Before setting out on your kayaking trip, it’s important to prepare well. You don’t want to get hungry mid-trip – all that paddling can be surprisingly exhausting, even if you are fit and in good shape!
Bringing the right snacks, whether you’re going kayaking for a few hours or the entire day, is critical. For multi-day trips, you’ll want to pack enough snacks for the entire trip, so you don’t have to buy new snacks every day.
Here are the 33 best snacks to take with you when kayaking to get energy and fill up your stomach.
Best Snacks for a Kayaking Trip
- 1. Trail Mix
- 2. Beef Jerky
- 3. Apples
- 4. Bananas
- 5. Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich
- 6. Rice Cakes & Peanut Butter
- 7. Raisins
- 8. Nuts
- 9. Peanuts
- 10. Canned Fish
- 11. Dried Fish
- 12. Hummus and Crackers
- 13. Energy/Breakfast Bars
- 14. Protein Shakes
- 15. Smoothies
- 16. Chocolate
- 17. Energy Drinks
- 18. Dried Fruit
- 19. Granola
- 20. Cereal
- 21. Pretzels
- 22. Carrots & Dips
- 23. Bread & Cheese
- 24. Olives
- 25. Canned Beans
- 26. Cookies
- 27. M&Ms
- 28. Hard-Boiled Eggs
- 29. Salami/Turkey Sandwiches
- 30. Cold Pizza
- 31. Seeds
- 32. Potato Chips
- 33. Plain Nut Butter
- Wrapping It Up: What Are the Best Snacks for Kayaking?
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Trail mixes are snack mixes that typically contain ingredients like peanuts, almonds, cashews, raisins, dried fruits, granola, cereal, and sometimes M&Ms or other candies. You can buy trail mixes at grocery stores, gas stations, or online.
You can even make your own trail mix at home. Simply mix your favorite ingredients together and put them in a small ziplock bag.
Making your own trail mix can help you save money, as trail mixes can sometimes be expensive. In addition, prepackaged trail mixes often come with a lot of salt, which can make you thirsty quickly.
Trail mixes fill you up quickly, and they have a lot of calories, providing enough energy for a few hours.
Beef jerky is the perfect protein snack for kayakers. Snacks like fruits and vegetables are awesome, but they don’t always fill you up for a long time.
Beef jerky is everywhere – many gas stations and minimarkets sell it. It is tasty, and it doesn’t go bad, so you can take it on a long day trip as well.
It also comes in many flavors, such as teriyaki, honey mustard, and chili. You’ll never get tired of eating beef jerky!
Keep in mind, though, that beef jerky is usually high in sodium. Eating too much can lead to dehydration, so vary your snacks.
Apples are the perfect fruit for kayaking trips. While not the most nutritious fruit, apples don’t spoil easily, and they are easy to carry around.
You don’t need any utensils to eat an apple – just bite in! One apple alone might not fill you up, but it’s the perfect companion for another snack like beef jerky or trail mix.
You can also eat apples with peanut butter. They go surprisingly well together, and the peanut butter will add a bit of protein and fill you up.
Bananas are also easy to carry around. While they spoil quicker than apples, you can keep them outside for several days, on average, before they go bad.
Apples and bananas go very well together. Both give you fiber, but bananas give you an important nutrient: potassium.
Keeping your potassium levels high can help you maintain your energy and stamina.
Like apples, bananas go well with other snacks, like peanut butter and even raisins.
The peanut butter and jelly sandwich is one of America’s most recognizable snacks. Children all over the country take it to school for lunch or make it at home for breakfast or dinner.
Not only is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich great as a quick meal, but it also makes for a great snack.
Simply spread peanut butter on one slice of bread, spread jelly or jam on another, and then put the two together to make a sandwich. Since you can use many flavors of jam, the PB&J sandwich never gets boring.
You can also swap your white bread for whole-wheat bread for a little extra fiber; it will help you stay full longer, too. In addition, you can add a few slices of banana to the sandwich to make it a bit healthier.
The rice cake and peanut butter sandwich is a nice twist on the classic PB&J sandwich. You don’t need jelly for this recipe, but if you have it, it will definitely make it tastier.
Rice cakes alone can be pretty boring, and they don’t even fill you up. Spread some peanut butter on them, however, and they become instantly delicious and very filling.
Rice cakes are also great for people who are allergic to gluten and can’t eat bread.
Raisins! Raisins come in big bags and small boxes.
They’re dried grapes, and they’re incredibly healthy and great as a snack. Not all raisins are equal, as they come from different varieties of grapes and thus taste different.
All types of nuts are great for a kayaking adventure. Nuts pack a lot of protein – just one cup of almonds, for example, gives you around 28 grams of protein, according to Healthline.
Different types of nuts that are great for kayakers include:
- Macadamia nuts
- Brazil nuts
If you’re getting pistachios, consider getting shelled ones, so you don’t have to waste time removing the shells.
Also, try getting lightly salted or unsalted nuts. I know that salted nuts taste much better, but if it’s a hot day, consuming too much sodium can make you really thirsty on the lake.
In addition, don’t rely entirely on nuts. Many people experience side effects like gas and bloating when eating too many nuts, as they are high in fiber.
Peanuts aren’t technically nuts, despite their name. Instead, they are legumes.
They still make for an excellent kayaking snack, though, providing tons of protein and filling you up. As with real nuts, it’s best to eat them in moderation and opt for lightly-salted or unsalted ones.
Tuna fish can be an excellent snack. I recommend buying cans that have oil instead of water, as they are typically easier to eat without adding mayonnaise.
Just bring a small spoon along, and make sure you buy the type of can that you can pull open with your bare hands.
If cans are too heavy for you, take a small tuna fish pouch from Starkist or Bumble Bee.
Sardines can also be a great snack. If you don’t like the taste of sardines, just buy ones in tomato sauce, mustard sauce, chili sauce, etc.
Canned salmon is an option as well.
Both tuna fish and sardines provide a lot of protein and Omega-3. However, consuming an excess of tuna fish is not recommended, as tuna tends to have a high mercury content, unlike sardines and other smaller fish.
According to the FDA, your upper limit should be 12 ounces of tuna per week, which is four small cans of three ounces each. If you buy a canned tuna salad that also contains vegetables, you can eat more cans per week.
Another great way to get some Omega-3 and protein is by eating dried fish. Canned fish can be heavy on your back (when wearing a backpack), and you also need to take a spoon with you.
Dried fish, on the other hand, is a lot less messy and easier to carry around. There are all kinds of dried fish snacks that you can buy at your grocery or on Amazon.com.
If you’ve never tried dried fish, give it a try! It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s very nutritious and healthy.
Hummus, which is made from chickpeas, provides a lot of protein and fiber. Eating hummus might sound gross, but add some crackers, and you immediately have a mouth-watering snack.
Some companies even sell small hummus and cracker packets, but I recommend making your own, as it will be more cost-effective. Just buy crackers and a container of hummus and bring them on your journey.
It’s best for shorter trips, as hummus is a perishable item.
Another cool pairing: carrots and hummus. They go very well together, and they’re definitely a lot healthier (and more friendly to gluten-sensitive eaters) than crackers and hummus.
Breakfast bars are compact and perfect for when you’re a little hungry but not starving. There are many brands of energy, breakfast, and protein bars.
Some contain ingredients like peanut butter and protein powder, while others are made of nuts and dried fruits. Kind bars (from the brand called Kind) are pretty good, but there are many other great brands out there as well.
You can also make a protein shake to take with you. Buy a big tub of protein powder for your kayaking trips.
Every time you go on a trip, whip up a quick smoothie. You can add water, ice, bananas, and even yogurt.
If you want your protein shake to stay fresher longer, skip the yogurt. Adding a bit of coffee will give your protein shake a bit of a boost.
Protein shakes help fill you up. When you’re busy paddling, you don’t always have time to stop and eat, but you probably have time to drink.
One thing worth noting is that drinking a big protein shake, along with your regular water intake, can make you need to go to the bathroom, which can be annoying while kayaking.
Like protein shakes, smoothies allow you to fill yourself without taking time off to eat. Smoothies appeal to people who want more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
While a smoothie can incorporate protein powder, that’s not usually its main ingredient. Instead, smoothies typically contain a blend of different fruits, such as strawberries, bananas, and apples.
Some people enjoy adding vegetables like kale as well. If you really want to be healthy, you can make a green smoothie using green apples, avocados, kale, and other green fruits and vegetables.
Yes, chocolate can be a healthy snack, as long as you eat it in moderation. Dark chocolate is the healthiest type of chocolate, as it contains less sugar than milk chocolate.
However, too much chocolate isn’t good for you – even if you are eating dark chocolate. Don’t eat more than a few pieces at a time.
Chocolate can give you energy, due to the small amounts of caffeine that it has. In addition, many people get a “sugar high” after eating chocolate.
You can also eat chocolate bars, like Snickers. Again, consume them in moderation.
Energy drinks don’t technically fill you up, but they can stave off your hunger. The large doses of caffeine and sugar suppress your appetite, making you less hungry.
Not all energy drinks have sugar, though, as there are many sugar-free varieties available.
You’ll definitely get a jolt after drinking some Red Bull or Monster, so be prepared. If you get the jitters after drinking coffee, energy drinks will likely have the same effect.
Dried fruit is awesome. You might not have realized it, but there’s an argument to be made that it’s actually healthier than fresh fruit.
When measured by weight, dried fruit contains 3.5x the amount of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that fresh fruit contains. Dried fruit also provides massive doses of antioxidants.
At the same time, dried fruit contains a lot more sugar than fresh fruit, as the water has been removed, concentrating all the natural sugars in one place. Some dried fruits are as much as two-thirds sugar.
Dried fruits are high in calories, which can give you some extra energy for your paddling.
Granola is great as part of a trail mix or on its own. You can also bring some Greek yogurt and sprinkle your granola on top.
Granola also goes well in salads, in case you want to pack a leafy salad for your trip.
While many people eat cereal together with milk, you can also eat it plain. There are all kinds of breakfast cereals that are fortified with essential vitamins and minerals.
A lot of cereals also have high amounts of sugar, but some are pretty healthy. Corn flakes, for example, don’t typically have a lot of sugar; neither do Rice Krispies and Rice Chex.
You can take some cereal in a plastic Ziplock bag, or you can buy small containers of cereal for convenience.
Pretzels are perfect if you want to munch on something, but you’re not really hungry. A big bag of pretzels isn’t expensive.
The good thing about pretzels is that there are so many varieties, shapes, textures, etc. You can get stick pretzels or pretzels in a traditional pretzel shape.
There are salted and unsalted pretzels.
While you can take a variety of vegetables with you, carrots stand out for their versatility. Take a bag of baby carrots along with a few dips, and you’re set!
As I mentioned, carrots go particularly well with hummus. If you don’t like hummus, though, here are some other dips you might want to try:
- Olive dip
- Garlic dip
- Baba ganoush
Cheese goes surprisingly well with bread. Take half a loaf of bread and some slices of American cheese to see just how filling a bread-and-cheese sandwich really is.
You can also opt for other types of cheese, like pepper jack cheese or mozzarella. It’s really easy to make, and you can take a lot with you at once.
Don’t leave your cheese out too long, especially on hot days, as it can go bad.
Two cheese sandwiches and an apple is actually a really healthy and satisfying snack.
Olives can be an interesting snack. While high in sodium, they’re tasty and nutritious.
You can take a can of olives and eat it straight from the can. Bring along a plastic spoon or two, so everyone can have.
There are so many varieties of beans that you’ll never get tired of them. Whether you like red beans, black beans, baked beans, pinto beans, or any other type of beans, take a can or two with you.
Canned beans are best if you need a quick snack for lunch or dinner. Take the type of can that you don’t need a can opener to open, and bring along a spoon.
Since beans have a lot of fiber and protein, they make for a perfect meal in a pinch. Not only that, but a serving of beans can count as one of your daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
Cookies might not be the healthiest snack, but they’re hard to resist. Whether you like oatmeal cookies or are more of a chocolate chip fan, take a pack of cookies with you on your journey.
There are also healthier and gluten-free varieties of cookies.
For some reason, everyone likes to eat M&Ms on hiking and other outdoor excursions. There must be some reason it’s so often included in trail mixes!
M&Ms are fun to eat, and they are also incredibly easy to carry. You can even stick a pack in your pocket.
Traditional M&Ms are not very filling, but you can opt for peanut-coated M&Ms if you want something with a bit more protein.
If M&Ms and pretzels just aren’t filling enough for you, take a couple of hard-boiled eggs instead! Boil them the night before, and pack them in a bag – you can even peel them beforehand.
Eggs are easy to eat and delicious plain.
I talked about bread and cheese sandwiches, but you can also add some slices of turkey or salami to your bread. They don’t always do well in the heat, so they’re best for shorter trips.
You can also make a sandwich with both turkey and cheese.
Cold pizza is actually pretty good! Some people prefer it to hot pizza, but that’s not a debate we’re going to get into here.
Instead, let me just say that if you want a quick snack that will stay fresh for an hour or two, put some slices of pizza in the fridge overnight and take them out right before your trip. If you pack a bottle of ketchup with you as well, your kids will thank you.
Like nuts, seeds are great for snacking. They are incredibly healthy, as many seeds are high in Omega-3.
If you are a vegan and can’t eat fish, seeds can be an excellent source of omegas.
Potato chips are also great for a short trip when you don’t expect yourself to be super hungry. Get some traditional chips, spicy ones, BBQ-flavored chips, or whatever floats your boat (no pun intended).
You can also opt for Cheetos, Doritos, or other chip alternatives. If you can find them, try out some plantain or banana chips instead of potato chips – you might like them.
Peanut butter goes well on bread, rice cakes, bananas, and apples, but you can also eat it plain!
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen them, but they sell these little packets of peanut butter that you can fit in your pocket and eat straight out of. It tastes great, and it will fill you up quickly – just take some water to wash it down.
You can also try cashew butter or almond butter if you are allergic to peanuts. They are also high in protein and very filling.
If you can’t find the little packets, you can also bring along a small jar and a plastic spoon. Don’t feel embarrassed to eat peanut butter out of a jar – it’s a guilty pleasure that many of us have secretly indulged in!
The best snacks are those that you like. Of course, it’s important to take a snack that is filling, nutritious, and healthy.
However, the whole point of going on a kayaking trip is to have fun. If you can’t enjoy yourself on your trip, why bother?
Take a snack that you actually enjoy eating. If you’re going with friends or family, discuss which snacks to bring beforehand – perhaps everyone can chip in and bring some snacks that everyone will enjoy.