Snack hacks for your backpacks

By September 28, 2018Adventure Hacks, Hikes, How To's

So you’re outdoors and on track to adventure. You’re tramping a nature trail to a mountain top. The air is crisp, the sun toasts your noggin, the movement invigorates your body and pretty soon, your tum-tum gets the grumbles. But y’know what? That’s fine, it’s completely ok – because there’s another destination pinned in today’s itinerary – and it’s flavour-town.

Good food has the power to make a great experience even greater, and that doesn’t have to end at the foot of the mountain. We’ve taken the time to ah, “research”, and compile our favourite snack hacks for the track to ensure your hike is as satisfying to your taste buds as it is to your physical and mental wellbeing. Step aside sandwiches, wraps, tuna and crackers, and regular ol’ fruit: you’ve got some competition!

Welcome to our collection of the best snack hacks to keep your body moving and your palate delightfully satisfied on the trail!

The trail cheeseboard

Hard cheeses like cheddar, swiss, gouda and parmesan can last up to a week without refrigeration if kept properly and the same goes for salami. Waxed and processed cheeses, like Babybel and Happy Cow, are also great for hiking. And did you know you can buy single serve, foil-sealed snack packs of olives from the supermarket these days? Make sure your cheese and salami are tucked away in your backpack out of direct sunlight and opt for salami in stick/sausage or dry form (try your local deli over the packaged supermarket kind). Crackers? Everybody has their favourites! Or you can wrap it all up in a tortilla or some mountain bread for a portable all-in-one culinary experience.

Celebratory cheese platter on the shore of Lake St Clair, wrapping up day 6 on the Overland Track, Tasmania

The glory of trail mix, or scroggin, is that you can mix and match it to your own taste.

Fruit, nuts, seeds, wasabi peas, yogurt drops or choc-chips (or their less melty cousins, M&Ms) are all great additions. It can be made savoury or sweet and it’s packed full of goodness to keep your batteries charged! Careful not to go overboard on the dried fruit though or it will lead to a bad time… trust me.

Jerky and biltong.

There’s something about that salty, spiced combination that makes it the ultimate mobile adventure snack, plus it’s an easy protein hit. You’ll find it in the supermarket (loving Kooee Jerky) and some outdoor gear stores and you can spice it up, literally, with hot’n’spicy options or keep it mild with your regular barbeque-style flavours.

Thermos foods

Invest in a good little thermos and your world opens to a delectable array of heart-warming dishes.

  • First of all, soups. Enough said, really.
  • Hard-boiled eggs – they kinda make me dry-heave, but I know some people like them – these don’t necessarily need to be kept in a thermos unless you like them warm. Ready and waiting in their shells is fine too, keep them tucked away out of direct sunlight until you’re ready to snack.
  •  @tamhikes – Boil some chat potatoes before you head out and pop them in your thermos with a bit of salt and butter. They keep warm and are the perfect carb hit for your adventure.
    @missmouse_mr “Our hike buddies introduced us to “cook on trail ravioli”. Put some cupasoup (we tried tomato and also pumpkin) in a vacuum flask with some packet ravioli (don’t cook it but get the fresh packets from the supermarket). Add boiling water and shake it up. Hike for a few hours. By lunch the boiling water has cooked the ravioli and the cupasoup has turned into a sauce! 🍝👍”


Pack your snacks in a light, insulated lunch bag and pack it near the top of your backpack. It might be an obvious tip but it’s a good one for keeping your food fresh, together and un-squashed. If you’ve got some items in there that like to keep cool, include a small ice brick.

Sachet away!

You know those condiment sachets of salt, pepper, sugar, and spreads that you see at hotel breakfast buffets – they’re super convenient for hikes when you just want to take a single serving. The downside here is that they come in stupid little single-use plastic containers. So a smart alternative is to re-use any tiny jars or little reusable containers (the ones you might have bought for face cream instead).

Protein balls, bars, slices and brownies.

There are zillions of protein-packed recipes spread wide across the interwebs to suit everyone’s preferences or if you’re time-poor or plain-ol’ lazy, your store-bought muesli bars or the bliss balls on display at your local cafe will also do the tasty trick! Youfoodz make a damn delicious assortment of protein balls and bars, available in select supermarkets and online.

What if I told you that you could take ice cream on your hike?

I know, calm down. That insulated thermos you’ve got can keep things hot OR cold. Pack some ice cream in there and enjoy your frozen treat on that faraway peak! “Why?” You might ask. Because, why the hell not?! Not a fan of soft ice cream and concerned about how your thermos will perform? Best run some quality tests before your hike, you know, for science. Pack ice cream in your thermos before heading to work and test it in the evening or try putting the open, empty thermos into the fridge overnight. See what works and what doesn’t so you’re not disappointed on the track.

Taking some lollies and chocolates for a quick energy boost is encouraged.

Sometimes in the late afternoon when you’re getting weary, you’ll be glad to have a quick sugar hit to keep you going. My personal faves are gummy bears, snakes and fun-sized Snickers.

Keeping hydrated on a hike is SO important.

Make sure you’re carrying enough water for the day (2-3 litres), and take some Hydralyte or other electrolyte sachets or soluble tablets in a flavour you enjoy. They can also be nice just to have a flavoured beverage with lunch. I also keep a couple in my first aid kit.

Other guilty pleasures?

Wine can most definitely be taken on a hike – it’s a satisfying reward for when you’re enjoying the summit, particularly if you’ve got something to celebrate too like a birthday, conquering a difficult trail or, y’know, a Sunday. Drink responsibly though and don’t go overboard, you’ve also got to get yourself back down the hill! Transfer your vino into a plastic bottle to save from having to carry the weight and risk of a glass bottle all day. Frozen cake is another guilty pleasure that can go down a treat!

(Photo: Vino and a view of Mt Barney, South East Queensland)

Weight a minute!

All of these delicious snacks are going to add up, so be mindful of how heavy your pack is getting and be careful not to overload yourself. It’s important to also ensure you’re carrying enough food for the day, plus some extra in the event that you get lost, decide to hike further, if the weather turns or someone gets unexpectedly hangry. Plan ahead with your hiking buddies and split the load (and your snacks)!

Don’t be a tosser – Pack it out!

Remember to pack a rubbish bag and take all of your waste with you to dispose of off the track. This includes your orange peel and apple cores (and all other food waste)! These aren’t native species and can potentially seed or make their way into the bellies of precious endemic birds and critters and make them sick.

Got some hacks to add? Food is best when shared. Send us your hacks, we would love to hear them.

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Emily Ellis

Emily Ellis

Emily is an adventure seeking nature lover, rookie rock climber and all-round happy camper, currently based in Brisbane. @embo_pembo

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