What snacks to have in your pack


Photo credit: Chris Neville

Purpose and nutrition intro

When in the backcountry you need to have the right food in your pack to keep you fueled each day. This means getting enough carbohydrates and protein so you can maintain your energy levels. Carbohydrates can provide quick energy or slow energy depending on what type you are consuming. Most of the carbs that are provided in lightweight, backpacking food are sugars and get into your system quickly. Protein should be consumed throughout the day in even amounts to continually build up your hard-working muscles. This can come in the form of bars, jerky, or meals. Each person is different on how much they should be consuming according to their body weight, metabolism, calories burned, the temperature of their hunt, elevation, etc. The food system you select to fuel your body can be one of the most important aspects of your hunt. Here are some of the snacks I typically have with me: 

Honey Stinger Chews:

  • Contains 36 g of carbohydrates per package
  • Quick energy
  • Should consume with lots of water
  • Don’t provide much satiety
  • I like to use these after I have consumed a meal and am in the middle of my activity; hiking, packing out my kill, or when my energy levels are running low and I’m in need of some quick energy. 

Zero Sugar Peppered Beef Jerky:

  • Contains 14 g of protein
  • Slower form of energy
  • Will fill you up and is real tasty
  • I like to eat jerky after I get done hiking, am sitting and glassing, or when I get back to the truck after the hike out.

Wilderness Athlete Pack Out Bars & Bites:

  • Contain 22g Carbohydrates & 20g Protein
  • 240 Calories
  • Great bar for quick and sustained energy
  • Not as dry as lots of other bars because of the fat content, providing more flavor
  • I like to munch on these when I’m packing up camp and getting ready to haul out or if you are not a breakfast person these would be a great option before a morning hike because they aren’t heavy on your stomach.

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Heather’s Choice Packaroons:

  • Contain 13g Carbohydrates 
  • Slower, flavorful source of fuel
  • Would recommend eating with water
  • The carbohydrate in these comes less from a large amount of sugar and more from fiber. That’s why I like to eat these when I want something lightweight but that will hold me over and give me the energy I need to keep hiking.

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Greenbelly Meals:

  • Contains a 100 g of Carbohydrates & 16 g of Protein
  • Acts as a meal replacement, so it contains fast fuel in the form of carbohydrates from sugar and fruits a then a substantial amount of protein
  • Would recommend consuming with water because of dryness and high carb content
  • Fills you up fast, provides over 600 Calories per meal
  • I like to use these in the morning before I start my hunt so that I am fueled up and ready to go. I am a big breakfast gal so I have to have something on my stomach before I start hiking and these bars last me until lunchtime. 

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Built Bar:

  • Contains 20g of protein per bar
  • Acts as a meal replacement or high protein snack to provide satiety
  • Slower release of energy
  • I like to carry Built Bars in my pack because they are lightweight and fill you up fast, great to eat around midday when you are glassing waiting for the evening hunt to start. 

Snickers Bar:

  • A classic candy that I like to eat after lunch or while I’m hiking because it contains simple carbohydrates and will provide a quicker source of energy but it will not sustain you.


All of these products are lightweight and great for backpack hunting. Each hunter is different on what they prefer and how their body operates, finding food that works for you and provides you with the energy you need will help you be successful. Not having to worry about getting enough calories while keeping your pack light makes each trip less stressful and more enjoyable. Every hunt has different challenges and obstacles that have to be taken care of before you can get out there and be successful. What you choose to fuel your body with on your hunt shouldn’t be the aspect that keeps you from being successful.

Each hunt and each person’s palate is drastically different so everyone’s fuel system will vary. What are some of your favorite snacks to have in your pack? 

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