How to stay fuelled up and hydrated when hiking

Whether you're into walking or speed hiking, the key to great hikes is good nutrition and appropriate hydration.Follow our advice!

Firstly, what kind of hiker are you?

The walking team

You're more into walks or relatively long hiking excursions. It's the most popular activity, open to everyone and suited to all levels.
Individually for lone wolves or as a group for packs who like to share special moments together, everything is possible!

You enjoy laid back hikes, adapted to your pace and to your physical and sporting abilities. It's a nature activity designed for taking in beautiful scenery. That's right, you're also in it for the awe-inspiring sights!

Plenty of time for a toilet break, and above all, a snack break, it's the bon vivant's hike really!
The equipment is generally heavier, with camping gear and food and drink for one or several days.

The speed hiking team

In contrast, the “Fast hiking” or “Speed Hiking” Team: you're more of a basic athlete type, looking for increased sensations and cardio while enjoying nature.
You're into a very active walking step which is just short of a jog, rather than a laid back hike. The pace is steady and the stride is adapted to the terrain.It's a kind of hybrid practice halfway between hiking and trail running: no messing around for you!

The activity is therefore shorter-term and aimed at a different audience, who are looking for a greater sporting challenge.Yes, you like to sweat while still enjoying the scenery!

In terms of gear, you travel light in order to forge ahead faster. You carry a small capacity backpack (like a trail pack) with a built-in hydration pocket and space to carry a few refuelling essentials!

Now you know which Team you belong to, we can broadly define your nutritional and water requirements to maintain your energy levels during your route.

How to stay fuelled up and hydrated when hiking?

1/ What should you eat and drink before the hike?

The evening before the hike, eat a balanced meal, with plenty of complex carbohydrates, proteins and fibre. For example: wholemeal pasta and tomato sauce, grilled chicken and green beans.

Valid for both #Teams:
To keep your energy up all morning, don't change your good habits and make sure you have a balanced breakfast, including complex carbohydrates, proteins, fats and fibre.These elements will act as your fuel to keep you going on your hike. Opt for fibre-rich foods which are digested slowly to fully enjoy the energy they release.

E.g.: Granola (oats, almonds, puffed quinoa) + 1 banana / 1 kiwi + cottage cheese + honey
E.g.: Wholemeal bread + 2 scrambled eggs + 2 slices of lean bacon + ½ avocado and 2 kiwis

And don't forget to drink at least 500ml of water or tea or herbal tea 1hr - 1.5 hrs before the hike to compensate for future water loss.

#Day hike team:

Bring 2L of water for one day of hiking. For day trips, managing your water intake is a top priority.
Perspiration will make you lose a lot of water and minerals: so make sure you drink regularly and take small sips to be more efficient.

As a reminder: drinking regularly is necessary to reduce fatigue and dehydration (the feeling of thirst is a sign of dehydration).

Essential: If you are short on drinking water for any reason, make sure you always carry Micropur tablets so you can purify and conserve source water.
Prepare your picnic with healthy snacks to keep you going during your trip.

#Fast hike team:

Bring 500ml of water for an hour's hiking ( e.g. 2hr = 1L water).

If you are in a hurry, bring your Aptonia effort drink, it will provide you with essential nutrients (carbohydrates, sodium and minerals) to delay fatigue.
(for example: Aptonia ready-to-drink or powder isotonic drink).
And for those of you who prefer homemade drinks: water + diluted fruit juice + 1 pinch of salt. Otherwise stick to still or sparkling water, as preferred.

Make sure you bring a small cereal, almond or fruit jelly bar in case you feel peckish.

2/ What should you eat and drink during the hike?

During a hike, your body draws energy from its reserves. The problem is that these reserves are not unlimited.
That's why you need to be careful and listen to your body in order to regularly provide it with the energy required to fight fatigue or big cravings.

Opt for snacks that are easy to carry and digest but with a high nutritional value to maintain a constant blood sugar level with easily absorbed food and drinks.

#Team day trip:

During your hike, make sure you drink in small sips to compensate for water loss linked to perspiration. Plan for 2 energy snacks between meals (every 2hrs) depending on how you feel. 

A few examples of quick snacks:
- Energy bars (cereal, almond, fruit jelly)
- Dried fruit (dates, apricots, etc.)
- Oleaginous (almonds, cashew, etc.)
- Dark chocolate (depending on the heat)

For hikes lasting longer than 2hrs, make sure you drink sodium-rich water to compensate for mineral losses (naturally sodium-rich water or effort drink). Ideally, bring 1L plain water without added minerals and 1L with a little added sodium and sugar.

It's finally time for a convivial lunch break, for which several simple and efficient options are available. Of course, if salami, cheese and crisps are an integral part of your picnic, you can succumb to the temptation in reasonable quantities.
As a reminder: if you overdo it at lunch, the rest of the hike will be impacted. This meal should be an enjoyable moment but it should also be healthy, not too fatty and easily digestible.

A few examples of easy-to-carry meals for hikes:
- The Sandwich, simple and efficient.
(for example: wholemeal bread + mustard + mozzarella + Speck ham + tomato)
- The Wrap, a more compact newcomer which is just as tasty.
(for example: corn tortilla + guacamole or hummus + chicken + avocado + green salad + slice of emmental cheese)
- The cold salad, a tupperware full of yummy things which you won't forget to bring home. That's a tip!
(for example: rice + chicken + hard-boiled egg + tomatoes + radish + feta + white cheese dressing/ balsamic vinegar)
- The freeze-dried meal (quick and easy-to-carry solution for trips lasting several days) to be used if you have camping gear, in particular everything you need to boil water. As well as not being very cumbersome, it is quite tasty (my favourite: pasta bol) and provides good energy values, quickly replenishing the stocks you have used up.

If you are still hungry, finish with a dessert such as seasonal fresh fruit. Keep it light for the adventure awaiting you during the rest of the afternoon.
Remember to drink plenty of water, and nothing but water (still or sparkling as preferred), during the meal to recover.Avoid alcohol as it contributes to dehydration.

After a toilet break and a moment to digest in front of the most beautiful screen in your area (the landscape of course), you're ready to get back on route.
PS: Hiking promotes respect for the environment among many athletes, so don't forget that rubbish goes in your bag, not in nature :)

How to stay fuelled up and hydrated when hiking?

#Fast hiking team:

Bring 500ml of water for an hour's hiking ( e.g. 2 hrs = 1L of water) and a small fruit jelly if you get hungry.

During a Fast Hiking trip, you may not have the space to bring a small meal in your backpack. As the trip is shorter than a hike, you don't have to bring an actual meal. However, if you would like to bring a small meal or a snack, or if you're just not into cereal bars, I recommend a wrap. Why? Because they are compact, healthy and super easy to carry in a small-capacity backpack. Efficient right?!

For example: corn tortilla + chicken + avocado + grated carrot + 1 tablespoon of hummus.

3/ What should you eat and drink after the hike?

#Day Hike Team & #Fast Hike Team, the escapade is over and your muscles have worked hard today.After using up your energy reserves, it's time to recover.

The recovery phase is 30 to 45 min after exercise, it is the right time to replenish energy stocks with food and drink. It is really important to respect this time period, in which you can give your body the nutrients it requires. This involves proper hydration, essential to compensate for the losses of water and sodium, which prevent acidosis. Choose a drink made from bicarbonated water and sugar a recovery drink).

Your recovery also involves a good diet that will help the body to replenish its energy reserves enough to repair the muscle fibres and rebuild the stock of glycogen. Opt for the following quick snacks:
-drinking compote
- homemade granola
- Aptonia cereal or almond bar
- dried or fresh fruit
- dark chocolate

Dinner should include nutrients that the body lacked during the day, including vitamins, calcium, magnesium and iron.

If you're camping, you could opt for la freeze-dried meal which is suitable because it is nutritionally rich and contains salt. Not all of them are created equal but you can rely on Forclaz freeze-dried meals. However, to protect your kidneys, if you are eating hydrated meals, don't drink too much bicarbonate-rich water. Stick to mineral or still spring water, which is sufficient for this kind of meal.

If you're going home, balanced meals will be the most satisfying and the most appropriate to meet your energy replenishment needs. Stick to a healthy dinner with a balanced nutritional structure 1 carbohydrate + 1 protein + as much veg as you like + dairy and raw or ripe fruit + water
For example: Vegetable soup + ravioli + courgettes + chicken + fruit salad without added sugar + herbal tea and still or sparkling water.

You are now satisfied and ready for new adventures.

Afer a year of sports restrictions, it is now time to go out once again and explore a range of landscapes.
Dip into these nutritional tips according to your needs and desires, they will allow you to stay in shape and experience your best hikes
You now have a number of keys in hand to enjoy some wonderful sporting moments



Dietician-Nutritionist, sports enthusiast and horse rider.

Epicurean, anti - restrictions !

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