We love bars — they’re compact, convenient, have a great calorie-to-weight ratio, and come in a huge range of flavors.
However, sometimes (or always) you don’t have enough, or you forgot to go to the store the night before, or you just want something a bit different to satisfy your cravings on your next ski tour, mountain bike ride, climbing trip, or long drive.
So for this Topic of the Week, we’ve polled a few of our reviewers to come up with some alternative sustenance options to take with you in the outdoors.
Cheap, full of calories, and they taste amazing. No, they’re not as compact and portable as some of the other options here, but donuts fill several important requirements for the ideal outdoor food: they come in almost as wide a variety of flavors as granola bars, they’re widely available at grocery stores — and probably that one gas station on the way to the trailhead — and they’re usually pretty damn cheap. A discounted box of a dozen day-old donuts is one of my go-to, totally-reasonably-sized snacks for a long day of touring. I usually put a few in a gallon-size ziplock bag, toss the bag into my backpack, then just eat the remaining donuts before and after the tour.
Pretty self explanatory. While this one loses points for cooking time and being not-at-all vegetarian-friendly, it gains points in deliciousness. Seriously, bring a bag of bacon on your next hike and see how much more your friends like you.
No, we’re not recommending that you eat a pair of Moment’s all-mountain freestyle skis, we’re talking about the classic PB&J sandwich. For extra calories, simply slather on a couple extra tablespoons of peanut butter, and enjoy a tasty, simple, and again, cheap backcountry snack.
4) Gummy Worms (or Bears or Gummy Anything)
Yeah, we know, gummy worms are just a bunch of empty calories and more sugar than my mom would recommend. But you know what else my mom told me? A balanced meal is supposed to contain all the colors of the rainbow. And you know what has all the colors of the rainbow? A pack of gummy worms. Checkmate, mom.
Not into sugary snacks? Well then croissants are a great choice, and while they might not look as appetizing after being flattened in the bottom of your pack, they still taste just as good, and they’re more compact.
6) Tuna Packets
Basically the opposite of bacon — more portable and zero prep-time, but don’t expect your partners to be high-fiving you when you open up a pack of fish.
7) Whatever’s Still Hot at the Gas Station
Screw it, you’re barely awake, it’s 3 am, and you need to get up to the trailhead before the corn turns to isothermal slush. Yes, those corn dogs have probably been spinning on those heated rollers since 11 am the previous day, but you’re hungry, corndogs have a ton of preservatives so they’re probably fine, and the clerk might even give them to you for free just so he can stop smelling yesterday’s corndogs. Oh, and don’t forget the day-old muffins for some “sweet” to go with the corndog “savory”. Again, life’s all about balance.
8 ) Loaf of Bread + Block of Cheese
When Blister editor, Sam Shaheen, was living in Switzerland, his touring partners would bring out an entire loaf of bread and a big block of cheese. And at the summit, everyone in the party was always extremely psyched. Sometimes, the lightest, most minimalist solution isn’t always the best solution.
9) Almonds — by themselves, or mixed with pretty much anything
It’s not creative, just a fact. Plastic bags or small containers of almonds — just almonds, or almonds + chocolate and / or fruit or pretty much anything else you have — has gotten many of us through more days in the mountains than just about any other form of food. So even if some of you are all about those gummy worms or donuts … leaving almonds off this list would be criminal.
10) 4 Snickers Bars
Because this is what Kilian Jornet carried with him when he attempted to ski and run in a single day the Seven Summits of Romsdalen, Norway. And if it’s good enough for Kilian, then the matter is settled. All Hail Kilian.
So there you have it, a few more options for your outdoor snack arsenal. Now please let us know below what you put in your pack.