like salt, pepper, and cooking spices.
You can even get a GSI Outdoor Spice Missile, holding up to six different spices for less than 2 ounces. I also like to add my electrolyte powder mix to the missile…I talk about the importance of electrolytes and supplements here.
My all-time favorite when it comes to spices is Redmond Organic Seasonings. Why? Well, they taste awesome, are organic, use Redmond Real Salt, and offer us a 15% discount…total win. Check these flavors:
These all taste bomb, and if you use this link, you get that 15% discount…or type WILD at checkout.
Money Saver Idea
Buying jerky and other dehydrated foods can really wreck your wallet. That’s why I always advise getting yourself dehydrated food. This way, you control your ingredients and also save money in the long run.
There are plenty to choose from, but these ones get the job done.
Don’t bother bringing things you haven’t tried or don’t like because eating them on the trail won’t change anything.
If you have stomach problems and can’t eat simple things like oatmeal or peanut butter at home, no amount of scenery will help with that.
Keeping your body fueled and your hunger at bay while fastpacking may seem impossible, but it is possible with some planning and packing.
Various fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, nut butter, and protein sources are available. Consider these snacks as an easy, healthy option on your next trip.
A ribeye steak, eggs, and sweet potato fries fried in tallow or coconut oil are a perfect meal for me but not always realistic or achievable.
Another warning is to resist the urge to try everything on the menu, whether visiting a bar, cafe, or store. Think about what kind of fuel you’ll need. Sometimes you can be self-sustained by packing the right stuff, and I drop the full food list here.