Gear Shed

Q:

What’s the Best Trail Snack?

I'm going on a long backpacking trip and am looking for a good, healthy snack that won't weigh down my pack or my stomach.

man hiking snack

Trail snacks have come a long way. Via Shutterstock     Photo: Falk Kienas

A:My personal favorite snack for the trail is wild salmon jerky. It’s all-natural, sustainable, and packed with more protein that any other snack, bar none. An ounce of dried salmon has about 15 grams of protein for about 80 calories. That nudges out beef jerky with 12 grams of protein for about the same calories. And forget about protein bars (PowerBar’s highest protein snack has nine grams at 114 calories, and Clif Bar’s has eight grams at 113 calories). It’s not like I’m on some kind of low-carb diet, but a big protein infusion early in the day feels good on a long hike.

To many people, wild salmon tastes great, and it seems fitting on the trail. But jerky is not for everyone. The first impression is that it’s salty. Really salty. It’s something you’d only want to snack on with plenty of water nearby.

For a Gear Guy taste test, I ordered samples of three premium salmon jerkies from the Pacific Northwest. Gear Girl weighed in with her gourmet opinion as well. And then, just so as not be accused of glamping, we tried out other varieties of jerky from less exalted brands—venison, antelope, alligator, as well as several unnamed meats that must have somehow made their way into the processing plant. I’ll give you our considered opinion on them all after the jump.

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