Updated: Jun 30, 2020
It’s May finally so that means warmer, safer weather for all of us to go hiking. Being an informed and prepared hiker is essential for everyone’s survival on the trail. Since not all hikers are the same, we have to think of innovative ways to make hiking more accessible to all. So have you ever thought about what it would take to have a vegan friendly hiking experience?
Having a vegan-friendly hike is something that everyone can try to have considering that the production of animal products are one of the top 3 leading causes of the destruction of our beautiful Earth today. Choosing gear, snacks and protection that isn’t harmful to yourself, others, and the Earth can be one of the biggest, positive decisions you can make. So let’s get into the basics for having an easy, vegan, day hike!
Boots and Socks:
You need shoes that have good traction and ankle support at the very least to go hiking. If you just hike occasionally, you can get away with sneakers. However, if you are trying to do more intense hiking, the right footwear is essential. Most hiking socks are made with wool and most hiking boots are made with leather. Obvious no-go’s for vegans. The brands I love to hike in are Oboz and Bombas.
Not having enough water is a scary situation for a hiker. So make sure you bring enough water for your hike but that isn’t too heavy to carry. Any reusable water bottle works, but if you are unsure about the water quality consider getting a bottle with a built in filter like this Brita one or you can use whatever bottle you have like mine.
When considering food for hiking whether it’s a day trip or overnighter, you need to choose foods that are calorically dense, high in protein and in carbs. Additionally, you want to choose foods that won’t create a lot of waste. Here are my top vegan food suggestions:
Sweet: Elevated Nut Butter Sammy
Get some whole wheat bread, spread a thick layer of nut butter, drizzle some syrup (agave or maple), sprinkle on seeds (hemp, chia, flax etc.), and add in some sliced fruit like strawberries or bananas!
Yes this is a play on a BLT but vegan and earthier with mushrooms! I absolutely adore eating Maitake Mushrooms. So I simply pan sear them in some vegan butter in a cast iron skillet, layer it on some toasted bread with slices of tomato, lettuce, vegan mayo and salt/pepper. Super easy and satisfying. You can swap out the mushrooms for pan seared tofu for more protein!
These cute vegan wax, food wraps will be great to hold your food together in your pack.
Sweet: Trail Mix
Of course you can just go to the store and buy a granola bar but it’s more fun to make your own right? Base ingredients for any granola is oats, dried fruit, chocolate, seeds, nuts, you name it. Mix it up and hit the trails.
To make life easy, you can get really delicious vegan jerky made from mushrooms or soy! Pan’s Mushroom Jerky and Louisville Vegan Jerky Co are the best two on the market. If you don’t have a health food store nearby, you can easily order them online.
Not much to say here other than you MUST carry a small first aid kit. You never know if you will get nicked by a branch or slide on a rock. Your local pharmacy store will have travel sized ones that won’t take up a lot of space in your pack.
Definitely put on and bring sunscreen because that sun still burns at higher altitudes. Sun Bum is a good, easy to find one that just so happens to be vegan too!
Lastly, even though as a vegan, you don’t want to harm the animals, you have to be realistic. First, not leaving food/food waste around prevents animals from being attracted to you. Second, you could be hiking through a wild animal’s home because you are in the great outdoors. So it only makes sense to get some bear/animal pepper spray. The animals are only temporarily harmed so you can escape, not permanently. . You won’t regret it when you get to return home in one piece.
Hiking while vegan can be done. The precautions and gear actually aren’t that different or more expensive than those for non-vegans. Just make sure you have a buddy and/or a map to avoid getting lost. So wherever you are, whoever you are, you can have a successful time spent in the great outdoors!