How To Pack: A Reflection in Snacks

I think you can tell a lot about a person by the way they pack their snacks. Be it a trip to the pool or a night at the drive-in, there is a certain nuance to this type of thing.

I can tell when someone stopped at the gas station on the way there, grabbed the most familiar items, and dashed out. No harm in that, I have done it myself more times than I can count, but true snack-packing takes planning. Sour gummy worms and a short stack of Pringles might not cut it after hour 3 of the hike. 

Questions I Ask Myself Before Packing The All-Important Snack Bag

  • How much energy will I be using?
  • Do I usually get a certain hankering when I do this activity?
  • Will I be meeting friends? Do I want to be the “nice one” that offers extra snacks to ill-prepared strangers?
  • Is there a spot to refuel?

These questions, more often than not, lead me to packing similar snacks for many different excursions. I have found my snack-packing groove, so to speak. The following list is the top snacks I return to time after time, the snacks I turn to if I have no time to plan. The Holy Trail Grail.

My Fail-Safe Snacks for Outdoor Activities 

  • Trail Mix: Can you put just about anything in trail mix and call it even? Yes. Does that fact make this snack a cop-out? Maybe. Just kidding! I stand by this honored trail favorite. My mix goes a little like this: the salitest, hardiest nuts I can find, dried cranberries (that sourness just cannot be beat), M&Ms of course, and wasabi peas. No knocking till you try it. 
  • Beef Jerky: Now, I will let you know I am a later-in-life convert to the jerky. I never wanted to try it growing up and said it was too gross. Fast forward a few years– I have to eat my young words. I like all kinds of that salty, tough stuff. Even tried my hand at making it homemade, but I think I will stick to buying mine off the shelf.
  • Snickers: Do not, I repeat, do NOT underestimate this mighty candy bar. Snickers are just about the closest thing I have found to an outdoorsman’s snack goldmine. A little carbohydrate and protein bomb with a little delicious sugar to boot. Candy guilt does not exist in the outdoors, so pack a few bars.

Day-End Tailgate

I am a purist when it comes to tailgating. I want cold beer, grilled meat, and that sunset-time satisfaction of a day spent outdoors. 

Two tips for the perfect tailgate:

  • Plan and pack ahead. Other people might not think of a tailgate, but they will want to join once they hear about it.
  • Check with local land management about the area protocol for alcoholic beverages, or use a tried-and-true spot. Your secret is safe with me. 
  • Keep the beers cold.

It might seem too tiring to plan ahead for a tailgate on top of everything else. Well, I hope we run into each other out on the trail. You are always invited to mine!