With warmer weather finally here, hikers are emerging from their wintertime dens to soak up the sun and experience the sights on foot. With the stunning vistas of the Pacific coast and numerous trails in ranges like the Adirondacks, there's no shortage of hiking around the world. But before hitting the trail, hikers always need to remember two things in their packs: Food and water.

Even if the hike of the day isn't an overly challenging trail, it's still important to factor in plenty of calories beforehand. Hiking, no matter the trail level, requires more exertion than the average day, therefore some food groups should be represented in a hiker's diet. Luckily, there are plenty of lightweight, simple, and satisfying snacks that hikers can bring with them. And the best part? Zero prep work required.


Protein: Hard Cheeses And Jerky Or Other Dried Meats

For shorter day hikes, foods such as hard cheese and dried meats are a great source of fast protein. Cheeses such as parmesan, aged gouda, and aged cheddar are great options and will keep well with an ice pack for several hours.

Dried meats such as jerkies, which require no refrigeration, and salami or aged meats, which will hold with an ice pack, are the perfect accompaniment to a quick lunch stop. We're not saying wine is necessary, but these snacks fall just short of a vineyard-worthy meal.

Energy: Nutrition Bars, But Read The Labels

There's a world full of nutrition and protein bars out there just waiting to be discovered, but not at are created equal. Some nutrition bars are full of sugar and preservatives while others are all-natural, but might not be hitting the core nutrients a hiker is looking for. It's always best to check the label as well as research the company before committing because whereas one nutrition bar might pile on the calories, another might overdo it on the salt or preservatives.

Related: The 10 Most Breath-Taking Hiking Trails In North America, Ranked

Carbohydrates And Fiber: Dried Fruits, Nuts, Nut Butters, And Seeds

These are always an old standby when it comes to any kind of physical activity. If nothing else, a bag of trail mix is always a great thing to have on hand. It's a great microburst of fuel when needed and can be eaten quickly while on the go. It also won't weigh a hiker's pack down and can be portioned into smaller bags or containers, making portion control a breeze. Furthermore, these snacks can be shared and customized - anything from M&Ms, a variety of dried fruits, and even seasoned nuts can be thrown in the mix.

Related: The 10 Weirdest Hiking Trail Rules You Never Knew Existed

Extras: Hummus, Overnight Oats, Powdered Drink Mixes, Crackers, Tuna Packs, Pork Rinds

It's true that some of these things will hold better than others. Starting with hummus and tuna packs, these are obviously preferable for those who plan to eat early on in their hike. they can also be chilled with an ice pack or in a portable mesh cooler, but keep in mind that will add extra weight. If it's doable, both hummus and tuna packs are an excellent source of protein and fiber and will also help a hiker feel full without feeling bloated.

Crackers and pork rinds are more of a savory snack, helping hikers feel as though they're eating something more than trail mix but also providing a boost of carbs, too. Overnight oats are an excellent way to start off the day, can be eaten at room temp, and hikers can even throw in dried fruits, nuts, and powdered protein. Lastly, speaking of powdered protein, a boost of nutrients can be added to water these days by visiting any health food or nutrition store.

Next: 10 Things Everyone Forgets To Pack When Hiking