Day-hiking is a wonderful activity for people of all ages and ability levels. It’s a great way to get out and enjoy nature while getting some low-impact, but highly beneficial exercise.
It’s also simple! All you really need is a good pair of shoes, a backpack, and some snacks for an active, fun-filled day on the trail. Check out the tips below to help keep your day hike both eco- and vegan-friendly:
A lot of hiking boots are leather, but there are also PLENTY of cruelty-free and eco-friendly options. Also, for shorter hikes, especially on well-groomed trails, you should be fine with a basic trail running shoe.
- Brooks makes several trail running shoes with a Biodegradable midsole.
- Patagonia makes several vegan-friendly shoes, and the company uses up to 20 percent recycled content in their Tsali Trail Runner (learn more about Patagonia’s environmental stewardship here).
- Zappos.com has an awesome feature allowing you to search for vegan outdoor and athletic shoes (for men and women). They also offer free shipping both ways! Jambu, Chacos, and Merrell make some sports sandals that are great for hiking, and newcomer Vivobarefoot makes several interesting lightweight hiking and trail running shoes.
- The Chaco Tedhino Pro is a great option (for men and women) if you’re looking for a vegan hiking boot.
- Merrell outlines vegan-friendly footwear options on their website. There are some great shoes in this lineup! We especially love the all the color choices available in Barefoot Run Bare Access, Barefoot Train Sonic Glove and Barefoot Run Trail Glove for men. For women, we recommend the Barefoot Water Swift Glove, Barefoot Water River Glove and Barefoot Water Hylidae Wrap.
Most backpacks are vegan, but do be sure to check for leather components. If you’re also seeking an eco-friendly option, here are a couple of great choices:
- Ecogear’s Recycle Series packs are made from recycled water bottles. With 4 styles and lots of colors to choose from, there’s sure to be a pack that fits your needs!
- Mountainsmith’s Centennial 30 pack is also made from recycled bottles, and has plenty of great features. Check it out!
For day hiking, all you’ll really need to pack is a light lunch and several snacks to keep you fueled throughout the day. But be sure to eat a substantial breakfast containing a healthy mixture of carbohydrates, protein, and fat before you leave home. Green smoothies and chia breakfast pudding are both great options!
Here are a handful of convenient, on-the-trail meal and snack ideas:
- Energy Bars are definitely the easiest, most convenient trail snacks, and there are TONS of vegan options. All our favorite bars are vegan with simple, clean ingredient lists. And of course they taste great! In particular, we love The Simply Bar for their high protein content, Rise Bar for their amazing flavors, and Two Degrees Bars for their amazing mission.
- Fruit is always a great choice! Oranges, apples, and bananas are the most readily available and portable options, but you can also bring some berries, cherries, watermelon, or grapes in a reusable container or bag.
- Trail Mix – GORP is synonymous with hiking for a reason. There’s something super-satisfying about the combination of crunchy, salty nuts and sweet, chewy dried fruit. Vegan dark chocolate chips take the combo over the top. There are many vegan varieties of trail mix commercially available, but making your own, customized mixture rocks! Simply toss together a few types of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and chocolate chips for a satisfying snack.
- Granola is another well-known (and well-loved) hiking food. Many brands of granola contain honey, so look for varieties made with agave nectar, maple syrup, or other natural, vegan sweeteners. Or make your own, and customize to your heart’s desire.
- Nut Butter Sandwich – Spread your favorite nut butter on bread, a tortilla, or a couple of rice cakes for a quick, simple on-the-go snack or light meal. Add some jelly, vegan marshmallow fluff, or chocolate chips for an extra treat.
A few final tips:
- Don’t forget to pack and drink plenty of water.
- Leave no trace. Leave the great outdoors just as pristine and beautiful as you found it. Be sure to take any trash and tissue paper home with you, and leave flowers and wildlife in place for others to enjoy.
- Take plenty of photos of all that beautiful scenery.
- And finally, have fun out there!
Image Credit: vastateparksstaff/Flickr