Trail mix is a mixture of dried fruit and nuts eaten as a snack food, originally by hikers and campers. Therefore, it appears to be a great snack while hiking.
Horace Kephart wrote about the beneficial weight-to-energy ratio of nuts, nut butters, and dried fruit in his 1906 book titled Camping and Woodcraft. Perhaps even our hunter-gather ancestors even found some nuts and berries to take with them for long hunts.
The question still remains – should you take Trail Mix on your next hike? The answer depends on the individual and the duration of the hike.
For shorter hikes, less than an hour, most of us won’t need to worry about bringing food with us. For hikes longer than an hour, it may be wise to bring something to eat every 1-2 hours.
The best ratio of macronutrients while hiking are: 45-55% carbs, 30-40% fats, and 10-15% protein. The shorter the hike, the less fat you will need. If you are hiking on a very hot day, or if you are prone to sweating, pack something salty to help replenish lost sodium.
Benefits of Trail Mix
- Easy to carry
- Perfect carbs to fat to protein ratio
- Keeps energy levels high
Trail mix seems to be a pretty good choice to bring with you on a longer hike. However, deciding what to eat before and after the hike is just as important. These meals will depend on individual fitness levels, difficulty of hike, and length of hike. In addition to pre- and post-hiking meals, hydration is always an important consideration.
Individuals should consume 16-24 ounces of water before getting to the trails. Most importantly, sip slowly around 8 ounces of water every 30-60 minutes. Although, this amount may vary with more strenuous hikes. In that case, consider bringing electrolytes or an electrolyte drink.
Good luck on your adventures!
Dr Spencer Charlet