Whether it’s an afternoon excursion or a week-long expedition, finding the right vegan hiking food is essential. It’s the difference between an experience of a lifetime or ending up completely energyless and massively bloated somewhere the wilderness. We’ve experienced both and know which one we prefer!
Some foods are better suited to the great outdoors than others and the vegan trail food on this list has been meticulously chosen for their hiking suitability. It’s all non-perishable, light-weight and easily stored, meaning you can cram them into your rucksack and just focus on reaching the summit until the munchies kick-in.
When your belly does start to rumble you can delve into your snack supply knowing these foods won’t spoil after getting smashed about on a ridge-side. And, as it can be difficult to find reliable vegan food options around the world, all of these hiking snacks are available worldwide and won’t break the bank either. Sounds pretty good, right?
So are these foods just good for hiking? Nope, these are wicked choices for any day-long outdoor adventures but they are go-to options for the trail.
After trying and testing pretty much all the vegan food options around, we’ve listed the ones that make the final cut below!
In this guide to vegan-friendly hiking food you’ll find:
1. What makes the best vegan hiking food?
Whether you’re hiking a gentle trail, traversing a ridge or pushing for a summit there are certain things you should look for in your hiking snacks.
- Nutrition – if you’re exerting yourself, you need healthy hiking food that’s filled with good energy and carbohydrates to keep you going. You can find more info on our Guide to High-Energy Vegan Foods. We also think it’s best to stick with more raw ingredients and avoid additives or preservatives.
- Digestibility – feeling bloated and parping every 5 metres can really lag you behind on the trail. The best food to take hiking will be easily stomached and let you continue adventuring straight away OR even eat as you push on.
- Weight – you don’t want to be carrying any unnecessary weight and so your hiking snacks should be as light as possible.
- Durability – the best hiking snack ideas will be tough and durable so you can chuck your bag around and not worry about spillages/damaged grub.
- Practicality – can you eat it on the go? Does it take a long time to prepare? Is it easy to buy/make? Will it get you super messy?
2. Vegan hiking tips
- Make sure you take enough food and water for energy
- If you’re hiking past shops and amenities you could consider taking less food (a lighter rucksack – yes!) and picking up supplies along the way if you need it
- Always keep some backup snacks for later in the day
- Make sure you store your hiking food properly, you don’t want spillages in your rucksack
- Keep a hiking food list ready so you can be prepared for impromptu hikes real quick!
- Test out different options so you can find the best vegan hiking food for you
- Try and consume sweet and higher energy foods before the most strenuous part of your hike and then eat saltier foods afterwards to replenish electrolytes
- Whilst food is seriously important, planning your hike properly is also crucial, our Beginner’s Guide to Hiking has loads of tips that can be real handy
Oh, and before we get onto the hiking food guide, if you’re enjoying this article you’ll find plenty more vegan adventure content by signing up to our mailing list!
The Best Vegan Food for Hiking!
Whoever discovered you can take the wonders of fruit and dry them to make them smaller and lighter whilst keeping all the nutrients was a bloody genius. I’m a big fan of dried fruit and could probably live off the stuff alone. Dried fruit is a great vegan hiking food because it’s small and light, has a high concentration of sugars for energy and is filled with iron and nutrients.
Obvs nutrients are always great but when hiking it’s the sugars that are really important. The sugars found in dried fruits are just what you need for a quick boost to reach the summit. Keep them in your pocket for handy munching throughout the day!
Make your own vegan hiking food and you’ll save money, plastic and can make the perfect grub for you. Some of our favourites are:
- Flapjack – a combination of oats, dried fruit, raw seeds and nuts, sugar, maple syrup and sometimes banana, coconut and chocolate… Everything you want on the trail and you can cram them full of all the things you love so the possibilities are endless! Here’s our Vegan Flapjack Recipe for some ideas.
- Vegan energy balls – easy to make, tasty, nutritious and seriously practical for hiking.
- Raw cacao bars – a simple no-bake option that’s crammed full of energy and stores really well.
Our go-to hiking lunch on any trail is the famous PBJB sandwich (peanut butter, jam & banana… duh!). It doesn’t have to be a sandwich either, it could be a wrap or baguette or another carby vehicle.
It’s honestly the best combination of slow-release vegan energy, protein and instant energy. The accumulation of these integral ingredients all smushed together is enough to keep you going when climbing the highest peaks.
BONUS TIP: you can also enjoy the elements individually if you don’t want them together. The right nut butters are filled with healthy fats, protein and crammed full of energy – a hiker’s best friend. Jam is full of sugar for when you need a quick energy boost and bread is a slow-releasing carb to keep you going all day.
BONUS BONUS TIP: for superlight storage put the jam and peanut butter into ziplock bags, then you can spoon it straight into your mouth. Definitely one for when the going gets tough!
Protein is paramount for muscle recovery which is especially important when hiking. Your muscles are keeping you moving and upright so thank them with some protein-packed pulses and they’ll thank you for it in the long run.
Whip up a batch of roasted chickpeas by simply seasoning them with some curry spices or agave and cumin, then bake for 20 minutes until crispy – voila! You have yourself the perfect savoury vegan hiking food. Just be sure not to use too much salt or oil when baking as this will dehydrate in the sun’s rays.
Salt does have a special place especially if you’re hiking in the heat and losing all those vital minerals in your sweat. Especially, if like J, you sweat for the whole of humanity!
Our advice: don’t eat salted nuts at the beginning of your hike, they’ll just dehydrate you. This is particularly important when hiking in the heat as you’ll be sweating even more and you don’t want to drain all your water when you’ve only just started. Instead, save grazing on these savoury snacks until the end of your hike or past the hardest points when you’re craving some salty goodness!
This is like the OG of hiking snack ideas and it’s 100% vegan-friendly! You can piece together your own DIY trail mix that will be chock-a-block with protein, high in calories and slow-release energy. It’s also mighty durable and stores well so it’s a super whole grain, raw option!
Here are some vegan ingredient ideas for your mix or check out our full recipe on the link above:
- Nuts – peanuts, brazil nuts, pecans, hazel nuts, walnuts, pistachio, cashews
- Seeds – pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, linseed, pine nuts
- Dried fruit – raisins, cranberries, apricots, dates, prunes, goji berries, banana/apple/pineapple rings
You can get super experimental with it… what’s your favourite combo?
There’s a whole variety of brands on the market and this will differ depending on where you are in the world. Biscuits are a good choice for a quick injection of oomph as they’re loaded with sugar and they’re pretty yummy. Be careful with sweet treats as they’re not very healthy and relying on them as a vegan hiking snack may counteract the health benefits of the hike!
Also, as you probably know, be sure to check the label as some varieties may contain animal products.
The world of fruit is so versatile and some are more practical to take hiking than others. Taking a kilo of blueberries and a watermelon, although delicious, isn’t the best idea when climbing a mountain.
Fruits such as apples and oranges are a good idea for a short hike as they don’t bruise easily and are refreshing to sink your teeth into on a hot day.
Bananas are also a great choice as they’re brimming with nutrients and their potassium will help you fight cramp. Again, these are tricky for long distant hikes as they don’t travel well. Better yet, mash some into your homemade flapjacks and you’ve got the best vegan hiking food on the menu!
Have you got any other favourite vegan food for adventure? Tell us in the comments at the bottom 🙂
The Best Vegan Hiking Food for Adventure-Driven Herbivores
At Veggie Vagabonds we pride ourselves on being expert vegan adventurers and can recommend these vegan-friendly snacks with confidence. Tried and tested after years on the trail, on our Three Peaks Challenge by bike, along pilgrimages in Sri Lanka and now whilst we explore the Alps and surrounding peaks!
Is there anything we missed from the list? Drop us a comment below or send us a message as we love to hear from you guys!