8 Tips for Staying Fueled on Outdoor Adventures

Keeping hydrated and satiated is key to a great day out.

Whether you’re hitting the beach, the trails, or the open road, keeping up your energy is step one to a successful adventure. Luckily, staying hydrated, satiated, and satisfied while you’re reconnecting with Mother Nature isn’t hard at all, as long as you have a few tricks up your sleeve. From making plant-based trail snacks to mixing up smoothies before trekking out, we shared our best tips for staying nourished while taking in the beauty of the land below. 

Freeze items strategically

Whether you’re packing for the beach or the trails, freezing the appropriate food and drinks will keep everything else cold, and free up precious cooler space. For a day trip, water bottles are great to freeze, as they’ll ensure you have cool water while pulling double duty as a cooling element. Grapes are also especially delicious frozen, and make for a good beach snack. Heading out for a longer trip? Freeze the ingredients you’ll be using last, so they’ll keep everything else cool while they defrost.

Keep the heavy lifting to a minimum

A half-liter of water weighs about a pound, which may not seem like much, but if you’re packing enough water for multiple people, it’s bound to turn into a workout. If you have several camping or hiking trips planned, making the switch to a bladder bag, like this, can make packing easier. It also allows you to bring more water along for your trip, which is especially important for hot, sunny days.

Don’t leave without breakfast

There’s nothing worse than trying to reconnect with nature and being interrupted by a growling stomach. Before setting out for a big day, eating a balanced breakfast is imperative — and it needs to be filling without being nap-inducing. Our picks are fiber-filled overnight oats and protein-packed smoothies made with Silk® Almondmilk, because it has 50% more calcium* than milk and is completely plant-based. While you can always lean into the classic “greens and banana” recipe, this blueberry option is more seasonal (and comes with an interesting lemon and thyme kick) while this one mixes your morning green tea boost with fruits and Silk Vanilla Soy Dairy Free Yogurt Alternative. If you're not into smoothies, you can try overnight oats instead, which take only 10 minutes to prep before you let it rest overnight. Mix it up in a mason jar and you can have breakfast trailside, too.

Use crusty bread for sandwiches 

Few things are more disappointing than going out of your way to pack yourself a meal for your road trip, hike, or beach day… only to have it be borderline gross by the time you dig in. That’s why we recommend relying on crusty, substantial bread as the vessel for veggie-filled subs. Ciabatta, baguettes, and sourdough will stand up to condiments, and even get better-tasting while they sit, like this take on a more traditional sub, which uses tart, vinegar-based toppings for tons of extra flavor. These plant-based chickpea salad sandwiches will also taste better the more time you give the flavors to meld, and crusty bread will keep them from becoming too messy. 

Take a cue from the ’gram 

The mason jar salad doesn’t just look great in your IG stories. It’s also an easy way to pack a nutrient-rich lunch for the trails or beach and ensure it’s just as tasty when you crack into it as it was when you packed it. Some tips: dressing always goes on the bottom, followed by the heartiest veggies in your salad (e.g., summer squash, peppers, carrots, etc.), beans and grains follow that, then add cheese or proteins, leaving the lettuce and soft veggies for last. When you’re ready to eat, just empty it into a separate bowl or shake it up vigorously. 

Skip the prepackaged stuff 

Besides the fact that pre-packaged trail mixes usually come in single-use packaging, they also typically contain a lot of sugar and salt, which won’t do you much good while you’re getting a workout on the trails. Mixing your own means you can toss in as many high-value nuts (like pistachios and almonds) as you want, and totally nix the bits you would usually skip over (meh, raisins). You can even create savory or spicy mixes, or dehydrate your own fruit for a personal touch.

Make it snack-y 

If you’re short on backpack space or will be hiking a long distance before you can stop for lunch, packing snackable options rather than a full meal will lighten your load. Cheese sticks, almonds, nuts, trail mix, and fruit can be a meal on their own when combined, and you can pass them around if folks get hungry before your designated break point. Plus, including snacks like these with some protein and fiber will help keep you full while you finish out the trek. 

Leave no trace

Single-use plastics and containers have no place in your pack, especially when you’ll be hitting the trails and likely not run into a garbage can for a while. Reusable bags are your best bet for snacks and meals, especially since they are easy to rinse out and toss back in your bag. We especially like these silicone ones because they’re dishwasher-safe and will stand up to being jostled around while you’re out and about. (No one wants to clean crushed crackers out of their backpack!) Plus, if you want to keep enjoying the beauty of the land, we all have to do our part to take care of it, which includes opting for reusable containers and more plant-based options.

*Silk Original Almondmilk has 450mg calcium per cup; Reduced fat milk has 293mg calcium per cup. USDA, ARS. FoodData Central, 2021.