Miso soup, Moon Cheese and fig newtons: The best snacks to pack for outdoor winter adventures

When it comes to winter outdoor snacking, a little extra weight in the backpack is worth its weight in gold at the end of a long ski, snowshoe or hike.

Twins Annalise and Cailynn Klingbeil share their tips for rewarding snack breaks in the backcountry

What snacks you should bring winter hiking or skiing

3 years ago
Duration 6:24
Featured VideoAnnalise and Cailynn Klingbeil, creators and co-writers of the wintry newsletter Go Outside, share tips on how to stay well-nourished while venturing outdoors.

When it comes to winter outdoor snacking, a little extra weight in the backpack is worth its weight in gold at the end of a long ski, snowshoe or hike.

"My motto, I say is that it's always worth carrying a little extra weight for a better meal or snack in the backcountry," outdoor enthusiast Annalise Klingbeil told CBC's Andrew Brown.

"I'm not one of those people who's weighing everything in my pack. I'm totally fine carrying a few extra pounds if it means an extra delicious snack or several snacks at the summit."

Klingbeil, who co-hosts the outdoor adventure newsletter Go Outside with her twin sister Cailynn, has always been a proponent of bringing a bit more for the sake of comfort.

Cailynn, on the other hand, leans toward simple pack items like fig newtons — which she says do not freeze in the winter. She calls Annalise's snacking style "backcountry fancy."

"I don't quite go all out like Annalise does, but because I do spend quite a bit of time outside with her, I do see her ways, and she's always very happy at the summit when she is enjoying all of her snacks."

Cailynn Klingbeil takes a snack break during a cross-country-ski outing at West Bragg Creek. On the picnic table is some trail mix, dehydrated cheese and hot miso soup. (Annalise Klingbeil/Go Outside)

But for both sisters, the key is to get in the habit of making it easier to head outdoors — from the routes, the gear, the layers of clothing and snacks.

"Something that I like to do to make it easy is I have a specific spot in my pantry, and I put a lot of the treats that I like eating when I'm skiing or hiking," Annalise said.

"That way I don't need a specific trip to the grocery store. I can just go to my pantry and I can grab a couple different things and put them in my bag and I'm good to go."

Her favourite treats include miso soup, dehydrated cheese or Moon Cheese, dried fruits, her own homemade trail mix and gummy bears (Tip: keep them in an inside pocket), as well as dehydrated meals for longer backcountry trips.

Annalise Klingbeil stops for a snack break during a moonlight ski on the Goat Creek Trail between Canmore and Banff. (Annalise Klingbeil/Go Outside)

The sisters say one of the most important things when the weather is cold is snacks that let you keep moving.

"I'm not a big sandwich fan, or things that involve a lot of sitting and unpacking," Annalise said.

"I like to just shove some snacks in my face while I have my skis on and I'm adjusting layers and keep going. I get cold really easily so I'm not big on sitting and staying still for a meal."

Cailynn, who headed out for some skiing in last week's polar vortex, said her layers are the key to snacking and staying warm.

"I keep all my layers on, sometimes I add even more layers if I'm stopping," she said.

"Yesterday I was able to keep mitts on and still open snack bags and have a warm drink. We had miso soup yesterday which was great and just short and sweet. Not stopping for a long time but making lots of little stops."

Annalise and Cailynn Klingbeil doing some alpine ski touring along the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park. (Annalise Klingbeil/Go Outside)

The sisters both recommend fuelling up on breakfast in the car on the way to the outdoor activity, and keeping a snack and water (in an insulated container) for the trip home.

For more tips on outdoor adventure snacks, clothing layers and suggested local trails, check out the newsletter Go Outside.

Annalise Klingbeil stops for a snack on a log by the Bow River on St. Patrick's Island in Calgary. (Annalise Klingbeil/Go Outside)

With files from Andrew Brown.