Best Backpack Snacks: Trail Mix

Trail mix is the undisputed king of outdoor snacks! Whether you're hiking the Appalachians or just going to a nearby park for some time in the sun, a bag of trail mix in your backpack is insurance against low-blood sugar. What's your favorite mix?

We like trail mixes with a nice balance of salty, sweet, and sour, and we usually keep it simple with just a few ingredients. Pretzels and nuts take care of the salty, M&M's (which won't melt all over everything) are the sweet, and dried fruit rounds out the sour. A handful of each (and an extra handful of nuts for good measure), and we're happy hikers!

If we have time, we like to toast the nuts beforehand so they're extra flavorful and crunchy. Freshly popped popcorn also makes a nice substitute in the "salty" category if you don't like nuts or want to lower the calorie-count.

Here are some of our favorite mixes, all with a combination of about 1 cup nuts or pretzels and 1/2 cup each of chocolate and fruit:

• Almonds, dark chocolate M&M's, and dried cherries
• Pecans, maple granola, dark chocolate M&M's, and dried apples
• Popcorn, regular or peanut M&M's, and dried cranberries
• Peanuts, small pretzels, regular M&M's, and raisins
• Macadamia nuts, cashews, dark chocolate M&M's, dried papaya, and dried mango.

Please share your own recipe for perfect trail mix!

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(Image: Flickr member bastique licensed under Creative Commons)