Let us start this by saying hiking is a recent hobby of ours. As recently as 2 years ago I made fun of hikers. I mean it’s just walking, walking can’t really be a hobby can it? I’m not sure where it clicked or why but we spent a few days in the mountains during the early covid days and we found it really enjoyable to hike. We found waterfalls, beautiful views, all while being outdoors, getting exercise and I mean it’s a much better workout than I ever imagined. After that we started to move towards the direction of this actually being a hobby of ours. Combine that with planning great hiking food ideas and you have the perfect combo for us.
We think it could be a great way for anyone to spend a day and a great “theme day” to spend for the very beginning of summer. Whether you hike all the time or this is your first time testing the waters, it’s a great way to spend the day. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, it could be a simple stroll by the ocean, or a walk in the park, or climbing to the highest point near-bye and stopping for lunch.
Choose Your Hike(s)
First step is to choose where you are going. There are tons of resources out there, I usually use a combination of google and All Trails. Your skill level and fitness level are important factors. A difficult or moderate hike is way more straining than you can imagine. We are relatively new at this so we generally keep to easy or moderate hikes. We might pick a few trails near each other we could drive between. Also look for backups just in case thing’s don’t go as planned (like weather, that would making climbing to the summit of a mountain a real challenge for us). Try to pick something with a good payoff. We found that the payoff is what makes the journey feel worth it. It really gives some satisfaction and for us it what turns a walk in the woods into a hike.
What Did we Do?
We personally ended up with 2 hikes, one with a really beautiful waterfall at the end and another with a great overlook of the valley.
What Kind of Gear Do You Need?
This is a hard question, as a beginner who doesn’t know if this is going to become a hobby you probably don’t want to invest in gear. I agree you probably shouldn’t but if that is the case make sure you plan easy shorter trips to get your “feet wet” so to speak. It can get VERY expensive if you go all in but we are here to help you decipher what is and is not needed.
- Hiking Pack – At first we didn’t think this was valuable and to some extent it isn’t but after getting a couple hiking packs and switching from our “commuter backpacks”, it is night and day. If you are going to do this semi regularly you need a good pack. This is what we use.
- Hydration pack/water bottle- You need to bring water with you, that is 100%. You want to drink water before you get thirsty. So whatever you need to bring with you to make that happen. Honestly the best thing we have found to use is a 1L smart water bottle that we keep refilling. It has the perfect shape and capacity. Do not carry a metal bottle, it’s too heavy, plastic is so much lighter. Anything beyond that is a luxury.
- Hiking shoes/boots- This was actually our first hiking investment. It does make a pretty big difference, You get better traction and ankle support. As well as if combined with a good pair of wool socks, your feet will thank you. We both have Merrell shoes(not boots) and darned tough socks (amazingly worth the investment, they strangely breath very well despite being wool).
- Clothing- As you go, you may want to invest in specific gear but for now keep it simple, comfortable clothing that is preferably not cotton. You want dri-fit or other moisture wicking clothes. We invested in some pants, which while they are amazing, I’m sure you can get away with something you already have.
- Other considerations would be trekking poles (we say no unless really hardcore), first aid kit (probably good to have near-bye at least), sunscreen (definitely if you are as pale as me), bug spray (maybe?), and extra layers of clothing (you never know when you might get your socks wet or the weather will change at elevation) – be prepared if you are going to be out there for a while.
Our Hiking Food Ideas
Our hiking food ideas are split into 2 types: For lack of a better term, snacks and meals. Remember, you will be using a lot of energy and you will need to replenish that as you go. Trust me, you do not want to get hangry halfway up a mountain. It is not fun and you will be miserable.
Snacks on Snacks on Snacks
We WAY overdo the snacks, WAY overdo. I guess might as well be safe rather than sorry and we take food and hunger very seriously! Here are some of our favorite snack ideas to bring on a hike. We actually brought every single one of these with us on our hike! Yes..we overpacked a bit….
- Bananas – Probably the best way to replenish energy as far as I’m concered. Never leave home without one.
- Energy/Protein Bars – Some we like are Gomacro, Bobos, Larabar, Dang, and Cliff Bars.
- Banana Chips – This are delicious but the sugars usually take a bit of the nutritional value from the straight banana. Still a solid choice.
- Dried Fruits – Always a win, I personally like dried mango the best.
- Meat and cheese – some small meat and cheese cubes can do a great job or replenishing energy, all while being delicious.
- Jerky – I don’t feel like I even need a comment here, good quick easy way to refuel.
Meals (Usually a Lunch)
Since we aren’t pros and do not camp overnight, the only meal we really need is lunch. That being said, it’s a nice cap to your hike to stop and have a nice meal, preferably either in a nice quiet location or somewhere with a view. You want to keep in mind that you are going to have to exert yourself after this meal so you don’t want something that will weigh you down. You want something to help keep your energy levels up without making you go into a food coma. Here were our best hiking food ideas for lunch!
- A Classic PB & J – There is some flexibility here with breads, but try to keep it semi-light so it’s not too heavy.
- Turkey or chicken tortilla wraps – Easy to eat, simple to make and not too heavy. I like mine with lettuce and cheese and a light mayo.
- A Rice ball or Onigiri – we love these, but I am a complete sucker for anything with rice. It can be filled with any number of items such as meat, fish, and veggies. It’s a good source of carbs.
- Tuna – Again like PB & J, tuna has flexibility with the bread, but I go with a pita personally. Also feel free to bring a couple tuna packets to make this a breeze.
- Hummus wrap – Hummus, cucumber, lettuce and tomato. Simple, healthy, light. This might be my personal favorite here. In fact this is what we brought with us on hike this past weekend.
- Cucumber sandwich – Another simple snack, with some flexibility. Strangely enough this might be the least healthy option, but that isn’t saying much. These are all relatively healthy options.
Our hike was amazing and we had such a great time. We had some set backs as the weather in the mountains was not as “June” as we would have liked, so we had to go with a fall back option. We were not prepared for winter like conditions. I think it’s a good lesson to make sure you know your limits whenever setting out on something like this. You want to enjoy yourself, and you want to be safe most importantly. We are looking forward to challenging ourselves more and more so we can make our ultimate goal of hiking to the top of the tallest mountain in New England!
Let us know some of your favorite hiking food ideas! While you are at it check out our Korean Picnic where we also went on a hike. And we leave your with some pictures from our adventure.