Patagonia is the land of wonders with numerous day and multi day hikes readily available. With so much natural wonder to explore it’s easy to forget about one of the most important things – Snacks! And well let’s be honest nutrition in general. We all know that hiking is a challenging activity on the body and we need to make sure that there is enough fuel in the tank to keep us going. In preprearing for Patagonia we’ve done a lot of research on the perfect snacks to snack on.

The advice on eating times on the trail is relatively clear- snack your way to happiness every two hours to keep your energy levels flying high. But what exactly to should one snack on? Well, that’s rather confusing. There’s so much information and advice on what you should take, what you shouldn’t and why.

Dried fruit or fresh fruit? Jerky or canned tuna? Scroggen, schmogel or trail mix? Ah so confusing.

Why is snacking on the trail so important?

I, for one, get hangry. First, it starts off with the sassy comments. Then the anger. Occasionally tears and a foot stamp or two. I know that this is a personal issue for me and one that is fairly easy to manage when I’m at home or at least near a café to get a snack. Other than me turning into a colossal bitch on the trail, which in itself is a danger to all, the risk of hunger flatting is a real threat. Hunger flatting can have a long lasting effect and ruin your entire hiking experience.

Reactive hypoglycaemia – low blood sugar – hunger flatting – to be avoided a tall costs.

How much food is needed?

Ah so I delved deep into the world of nutrition and science for you. It was a deep dive into numbers, weight, calculations. And a lot of very conflicting advice.

As a general rule – 4000-5000 calories per person per day.

This is really dependant on your age, weight, gender and fitness level. What this figure doesn’t take into account is simple carbs vs complex carbs. Weight wise you are looking at around 500-900grams of food per day per person. Remember that some items like apples weigh around 120grams each so it’s easy to get a heavy bag.

What food options should you consider taking on a Patagonian adventure?

Dry Food

Pasta, couscous, noodles and soup packs are perfect for hiking. These items are light weight and easy to cook. We prefer taking couscous over water heavy items such as pasta. Couscous makes a great lunchtime snack as it’s easy to just add water. Cooking pasta can take up a lot of fuel in boiling water and cooking the pasta. It’s a good idea to take a mix of both.

Muesli, porridge and powdered milk are the perfect start for breakfast.  I always start my day off with a hot drink so it’s easy to boil up a pot of water and have a hot meal.

Canned Food

Tuna, salmon, chicken and just about everything comes in a can these days. The small cans are great for adding protein and a bit of flavour to your meals. You need to remember that what ever you carry in you need to carry out.

Dried fruit Traveling Honeybird

Dried fruit vs Fresh Fruit

Fresh is best right? Ah not always. Dried fruit is generally the preference for hikers due to it’s ability to handle itself in a backpack, weighs less and has less water. Just note that a lot of dried fruit is sprayed with oils, sulphurs and preservatives. A little is ok and there’s nothing wrong with carrying dried fruits as a high energy, highly nutritious snack to enjoy alongside other foods.

Jerky

Beef jerky makes a great protein full snack for when you’re ambling along enjoying the views. The mixture of salt and protein can give your body slow release energy. The protein does help your muscles to recover from exercise which could mean fewer aches and pains the next morning. Jerky is also great at satisfying hunger pangs if you need something filling to tide you over to your lunch stop. It’s a lightweight snack that’s easy to eat.

Image: Peanut chocolate bomb cookie-bar  Em’s PowerCookies 

Energy Bars/ Museli Bars

Energy bars or muesli bars are super convenient. While relatively pricey per unit, they deliver above-average taste and sustenance for very little weight.  Packed tight with anything from nuts and seeds to dried fruit to honey or chocolate, the truly brilliant thing about energy bars is that there’s one to suit every taste. When we’re in Australia I love Em’s Powercookie bars. It’s not unusual for me to be snacking on one of these on the long train ride home.

Trail Mix, scroggin or schmogel?

These are all the same thing. It’s a mixture of fruit, nuts and chocolate to be snacked on. There are commercial products that you can buy but I prefer to make my own. Mainly because I stuff it full of delicious chocolate. The great thing about having trail mix is that you can nibble away as you go. There’s no need to stop, boil water and take a break. Though there’s nothing wrong with you doing that at any time.

Trail Mix Traveling Honeybird

Eat what you like

Going on a multi day hike isn’t the time to be trying out a new food. Don’t worry about being an adventuresome eater make sure that you are taking along food that you will actually eat and enjoy. At the end of the day, you need to ensure that you are eating and refuelling your body in preparation for the next adventure.

I personally love peanut butter and will without a doubt have a small container on me. As well as crackers. Again easy fuel to make and enjoy.

Be prepared

To make your hike snack time easier you need to be prepared. Pack your breakfast and dinner in one bag, with lunch and snacks in other bags. That way you don’t need to be wasting time trying to find the right meal. I also make sure that all my hiking packs have a snack pocket on the hip belt. Letting me have the fastest access to all my delicious snacks.

Pack it in, pack it out! (ie if you don’t eat it, you must carry it back out.) Please adhere to the Leave No Trace principles and do not leave any food out there whatsoever. This includes apple cores, fruit skins, food scraps, buried or otherwise.

Drink all the water

It sounds silly but I feel that I do have to say this. You’ll need to drink plenty of water on the trail. Not only will it keep you hydrated but it will help you digest the snacks so much better. Especially if you’re enjoying jerky and those interesting dehydrated meals. If you’re like me and get a bit bored of plain ol’ water take some flavoured electrolytes or water additives. There’s nothing wrong with flavouring up an item that is vital to your survival.

Where to buy the snacks?

Depending on how you are getting to Patagonia will depend on where you will buy all your snacks. Most advice says to BYO from Santiago or Buenos Aires. As we’ll have been on the road for nearly two months it’s not really an option for us to carry things from Australia. If you are like us and having to buy locally don’t despair. The recent surge in popularity around the region has seen shops cater to hikers with freeze dried meals, energy bars. There’s also the good ol’ supermarket and local markets. Just note that you will pay a premium price compared to stocking up int he big cities.

If you are like us and having to buy locally don’t despair. There are options to buy backpacking friendly foods in Puerto Natales. The recent surge in popularity around the region has seen shops cater to hikers. You will pay a premium price. Our current plans see us coming into Punta Arenas and heading to El Chalten. So we’ll collect supplies in Punta Arenas. If you’re trekking the W Trek you’ll want to source your snacks from Puerto Natales. There are small cafeterias at the campsites that sell the basics if you need. Again due to the remote location and high transport costs you will pay a premium for this.

Have your favourite snack?

Let us know in the comments below. We love hearing what you love to eat on the trail.

Jeanette

Jeanette

Founder, Principal Blogger & Coffee Drinker

Coffee Lover | Travel Blogger | Horse Rider | Adventure Racer | Donut Dame. Generally nice lady-enjoys wine, indie movies & random dance parties in my tent.

Disclaimer:
I am not a Doctor or nutritionist just a person who competes in endurance events, as does James, and we know what works well for us. If you have any concerns please talk to your medical practitioner.
Preparing for Patagonia What snacks to pack

50 Comments

  1. Samantha

    I really hope to make it to Patagonia one day.. I will definitely save this post!

    Reply
  2. Bernadette Jackson

    I make my own granola, but had never ever thought of making my trail mix – that’s a fantastic idea. It sounds like an amazing trip in prospect.

    Reply
  3. Katherine

    You said the Word That Shant Be Spoken. Scroggan! Hahaha, I did a hiking trip through Tasmania and we ate scroggan for six days. Now I can’t even hear about the stuff without my stomach doing sommersaults!
    P.S. This font is amazing.

    Reply
  4. Archana Singh

    Patagonia has been on my travel list forever. And I am so glad you chose to write about what snacks to pack because usually I forget those. And then I have to either buy expensive ones or stay hungry.

    Reply
  5. juander woman

    Whenever I’m hiking, I have to continually remind myself to drink water. I have the tendency to drink only when I’m already too thirsty. I mostly stick with energy bars, trail mix and dried fruit. It’s a good thing you mentioned beef jerky since I’ve never considered it before! It would be easier for me to eat since I like it vs my normal trail food which I normally don’t have any appetite for.

    Reply
  6. Christopher James Mitchell

    The information is great, but I also appreciated the humorous tone of the article. I read so many articles nowadays on travel blogs that nearly put me to sleep, but this certainly had my attention the whole way through. Cheers!

    Reply
    • Jean

      Why thank you! I do my best to entertain.

      Reply
  7. ZeeGoes

    you had me at “As a general rule – 4000-5000 calories per person per day.” What! Gosh, how much calories do you burn that it requires that much in take?

    Reply
    • Jean

      Exactly that! Hiking and especially when you’re carrying a pack burns a lot of calories. You need to ensure that you have enough to refuel and repair your body!

      Reply
  8. Swati & Sam (The Tales of a Traveler)

    Nice and interesting post. We carry trail mix wherever you go. We have one in our car all the time 🙂 . Though many of the items you’ve mentioned we religiously carry on our travels 😀

    Reply
  9. Mimi & Mitch

    Patagonia looks like a place that we would LOVE to go! Don’t know why it is not higher on our list. Actually is now. We love treks and it is great to know all these tips. Snacking is so important in this type of activity. Bookmarked!

    Reply
  10. Jennifer @ Made all the Difference

    I love packing granola bars when I hike. I can basically live on Mint Cliff bars. I can’t wait to go hiking in Patagonia. These are great general packing tips for hiking.

    Reply
  11. abcdefghizzy

    4000-5000 calories per day?!? That’s seriously insane but I couldn’t imagine the physical toll all the altitude and the walking does to a body. This is also coming from a non-hiker so I already give everyone tackling Patagonia so many props. The fresh fruit tip makes sense as does the jerky. Jerky is a fantastic food source, i usually bring it to most traveling excursions because its such a quick energy boost!

    Reply
    • Jean

      You really do need that much !!!

      Reply
  12. Mariella Molestina

    I love this! Not only did you write about The Patagonia, but you made it 180 degrees more interesting when providing your readers with tips on how to stay healthy food wise while being there. All these advices on staying healthy and getting in your daily nutrients is key while on an excursion.. but now you made me want to get in my kitchen and make my own granola!!

    Reply
  13. Tracy

    Peanut butter! Why I never thought of that. 🙂 Haha..Snack bar is a must for me and next will be water! I ever once ran out of water and there was still a long way back, it was terrible.

    Reply
  14. Sandy N Vyjay

    Good list of snacks to carry on any hike. Being sufficiently stocked is important as one tends to get those uneasy hunger pangs on hikes, especially if you have started early morning. We generally carry lots of dry fruits and nuts, like almond, cashew etc., as well as energy bars and chocolates

    Reply
  15. Lydia Smith

    You make traveling easy with these packing tips. If it can work well for Patagonia, it can for everywhere. Thanks!

    Reply
  16. Red Nomad OZ

    I like trail mix the best – but I always end up picking out the bits I love best, first! So the end of the hike is a bit boring – snack wise!! But then, I have never done a multi-day hike so I can always replenish my mix for the next day! I didn’t know that snacking every two hours is the accepted norm – I’ll try that on my next hike and see if it makes any difference endurance-wise!

    Reply
  17. Tales of travelling sisters

    Mixed Nuts and protein bars are my favourite snacks to carry while going for a trek. I like the options you have mentioned in the post, great idea of carrying coucous instead of items like pasta. I think ready to eat soups are also a best choice.

    Reply
  18. Anna Schlaht

    So agree with all your suggested foods! Personally, energy bars and trail mix are my go-to snacks. The occasional pretzels (for the salt) are good too; easy to munch on. Depending on the length of the hike, we’ll also bring packets of freeze dried quinoa or beef stew and mix it with hot water for a late afternoon meal. Getting enough food is so important for long distance hikes, so thanks for getting the word out to excited new hikers! 😀

    Reply
  19. shesatripblog

    Great advice! I don’t have a trip planned there for now — but I’m pinning this for when I do go.

    Reply
  20. Paige Wunder

    These are really great tips. It’s also great to know that there are more options now for resupplying! My dream is to take my dad here for his 60th birthday!

    Reply
    • Jean

      Oh that would be wonderful!!!

      Reply
  21. Christie

    Great tips! Patagonia looks so beautiful, and I can’t wait to visit someday!

    Reply
  22. James

    There are some useful tips here on what snacks to take to Patagonia, how much to take and when to eat them. I agree that buying your supplies in Punta Arenas would be the best way as it’s a big city you will most likely pass through before arriving in Natales or wherever you’re heading. I’m lucky that I can eat raw oats so can virtually rely on these!

    Reply
    • Jean

      Oh you don’t find them too boring??

      Reply
  23. Annie B

    Amazing advice here. If I ever venture this way I will be sure to revisit this post. Clif bars are also good but beef jerky is a good choice

    Reply
    • Jean

      Try Em’s bars! Better tasting then cliff bara

      Reply
  24. travelwith2ofus

    You are definitely correct about forgetting to pack snacks. I would be so excited to visit Patagonia that I would definitely forget them. Dried fruit and nuts, as well as water would be my choices.

    Reply
  25. Lucy

    Very informative article, definitely helpful for all those who do hiking very often. I used to hike at least once a month and picking the food was one of the hardest part of planning the hike. On one hand bringing lots of food is heavy, on the other hand bringing too little would make you energy drained. Thanks for sharing this helpful article! 😉

    Reply
  26. ada

    What a fabulous and useful post ! I am literally dreaming about Patagonia ever since Ive heard about it! It would be hard for me live on those snacks tho haha but the views are worth it! Luckily I love jerky 😀 I am glad its an option ! 😀

    Reply
  27. Susanna

    Great tips! Patagonia is on my watch list. I just got back from Chile, but I went there to snowboard, so I need to go back in summer to hike! Great list of snacks and where to get them. I love the muesli bars that have hundreds of calories in them to keep me going. I also love bringing boiled eggs. The alpine regions in Europe sell them pre boiled at the store, but I know it can be hard to access boiling water to make your own.

    Reply
  28. Abigail Sinsona

    What a handy guide this is, not just for hiking in Patagonia but hiking in general. The right snack is definitely important. You want to be fueled for the hike but not feel bloated. I love tips about choosing between dried or fresh fruit. Dried fruits are also more convenient especially if you are going to hike for a few days!

    Reply
  29. thefabulousscript

    Great advice! It’s so true: sometimes the things we forget its the things we need the most! I always pack snacks from home when I’m about to travel to a foreign country. The Patagonia is truly a breathtaking place, hopefully when I go I don’t forget the snacks ! 🙂 – Mariella

    Reply
  30. Nicole Anderson

    Great post Jean! A lot of good suggestions and ideas here and also good that you mentioned the leave no trace principles. Much of what you have covered here is of course good for other parts of the world too and I hope you have a successful and fun trip to Patagonia.

    Reply
  31. Kristine Li

    Oohhhhh food for the trails, definitely very important! I had a bad bout of gastric after NOT packing for a hike in Norway and suffered big time for that. I like bringing cookies and snack bars for hiking, though snack bars feels more like a i-should-eat-it than a i-want-to-eat-it. Great options you’re suggesting here!

    Reply
  32. hertraveltherapy

    I was supposed to go trekking in Patagonia early this year but I bought an impulse flight to Colombia from Argentina instead! I definitely hope to actually go there one day though, and these are good tips to keep in mind.

    Reply
  33. ayewanderful

    That’s great advice and a very useful post. Using couscous instead of pasta is a fantastic suggestion considering there’s pretty much no-cooking involved. I like roasting nuts in a little mix of oil+cinnamon+honey+paprika+salt. They taste amazing and are healthy too.

    Reply
    • Jean

      Oh sounds delicious

      Reply
  34. Alison - Up&AtEm Travel

    Love this post! I’ve never heard of the other words for trail mix before, lol, and I prefer to make my own, too. 🙂 Beef jerky is another good suggestion. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  35. Stephanie

    Great advice for any hike! I love taking Lara bars on my hikes, though I’ve yet to find them abroad. Thanks for sharing

    Reply
    • Jean

      I know that feeling. I’m tempted to pack my bag full of Em’s bars but I know all that will happen is me eating them a week in.

      Reply
  36. Life...One Big Adventure

    I am a muesli bar gal, as you can eat as you walk along, or even just eat part of one and save the rest until later. My backpack doesn’t have any sort of pocket on its hip belt, so I asked my mum to sew a couple of large tabs on the back of a pencil case, and Wa La! Instant snack pocket to thread onto the hip belt! Perfect for muesli bar, camera and lip balm! Yes, I get excited by simple things! Thanks for sharing your tips. I will definitely be packing some jerky next time. Mel

    Reply
    • Jean

      Oh Mel that’s a brilliant idea!!!

      Reply
  37. Planes, Trains and Champagne

    This is awesome Jeanette!! Great tips for packing snacks to Patagonia. Beef jerky is one of my favs!

    Reply
  38. Savannah Ivy

    This is great! I like what you said about keeping with what’s familiar to your body and digestive system! I used to do triathlons and it’s very similar! But now I’m primarily a hiker and Patagonia is on my list! Thanks for the recommendations!

    Reply
    • Jean

      So many people think that this is the perfect time to go on a diet or change their diet. Ah nope! Keep it simple

      Reply
  39. Katherine

    Great tips! Hope to travel there one day 🙂

    Reply

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