10 Lightweight Snacks for Orienteering Trips: Keep Your Energy Up Without Extra Weight

July 03, 2024 10 min read

Choosing the right snacks for an orienteering trip is essential for maintaining your energy and staying well-nourished throughout your adventure. Orienteering demands not just physical stamina but also mental sharpness, which makes selecting appropriate food all the more crucial. The key to successful orienteering snacking lies in finding lightweight, nutritious options that are both convenient and satisfying.

A backpack with 10 assorted lightweight snacks, such as trail mix, energy bars, and dried fruit, laid out on a map in a forest clearing

Keeping your pack light while ensuring you have enough fuel for the day can significantly enhance your orienteering experience. This article will guide you through ten excellent snack choices, tailored specifically for the demands of orienteering trips.

1) Trail Mix with Almonds and Dried Cranberries

A pile of trail mix with almonds and dried cranberries sits on a rock, surrounded by a map, compass, and backpack. The sun shines down on the scene, casting shadows on the ground

Trail mix with almonds and dried cranberries is a great option for orienteering trips. It’s easy to pack and doesn’t take up much space in your bag. You can find pre-made versions at most grocery stores.

Almonds provide a good source of protein and healthy fats. These nutrients help keep your energy levels stable. Dried cranberries add a touch of sweetness without being overly sugary.

Together, the almonds and cranberries offer a balance of flavors and textures. This makes the mix enjoyable to eat on the go. It’s also versatile and can be customized to your taste.

You can add other ingredients like seeds or a touch of dark chocolate. These additions can bulk up the nutritional content. Just be mindful of the overall weight and volume.

Preparing your trail mix at home can save money. You can also control the quality and quantity of ingredients. This ensures you’re getting the best possible snack for your trip.

2) Beef Jerky

A pile of beef jerky and a selection of lightweight snacks arranged on a table, with a map and compass in the background

Beef jerky is a popular choice for orienteering trips. It's lightweight, portable, and packed with protein. You can easily carry it without worrying about it spoiling, making it ideal for extended trips.

The high protein content provides sustained energy, which is crucial for the physical demands of orienteering. Each piece offers a quick boost, helping keep your energy levels stable.

Moreover, beef jerky comes in various flavors. Whether you prefer something savory, spicy, or sweet, there's a beef jerky flavor to suit your taste. This variety can make your snacking experience more enjoyable on your trip.

Another advantage is the low water content. This means it won’t add unnecessary weight to your pack. A small amount goes a long way, allowing you to conserve space and carry more essential gear.

Finally, beef jerky is easy to eat on the move. You can snack without stopping, keeping your momentum constant. Each bite is both satisfying and energizing, assisting you in covering more ground effectively.

3) Granola Bars

Granola bars are a convenient and nutritious option for orienteering trips. They are lightweight and easy to pack in your backpack. With various flavors and ingredients, you can find one that suits your taste.

These bars often contain a mix of oats, nuts, and dried fruits. This combination provides a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fats. These nutrients can help sustain your energy levels during long treks.

You can easily find granola bars in most grocery stores. Some brands also offer options free from common allergens like gluten or dairy. This makes it easier to accommodate dietary restrictions.

Granola bars have a long shelf life, which makes them ideal for packing even if your trip spans multiple days. They require no preparation, so you can eat them on the go without any fuss.

Choosing granola bars with natural ingredients and minimal added sugars is a smart choice. This ensures you're getting the most nutritional benefit without excess preservatives or artificial flavors.

4) Fruit Leather

A colorful array of fruit leather snacks arranged on a light and compact packaging, surrounded by hiking gear and a map

Fruit leather is a convenient snack for orienteering trips. Made from pureed fruits, it's lightweight and easy to pack.

You can find fruit leather in various flavors such as strawberry, apple, and mango. It's usually made without added sugars or preservatives, making it a healthier option.

This snack provides a quick energy boost, thanks to its natural sugars. The compact size also makes it easy to carry several pieces in your backpack.

Fruit leather is durable and can withstand various weather conditions, perfect for outdoor activities. You won't have to worry about it melting or spoiling.

It's also easy to eat on the go. You can enjoy it while navigating trails or during a quick break.

Look for options that list fruit as the first ingredient to ensure quality. Some brands also offer organic varieties for an added level of assurance.

You can make your own fruit leather at home if you prefer. Simply blend your favorite fruits and dehydrate them.

Fruit leather is an excellent snack to include in your orienteering pack. It offers convenience, energy, and a burst of flavor.

5) Roasted Chickpeas

A bowl of roasted chickpeas sits on a rustic wooden table next to a map and compass, with a backpack and hiking boots in the background

Roasted chickpeas make an excellent lightweight snack for orienteering trips. They are compact, easy to pack, and provide a satisfying crunch. You can carry them in small resealable bags, making portion control straightforward.

These snacks are rich in protein and fiber, which help keep you feeling full longer. This is especially beneficial during long treks when you need sustained energy.

Chickpeas are also a versatile option. You can season them with a variety of spices to suit your taste preferences. Popular choices include smoked paprika, garlic powder, and sea salt.

Preparing roasted chickpeas at home is simple. You just need to toss them with a bit of olive oil and your chosen seasonings. Then, roast them in the oven until they are golden and crispy.

Roasted chickpeas store well for several days if kept in an airtight container. This makes them a convenient option to prepare ahead of time. You'll be ready for your trip without last-minute food prep stress.

Additionally, they are a nutritious alternative to processed snacks. They offer a healthier option compared to chips or candy, without compromising on flavor or texture.

Next time you plan an orienteering trip, consider adding roasted chickpeas to your snack lineup. Their portability and nutritional value make them an ideal choice for active outdoor adventures.

6) Mini Rice Cakes

Mini rice cakes arranged on a portable tray, surrounded by a compass, map, and water bottle. Forest and mountain landscape in the background

Mini rice cakes are a convenient snack for orienteering trips. These lightweight bites are easy to pack and don’t take up much space in your backpack.

They come in a variety of flavors, from savory to sweet, allowing you to choose according to your taste preferences. Their crunchy texture can provide a satisfying contrast to softer snacks.

Since mini rice cakes are typically low in calories, they can be part of a balanced diet during your trip. Pair them with protein-rich toppings like nut butter or cheese for a more substantial snack.

Due to their dry nature, you might want to have water handy while eating them. This ensures you stay hydrated, a key factor during physical activities like orienteering.

Mini rice cakes are shelf-stable and don’t require refrigeration, making them a practical option for long outdoor adventures.

7) Peanut Butter Packets

A pile of peanut butter packets arranged neatly on a table, surrounded by granola bars and trail mix. The packets are colorful and lightweight, perfect for packing on orienteering trips

Peanut butter packets are a convenient and nutritious snack option for orienteering trips. These packets are lightweight and easy to pack, making them ideal for outdoor activities.

You get a high-energy boost from peanut butter, thanks to its healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. This balanced nutritional profile helps sustain your energy levels throughout your trip.

Ready-to-use peanut butter packets are mess-free. You don’t need any extra utensils or containers, reducing the weight you carry. Just tear open a packet and enjoy.

Many brands offer flavored versions of peanut butter packets, adding variety to your snack options. You can find options with honey, chocolate, or even spicy flavors.

The individual serving size of peanut butter packets helps with portion control. This ensures you get the right amount of nutrition without overeating.

Peanut butter packets are also versatile. You can pair them with crackers, fruits, or just enjoy them straight from the packet. This versatility makes them a practical choice for quick energy boosts on the go.

Additionally, peanut butter packets have a long shelf life. This makes them a reliable food item to keep in your backpack for extended trips.

When choosing peanut butter packets, look for options with natural ingredients and minimal added sugar. This ensures you’re getting the healthiest option available.

8) Cheddar Cheese Sticks

A pile of cheddar cheese sticks sits on a rustic wooden table next to a map and compass, ready for an orienteering trip

Cheddar cheese sticks are a convenient and tasty snack to pack for your orienteering trips. They come individually wrapped, making them easy to store and carry.

These cheese sticks are a good source of protein, which helps you stay energized. They also contain calcium, essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth.

Cheddar cheese sticks don’t require refrigeration for short periods. This means you can enjoy them on the go without worrying about spoiling quickly.

You can easily pair cheddar cheese sticks with other lightweight snacks like apples or crackers. This versatility makes them a popular choice for many outdoor enthusiasts.

9) Apple Slices

A pile of apple slices arranged neatly on a lightweight snack tray, with a backdrop of a scenic orienteering trail

Apple slices are a convenient and healthy snack for your orienteering trip. They are portable, easy to pack, and provide a quick energy boost due to their natural sugars.

Apples are rich in vitamins, particularly vitamin C, which helps maintain your immune system. They also contain dietary fiber, aiding digestion and helping you feel full longer.

Preparation is simple. Wash the apple thoroughly, then slice it into pieces. To prevent browning, you can squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the slices. This also adds a slight tangy flavor.

Apple slices are versatile. You can eat them plain or pair them with a small amount of peanut butter for added protein. They can also accompany some cheese cubes for a sweet and savory combo.

Using a resealable bag or a plastic container ensures the slices stay fresh throughout your journey. Reliable and nutritious, apple slices make a perfect addition to your snack list.

10) Mixed Nuts

A variety of nuts scattered on a flat surface, including almonds, cashews, and peanuts. A backpack and map are nearby, suggesting an orienteering trip

Mixed nuts are an excellent snack choice for orienteering trips. They are lightweight, easy to carry, and packed with nutrients. This combination makes them an ideal food to keep your energy levels up while navigating challenging terrains.

You can find a variety of mixed nuts in stores, consisting of almonds, cashews, walnuts, and more. This variety ensures you get a range of flavors and textures, which can keep your snacking experience interesting.

Nuts are known for their high protein and healthy fat content. These macronutrients help sustain your energy throughout your trip. Additionally, they are rich in vitamins and minerals like magnesium and vitamin E, which can aid in muscle function and overall health.

When choosing mixed nuts, look for unsalted and raw varieties. Salted nuts can lead to dehydration, which is not ideal during physical activity. Raw nuts retain more nutrients compared to their roasted counterparts.

For a convenient option, you can pre-portion your mixed nuts into small bags or containers. This ensures you have easy access to them when you need a quick energy boost. Mixed nuts are shelf-stable, meaning they won't spoil easily, even in various weather conditions.

Mixed nuts are also suitable for people following various dietary preferences, including ketogenic, paleo, or vegetarian diets. Ensure you check for potential allergens before sharing them with others in your group.

Including mixed nuts in your snack rotation can provide a satisfying, nutritious, and practical option for your orienteering trips.

Nutritional Considerations

A backpack lies open, revealing a variety of lightweight snacks: nuts, dried fruit, energy bars, and jerky. A map and compass sit nearby, ready for an orienteering adventure

When selecting snacks for orienteering trips, focus on balancing macronutrients and micronutrients and staying hydrated to maintain energy and overall performance.


Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are crucial for energy and muscle maintenance during orienteering. Carbohydrates provide quick energy. Choose easily digestible options like whole grain crackers or dried fruit. Proteins are essential for muscle repair and growth. Consider snacks like nuts or jerky. Fats also offer sustained energy. Opt for healthy fats found in nuts, seeds, and nut butters.

Example snacks:

  • Whole grain trail mix with dried fruit and nuts
  • Nut butter packets with whole grain crackers

Tip: Balance your snacks with a mix of all three macronutrients for optimal energy levels.


Vitamins and minerals play a key role in metabolic processes and physical performance. Electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium are vital to prevent cramping and dehydration. Include electrolyte-rich snacks such as banana chips, dried apricots, or trail mix with added salt. Vitamins like B vitamins and antioxidants assist in energy metabolism and reducing oxidative stress.

Example snacks:

  • Dried bananas or apricots
  • Salted nuts and seeds

Tip: Incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables in dried forms to boost your micronutrient intake on the go.


Staying hydrated is critical, especially on physically demanding orienteering trips. Water is the primary hydrator, but electrolyte solutions can also be beneficial. Pack a reusable water bottle and refill it at every opportunity. Consider hydration packs for hands-free drinking. For snacks, choose items with a high water content like hydrated fruit snacks or reusable water bladders.

Hydration tips:

  • Drink small amounts frequently rather than large amounts infrequently
  • Carry a mix of plain water and electrolyte-enhanced drinks


  • Water-filled bladders or bottles
  • Electrolyte tablets or powders

Tip: Adequate hydration helps maintain energy levels and boost physical performance during your trips.

Packing and Storage Tips

A backpack filled with granola bars, trail mix, and dried fruit. A small cooler holds pre-made sandwiches and fruit. A storage container with nuts and seeds sits on the table

Proper packing and storage ensure your snacks remain lightweight, fresh, and durable throughout your orienteering trip. Focus on choosing the right containers and methods to retain freshness and prevent damage.

Lightweight Containers

Opt for lightweight containers like resealable plastic bags or silicone pouches. These options are not only light but also flexible, making them easy to pack into tight spaces. Consider using vacuum-sealed bags to save space and keep your snacks fresh longer.

Use small, stackable plastic containers with tight-fitting lids to protect delicate snacks from being crushed. Also, lightweight tins can be useful for snacks that might get smushed easily, like dried fruit or small crackers.

Durability and Freshness

Ensuring the durability and freshness of your snacks is crucial. Use airtight containers to prevent exposure to moisture which can spoil your snacks. Those with snap-lock lids are particularly useful for this purpose.

Pack snacks in single-serving portions to maintain freshness and make them more convenient to grab on-the-go. For perishable items, consider using insulated bags with ice packs to prolong freshness. Always label your containers with dates to keep track of shelf life during longer trips.

Energy and Endurance

A backpack filled with trail mix, granola bars, and dried fruit. A water bottle and energy gels scattered nearby. Map and compass on a rock

Choosing snacks that provide sustained energy and support endurance is crucial for orienteering. Prioritize snacks rich in slow-release carbs and protein to keep you moving.

Slow-Release Carbs

Slow-release carbs are essential for maintaining consistent energy levels on orienteering trips. Oats, whole grains, and brown rice are excellent options. These foods digest slowly, preventing spikes and crashes in blood sugar.

Granola bars made from oats and nuts can also be effective. Look for bars that are low in sugars and high in fiber.

Dried fruits, such as apricots and figs, supply natural sugars and fiber. They keep you energized without causing sugar crashes.

Protein-Packed Options

Protein is vital for muscle repair and sustained energy. Nuts and seeds, like almonds and sunflower seeds, provide healthy fats and proteins. They are portable and require no preparation.

Jerky, made from beef or turkey, offers a convenient, high-protein option. Choose varieties low in sodium and preservatives.

Protein bars can be a good choice if they are low in sugar and high in natural ingredients. Opt for those containing nuts, seeds, and dried fruits.

Combining these protein-packed snacks with slow-release carbs can help maintain energy and endurance throughout your orienteering adventure.