Looking for ideas for nut-free snacks for my backpack

Since long before I got actively interested in preparedness, I’ve been in the habit of carrying around a well-stocked backpack with all sorts of stuff I might need (extra layers of clothing, ibuprofen, bandaids, mylar emergency blanket, zip-seal bags, etc.)

One thing that, for some reason, I’ve never gotten into the habit of carrying, but now think I should, is some sort of food that I could eat either if I’m just out and about and get hungry, or if I get stuck somewhere with just my backpack for some reason.

I have the impression that a lot of people carry protein bars for this purpose. Protein bars generally contain nuts, though, and I have a severe nut allergy (which is all the more reason it would be wise for me to carry food around, since it’s harder for me to find safe food while out and about than it is for most people).

When I do buy snacks, they tend to be things that aren’t really suitable for just keeping stored in my backpack, such as potato chips.

What are some suggestions for snacks I could carry that wouldn’t take up too much space in my everyday backpack?


  • Comments (20)

    • 3

      Beef or turkey jerky   

      • 1

        Thanks, that’s a good suggestion, I should experiment a bit to see what varieties I like best.

      • 2

        One of my favorites were Tanka bars –  basically buffalo jerky and fruits (mostly cranberry), but I have not seen them in quite  a while.

    • 4

      Tuna or salmon in foil packets, M&M chocolate candy, granola bars/snack bars that don’t have nuts, crackers, dried fruit — those are a few things that come to mind. 

      • 1

        Thanks for the suggestions!

    • 4

      Here are the foods I keep in my pack, none of which contain nuts:

      • Bumble Bee sun-dried tomato & basil tuna packet, 2.5 oz, comes with fold-up spork
      • Brothers all natural fuji apple fruit crisps packet, 0.35 oz
      • Bridgford pepperoni, 5 oz packet
      • Bridgford salami, 5 oz packet
      • 2

        Thanks for the suggestions! I’ll have to see if I can find that kind of salami or something similar here. (Dried fruit would probably be good too – although a surprising lot of it has allergen warnings about traces of nuts if you read packages carefully.)

      • 1

        The apples specifically say “peanut/tree nut free” on the package. The meats I listed just don’t mention nuts in ingredients.

        I have no experience with nut allergies, so can’t guarantee that any of these are safe for you.

    • 2

      I sympathize with the food issues.  I am gluten intolerant but that isn’t life threatening like nut allergies (!).  I have Nutrient Survival peanut butter meal bars in my BOB.  They also have chocolate chip cookies, honey oatmeal and chocolate crunch that do not contain nuts.   There are likely other more mainstream bars like Kind, Clif, etc that have nut-free varieties.  I can’t do many of those.  

      • 3

        I have occasionally had things like Made Good granola bars, but shied away from them because they’re so much sugar and carbs, not much else. But they could go well as a complement to something else like jerky.

    • 4

      Some type of meat sticks or beef jerky with some dried fruit (protein +carbs for energy)…that would make more of a complete snack or some dark chocolate would also pair well with that. (Protein+ fat for energy source)

      Tuna packets would also work if they are into that

      Or something like this…

      You can add hot or cold water to it

      • 2

        Thanks for the suggestions! I like dried figs, maybe those would be good to keep in my pack alongside some jerky. I hesitate to keep chocolate in my bag because of the risk of it melting.

    • 3

      Thank you for this post. My tween daughter is also severely allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. She must even avoid anything manufactured in the same facility as nuts. I live in fear of running out of food for her. Epinepherine is with her at ALL times.

      Here are some peanut and tree nut free options you probably already know about, but just in case you don’t…

      (1) Enjoy Life Company has dried fruit and seed packs. (2)Nature’s Bakery makes fig bars. (3)Wowbutter spread  sells 1oz packs in bulk (100).

      Stay safe.

      • 3

        You’re welcome, and thanks for the suggestions. I’m familiar with Enjoy Life’s chocolate products and cookies but I didn’t know they made fruit and seed packs.

        (And yes, I also have to avoid things manufactured in the same facility, and carry epinephrine.)

    • 2

      Moon Cheese nom nom nom 


      (I just saw that they apparently now carry varieties with – gasp – NUTS.  You can make your own at home – look up a recipe for “Parmesan crisps”. It works with any hard cheese) Nom. 

      • 2

        I just noticed Moon Cheese on the MEC website last night. It looks like an interesting option – I love dairy products.

        It sounds from their FAQ like their cheese-only products are produced in a nut-free facility:

        Q: “Is Moon Cheese Nut Free?”
        A: “Yep, free and clear. No nuts here. Our products are produced in a totally nut-free facility. However, our Protein Blitz Mix Moon Cheese varieties directly contain almonds or pecans so this isn’t for Moon Cheese lovers with nut allergies.”

        I’ll have to see if I can find it at any of my local stores. (And then figure out how the price-per-food-value compares to other options like jerky.)

    • 3

      It’s hard to go wrong with ration blocks.

      • 2

        I am planning to try out some Datrex at some point, but am a bit caught in “I don’t really want to pay shipping but I’m not sure I want to order enough stuff from this website to get free shipping”. And I haven’t found anywhere in my area to buy it in person.

        EDIT: Ah, I think I found somewhere I could buy it in person. Maybe I’ll head out there when the pandemic calms down a bit.

    • 3

      I recently discovered a brand called “Wild Zora” and ordered their sampler pack of “AIP compliant” foods, not because I am on the Autoimmune Protocol, but because I too have an allergy that happens to overlap with that protocol. So far I am extremely happy with their food; I haven’t tried everything yet, but the lamb bar, beef bar, and morning cereal were all quite good, lightweight, easy to carry, and full of nutrition (and no nuts, for you!)  They’re not as long-lived as, say, Mountain House, but some of the “snack” products have an expiration date of 2024. The “backpacker meals” that I ordered this month have an expiration date of 2025.I’m thinking a packet of their beef soup with a packet of “Ready Hour” ground beef would make a wonderful, lightweight, and nutritious treat in an emergency.  If you keep a few in your BOB and remember to rotate them, the relatively shorter expiration date shouldn’t be a problem. 

      I mostly got these because I’m traveling again now that the pandemic is winding down (fingers crossed), and I like to have nutritious foods on hand when airport restaurants are closed etc.  As with any products like this I recommend you try them in advance so you know if they upset your stomach or anything.  

      I’m just seeing now that someone else already posted about WildZora below…so I guess now I’m adding my review!

    • 2

      Dry fruit like Dehydrated Bananas, Strawberrys etc

    • 2

      Don’t forget about dates. The Medjool dates that Aldi sells are really tasty & store very well.