The Ultimate Guide to Dry Climbing Snacks

There are many benefits to packing extremely dry snacks for a day of climbing, hiking, or any other type of adventuring that involves cramming food into the bottom of a backpack. First, they won’t get your backpack incredibly sticky or damp when crushed against the rest of your gear, unlike the bananas I too often attempt to pack; they generally take up very little room; and they usually force you to hydrate in order to swallow each bite.

But, with so many dry snacks out there, it’s sometimes hard to decide what to pack. You can only eat so many carrot cake Clif bars before you’d rather starve than open another package.

Just a few of the dry snacks currently in my pantry.

Here’s the ultimate guide to picking the best thirst-inducing, real-food snacks for any adventure.

First, you need to find a dry carbohydrate base to build off (or simply eat alone):

  • Graham Crackers: One of my personal favorites. Their neat rectangular packages take up very little room, and they remind me of kindergarten snack time. Graham crackers are good alone, but, for even more sticky, parching enjoyment and higher calorie content to fuel long days, add peanut butter.
  • Trail mix: The saltier the better (and drier). You can go on the cheap with “GORP”—good old raisins and peanuts—or add additional dry carbohydrates such as goldfish or granola and mixed nuts for variety and/or M&Ms or yogurt covered fruits for a sweet twist.
  • Day-Old Bagels: They’re cheaper and three times drier than fresh bagels. Add any nut butter to ensure that they stick to the roof of your mouth.
  • Crackers: The cracker aisle can be a bit overwhelming. Go for rice crackers if you’re gluten free (or if you’re me and just like them), Triscuits for whole grains with random flavors, or Ranch Wheat Thins if you like coating yourself in hidden-valley-flavored dust. If you’re opposed to packaged foods, you can also make your own raw sprouted kale crackers; I’m sure those are quite dry too (and just sound healthy). As always, add nut butters for gluey variety or cheese if you’re new to dry snacks and are having trouble eating things akin to the desert.

If you’re just looking for a solo dry snack go for any of the following:

  • Goldfish, preferably flavor-blasted and not artificial pizza flavor
  • Pretzels
  • Homemade granola (the Honeybunches of Oats kind from the store is good too)
  • Plain dry cereal, the more it resembles small twigs and the larger the word fiber is written on the box, the better
  • Rice cakes if you’re into eating 50 percent air with each bite

Other favorites:

  • For high protein alternatives, try salted, dried edamame or soy nuts. You’ll need at least 8 ounches of water per handful to wash either of them down.
  • If you like spice, grab a few handfuls of wasabi or buffalo peas.
  • For a fun, though highly processed, snack, try lightly salted Snapea Crisps.

FOR ULTIMATE SENDING FUEL: Stale donuts, preferably from Dunkin and covered in sugared coconut. The sugar provides fast energy for the approach and the high fat content will keep you full and sending throughout the day. The benefits increase exponentially the more you eat until 7.43 donuts, when a food coma ensues.

Now, what do you do for hydration to allow for the swallowing of all of these goodies? According to Matt Birkebak, all one needs is a half gallon of chocolate milk, a half gallon of lemonade, and 32 ounches of Green Goodness smoothie.

Originally published April 12, 2015, on 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s