The best snacks for hiking aren’t always the best snacks for the planet. Take jerky, for example: a perennial hiker favorite, is made from animal protein and therefore extremely harmful to the environment. Other snacks, like trail mix, are packaged in wasteful single-serve bags. Even multi-serving hiking snacks are almost always sold in single-use plastic or foil-lined bags. So if you’re looking for more sustainable snacks to keep you fueled on the trail, check out these snacks in compostable packaging for more sustainable snacking.
Trail mix is a hiking staple. I never hear to the trailhead without it. But almost all of it is packaged in plastic bags, or worse, single-serve plastic bags. Not shār snacks, though. These delightful trail mixes are not only organic and vegan, but in unique compostable packaging, too! Namely, cardboard tubes instead of plastic bags. Each tube contains several servings, but you can also buy shār snacks in bulk and refill your tube (or your own container)! The tube itself should last at least a year and while it does take up more room than a plastic bag, we love the lid that was designed to cover the top of the vessel so you can dump food fuel straight into your mouth hands-free without worrying what the packaging touched (or what touched it). It’s also great for sharing (as the name implies) without multiple pairs of grubby hands reaching into a bag.
You can find shār at several Whole Foods stores if you live in Austin where the company is based, or you can order online (or subscribe to regular shipments) on their website here.
Sun & Swell
All organic all the time, Sun & Swell specializes in snacks and other kitchen staples (like spices and tea), all packaged in zip-top compostable bags! The brand offers a familiar packaging that’s easy to pack out plus a variety of nuts, dried fruit, seeds and more that you can enjoy as-is or mix yourself for a custom sustainable snack or trail mix. You can’t find this brand in stores, unfortunately, so order Sun & Swell snacks here and be sure to stock up for your next adventure.
As for the compostable bags these sustainable snacks come in, no, you can’t just throw them in your backyard compost pile, but if your city doesn’t offer curbside composting yet, Sun&Swell sells a mailer so you can ship the bags back for proper composting when you’re done with them!
I know, I know…fruit is hardly an original concept, but it’s one that often gets overlooked. Even we can get caught up in the excitement of tasty vegan hiking snacks and forget that fruit is a great natural source of energy, often in its own wrapper! We love mandarin oranges, bananas and apples, but any fruit will do (though the more easily bruised it is the more care you’ll have to take with packing it).
What to do with Empty Compostable Packaging
Whatever you do, whether you’re buying snacks in a cardboard tube or a peel, absolutely do not bury or throw the peel, core, pit, or packaging in the woods under the assumption that it will naturally compost. It won’t. It will only attract animals, which can be dangerous and harmful (read my article for Popular Science to learn all about it here). Compostable packaging will only properly compost in a commercial composting facility, so after you get home, if your city doesn’t offer those services, look up where you can compost them properly (find out on litterless.com).
As for fruit and vegetable peels, those you can toss in your home compost pile if your hometown doesn’t offer curbside compost pickup. Just remember: if you packed it in, you must pack it out.
Other Tips for Sustainable Snacks
Need more ideas for how to create less waste with your trail snacks? We got you.
- Utilize your local grocery store’s bulk section
- When you do, use reusable packaging like these silicone Stasher Bags or refillable U Konserve containers (don’t forget to label them with the TARE weight)
- Eat vegan (animal agriculture is more environmentally harmful than all modes of transportation combined)
- Recycle clean single-use plastic at your local grocery’s bag recycle bin
For more sustainable snacks on the trail, ditch the meat, single-serving snack packs and plastic-wrapped trail mix for something better for you and the environment. Your mother thanks you (Mother Earth, obviously). Now stock up on sustainable snacks, compost that packaging, and get out there and wander on.
*This post contains affiliate links, which means when you fuel up for adventure, we can, too! Thanks for supporting Terradrift!
Alisha is a freelance writer and photographer based in Austin, TX. She loves her tiny house, vegan food and experiencing the community of travel in far away places. She’s also pretty sure she’s addicted to coffee. alishamcdarris.com