Peanut butter is a great vegan trail food

peanut butter on a bagel

I think so. Peanut butter is super high in calories, protein, and fat. These are obviously the main nutrients you need to be aware of when undertaking strenuous physical activity like a thru-hike. Two tablespoons of peanut butter has 190 calories, 16g of fat and 7g of protein (source). There are few vegan foods comparable to the nutrient density of peanut butter. Non-vegan hikers of course eat a lot of cheese and some eat meat.

I ate peanut butter on my hike for lunch almost every day. Sometimes just by the spoonful, but usually with a bagel or tortilla. And sometimes with chocolate chips when I had them.

When I could find it, I preferred the “natural” varieties from the big companies like Skippy. They don’t have partially hydrogenated oil like most peanut butters do, but they still have a little sugar in them so they’re tastier and easier to eat daily.

Maybe you’re thinking, “really? peanut butter? tell me something new.” I believe these kinds of foods are important to affirm for vegan hikers. The reality is that most long-distance hikers–vegan or not–are surviving on an extremely limited variety of food. Most hikers carry cheese as an easy, calorie-dense trail food; peanut butter is a very strong alternative.


8 thoughts on “Peanut butter is a great vegan trail food

  1. this is great sam! i’m excited and i hope the peanut butter they have on bike and build doesnt have the trans fats in it, otherwise i’ll prob buy my own as i go. i wonder though, how did you get other nutrients during the trip? did you ever feel like you were missing anything eating something so dense?

  2. It’s pricier, but the occasional jar of almond butter or cashew butter is a nice, calorie-dense treat, too.

    1. Yes! I love both cashew butter and almond butter. I find almond butter can be a bit dry. But both nut butters can be a great way to mix it up from peanut butter.

  3. Thank you for this site! My wife and I recently moved to near Damascus, Va. The AT is a new adventure to us and as vegans knowing someone blazed the trail before us is reassuring and informative. We haven’t made a step on the trail as of now, but are in learning mode at the moment. You boosted us another level.

  4. Life is always better with peanut butter. We just went on a hiking/camping trip (our first) and had two jars of sunflower seed butter (basically the same thing). We had it daily for lunch too – also as an occasional snack spread on bananas, celery and apples. mmm

  5. My husband and I do vegan bicycle touring and just started backpacking. We found little individual packets from a company called “Justin’s Nut Butters” that has a lot of different vegan flavors like chocolate hazelnut butter. Such a nice switch from pb and tortillas all the time. I swear I am so sick of PB and tortillas! Ha!

    1. Justin’s Nut Butters are really good! I also like the flavored varieties from Peanut Butter & Company. The dark chocolate peanut butter blend was sooo good…

  6. Today at NJ Vegfest in Asbury Park, NJ, I met Joe, the owner of The Peanut Principle. I have Vegan butters for my upcoming AT thru hike… cookie dough flavor and brownie as well as others. I’ve tasted them and they’ll be incredible treats in my post office pickups along the way. I’ll be eating mostly gorp on the entire journey… it’s enough, delicious, and nutritious.

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