BushLife - Trail Mix Hero

How to Make Homemade Trail Mix For Every Adventure

Heading out on an outdoor adventure can be exciting and energizing, but it is vital to ensure you are well-prepared. While you might think of sturdy hiking boots, a trusty backpack, or a durable tent as the essentials, there’s one item that you clearly can’t forget – homemade trail mix! Not only is it a tasty snack, but it’s also packed with the nutrients that your body needs as fuel during any outdoor activity. 

Before we review the best homemade trail mix ingredients for every adventure, we should address the truth that not everyone has the time to assemble a customized snack mix. Before purchasing a premade fruit and nut mix, ensure that the trail mix does not include added sugars and contains quality ingredients, which will help you get through your activity. Our favourite premade trail mix is from Prana, which is ripe with flavour and organic non-gmo ingredients that help sustain you during your outdoor adventure. 

Now, let’s learn how to customize your homemade trail mix, discover must-have ingredients, get creative with unique flavour combinations, and even find peanut-free alternatives for those with allergies. Whether camping, off-roading, or taking a long road trip, we’ve got you covered with the perfect homemade trail mix options. So, let’s dig in and get ready to fuel up for your next adventure.

Discloure: Posts may contain affiliate links. Purchases made through our links result in a small commission to us at no charge to you. We only recommend products that meet our brand standards based on testing and first hand use by our authors.

Customizing Your Homemade Trail Mix for Your Next Adventure

When creating the perfect homemade trail mix, it’s essential to consider the specific needs of your activity. Are you going on a leisurely hike, off-roading or a strenuous climb? Will you be in cold temperatures or hot, sunny weather? By customizing your trail mix to fit your adventure, you can ensure that you’re getting the correct nutrients you need to stay energized and focused.

Best of all, trail mixes are customized to your liking. We all have encountered premade trail mixes that contain more of what you don’t want, meaning a cheaper ingredient and less of what you do. Not only do you control what you put into your snack mix, but you also manage how much of it you want. The bonus, finding tasty combinations with your children is a blast. Now let’s explore the trail mix ingredients you can’t go without.

RELATED: Discover the Hidden Beauty of Egan Chutes Provincial Park

Healthy Ingredient List

BushLife - Nut Options for a Healthy Homemade Trail Mix
Nut Options for a Healthy Homemade Trail Mix

When creating the perfect trail mix, there are certain healthy trail mix ingredients you clearly can’t go without, regardless of the adventure ahead. First and foremost, nuts are a must-have for any diy trail mix. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts and peanuts are all great options that provide a healthy dose of protein, fibre, and healthy fats to keep your energy levels up. For those who suffer from nut allergies, seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, flax, and chia are a great alternative, and so is coconut.

Dried Fruit Snack Mix Ingredients

BushLife - Assorted Dried Fruit Ingredients Used for Homemade Trail Mix Recipes
Assorted Dried Fruit Ingredients Used for Homemade Trail Mix Recipes

Dried fruit is another crucial ingredient in trail mixes, which are high in fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Studies show that dried fruit has 3.5x the nutrients than fresh fruit. Consider adding some of these listed options:

Raisins
Cranberries
Bananas
Pineapples
Papaya
Mango
Goji
Figs
Dates
Apricots
Berries
Cherries

Not only do these fruits add a tasty sweetness to your mix, their compact size makes them easy to pack and take on the go.

Sweet Ingredients for Your Homemade Trail Mix

BushLife - An Assortment of Sweets Used in Homemade Trail Mix Recipes
An Assortment of Sweets Used in Homemade Trail Mix Recipes

For an extra dose of energy, consider adding some dark chocolate, which is high in antioxidants and can help improve brain function. Adding hearty oats or granola can provide sustenance and warmth, especially in colder weather. And, of course, who doesn’t like a trail mix with a few candy pieces or M&M’s?

A word to the wise, when adding chocolate to your mix, keep in mind that a hot day can make quite a mess if not packed correctly. Keep the snack mix away from direct sunlight or heat sources, such as your body or vehicle. If you unequivocally need chocolate in your mix, try keeping it cool with an ice pack or in a thermal container.

RELATED: Day Hiking 101: What to Bring and Why

Unique Homemade Trail Mix Ideas to Spice Up Your Snack Game

For those who want to switch up their trail mix, there are endless possibilities to add some unique flavours to the classic trail mix. If you like a sweet and spicy kick, consider mixing in dried mango and chilli powder. Or, for a savoury option, add some roasted chickpeas and rosemary.

BushLife - Savoury Ingredient Options to Add to Your Homemade Trail Mix
Savoury Ingredient Options to Add to Your Homemade Trail Mix

If you’re seeking a different texture, consider tossing in some popped popcorn or a few crispy rice cereal. And for a burst of tangy flavour, mix in some dried cranberries and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

No matter your taste preferences, there are plenty of ways to jazz up your trail mix. Seasons to try:

Maple Syrup
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Honey
Olive Oil
Butter
Ginger
Sriracha
Cayenne Pepper
Chilli Powder
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Paprika
Sea Salt
Dried Thyme

Plus, with so many options, you can make multiple batches and switch them up for each adventure.

Peanut-Free GORP Alternatives for Allergy Concerns

Finding safe snacks for the trail can be challenging for those with peanut allergies. However, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the deliciousness of a trail mix. There are plenty of alternatives that offer similar textures and flavours. 

If allergic to only peanuts, one option is to swap out peanuts for other nuts. Almonds, cashews, or hazelnuts are a great alternative. You can even mix some seeds, like pumpkin or sunflower seeds, for an extra crunch. For a sweeter twist, add some dried apple rings or banana chips. These add a natural sweetness without the need for added sugars.

For those of you who are allergic to all nuts adding some roasted chickpeas, edamame or Wasabi to your mix will give you the much-needed protein boost. These plant-based options are an excellent substitute for peanuts and offer a satisfying crunch. And for those looking for an extra jolt of energy, try adding some coffee beans.

With so many options available, there’s no need to sacrifice flavour or nutrition. Be creative, and mix and match your favourite ingredients to make the perfect snack for your next adventure.

Gluten-Free Trail Mix

Gluten-Free Cracker Trail Mix from LaRena's Corner Recipes
Gluten-Free Cracker Trail Mix from LaRena’s Corner Recipes

All trail mixes are typically gluten-free. Your trail mix becomes gluten by adding oats, granola or pretzels. Including a mixture of fruits, nuts, seeds, cereals, popcorn, and chocolate will ensure your trail mix stays gluten-free. For those of you craving to add a tasty cracker to your mix, our dear friend at LaRena’s Corner has put together this delicious gluten-free trail mix recipe for you to try.

Camping Trail Mix Recipes for a Perfect Night by the Fire

When it comes to camping, there’s nothing like a cozy night by the fire, and what better way to enjoy it than with a perfectly crafted trail mix to snack on? Here, we’ve got some ideas to help take your camping snack game to the next level. Please note that I have not included the portions used as everyone’s flavour profile differs. We prefer our healthy homemade trail mixes to be a bit more on the savoury side and not super sweet.

Sweet and Savoury Jerky Trail Mix Recipe

For a sweet and savoury jerky trail mix, combine dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and diced jerky. The cranberries bring some natural sweetness, while the pumpkin seeds and jerky offer a satisfying crunch and mouth-watering flavour. Adjust the ingredients according to your flavour profile.

BushLife - Sweet and Savoury Jerky Mix
Sweet and Savoury Jerky Trail Mix

Golden Delight Snack Mix Recipe

If looking for something more traditional, go for a classic mix of nuts and dried fruit. Combine honey-roasted sesame almonds, cashews, yogurt-covered raisins, and dried apricots for a tasty combination. The Golden Delight Snack Mix recipe has become our family’s favourite homemade trail mix. It is so good!

BushLife - Golden Delight Snack Mix
Golden Delight Snack Mix

Campfire S’mores Trail Mix Recipe

And, of course, don’t forget about the classic campfire treat. S’mores! Campfire S’mores are a surefire hit with everyone in your group, especially the kids. Combine milk chocolate chips, mini marshmallows and broken pieces of graham crackers for a fun and delightful treat. If you have children, the Campfire S’mores Trail Mix makes a perfect school snack and will have them begging for more!

BushLife - Smores Snack Mix
Campfire S’mores Trail Mix

Now that you’ve got a few homemade trail mix recipes to try, it’s time to hit the road and start making those camping memories last a lifetime. These recipes are not just for camping; they are perfect for any grab-and-go snack event.

RELATED: Camping Gear Essentials: The Ultimate Checklist

Trail Mix for Off-Roading and Long Hours on the Road

If planning to spend long hours on the road or embark on an off-roading trip, a healthy trail mix is an essential snack to carry at arm’s reach. Driving for extended hours can lead to fatigue and lower energy levels, but having a bag of healthy fruit and nut trail mix on hand can help keep you alert and focused. Opt for trail mixes with protein-packed nuts like almonds, cashews or jerky, paired with some dried fruit and dark chocolate for a sweet treat. Avoid nut mixes that have too much sugar or artificial ingredients that can leave you feeling sluggish. With the right homemade trail mix, you’ll have the energy and endurance to tackle any adventure on the road or off.

How To Make the Best Trail Mix, Conclusion

In conclusion, whether it’s a leisurely hike or an extreme expedition, a nutrient-dense homemade trail mix is a perfect companion for any outdoor adventure. With so many delicious and nutritious options, find a tasty blend that will fuel your body and satisfy your taste buds. Remember to experiment with different trail mix ingredients and create your personalized trail mix for your next outdoor activity. Happy trails!

What’s your favourite homemade trail mix blend?

Please share this post with someone who loves the outdoors and needs to freshen up their snack mix. Thank you!

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Katherine Widziak
Katherine Widziak

Fuelled by the boundless energy of my two adventurous children, my diverse repertoire extends beyond the realms of an ordinary mother. As a seasoned graphic designer, master of social media content, and savvy marketing strategist, I've sculpted my own entrepreneurial journey. My passion for the great outdoors defines me - from igniting fires to setting up camps, my skills are diverse and practical. Skilled in ATV riding, possessing sharpshooting accuracy, and a knack for out-fishing just about any man - even my husband, though that's our little secret.

When not working away at something creative, you'll find me enjoying the outdoors in one form or another. Hopefully, I can inspire many women and men alike to pursue their outdoor goals and embark on new adventures.

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