Food and Water Tips for Winter Hikes

foodIt’s easy for hikers to go through the seasons without changing any of their typical prep work or routines. However, remaining in a good-weather mindset can be one of the most dangerous things you can do when you’re hiking during colder seasons. Because of the colder temperatures and extra energy it takes to hike through inches—or feet, in some cases—of snow, you burn calories much faster and in much greater quantities. This means nutrition on the trail is super important, and today we’ll take a look at some winter food and water tips.

To better help with hydration, it’s smart to keep your water at room temperature when you hike during the winter. Doing so makes it less likely that your water will freeze, and also means your water will boil easier if you need to use it to cook food in an emergency. Also, when it comes to staying hydrated, don’t eat the snow. Your body burns precious calories melting the snow internally, so instead, you can melt it into water first, and then drink it.

Where food is concerned, snacks such as dried fruit, beef jerky, peanut butter, and granola can give you the energy you need to handle winter hikes. (Bonus Tip: try mixing your granola with hot water for a tasty, warm meal.) Keep in mind, though, that carbs digest faster than proteins do, meaning they can be deployed faster for quicker energy. However, be sure to pair your carbs with healthy fats to help you digest them quickly. Also, try not to be tempted by snacks like PowerBars and candy bars, as they can easily freeze solid.

If you can manage it, bring along foods like soups, stews, or freeze-dried meals. Why? They’re hot, they’re easy to make, and they pack a lot of helpful, energy-boosting calories. On longer camping trips or hikes, a warm meal over a fire can recharge your body’s energy like nothing else.

Being smart with your water and food choices during winter hikes and camping trips can mean the difference between going hungry and staying energized. Keep the tips above in mind when you’re prepping for such trips this winter and you’ll be sure to be able to tackle the snowy terrain with energy each day.