Which Trail Food Type are You?

Which trail food do you pack to keep your energy levels up? Photo Credit: Tirol Werbung

When you’re preparing to go out for a hike, food can make or break your ascent—and did you know that everything tastes better at altitude? You get to meet different types of personalities on the trail, and they all pack different snacks to keep their energy levels up. Here are five different types of trail food packers. Which one do you belong to?

1. The Minimalist

The Minimalist Hiker takes things to the extreme by bringing only things he really, truly needs. To save weight, they usually do not have a lot of food in their packs, if at all. They opt for smaller fare, like granola bars, trail mix and nuts. Instead of taking a prolonged break for a meal, a quicker strategy is to graze on a series of modest energy-boosting snacks throughout the day. At the peak, they they get lost in the view, sink their teeth into an apple and take a sip from their water bottle.

The Minimalist Hiker brings only smaller fare, like granola bars, trail mix, an apple and water.

2. The Traditionalist

The Traditionalist Hiker loves to take food along and takes prolonged breaks to enjoy it. No trail is too long, no mountain too high with fine snacks in the daypack. In the good company of local charcuterie and cheese specialties, they explore the mountains at their own pace, pausing wherever they like to. They take in the gorgeous mountain views in search of the best place for a picnic. Towered by the cross on the summit, they end up sitting on a picturesque rock, unpacking their delicious cheese sandwiches under the envious eyes of other hikers.

The Traditionalist Hiker loves local charcuterie and cheese specialties, hard-boiled eggs, tasty bread and schnapps.

3. The Gourmet

The Gourmet Hiker thinks there is no reason why you can’t enjoy delicious and healthy food in the outdoors. They are not concerned about the weight of their backpack but they are very much concerned about the importance of menu planning. They take an excessive amount of time to prepare their decadent meals at home, from couscous salad and energy balls to vegetable sticks with herb and yogurt dip. They love to carry what they eat, so you will find them lugging pre-cooked delicacies in the insulated cooler bag, along with silver cutlery and a chic picnic blanket on the trail—where they embrace the theater of picnicking on a wide open Alpine pasture.

The Gourmet Hiker dines on couscous salad, vegetable sticks with herb and yogurt dip, homemade energy balls and adds flavor to the water by poking slices of ginger and lemon.

4. The Fitness-Fanatic

The Fitness-Fanatic Hiker will come sprinting on a pace your legs can’t keep up, all monitored by fitness watch and activity tracker. It looks as if they are immune to gravity. They rush their way atop the summit without taking breaks, munching on energy-revving protein bars while they are moving (the bar clocks in at 400 calories per piece). Three sips from the hydration daypack, a dextrose sweet, and they continue up, mastering the final push to the summit. Having reached the top, they feast on bananas and energy drinks, before heading downward.

The Fitness-Fanatic Hiker is munching on energy-revving protein bars, bananas, dextrose sweets and energy drinks while moving.

5. The Unprepared

The Unprepared Hiker is another type of minimalist who has little concept of time, distance, or gear. There is little thought about trail food. These hikers are purely in the moment. Their packs are usually light, and in actuality they will end up eating the Minimalist Hiker’s granola bar and the Traditionalist Hiker’s charcuterie specialties. “I thought we were walking up to an on-mountain eatery!” Where, in actuality, the cheese dumplings taste just right after the hiking exertion of the day!

The Unprepared Hiker will end up eating all your snacks all day—and is looking forward to tasty cheese dumplings served on the quaint and rustic on-mountain eatery.

Do you fit into one of these hiker sub-groups, or maybe you are a “species” we have yet to meet?

A few quick tips to go by for all:

  • Drink plenty of water!
  • Bring easy-to-digest food!
  • Leave no trace!


Photo Credits: Tirol Werbung


Anja fell in love with Tirol and loves basking in the beauty of the wonderful mountains she now calls home.

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