Best Trail Mix
Without question, one of the best foods you can pack on a hike is trail mix. In addition to the fact that most brands will be optimized for portability, trail mix itself can often provide you the energy you need for the day. Oh yeah, there is also no prep work involved, and refrigeration is not required.
Then again, the reason you are here today is that not all trail mix is the same. From brand to brand, there may be different ingredients, quantities, and blends all together. With that said, however, most mixes typically include the same types of foods (such as nuts, fruits, raisins, etc.).
Still, the point is the open market is filled with several fantastic choices. To narrow the selection down, you will need to know a thing or two. And, that is where this guide comes into play.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 8.75 hrs of research
It is not stuffed with cheap ingredients
It is packaged in a double-insulated bag
Both full-bodied and hearty
Our Top Picks for the Best Trail Mix
1. Captain’s Trail Mix
It is not stuffed with cheap ingredients
It is packaged in a double-insulated bag
Both full-bodied and hearty
It is overpriced
In spite of the fact that this mix is overpriced, it seems to be one of the most flavorful, natural, and fantastic blends available on the market. Not a bad combination, huh?Read more
Do not worry about the quality of the ingredients here as only high-quality ones were included. This includes cheddar crackers, sesame sticks, honey-coated chips, almonds, cashews, and fresh pecans.
What is so great about this particular trail mix is that the blend of textures and flavors is incredible. It almost tastes like Chex Mix with added sugar and chocolate. How amazing does that sound?
Above all else, what makes this option so compelling is all the fresh and high-quality (and pure) ingredients that were utilized.
As noted, this is an overpriced option but that is almost commonplace. As for how much you get, this has a net weight of 12 ounces.
Past the 12-ounce net weight, this trail mix has also been packaged in a double-insulated bag. Oh yeah, this bag is also designed to stand straight up for convenience purposes.
Sure, this may not be the healthiest option out there but it is also not “bad” for you either. The trail mix of unhealthy and healthy, in fact, makes for one tremendous bag of nutty goodness.
2. Sahale Snacks
You receive 18 packs
Every bite has a great blend of flavors
Oil was not used in the roasting process for the nuts
Too much sugar was used
One of the nice aspects of this option is the fact that you receive 18 packs of trail mix. While each bag is pretty darn small, it makes for easy grab and go snack pouches.Read more
This is simply a superb combination of fruit and nuts. Some of the most prominent ones included are cashews, almonds, pistachios, cranberries, and apples. Additionally, all the ingredients that are utilized are natural.
Overall, the flavor of this trail mix is excellent. However, quite a bit of sugar has been added, which makes this a bit sweet. Oh yeah, and for the nuts, oil was not used to roast them (to make them perfect in their texture).
In addition to the fact that this is the non-GMO project verified, there are also no added flavors, colors, or artificial preservatives.
Each pack is 1.5 ounces, for the record. While this means that each pack is quite small, you are provided with 18 of them. Of course, overall, it is a bit expensive for what you receive.
What is nice is each pack weighs only 1.5 ounces and is small enough to fit anywhere. So, even if you do not want to take all 18 with you, you can take as many as you want.
Some of you may not be too fond of the added sugar but the all-natural fruits and nuts included are just tremendous. Plus, you can take as many packs as you want with you on your hiking trip.
3. Bear Naked Trail Mix
It has four grams of protein
The ingredient blend is all-natural
It comes in a resealable pouch
Not the best for hot weather
This particular trail mix is actually a blend of trail mix and dark chocolate. Due to the chocolate that has been included, this is not the best trail mix for summer hikes. For cold to mild weather, though, it is tremendous.Read more
The blend of the clean ingredients that are included is as good as it gets. This includes dried cranberries, whole grain oats, peanut butter and semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Though one user got a batch that was not very fresh at all, this will fulfill both your salty and sweet cravings. The flavor is as good as any other trail mix you will buy, relatively speaking.
There is no doubt about it, this batch is pure. First off, it is both non-GMO and gluten-free. Secondly, there are no preservatives, colors, or artificial flavors that have been added.
For the price, the value is pretty good. With your purchase, you receive six, 7.2-ounce pouches. Also, on another note, each serving contains 12 grams of whole grains and four grams of protein.
As just noted, each bag is 7.2 ounces in weight and you get six of them. Of course, each bag is resealable and can easily be taken with you go.
Due to the addition of the chocolate chunks, this is not the best option for everyone. For example, in hotter weather, this will not work that well. Then again, it still is an excellent option.
4. Oberto Original Beef Jerky Mix
Each pack contains 12 grams of protein
The flavor is really good
You receive eight packs
It is an overpriced option
There could be more beef jerky bits
Indeed, there is trail mix that includes beef jerky and this is one of the best. Given it includes jerky, it means that this pack (or packs as you get eight of them) is rich in protein.Read more
In addition to the jerky itself, this trail mix also includes a great blend of fruit and nuts (and also a bit of chocolate). But, admittedly, more jerky bits would have been a welcome sight.
The mix of flavors seems like it would clash but blends really well. Also, this will taste good day after day (granted you seal the pouch back up).
While this does contain soy and tree nuts, it is gluten-free. Oh yeah, no artificial ingredients were utilized, and that is always a plus.
To say the price is obnoxious is a bit of an understatement. To make it clear, you get eight, two-ounce packs of the jerky trail mix. All in all, this is a pound in total for a pretty hefty price.
Again, this is a highly portable option because each pack only weighs a minuscule two ounces. Additionally, you do not need to take all the packages on one hiking trip.
The value could be better, and there could have been more jerky bits included. In spite of these issues, however, the flavor is phenomenal, and the ingredients are even better.
5. Happy Belly Yogurt Mix
It comes in a stand-up bag
The value is really good
Everything tastes exceptional
There are too many peanuts
Too much salt was added
Overall, like other trail mix recipes, admittedly, there are probably too many peanuts here for many of you. However, the taste is fantastic, the quality has been tested, and the value is tremendous.Read more
Overall, this includes a beautiful blend of cashews, almonds, cranberries, raisins, and yogurt chips. Then again, a few buyers have noted that too many peanuts were used overall.
The flavor is delicious, so do not misunderstand that. But, the added salt is something to take into consideration as well as the oversaturation of nuts.
What is nice is Happy Belly notes that they not only carefully select their ingredients, but they also perform rigorous testing on all of them for optimum quality and purity.
Out of all the options on this list, this could have the best value. When looking at the price for the amount you get (44 ounces), the cost is just terrific.
This is just short of three pounds of trail mix. While this is an excellent value, you need to account for this more massive load. The reason for this is only one bag of the blend is included (though you could just put some in a Ziploc bag).
This is the typical cliché of trail mix bags that do not proportion their ingredients well enough. In spite of this, it is hard to argue against this option’s purity and excellent taste.
6. Enjoy Life Seed & Fruit Mix
Free from wheat and gluten
The flavor is satisfying
It comes with 24 different bags
The chocolate chips will melt in hotter weather
Typical trail mix consists of some type of nut but not this mix. Instead, this is a seed and fruit trail mix that consists of several all-natural and high-quality ingredients.Read more
As noted, nuts are not included in this blend of ingredients. Instead, this healthy trail mix consists of roasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds, semi-sweet chocolate chips, cranberries, and raisins.
The mix of chocolate, fruit, and seeds is quite tasty. Again, it is one of those trifectas that satisfy many of your first taste buds in one shot.
Because every one of these trail mixes has been made in a dedicated gluten-free facility, you can count on them all being gluten-free. Also, they are free of many other allergens.
There are different capacity options that you can go with. Each of them, though, offers a decent yet not great value.
One of the capacity options offers you 24, 1.63-ounce bags. All in all, this is 39 ounces in weight. But, the subtle aspect about this option is, you receive 24 different pouches.
The substitution of nuts for seeds will not be loved by all of you, and that is fair. But, the added pumpkin and sunflower seeds do make for quite the blend of healthy flavors.
7. Nature’s Garden Organic Mix
You can enjoy different ingredient blends
You get 24 packs in all
The quality is above-average
Various users have commented on the lack of freshness
The price is still too high
In addition to the fact that this is organic trail mix, multiple flavors are provided to you. All in all, you get eight packs of three separate flavor combinations.Read more
As noted, you receive three different types of trail mixes. One of them (the cranberry health mix) includes unsalted peanuts, sunflower seeds, raisins (both black and gold), walnuts and sweetened cranberries.
The flavor of every one of the characteristics seems to be good. With that in mind, there have been previous buyers who had noted that some of the packs were not fresh when they ate them.
The quality and purity seem to be great. However, as noted, some of the bags have been known to be lackluster in regards to their freshness.
It is a bit of a theme, but the value here could be better. Yes, you do receive 24 individual pouches of the trail mix. But, the price for such (as each bag is only 1.2 ounces) is pretty high.
Even if you took every one of these pouches with you on one trip, it would still not eclipse two pounds. That is not too bad when you think about it that way.
The variety of trail mixes that you get here makes this quite a compelling choice. Then again, this option is not without its flaws, so do be aware of that.
8. Power Up Summer Trail Mix
It is non-GMO and gluten-free
No preservatives have been added
It is only 13 ounces for weight purposes
Too much sugar
There are too many cranberries
Now, this trail mix is far from bad as it would not be on this list if it were. However, to warn you, the taste is incredibly sweet and the ratio of cranberries to the other ingredients is too high.Read more
Past the fact that there are far too many cranberries compared to the other fruits (strawberries and blueberries), this is quite a great blend. The mixed nuts that are included (almonds, peanuts, and cashews) help with this quite a bit.
The added sugar will either be a welcome sight or somewhat of a nuisance. It all depends on your preferences. But, do know that the sugar adds quite a bit of sweetness to the already sweet fruits.
In addition to the fact that this mix is gluten-free, it is also project verified non-GMO and includes no artificial ingredients whatsoever.
Look, the value is not terrible due to the quantity (13 ounces) and quality. With that said, much like anything else with cashews, the price is still quite high for what you get.
This really could not be more perfect for hiking due to its weight and its packaging.
For the most part, this is a trail mix that most of you will enjoy. Sure, there are some potential issues here and there but it remains a great choice regardless.
9. Trader Joe’s Omega Trek Mix
It is delicious
It is high in Omega 3s
An excellent variety of nuts have been included
A little too much sugar
The packaging needs improvements
If you are looking for a trail mix recipe that is high in Omega 3s then you have found it right here. While too much sugar was probably added, this remains one of the best options out there.Read more
A nice blend of mixed nuts (almonds and walnuts) is joined with dried fruit and also some pumpkin seeds to create this above-average mix. Also, this contains 500 milligrams of Omega 3s per each serving.
Most people will agree that the straight flavor of this trail mix is exceptional. Then again, from a health perspective, previous buyers have noted that a little too much sugar has been added.
The cranberries are actually packed with Omega 3s and these actually originate from the oils that were extracted from the seeds of the actual cranberries themselves.
The price itself is not that bad until you realize that all you get for that price is a 12-ounce bag of goodies. Let’s just say that the value is not exactly the best here.
The weight itself is not an issue but what can be is the fact that the packaging has been known to be subpar. Various users have reported that the packaging takes a lot away from the quality of the ingredients.
With some new packaging and maybe a little less sugar, this trail mix could have been even better. As it sits, though, it is still flavorful and loaded with Omega 3s.
10. Wild Roots Natural Mix
No artificial ingredients are included
It is a 100 percent natural blend
It is sweet
The price is quite ridiculous
There is a high concentration of yogurt pieces
Let’s just say this, you need to enjoy yogurt pieces or you probably will find yourself not eating this specific mix. It is all-natural and quite tasty but is quite dependent on yogurt.Read more
Indeed, this blend is loaded with tons of yogurt-covered drops. Then again, it also includes some almonds, cashews, wild blueberries, and cranberries. Oh, and this is all a 100 percent natural blend.
As you can garner with the addition of so many yogurt-covered drops, this trail mix is sweet as can be. For some of you, it will only be too sweet (though the other ingredients do taste superbly).
Although this is a 100 percent all-natural blend of ingredients, there is no indication on the packaging if this is a gluten-free healthy trail mix.
For a 26-ounce bag, the price here is still pretty darn high. However, amazingly, there are other options on this list that are more expensive on a per-ounce basis.
For hiking and backpacking, you will need to account for nearly a two-pound bag of mix. Granted this is not an issue for you, this will not be a concern to you.
If you are a health buff then you may want to stay away from this option simply due to the high concentration of sweetness. Then again, the flavor is superb if you are into sweet and salty blends.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
This section is all about the ingredients and which ones you want to be included.
Trail mix ingredients are everything. Truer words have never been spoken. And, this all starts with the nuts and seeds. Now, the best options will offer a beautiful blend of different nuts and seeds. Outside of taste and texture, different types can provide different nutrients and such.
For example, almonds (on a per-serving basis) will have about four grams of fiber and six grams of protein. Meanwhile, cashews, another nut, will deliver Vitamin B and C and also plenty of unsaturated fats and protein. Even for something like pumpkin seeds, they can offer high levels of magnesium. Indeed, different nuts and seeds can offer all sorts of health benefits.
But you also need some dried fruit. Dried fruit is simply fruit that has been extracted from nearly all its water. It is allowed to last longer, as a result, but still keeps most of its nutritional value. And, there are several different types of dried fruit you can find (from cranberries to blueberries to strawberries).
Of course, you can also look for options with bagel chips, pretzels, and other such ingredients. Then again, added potassium is also not a bad thing to look for. Elements such as prunes and raisins can account for this. Oh yeah, and dark chocolate can also be high in antioxidants if you want to look for that.
Why on earth would you want to buy a trail mix that you do not find tasty?
At the end of the day, do you want to buy any food item that you do find flavorful? Sure, some food items will be consumed for dietary purposes only but the fact remains flavor is important. And, you better believe that it will play a huge role when choosing a trail mix.
Once again, it all starts with the nuts and seeds, and this is why a beautiful blend of them is ideal. Let’s take, for example, almonds, cashews, and peanuts. If you have tried all three, then you know that the taste and texture of all three of them are entirely different. When joined together, they can create a beautiful blend of flavors.
But, it is not just the nuts as you also want some sweetness. This is where the dried fruit comes into play. Buying options that satisfy both your sweet and savory taste buds is essential. However, some people do not like that dried fruits tend to have more sugar content.
While this can be true, dried fruits are long-lasting and often used in all trail mixes. So, you might as well get used to them (as they are far from unhealthy).
It will be in your best interest to buy options that are high in quality and pure in nature.
Anytime you buy packaged food; you run the risk of it being loaded with additives and preservatives. But, the best trail mixes out there will be the opposite. The best ones will be filled with 100 percent natural and fresh ingredients. And, several of them will have no artificial ingredients or additives whatsoever.
Also, you may want to look for non-GMO options. This means that they are free from GMOs (which are novel organisms that have been created in a lab). These organisms have been cited for having both environmental and health risks when in foods.
Another factor you should consider, and this goes back to the first point, is if the included ingredients have been tested for quality. This is simply an added level of safety and health that you can look for.
Lastly, if you have any major food allergies (such as celiac disease), then you need to ensure that the trail mix you buy is safe for you to consume.
The value is more than just the price so do be aware of that.
No, assessing the value of the trail mix is not merely evaluate the price. It is a three-step process, and it all begins with the quality. Indeed, the quality of the trail mix will go a long way in determining its value. After all, a lower price means nothing if the included ingredients are bland and lackluster.
Secondly, you need to assess the quantity of the mix. Trail mixes will be measured in ounces, and this needs to be your reference point. Now, it is worth noting that some options will be offered in smaller packs (but you will get several of them). Whether you want multiple packages or not merely is up to you.
Lastly, then you can assess the price as it still matters. Now, as many of you know, certain nuts tend to be incredibly expensive. So, typically, the top-end trail mix will be charged as such. The best way to compare prices, for the record, is to do so on a per-ounce cost (which will typically be provided to you on Amazon).
If you want to buy this stuff for portability reasons then you need to pay attention to the weight.
In a way, this section is somewhat counter-intuitive to what was just discussed. Yes, the amount of trail mix that you want will have a direct implication of the weight you will need to carry. This is, clearly, only regarding those of you who want it for hiking, backpacking, or another similar activity.
This is also where it can be handy to buy multiple packs instead of one giant bag. Think of it this way, if you had 32, 1-ounce pouches you could take only the number you needed. This will not be possible with one giant two-pound bag (unless you use Ziploc bags or something).
Oh, and lastly, pay attention to the packaging. Most options will come in pouches that can be resealed. Clearly, for outdoor adventures, this is going to be the most convenient packaging possible. Pouches of this nature will also be pretty darn easy to pack inside your backpack.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
First and foremost, you need to ensure that you pay attention to the included ingredients. While most options will feature some blend of nuts and dried fruits, the types of nuts and grains can vary quite a bit. Also, there can be some other ingredients to look for to receive additional health benefits. The critical point to remember is to get a beautiful blend of ingredients for optimal balance.
The flavor is about as important as it gets that is for sure. This goes back to what was claimed in the previous section, though, as the more variety there is, the more taste buds you will satisfy. Also, do not forget that texture is nearly just as important as taste. Of course, all at the same time, you ideally want to avoid too much-added sugar or sodium for enhanced flavor.
When it comes to shopping for food, you always need to keep the word “purity” in mind. And, that comes into play here, as well. In addition to looking for high-quality and natural ingredients, you may also want to look for non-GMO options. Oh yeah, and do not forget about food allergies if you happen to have any. That is something you can’t afford to overlook.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Is this stuff bad for you?
As you can probably assume, it all comes down to what ingredients are included. After all, anything can be made unhealthy with certain elements. However, for the most part, there is a lot of healthy trail mix out there to be found.
Considering that most blends will consist of both nuts and dried fruit, there will plenty of nutritional value. Then again, it is the added sugar and sodium that can make a particular blend somewhat unhealthy.
q: Is eating too much of it a bad thing?
Some people wonder if they can sit around and eat trail mix all day. Well, this is not going to be a good idea because you can go overboard when it comes to the nuts. Even though nuts themselves are often seen as healthy snacks, this only pertains when you eat a moderate amount of them.
The reality is that consuming too many nuts can lead to weight gain. Additionally, you may even notice that you start to feel bloated and somewhat gassy after eating them. Well, these can be side effects of digesting too many of them.
q: What nuts have the most protein?
As you would have probably guessed, each nut is going to differ when it comes to its provided protein. Regarding which nut is the king of protein that distinction goes to peanuts. In general, you can expect right around seven grams of protein per one ounce.
But, it is not only peanuts that have high protein as almonds do, as well. They will provide right around six grams of protein for every one ounce. And, other nuts (such as cashews and hazelnuts) are also high in their protein counts.
q: Can you make it homemade?
Even though it is more convenient and more comfortable to buy trail mix that has already been made and packaged, there is no reason why you can’t make it yourself. All you will need is the ingredients to get the job done.
One of the benefits of doing this is you have full control over the types of nuts, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, and other ingredients you use. Additionally, you can choose the ratio of all these ingredients which can be incredibly useful.
q: Why is sulfur added to dried fruit?
If you do your research on dried fruit then you may notice that sulfur dioxide is actually added to it. The question is, though, why is it? Well, remember when it was noted that you should avoid too many additives and preservatives and such? This is actually a preservative that is added to both kill bacteria and extends the shelf life of the dried fruit itself.
q: Okay, is the added sulfur harmful?
For the most part, this is known to be a safe preservative. However, there is a possibility that your body may be sensitive to it. If you have ever eaten trail mix before then, there is a strong chance dried fruit was included. If you had no side effects, then your body is probably not sensitive to it.
Do not let this prevent you from buying trail mix with dried fruit in it. That is the bottom line here, but it is essential for you to at least be aware that the preservative is there.