Hiking Hungry? Trail Mix and Other Tips

If you are hungry to hike or hiking hungry, this article is for you.

Whether it’s a recreational half-day hike or a longer challenging hike all day, we know we shouldn’t leave home without bringing some food and water. But what are some tried and true snacks to pack for your next outdoor adventure? Do you need some inspiration for where you can hike in Vancouver and beyond?

Find out what three local experts recommend for what to eat and where to go when you hike in “Super Natural BC”.

Pack snacks so you aren’t hiking hungry.

Lynne Sawchuck headshot

“When I go hiking, it’s as much about the food as it is about the hike itself. Not only does the food in my backpack keep me going, but everything just tastes better when you eat in the great outdoors,” says Lynne Sawchuk, a registered dietitian in Vancouver, BC. 

Here are two of Lynne’s top hiking snacks:

Trail mix

A little goes a long way so I definitely never leave home without a bag of trail mix in my backpack.  I usually make my own by combining a few of these in a resealable Ziploc™ plastic bag:

  • raisins, dried apricots, dried cranberries, or any other dried fruit
  • peanuts, almonds, cashews—whichever we have in the house
  • roasted sunflower seeds or roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Smarties™ (not chocolate chips which can melt on a hot day and make your trail mix a sticky mess!)

Although a customized DIY trail mix means you get to pick all of your favourite ingredients, the bulk food sections of many grocery stores have lots of ready-made trail mixes to choose from. Grab a bag and fill ‘er up!


My go-to fresh fruit of choice for a hike is an apple. Why? Apples are pretty indestructible so they work well in your backpack. Plus hundreds of varieties of apples are grown in BC so you can try a new kind for every hike. I love Ambrosias—they don’t brown readily so they can be cut up and packed into bags ahead of time. That way you won’t have apple cores to pack out of your hike.

Remember…pack out what you pack in.

We all know that we need to pack out our garbage when we go hiking. Not only does this mean we need to pack out obvious trash like granola bar wrappers and other food packaging, it also means packing out your leftover food waste such as apple cores, orange peels and any other biodegradeable items. “Leave no trace” means just that. Find out how you can challenge yourself to create less garbage on your next hike.

Hiking hydration is important, too.

Joel Barohn MS, RD, ChefJoel Barohn, a chef and registered dietitian based in Vancouver, BC. recommends to “always think about hydrating before, during and after hikes.”  

Even though it is usually the heaviest item in your backpack, a full water bottle is a must on every hike. Be sure to use a trusty bottle that doesn’t leak—and add a few ice cubes to keep your water ice-cold. On longer hikes, it’s also a good idea to pack some water purification tablets in case you need extra water along the hike. 

It’s easy to forget to pack something to eat and drink for when you finish your hike.  My go-to recommendation is to keep a cooler filled with ice cold milk or chocolate milk in my car for after my hike. Research has shown that milk is one of the best rehydration options when trying to replace important fluids lost during exercise. Make sure to keep your cooler in the coolest part of your car. 

Searching for hiking tips?

Patrick Koo

Patrick Koo a certified personal trainer based in Vancouver and Richmond, BC has some great hiking tips for both beginners and those seeking a more advanced trek.  Patrick says, “even though I regularly train people inside the gym, I highly encourage everybody to explore the variety of scenic hikes in the backyard of British Columbia!” 

Here are Patrick’s top hikes in BC:

For a quick dose of nature and exercise, I recommend Twin Falls in North Vancouver.  In one hour of hiking, you will traverse a dizzyingly high suspension bridge, witness thrill-seeking cliff jumpers, and finally, end your journey by two gorgeous waterfalls.  Lots to see on such a short hike!  On the way back, you could even loop back towards the Lynn Canyon 30-foot pool to sunbathe on the rocks or swim in crystal clear water.

For something a lot more advanced, my favourite hike has to be Iceberg Lake in Whistler.  As the name suggests, the hike leads you to an incredible glacier lake with truck-sized icebergs floating around in the pristine turquoise water.  Unreal!  After 6 hours, with an elevation gain of 870 metres, the best part is the iceberg swim at the top.  What a great way to recover after a hard workout.

Looking to plan your next hike? Visit vancouvertrails.com for a customizable resource based on your location, time constraints, and experience level.

Want to read more about planning a hike?

Food Safety Tips for a Healthy Summer Outing

10 Essentials to Bring on Your Next Hike from North Shore Rescue

Hiking with students at school? Check out the Passport to Healthy Living program.

Dietitians of Canada member blog 2018

About BC Dairy

BC Dairy is a not-for-profit organization representing BC’s dairy farmers.