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TRAIL FOODS TASTE-OFF

Treat Yourself on Trail

We’re wrapping up this year’s Trail Foods Taste-Off with a handful of our favorite camp and trail treats. After all, sometimes you just have to indulge in a little something extra to help you get over a big hump, or put a sweet cherry on top of a great day of hiking. Here are a handful of our favorite organic, vegetarian and gluten-free selections for satisfying your on-trail sweet tooth—and a little something extra for celebrating big trail milestones. Cheers!

1. Alpine Aire: Cajun Fire Mix

A nice balance of sweet and spicy. ~ Brandon

This savory, snack mix didn’t last long with our tasters, as they all inhaled it as fast as they could—thus earning the top spot on our list of trail treats. A nice break from ordinary trail mix, this vegetarian snack blend features glazed peanuts, honey-roasted sesame sticks and freeze-dried sweet corn and peas dusted with a spicy seasoning. A handful of this makes a fitting reward after a long haul. And you don’t need to feel totally guilty, as you’re getting a ration of veggies! We challenge you to actually get five servings out of the bag. We couldn’t.

DIET: VEG
CARBS: 14g    
SERVINGS: 5
PROTEIN: 4g   
CALORIES: 150
FAT: 8g  

2. Gorilly Goods: Fruit & Nut Snacks

Great savory snacks. ~ Lisa

We sampled several of Gorilly Goods’ snack mixes and all of our team found at least one to be exceptionally tasty. Several gave big props to the Jungle variety, with its sweet, banana-glazed blend of fruit and nuts. Others went for the savory Hillside blend of kale chips and pumpkin seeds in a flavorful seasoning of tamari and cayenne. Still others loved the Coast mix of curry-seasoned cashews, raisins and coconut. No matter which mix you go for, all contain organic, gluten-free ingredients, and are a great source of potassium. Just buy extra—you’ll want more!

DIET: ORG, VEG, GF
CARBS: 6–15g    
SERVINGS: 1–2
PROTEIN: 2–12g   
CALORIES: 130–210
FAT: 10–17g  

3. Trailtopia: Fruit Crisp Desserts

Amazingly tasty without being too sweet. ~ Tami

Sometimes, you just need to indulge a little, especially after a particularly grueling day on trail. Just let this lightweight, gluten-free dessert lift your spirits. Our team tried the Apple and Triple Berry varieties and loved them both, with comments such as “great homemade taste,” and “‘berry’ delicious.” Prep is effortless: just add boiling water, seal and let steep for 15 minutes. Then sprinkle the crumble mixture on top and dig in. Some of our team even suggested these could make a hot and tasty breakfast as well. Also available in non-gluten-free varieties.    

DIET: VEG, GF
CARBS: 45–48g    
SERVINGS: 2
PROTEIN: 1–2g   
CALORIES: 216–235
FAT: 4g  

4. Heather’s Choice: Packaroons

These are just pure heaven. ~ Mitzi

Need an afternoon pick-me-up? Just pop a Packaroon in your mouth. Not only are they ridiculously tasty, but each rich, chewy, filling cookie packs a big energy boost—and they’re gluten-free! Available in eight sweet and savory flavors, our tasters went gaga for the Amaretto and Spiced Cocoa varieties. Made from all-natural ingredients, including coconut, maple syrup and almond flour, and flavored with espresso, orange oil, dried blueberries, lavender and peppermint, you’re bound to find a favorite of your own. Be warned: you won’t want to share these!

DIET: VEG, GF
CARBS: 13–16g    
SERVINGS: 2
PROTEIN: 2–3g   
CALORIES: 160–180
FAT: 12–14g  

5. Packit Gourmet: Mom’s Banana Puddin’

Holy bananas, Batman! This packs a huge flavor punch. ~ Eli

If you’re bananas for bananas, you’re gonna love this easy, vegetarian dessert mix. Rich and creamy, and topped with crispy cake bits and toasted coconut, it preps up quick and easy for a fantastic in-camp treat whenever you have a craving for something sweet. If you’re on a gluten-free diet, just omit the cake bits and you’re good to go. One packet makes a very large single serving, packed with calories and carbs. Our tasters found a little to go a long way, so they recommend dividing this out into two or three smaller servings, or sharing with campmates.

DIET: VEG, GF*
CARBS: 76g    
SERVINGS: 1
PROTEIN: 8g   
CALORIES: 470
FAT: 13g  

IMBIBE: Packit Gourmet: Moonshine Margarita

Make mine a double! ~ Eli

This delicious concoction of dehydrated lemon and lime juice, with just a touch of sugar, is a carryover fave from last year’s Taste-Off. Yes, it’s that good! Just add some ice-cold (filtered) stream water and a splash of BYO tequila, then kick back and enjoy the sunset. If you can, find a patch of clean snow and drop a handful into your mug for a delicious, frosty marg. Not a tequila drinker? It’s just as tasty mixed with whiskey (whiskey sour) or vodka (vodka gimlet). Not packing alcohol? Enjoy it as a refreshing limeade. Perfect for relaxing zero days or celebrating big milestones.

DIET: VEG, GF
CARBS: 4g    
SERVINGS: 1
PROTEIN: 0g   
CALORIES: 35
FAT: 1.5g  

PRO TIPS:

INDULGE: Packing along a tasty treat can really help lift your spirits on tough hiking days. Pack along a favorite snack or candy as a reward for completing difficult trail sections, or carry a few small dessert items to enjoy in camp after dinner.

GO DARK: Some treats are just as tasty as they are good for you. Dark chocolate is a great hiking snack as it packs a ton of health benefits (antioxidants, lowers blood pressure, improves cognitive function), in addition to providing caffeine and sugar for quick energy.

Thanks for following this year’s Trail Foods Taste-Off series. We hope you’ve found our selections helpful for adding some new flavor to your trail menu. Many of the brands we’ve highlighted have even more great trail food and snack options, so check them out and discover a few more on your own. For a recap on all of this year’s features—breakfasts, energy snacks, no-cook lunches and easy meals—just click on the links below.

Meet Our Taste-Off Panel

asars spot
Tami Asars
brandon spot
Brandon Fralic
lisa spot
Lisa Holmes
kramer spot
Philip Kramer
mitzi spot
Mitzi Sugar
wood spot
Rachel Wood
eli spot
Eli Boschetto
This post contains affiliate links. When you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, PCT: Oregon may receive a small commission. These commissions help offset PCT: Oregon’s hosting, operating and development expenses. Affiliate links do not change your purchase prices.
Based on sample availability and dietary restrictions, not all panel participants taste-tested all menu items. Nutrition information is based on single serving size. *Indicates a food item that is made with gluten-free ingredients, however it may not have been produced or packaged in a gluten-free environment.
Main photo: Cheers, to a Trail Foods Taste-Off well done! Photo courtesy of Packit Gourmet. 

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