5 Dehydrated Snacks for the Trail

By Stephanie Gravalese 

I've been dehydrating food for years, and it's one of my favorite ways to make snacks while I enjoy the outdoors. Not only do I like the process, but it lets me eat more of my favorite foods while helping the environment by reducing food waste and packaging.  


Dehydrated snacks


Here's how it works: Food is heated in a special dehydrator that slowly removes moisture from it. The food becomes shelf stable once thoroughly dried, so you can store it for weeks or months without worrying about spoilage! If you don't have a dedicated food dehydrator, you can dry food on the lowest temperature setting of your oven for an hour or two. Some foods are even great to air dry at room temperature (it helps if you live in a drier climate). 

I usually dry fruits and vegetables that are still in good shape or are slightly past prime. These fruits, veggies, and herbs make for great trail snacks that are light to travel with. Dehydrated snacks are great for both short hikes, camping trips, backpacking, and even skiing. Here are five of my favorite dried foods snacks and some tips to get started! 


dried tomatoes


1. Grape Tomatoes: Grape tomatoes are among the most accessible snacks to dehydrate. These little guys are already bite-sized, so you don't have to worry about wasting time cutting them up. Dehydrated grape tomatoes also become sweet from the drying process, making them perfect for eating on the trail.

2. Mangoes: Mangoes are one of my favorite fruits, so this is a no-brainer for me! When you dehydrate them, they get super soft and easy to eat straight out of the bag or with other ingredients (like nut butter) added on top. They also make an excellent base for your favorite trail mix recipe. If you're feeling adventurous, try mixing dehydrated mango with chili-lime seasoning for an unexpected flavor combo that will make your taste buds sing.


Fruit ready to dehydrate


3. Berries: Whether foraging or using up berries from the fridge, drying them in a dehydrator is one of the most accessible dried snacks. Strawberries and other fruits are already sweet—no need for added sugar—and can be added to a trail mix, rehydrated in hot water, or eaten as is. 

4. Melons: This one may seem weird at first glance, but I promise it works. Melon is naturally sweet and juicy, so it's perfect for dehydrating. Melons are a great choice for drying because they're naturally sweet, but it's important to choose a variety that is both large in size and low in water content. Watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew are all great options. The flesh of the melon should be firm and have no soft spots when you slice it. You can cut melon into cubes or slices before drying them out.

5. Pineapples: Pineapples are another good choice for drying out at home because they're high in natural sugars (and therefore low in water content). Pineapple makes a delicious dried snack because it's naturally sweet and juicy. You can make pineapple rings or chunks by slicing the fruit into rings or cubes, then placing them on a wire rack.


Dried trail snacks


Stephanie Gravalese is a writer based in upstate New York and western Massachusetts. She writes about food, farming, and foraging. She has been an avid forager and gardener interested in preservation and food sovereignty. In addition, she researches the history of foraging and food independence through the lens of her Afro-Dominican and Italian heritage. You can find her work at SlowLivingKitchen.com