Alternative Outdoor Snacks

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.

1) Donuts

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.

2) Bacon

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.

3) PB&J

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.

5) Croissants

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.

11 comments on “Alternative Outdoor Snacks”

  1. Biltong,
    South African Jerky and so much tastier. You will have the jaw of a crocodile when you are done.

  2. I remember reading somewhere that Andrew McLean would often carry a Big Mac as trail food in the backcountry. Sounds gross, but everyone is secretly jealous of your sloppy burger when they are gnawing in their third Cliff bar at the top of the line.

    I haven’t tried the Big Mac, but leftover pizza in foil or the the pocket (half-sized) burritos from the Alberto’s drive thru in PC have never done me wrong on the trail.

  3. BBQ Chicken Bombs.
    I carry these on all of my lift-served days.

    -Shred boneless chicken thighs and cook ’em in the crock pot in BBQ sauce
    -Cut a thin slice off the bottom of hard dinner roll or five
    -Hollow out the larger part of the roll
    -Add some shredded pepperocini
    -Stuff with BBQ chicken
    -Top with a slice of cheddar cheese and broil for a minute
    -While the cheese is hot, moosh the bottom that you cut off into the cheddar, sealing the whole mess inside.

    Put them in a plastic bag next to the four or five beers you should be carrying in your pack. Eat and drink on the lift and keep skiing.

  4. — Clementine oranges, when in season, are the perfect jolt of quick burn natural fruit sugar fuel to stoke the eternally empty stomach fuel flames. They quench thirst, too. And they’re great stocking stuffers in their net bag. That and a stick of glop stopper skin wax and yer holiday shopping is complete.

    — dates are the consumate on the summer/winter trail fuel. Once at back country camp I was a cornice overhang from topping out and 3 dates on the final approach had me vaulting further back via my flexxy carbon tour pole maxed at 140 CM’s, which is good cuz cornices break back further than expected.

    — old bike touring fuel is to cook red potatoes in aluminum foil, put 10 or 12 in a makeshift foil pouch with-black pepper, garlic, cayenne in your cook fire coals the night before and then grinder mack enroute the next day(s)

    —- pop tarts rule!!

  5. Crunchy peanut butter wraps:

    -tortilla of choice
    -slather with peanut butter
    -sprinkle crunchy granola
    -drizzle with honey or maple syrup
    -roll up and seal

    Tastes amazing and maintains better texture than classic bread PB&J, which can get soggy in a jacket or pack. Plus the wrap prevents leakage.

  6. On serious ski tour days; tupperware with about 1.5 cups of peanut butter doused with half a cup of maple syrup and huck a bunch of chopped up compressed baking dates into it. Don’t usually get through too much of it but figure always good to have reserve calories for emergencies.

    Eat the mess with a spoon every hour or so while ski touring. Having to stop and eat makes it easy to keep disciplined with regular 5-10 minutes breaks every hour for long uphills or to chill out a bit at top/bottom of yo yo ski touring runs.

    For full day long spring tours, i’ll bring a cheese/thick slab of ham/spinach/gluten free bread sandwhich or two to mix it up in between the snacky inputs.

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