My Camping Food Trail Mix Recipes

Camping Food

Simple camping food can be amazing if done right, but it also be traditionally boring. The internet is great for camping food ideas as more and more people start camping blogs & show case their camping food ideas, but before the internet majority of the campers in the United States survived off of unhealthy hot dogs, hamburgers & beef jerky. Washed down with sugary cans of soda or beer. Campers are getting more educated and creative. Camping supplies are getting more versatile and advanced allowing campers to create works of art when it comes to back country food. I went camping with a guy from romania a few years back and this guy brought a cooked stuffed peppers, homemade hand cut french fries, bacon wrapped blue cheese crusted pork chops & bacon mushroom breakfast poppers. It was delicious, and by far the best camping food I have ever had on a backcountry trip in Yellowstone National Park. One of the easiest camping foods to pack is trail mix, and when it comes to camping food…..simplicity is king.  Especially if it has flavor,  didn’t require any cooking or washing any dishes. DEAL, right?!?!

Camping food like trail mix is an excellent alternative to traditional camping foods because its versatile, cheap, lightweight & lasts forever.  You can buy it pre-made or make it from scratch. It only costs a couple of bucks, and over the years my trail mix recipes have saved me thousands of dollars in camping food supplies and thousands of hours from washing dishes.

From tropical to downright nutty I have a trail mix recipe for every camping occasion, but most of my creations come from spur of the moment in-store cravings.  Budgets beware when I’m hungry I just don’t care.  Click the following text if all you want is my latest camping food trail mix recipe OR usual camping food trail mix ingredients.




When I was growing up camping was our familiesBrats & burgers are usually the answer when brainstorming camping food ideas, but with a little creativity and prepping camp food can be so much more. Check out pinterest for camping food ideas. Or breakfast camping food ideas. Search for one pan meal ideas. Internet is filled with people sharing their camping food ideas. its like a free camping cookbook that is always getting updated. Plus they provide the recipe & how to in every post. Its a wonderful resource to finding great camping food ideas. And if you cant find one you like you can always use my trail mix recipes below. vacations. We didn’t stay in fancy hotels, all-inclusive resorts or even campgrounds for that matter. My mom would do the grocery shopping, and my dad would do the packing. The last item we always loaded was the cooler or coolers depending on the time of the year or length of trip.  These camping chests would be loaded with burgers, hot dogs, buns, condiments and a few treats.  Then topped with sodas & ice.  Which was always my job.  If my brother & I were fighting at the time his soda’s wouldn’t get covered in ice, and well shaken.

Healthy trail mix wasn’t stashed in our bags or secretly hiding under the car seats. We were a burger & brat camping family.  That relied heavily on BBQ sauce to bring some excitement into our campfire food.

Trail Mix Hobby

Dried fruits combined with nuts make up most trail mix recipes. One of my favorite dried fruits to add to my camping food is dehydrated strawberries. Tons of flavor in these bite size treats. If you buy them from the store they are going to be drowned in added sugar & preservatives. Highly recommend you dehydrate them yourself if at all possible. It makes a great afternoon activity with the family or fellow camping buddies.Trail mix wasn’t even on our radar, but besides being a great alternative to your traditional campfire foods.  Healthy homemade trail mix can turn into a hobby. From smoking or dehydrating your own meats & fruits to creating your own marinades & seasoning recipes.  You can take it a step farther by candying your own candies and hiding your own little treasures under a candy-coated shell.



I haven’t taken it that far yet, but I am courting. So if you have any dehydrator tips leave them in the comments below. Specifically for off-grid or backcountry lifestyles like mine.  Or if you just want to share stories of sibling torment those are always fun to read too.

What ingredients are in trail mix?

Healthy trail mix is the perfect campfire food, and it makes a great social snack. Particularly when sitting around the campfire after a long day of hiking. Everyone loves to snack, and no one like to cook while camping because every one hates the dishes. So why not pack some healthy trail mix next time for your campfire food treats. Better then a bag of cheetos i promise you that. The most common ingredients in trail mix are nuts, dried fruit & chocolate.  Walnuts, cashews & peanuts dominate most trail mix recipes.  Cranberries, bananas & raisins are usually the dried fruit of choice.  When it comes to chocolate………….. M & M’s take the crown.  This is what I call a Walmart Trail Mix.  Basic, affordable & functional.  And you can make an incredibly tasty trail mix from big box stores like:

 

By buying pre-packaged trail mix flavors and mixing them all together you can create your own homemade trail mix concoction.  Big box stores generally carry four trail mix recipes: Cajun, Mountain, Indulgent or Tropical.

Cajun Trail Mix

Amazon trail mix or walmart cajun trail mix has a lot of trail mix calories in them so they aren't the greatest option for creating your own trail mix bar. But they are a wonderful way to spice up your campfire food ideas when heading out into the backcountry. I am not a fan of the cajun trail mix as much as i want to be so I don't eat alone. I tend to mix it in with other trail mix flavor profiles to give it a sprinkle of attitude. Maybe your the type of person that likes Tobasco sauce with your cereal, or cuts your own hair with a lighter.  Well, you’re probably a Cajun trail mix fan then.  This healthy camping food is usually a blend of sesame sticks, peanuts, almonds & buttered toffee nuts coated in a bold spicey salt.  Other variations will also include chex, toasted corn & wasabi peas. Be careful though of those wasabi peas they pack a punch, but if you want to have some fun with your younger sibling tell em ……………a fat lie on how awesome they are.

 

Mountain Trail Mix

Walmart's healthiest trail mix is going to be its mountain trail mix recipe. This is the most popular camping food trail mix you will see in the backcountry. A lot hikers & campers love this recipe because its packed full of energy. Its lightweight and has a long shelf life. Peanuts, cashews, raising and M& M's make up this healthy trail mix recipe & easy camping food meal. Maybe wasabi peas aren’t your thing but you like to kick bananas & stare down crickets while still craving a healthy camping food.  Give the pioneer of store-bought trail mix a try then.  The usual suspects include raisins, M & M’s, cashews & peanuts.  It’s not going to win any awards for its exotic flavor profile, but it travels well and keeps your energy up.  The mountain trail mix is a gateway to healthy camping foods, and your kids will love it.  Well, they’ll probably just love the M & M’s but they’re better for you than playing with a flamethrower in a tent right?



Indulgent Trail Mix

Amazon trail mix is popular and cheap. One of their recipes is called the indulgent trail mix recipe. Filled with dark & white chocolate as well as peanut butter chips. It has a lot of trail mix calories, and is the least healthy trail mix recipes you can buy. It makes a very tasty campfire food treat, and I love to sprinkle this unhealthy trail mix recipe over ice cream. Which is also an easy campfire food to make, and only costs a couple of bucks. Makes a great first night impression among new camping partners.Have you ever done any fan kicking? Or dancing in the rain?  Not all trail mix is healthy for you, but neither is fan kicking or bacon & french fries.  And almost every restaurant in America serves up both these ingredients.  Sometimes you just want to indulge in your camping food, and the Indulgent Trail Mix will let you let you dance in the rain.  I promise.  Maybe

With a blend of white chocolate, dark chocolate & peanut butter drop chips its no mystery why this is a popular choice.  Regrettably, this trail mix finishes off with golden raisins, cashews & peanuts though instead of ice cream & a Netflix Original series.  Pick out the raisins –still goes great with ice cream, and makes a great non-cook campfire food treat that everyone will love.  Seriously who doesn’t like ice cream?

Tropical Trail Mix

One of my favorite walmart trail mix is the tropical trail mix recipe. I love this camping food treat. Unfortunately, my new found love wasn't as healthy as I thought it was. Dried fruits are a very healthy camping food treat, but the dried fruit in walmart trail mix has a lot of added sugar. Making it one of the most unhealthiest trail mix recipes you can buy from stores like amazon or walmart. My favorite dried fruit that I like to add to my trail mix recipes are strawberries. Handful of flavor everytime. Try it next time you make a home made trail mix batch before you backcountry camping trip. I have a friend that is padded room crazy, but loveable.  Which is exactly is how I feel about tropical trail mix recipes. The healthiest trail mix is the mountain mix.  Particularly if you pick out the M & M’s, but a lot of people think the tropical trail mix is the healthiest on the market because of the dried fruit.  Unfortunately, because companies add a lot of sugar to their dried fruit the tropical mix is one of the unhealthiest trail mixes for you.  Don’t get me wrong I am a big fan of the flavor profile of tropical trail mix recipes, but it’s just not the healthiest camping food for you unless you make it yourself.

A traditional tropical mix recipe will include a lot of dried fruits like papaya, mango, pineapple, peaches, and apricots.  As well as coconut shavings and your usual ingredients like golden raisins, cranberries, banana chips, honey roasted peanuts & toffee brittle.  Tropical trail mix recipes are full of exotic flavor profiles and are the most unique homemade recipes.

Homemade Trail Mix

Healthy camping food is becoming a popular crave. With ebooks, facebook groups, pinterest boards, and a million other resources its easier to find camping food ideas then when I was a kid. Back then our camping food was restricted to what we could find on the shelves of a gas station near our camping site. not exactly healthy choices are they? Basically camping meant 3 meals a day or burgers & brats topped with ketchup or barbecue sauce. For years these four trail mix recipes found their way into my backpacks, cupboards, and tuppaware.  I would buy various quantities of each one.  Sometimes mixing them together and sometimes not.  It wasn’t until an adventure in Utah went horribly wrong that I discovered the ultimate homemade trail mix method.  I came across a climbing group that spends 6 months a year in the backcountry and the only camping food they pack is three 50 gallon drums of homemade trail mix to snack on.  One they buy.  One they make and the third is a combination of both.

Being the trail mix superfan that I am. I felt like a rock band groupie stumbling backstage by “accident.”  wink wink.  This group of dirtbags (what climbers like to call themselves) is what I like to call trail mix hobbyist.  They dehydrate all their own fruits & meats.   Wish I would have paid more attention to their dehydrator, but I guess we’ll just have to chalk that up to another travel regret.  They also make all their own chocolates & granola bars.

Learning Homemade Trail Mix

Whether you're making a trail mix bar, or a healthy camping food buying trail mix ingredients in bulk is the way to go. Even if your camping trip is just for the weekend healthy trail mix is a camping food that will lasts for weeks when you get back home. Giving you something to snack on for days. Peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, cashews & almonds are great trail mix ingredients to buy in bulk. The best trail mix recipes include dried fruit, nuts & chocolate. I was lucky enough to get an invite when they went on their resupply field trip.  Instead of buying pre-packaged trail mix recipes like I had been doing.  They bought items in bulk.  Five pounds of cashew.  Twenty pounds of almonds.  Three pounds of pumpkin seeds.  Two pounds of this; Eight pounds of that.  Bags & bags of oats, raisins, pistachios, coconut flakes, sesame sticks, pretzels, wasabi peas & so much more.  The big surprise for me was hundreds of boxes of cereal.  Cocoa puffs, chex, corn flakes, cheerio’s, Golden Grahams, cookie crisps & mini wheats.  The check out lady probably thought this was our first time out of the bunker in the last 50 years.  We almost needed to rent a box truck to get our trail mix supplies back to camp.

When we got back to camp the music was turned up.  Bags were ripped open, and the creation party began.  I’ve been to keg parties, bong parties even sushi-rolling parties in Montana, but I had never even heard of a trail mixing party.  Twelve hours & 10 cases of beer later these dirtbags had restocked their camping food supply for another 6 months of climbing adventures.  All the barrels were full.  Everyone had their own bucket, basket or ziplock bag filled with their own unique trail mix recipe.  It was like going to Colorado’s Microbrew Festival.  Where you go from booth to booth trying each trailmasters’s mix, and voting on who’s was best.



That moment in time with strangers in the desert of Utah showed me how to pursue a passion I never even knew I had.  Traveling alone with strangers will open your eyes like this.  Might even unlock personal mysteries, but most of all travel will turn you into a sponge.  Everywhere you go and everyone you meet will have you soaking up information, mannerisms & viewpoints.  I tell you this because before meeting this group of climbers I made trail mix from the “big four” recipes that big box stores carry, and now I am on the hunt for a dehydrator.  Did I mention that yet?

My “pre-travel” self would have imploded trying to figure out a solution to my situation.  Where my “post-travel” self just rolled with the punches, and by doing so found a solution, entertainment, great friends & a hobby I can do anywhere in the world.

How do I make Camping food trail mix?

Those gravity-defying hippies opened my eyes to a way of life &  new trail mix recipes.   I don’t take it to the lengths they do yet, but if I find the right dehydrator …..never say never.  Knowing that I could create my own healthy homemade trail mix with an exciting flavor profile combining both taste and texture was a game changer for me.  So when its time to pack camping food for a backcountry trip I can now bring more then brauts & burgers to the table. These days my go-to camping food is trail mix for a number of reasons. It’s a great social snack around the campfire at the end of a long day of hiking. Has a long shelf life. Healthy, versatile & customizable. Plus, I would be willing to bet there are more trail mix recipes then there are websites in the world.

For me, I don’t have a “structured” method when creating my trail mix.  I mean come on I don’t even have a structured life let alone measuring cups and spoons.  But I did go to a friends house and try to create a “structured” trail mix recipe for you.  You can find that further in the reading, but for me, I just throw it all together.  If I bought too much like I did in the pictures above.  I just wait a few days, and then add the remaining ingredients. In this case, I had no room for the cereal, but a few days later I did.

That’s why I love trail mix.  You can add anything you want at any time to your recipe.   My original recipe wasn’t my end recipe.  Because not only did I add cereal a week later, but two weeks after that I also added chocolate truffles & teriyaki chicken jerky.  Eventually, I added honey roasted peanuts & cocoa puffs too.

I don’t always do healthy or indulgent recipes. Sometimes I call an audible in the middle, end or even the beginning.  Which is why I love trail mix because of its versatility.  I have never had meatloaf and dried fruit trail mix before, but I am sure there is some drunk decision making still left in me.  So never say never.

So it is safe to say I don’t have a “go to” camping food trail mix recipe, but my usual suspects include:

  • Gluten Free Honey Nut Chex Mix(mainly for filler)
  • Dried Mangos, Apricots, Strawberries & Cranberries 
  • Bulk Nuts salted/unsalted/honey roasted/chocolate covered (almonds give me a stomach ache but I still throw em in there)
  • 1-2 Indulgent items (peanut butter filled pretzels, candy covered burnt peanuts or something else covered in chocolate)
  • Wasabi Peas or something spicy
  • Nature Valley Granola Bars (chocolate 1st choice) break em into bite-size also makes a great cereal)
  • dried veggie chips
  • 1-3 wild cards (triscuits/wheat thins, coconut flakes, toffee brittle, beef jerky, popcorn, dried green beans, dried peas, etc etc)

Back to the beginning of Camping Food Post

Is Trail Mix Healthy?

Trail mix ingredients have earned a reputation of being a healthy nutritious camping food designed to fuel your body and give you the energy you need to be physically active, and while most trail mix ingredients live up to this reputation some ingredients do nothing more than drive up the calorie count of this camping food.  The answer to “Is trail mix healthy?”  Is most likely no.  It has nuts and fruit, two major ingredients that do technically belong under the healthy camping foods umbrella, but store-bought trail mix recipes bring along saturated fats, artificial flavors, and added sugars.  So finding a trail mix recipe in stores with health benefits and no unhealthy benefits might be a bit frustrating.



But if your playing chess with a unicorn, the nutritional value of trail mix is probably the least of your concerns.  Peanuts, raisins & dried fruit carry a lot of nutrients and protein, but they also provide a lot of calories and sugar.  If your a healthy person trail mix is healthy for you, but then again if you are an active person what isn’t healthy for you?  If trail mix was good for weight loss corporate America & affiliate marketers would be all over this cash cow camping food.  If trail mix was heart healthy & lowered cholesterol TV ads would be saturated with products.

The ingredients in this camping food are good for you, but the way the ingredients are manufactured is what triggers the unhealthy alarms.  Serving size also contributes to this equation.  Something I believe I am immune too (not really but I can dream right) because when I break out this camping food its generally an hour later before I pack it back away.

How Do You Ensure A Healthy Camping Food Trail Mix Recipe?

Eating store bought trail mix is probably not the healthiest snack item you could eat. But if you get creative and make your own home made trail mix recipe it can be incredibly healthy for you. Shopping at farmers markets is a great way to find healthy trail mix ingredients for your homemade recipes. Easy vegetable and fruit to dehydrate are carrots, squash, bananas, cucumbers, guacamole & peppers. Which all make great vegetable chips to snack on. Full of great nutrients.To make a healthy trail mix recipe all you have to do is remember three things: Raw, Unsweetened & Unsulfured.

If done right a trail mix recipe can be nutritious & healthy.  Alternatively, if you buy from stores to make this camping food healthy and nutritious you will need to avoid the unhealthy ingredients.  It takes a little more effort and a few more dollars, but if you’re after healthy camping food all it takes is awareness & effort.  Farmers markets are great for finding raw healthy trail mix ingredients.  Particularly, vegetables and fruit you can dry your self.

Healthy Trail Mix Recipe

The homemade trail mix version you can tweak and clicking the links below will take you to the exact ingredients I use:

**Some of these items will require a Prime Membership to get lower prices.

My Go-To Camping Food Trail Mix Recipe:

**NOTES** I toast the pecans and cashews for 10 minutes at 350 degrees before adding to the rest of the ingredients.  I also crumble up the rice cakes & granola bars.  Sometimes I will put the granola bars in a separate container for easy cereal making access.**

Back to the beginning of Camping Food Post

Is Trail Mix Good For Weight Loss?

Hiking, camping, climbing, fishing, skiing, backpacking & mountaineering all get associated with healthy trail mix. But in reality trail mix isn't all that good for you unless your an active person. The ingredients in trail mix are high in calories & sugar which isn't good if your focused on weight loss. There are better foods lower in calories and higher in nutritional value to snack on for weight loss versus trail mix. Definitely healthier than snacking on a pound of bacon or eating sticks of butter but........I get this question all the time.  I want to say yes, but then I look down at a bowl filled with chocolate, candies & gas station store bought dried fruit. Trail mix is associated with outdoor adventurous activities.  Which makes people assume this camping food is healthy and good for weight loss.

Unfortunately, this camping food isn’t focused on weight loss.  Mainly because nuts are pretty high in calorie count.  Unless you are engaged in a physical activity these calories will be stored and turned into heart-healthy fats by the body.  This transforms this so-called “healthy” snack into a high-calorie dessert. A small handful can easily contain 300+ calories.  Not what you want if weight loss is your goal.

Speeding up your metabolism and energizing your body are two factors everyone needs when trying to lose weight.  Proper portion size and combing trail mix with another appropriate diet will help you lose weight fast. I wish I could tell you this is the magic bullet where you could eat as much as you want, and the pounds would start to shed quicker then it began.  But weight loss requires activity, and no matter how healthy or unhealthy this camping food may be it is not a substitute for activity.

Is Eating Trail Mix Bad For You?

Campfire food like trail mix is a climbers best friend because it refuels your body's energy quickly, and easy to pack for long hikes or intense mountain climbing activities. If you bring it in bulk its the best social campfire snack you could pack. Adding smoked meats or fish to your trail mix recipe is a great way to turn this snack into a meal while on long backcountry camping trips. Eating trail mix as your camping food for 6 months straight is most likely extremely bad for you.  Eating this camping food for 6 months straight while climbing mountain faces for 10 hours a day is probably necessary.  Trail mix is high in fats, sugars & calories.

Three things active people need to sustain their energy.  Eating trail mix isn’t bad for you it’s just not good for you if you’re not active.  Trail mix is a camping food.  Nothing more nothing less.  Eat it in moderation and you will be just fine.  Unless your allergic to nuts then I suggest you delete everything you learned from this post.  In fact, why are you reading this post?  Don’t drink almond milk either.

Trail Mix Stole My Heart

I love trail mix because it a snack. its a meal. Has a long shelf life. I can add anything to the recipe. Its the perfect social campfire food, and refuels your energy faster than any other camping food. When your trying to think of camping food ideas you should focus solely on homemade trail mix recipes.I love trail mix.  I love creating it, and the people I go camping with love inviting me because they know I am bringing trail mix as my camping food.  Its a great social snack around the campfire at night.  It’s the perfect camping food because of its lightweight.  Travels well and keeps my energy up.  Does that mean I am going to fill my cupboards full of this camping food?

Well, probably, but I also camp 350 days a year. Ski 100+ days a year.  Kitesurf  ~ well I have the gear but have only used it once.  My lifestyle might be different than yours, but trail mix is wonderful.  Especially for people like me that hate doing the dishes.  Or spending an hour cooking for five when I only have one.  I love to snack all day every day.  Specifically, if it doesn’t require a trip to the store or prepping.  Trail mix may not be good for you in large doses, but what it is?  I’ve tried to give you as much knowledge & background information as I can about trail mix, but at the end of the day the only thing I can guarantee you is this:

Trail Mix Is Highly Compatible With My LIifestyle & you ladies out there will want to read this before buying your next back country pack.

If you like this post be sure to pin it to your boards

For all your camping food idea, trail mix recipes & social campfire foods check out aowanders.com

 

 

24 Comments

    • Absolutely, anything I can do to help! Plus I would rather do anything than wash dishes or cook while out adventuring. Glad you found this post useful.

  • Reading this post has made me pretty hungry.
    Thanks for sharing. I’ve never made my own trail mix but I’m definitely going to give it a go now…

  • I love trail mix – I’ve never thought of adding Cheerios! I usually start with a storebought bag and add some of my favorites – banana chips and extra nuts. Though I don’t think I could live on it for 6 months in the backcountry!

    • Lauren,

      Thankbyou for visiting my blog. They were a quirky group,but awesome. You can add anything! My friend adds smoked salmon jerky to his, and another friend dehydrates watermelon to his mixes. Possibilities are endless.

      Adam

  • I love love love trail mix. Such a perfect treat for a hike or backpacking treat. I agree with you about it not being for weight loss. I like to have trail mix cause of the nuts in them that gives you proteins and healthy fats which is great when hiking several miles and eating light meals. Loving all of these recipes. Will definitely be trying one of these recipes for our next trip. Hopefully my daughters will like it. They only like eating the M&M’s and raisins.

    • Jessica,

      Make you a deal I’ll give your kids my raisins if they let me eat all mangos. Purty please? You can also throw in dark chocolate covered peanuts instead of M&Ms to be a little healthier. Happy hiking season Jennifer.

      Adam

  • Rightly said. Even my mom says that to parents of obese kids, after knowing their food habits, that the food pattern is ok only is the child was into sports! Yes, it is too much fat and calorie, but perfect is you’re straining your body so much!
    That said, all these mixes sound so divine. Makes me a bit hungry.

  • You seemed to be really into trekking a lot, probably because your family has long been engaged in camping in the wild and through your experienced, you were able to share to us the useful tips on what kind of food to bring for the trail food. The trail mix is actually interesting, I can imagine the small sound makes by eating the nuts and other ingredients in the trail mix while trekking in the lush forest. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  • Wow what a list you got camping food sorted out from the looks of things. My most favorite are mixed nuts and and dried fruits with raisins. But the thing to top it all is m&m.

  • Pre packaged trail mix seems to be the ideal option for such camping trips. I should try it this weekend, when going out to the falls.

    • George,

      Get a little adventurous and try to make your own. Perfect campfire task at the end of the day when your not quite ready for bed.

      Adam

  • Oh thanks for that. For some reason, I have been cooking the same things all the time when I go for camping. Why didn’t I try anything new? oh

  • This is definitely the most I have read, or thought about trail mix. Hubby likes the Peanut Butter Cup one from Trader Joes which is more a treat than anything else! I like a mix of spicy – also a handful of everything from Target is something I will pick up for travel. I’ve never made my own, but maybe I should!

  • While I admit that the Indulgent Trail Mix is tempting, your Healthy Trail Mix presents a lot of ideas for healthier combos. Love this post!

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