The Best Supplements For Hiking

Top view of vitamin supplements on a black surface

If you’re not aware, my actual job is as a nutritionist, so I thought I’d write a post on how to get the best out of your hiking or even cycling by using supplements.

What are supplements?

Dietary supplements are useful for the following:

  • Topping up nutrients that you may be lacking through your day-to-day diet.
  • Getting extra nutrients when it’s hard to carry nutrient-rich foods with you.
  • Replacing nutrients when your body is tired and in repair mode.
  • Pushing extra out of your body!

Supplements will either be micro or macronutrients. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals whereas macronutrients are things like proteins (amino acids) and fats.

Types of supplement

I like to split supplements into two easy categories:

  1. Essential Supplements
  2. Non-Essential Supplements

Essential supplements are nutrients that your body NEEDS and can’t function without. If you lack this kind of nutrient, your body will function sub-optimally.

Non-essential supplements are substances that your body doesn’t need, but using them ENHANCES some aspect of functioning.

The 6 Supplements

These are the supplements I advise:

  1. Magnesium
  2. Electrolytes
  3. Caffeine
  4. Fish Oil
  5. Whey Protein
  6. Multivitamins

So let’s explain when and why!


Magnesium is a super important mineral for the human body. It’s involved in more than 300 chemical reactions and is important in protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function.

This means that after a long hike, making sure you top up your magnesium levels is super beneficial.

If you get cramps or poor recovery, you could be lacking this vital mineral.

How to take Magnesium

Take as Magnesium Bisglycinate Tablets  (500 mg/day)

Or you can apply it as a spray to the area that you are cramping in.


Electrolytes are a group of salts and minerals that are important in the body for maintaining fluid balance, muscle function and neurotransmission.

They include magnesium which I mentioned above and you often see the following list on electrolyte supplement labels:

  • Potassium
  • Chloride
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium

Regulate your intake depending on temperature. If you sweat more you may need to add more.

How to take Elecrolytes

Take as tablets or add 1g of powder to your hiking water.

Regulate your intake depending on temperature. If you sweat more you may need to add more.


Caffeine is the only non-essential supplement on the list.

Caffeine is great for mood-enhancing and increasing performance. Using caffeine can make your hike feel easier.

Many people drink coffee for its caffeine, however due to its diuretic effects, many people prefer not to drink coffee before their hike.

For this reason, caffeine supplements are useful to take. You can also carry them with you at all times and you don’t need to prepare anything to use them.

How to take Caffeine

Take in tablet form – 100-300mg.

Fish Oil

Fish Oil is an Omega-3 supplement – basically an essential fat that makes up the structure of every cell wall in your body! For this reason, it’s super important. If you are lacking it, your body will not function optimally. It’s also not very easy to get from the diet unless you eat a lot of oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines. This is why I highly advise supplementing with it.

It’s also highly important to buy good quality fish oil. Being a fat, fish oil can go rancid easily, so don’t buy it cheaply.

How to take Fish Oil

One of the best brands is NORDIC OIL. Take as either a liquid on a spoon or in tablet form.

Whey Protein

After a long hike, your body will be ready for repair. This is where getting enough protein comes in. Proteins are made from amino acids. These amino acids are the building blocks for muscles and also hormones and enzymes in your body!

A whey protein supplement can make sure you get enough amino acids for the repair your body needs after a hike.

Whey protein is extra useful as you can carry it with you in powder form (it’s light) and add water when needed. This means that it’s super useful for multi-day hikes where getting protein from animal sources can be difficult.

How to take:

Add 25-35g to water. Take up to 3 times per day if needed with a meal.

How to take Whey Protein

Add 25-35g to water. Take up to 3 times per day if needed with a meal.


I added a multivitamin to the end of the list as a “cover-all” guarantee. As the name suggests, a multivitamin contains all the vitamins your body needs.

If you’re going on a hike and you want to maximise recovery, then take a multivitamin to ensure that your body is getting all the vitamins that it needs.

Multivitamins can be useful when doing multi-day hikes and you’re not eating many vegetables.

How to take Multivitamins

Take 1 tablet per day or as the label advises.


So there you go! My list of beneficial supplements you can take to feel better during and after your hikes. Afterall, we hike to feel good, so we want to maximise that experience.

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