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Fill Your Day Pack With Fuel

Bring snacks and plenty of water when you hike any of the County’s 350+ miles of trails. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your next outdoor excursion. Plan ahead for maximum enjoyment!


Non-perishable foods are the easiest to pack because they don’t need to be kept hot or cold.
Pack items such as peanut butter, canned tuna, whole grain crackers, beef jerky/other dried meats, dried fruits, nuts and nut based bars, trail mix, and dehydrated foods. You can also pack easy-to-eat fruit such as apples and oranges! For longer hikes (4+ hours), that overlap normal mealtimes, consider packing a meal as well as snacks.

Keep it cool. If you bring cold foods, make sure you have a way to keep them cold. For example, pack food with frozen bottled water or frozen gel-packs. Freeze your food overnight then pack it in your bag before you leave—it will be defrosted by the time you are ready to eat it on your hike.

Keep it clean. Make sure your hands are clean when you are ready to handle your food. Wash your hands at a sink at a bathroom along the hike. If there is no sink available, use disposable wipes or hand sanitizer (and pack your trash to empty after your hike or when you have access to an appropriate disposal location). Never leave trash along the trail.

Stay hydrated! For warm weather hikes, you will need about 6-8 quarts of water per day. For cold weather hikes, 3-4 quarts will suffice.  

Make sure to bring bottled or tap water for drinking. It is not safe to drink from lakes, streams because even if it looks clean, it could be contaminated. If you are unable to carry the amount of water you will need for the hike, make sure you have a way to purify water from lakes, streams, etc. This includes water purification tablets, water filters (1 micron absolute or smaller), or boiling water for 1 minute.

For more information, visit webmd.com and  eatright.org.

This information is brought to you through a partnership between the County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation and the Health and Human Services Agency. 

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