If you are a Vegan hiker, have a Vegan hiking partner, or are just looking to make your next hike a little kinder, this one´s for you!
Millions of hikers are turning to a vegan way of life every year. After all, what better way to show respect for nature than living a life that causes as little impact on animals and their habitats as possible?
In this article, we hope to answer many common questions that hikers ask when preparing for their first vegan hikes. Let’s dive in!
What Is Vegan Hiking?
Vegan hiking is a way of enjoying the outdoors while causing as little damage to animals and their environment as possible.
Vegan hikers can achieve this lifestyle by:
- Avoiding the use of any clothing or hiking equipment that has been produced from animals, or animal derivatives.
- Eating only vegan food.
- Hiking in a way that does not scare or hurt wildlife.
- Causing as little damage to natural surroundings and wildlife habitats as possible.
- Participating in schemes to help wildlife, feed them during winter or protect their habitats.
What Makes Hiking Gear Not Vegan?
Many factors can make hiking equipment non-vegan, some of which can not be seen by simply looking at a product.
When choosing new hiking gear, search for certification to ensure that what you buy is a certified vegan product.
Some things that make hiking gear non-vegan are:
- Produced from animal hides such as leather – AKA Nubuck or Suede (Vegan suede and leather are available)
- Produced using animal hair such as wool, goose down, and fur.
- Manufactured using processed animal derivatives such as glue or dye.
- The product has been tested on animals
- The product contains ingredients that have been taken from an animal (such as honey or beeswax)
Is Vegan Hiking Possible?
Vegan hiking is possible and is enjoyed by millions of hikers in the U.S. and beyond every year.
Hiking is the perfect pastime for vegans. Being in the wilderness reminds us of the importance of protecting nature and its inhabitants.
With modern technology and the growing availability of vegan food. It is possible to hike with almost no impact on wildlife, and with equipment/food that has caused no harm to animals.
There are over 10 million vegans in the U.S. today, with more making the switch every year. As the vegan population grows, so does the number of vegan hikers. For this reason, the market for vegan food and vegan outdoor equipment is growing rapidly.
The vegan food market is predicted to be worth 37.5 billion by the year 2030, with a growth of at least 10% every year!
There has never been a better time to be a vegan hiker, and things are just going to keep getting better.
Can Hiking Shoes Be Vegan?
Hiking shoes absolutely can be vegan! Many hiking brands available today have amazing and varied, vegan boot ranges.
With veganism on the rise, more and more hikers require a good pair of animal-friendly hiking boots. Capitalism has spoken and mainstream brands such as La Sportiva, Merrel, and HOKA have adapted their most popular models to be vegan. Hurray!
Don´t feel that vegan hiking boots are of any less quality than their predecessors!
In fact, many animal-friendly materials actually outperform animal-derived materials for many factors such as flexibility and durability.
Is Vegan Hiking Dangerous?
Hiking with a vegan diet or lifestyle is no more dangerous than on a regular diet.
When hiking, you will burn more calories than on an average day and require water. For this reason, it is important to keep your body fueled whilst out on the trails.
There is no difference between fueling your body on a vegan diet and a regular diet. Running out of energy sucks either way!
Many of hiking´s most popular energy snacks are actually vegan!
Snacks such as trail mix (containing nuts and dried fruit), bananas, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are all completely vegan. Pack that lunchbox full of healthy animal-friendly food next time you hit the mountains.
Note – If you have just switched to veganism, we recommend starting with some smaller hikes to ensure that your body has adapted to the change in diet.
Is Vegan Hiking Hard?
The act of hiking will take the same effort whether you are vegan or not, but vegans may find some other factors of hiking slightly harder.
Before starting a hike and during a hike, vegans must consider such factors as:
- What to eat – Your hiking group may not be vegan so food sharing or choosing restaurants may be difficult. You may have to pack and eat your own food.
- What to wear – Not all hiking equipment is vegan so vegan hikers must choose carefully.
- Skincare – Many bug repellents and sunscreens are not vegan so vegan hikers must pack their own solutions.
- Where To Stay – Hotels or campsites may not have vegan food options or vegan soaps for washing.
What Do Vegan Hikers Drink?
The most popular drink for vegan hikers is the same as for non-vegan hikers…Water.
Sometimes hikers need a little more energy or hydration than water can give. For this, there is a wide variety of energy drinks available.
We have done some research and found some completely vegan energy drinks!
- Red Bull
- Monster Energy
Usually, the reason an energy drink is non-vegan is not due to its ingredients. It is due to animal testing. Although it may seem vegan on the can or bottle, it might not carry vegan certification.
Do Vegan Hikers Get Tired Or Sick?
Provided vegans fuel themselves with enough food and water for their adventure, they will be no more at risk of getting tired or sick than someone on a regular diet.
In fact, many studies have proven that vegans eat more vegetables than those on a regular diet so have a stronger immune system.
Like any diet, nutrition is key. Vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters alike must give their body the vitamins and minerals it needs to perform well. When you eat well, you feel better and are less likely to get tired or sick.
The top athletes listed below rely upon a vegan diet to fuel themselves at the highest level of their sports.:
- Lewis Hamilton (F1),
- Serena Williams (Tennis),
- Nate Diaz (UFC)
- Cam Newton (NFL)
- Scott Jurek (Ultra running)
- Tia Blanco (Surfing)
- Patrik Baboumian (Powerlifting)
If they can achieve greatness on a vegan diet, so can you!
Do Vegan Hikers Lose Weight
If Vegan hikers consume fewer calories than they burn when hiking, they will lose weight. This is however also true for those on a regular diet.
When hiking it is important for everyone, regardless of dietary choice to eat and drink more food than normal. Stopping regularly for a snack.
Many vegan hiking snacks such as trail mix, oats, pasta, and noodles are very high in calories and give you lots of energy. If this energy is not burned off during a hike, it can actually cause an increase in weight.
Is Vegan Hiking Cheaper?
A study from Oxford University (England) has shown that a vegan diet was the most affordable type of diet, cutting food costs by up to 33%
Although the study has proven that veganism is cheaper when preparing food at home, it may not be cheaper for eating at a restaurant. Many restaurants still do not provide vegan options so hikers may be limited as to which restaurant to visit and often pay more.
As there is less vegan hiking equipment available on the market, it may be harder to find good deals. Vegans may have less to choose from and pay more for equipment such as boots, clothing, and accommodation.
This is however changing quickly as more vegan outdoor equipment enters the marketplace due to high demand.
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