The 13 Absolute Best Packaged Trail Mixes, Ranked

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Though no one on our team has caught a fish, pitched a tent, or fought off a grizzly bear, we have been on a few low-key hikes that warranted a good trail mix. Nuts are vitamin-rich nuggets of energy, dried fruit is chewy and sweet in a way we only appreciate now that we're grownups (and no longer scared of an oatmeal raisin cookie), and every other ingredient is something playful to be discovered. For example, did you know almonds, the crux, and core of many trail mixes, are not even real nuts? We're discovering things already! 

We were shocked to see just how many varieties of trail mix are on supermarket shelves. We tasted all kinds of different mixes — ranging from peanuts to cashews to pistachios — and fruits like raisins, cranberries, and even dried strawberries. And the fun stuff is even more diverse! It was a major quest to discover the perfect pairing and flavor profiles. 

Eventually, after testing many different brands from an assortment of stores, we found our 13 favorites. Then we had to rank them. Though they're all pretty great, we arranged the list from worst to best. It was a difficult task, but our hope is that you find your new regularly-reached-for trail mix!

13. Good & Gather Mexican Street Corn Inspired Trail Mix

Mexican street corn is having a real moment lately. Seriously, can you go wrong with a buttery ear of fresh corn slathered in crema and seasoned with cilantro, chili, and lime? We think not. Let's see if a trail mix can capture the magic. It sure looks like the part in its golden bag. The mixed bag of Mexican Street Corn trail mix from Good & Gather is generously coated in a cheesy, citrusy, and slightly spicy powder. Some of us compared it to Cheetos dust but with Mexican flair, so if you're eating this at your desk, beware. Your keyboard may come out covered in dust at the other end of your snack. We loved the bold flavor, particularly the cheddar-seasoned cornsticks.

They are a zesty Southwest take on a sesame stick and go nicely with the seasoned peanuts and almonds. Overall, it's definitely delicious, but it doesn't rank as high as the others because it's just not really a trail mix in our minds or on our taste buds. A fun movie night snack, sure, and one we'd eat gladly as long as we wash our hands before touching any screens.

12. 365 by Whole Foods Market Kahuna Crunch Trail Mix

Whole Foods has always been correlated with trail mix in our minds. Always. If you've ever walked into a Whole Foods, you know that you're bound to spot at least one, possibly several, customers who look like they're about to hit the trails for a good, long hike. They must be on to something because the Whole Foods trail mixes are quite nice indeed. Whether or not they will sustain us physically any longer than the others, we can't exactly say, seeing as we didn't test each trail mix by going on a hike immediately afterward. But in terms of flavor, at least, we found a lot to comment favorably on.

This Kahuna Crunch Trail Mix blend makes us feel like we're hiking, yes, but on the most beautiful trail in Hawaii. Go tropical, or go home with big, buttery macadamia nuts and slivers of incredibly sweet dried pineapple, plus some always-welcome cashews, almonds, and cranberries. Yes, you read that right: There aren't any peanuts! We're totally fine with swapping out peanuts for macadamias in more trail mixes. We did find a caveat: One taste-tester noted that she just wished there was coconut. The rest of us quickly agreed. Going without seems like a missed opportunity to capture that breezy Kahuna energy.

11. Planters NUT-rition Vitality Blend Nut and Dried Fruit Mix

Planters NUT-rition Vitality Blend Nut and Dried Fruit Mix isn't a traditional trail mix, but hear us out. The heart of the collection is nuts, and the soul is dried fruit. Everything else — chocolate, sesame sticks, pretzels, espresso beans — are accouterments. There's nothing wrong with accouterments, and in most cases, they bring the diversity and fun we crave. But there's also nothing wrong with a straight-up blend that gives you exactly what you need without any frills.

Let's get this cleared up right now: You don't have to be 90 years old to enjoy a good prune or raisin. But just in case you're not a fan of raisins — and maybe even consider them the least desirable part of any trail mix (or cookie) ever made — this Planters mix has got your back. The dried fruits are a fresh duo of tangy blueberries and sunny peaches, the perfect change of pace. And the nuts? Almonds, for good sense, and pistachios for everything else. Pistachios are perfect in trail mixes because they have an elusive Mediterranean flavor, a bit of a chew, and tons of nutrition. Besides, you get to say you're eating your greens! Our biggest gripe was that the peach squares are really, really small, so we ended up getting mostly almonds in any given handful. 

10. Good Sense Brotherhood Trail Mix

We're always looking for smaller names we can support in addition to our big-box favorites like (pun intended). Favorite Day (aka Target) or Whole Foods. But what really stood out to us with this Good Sense Brotherhood Trail Mix was the unbridled childlike joy surrounding each of the three nut ingredients with sweetness. It's a real gold mine. We couldn't help but smile at the twists on classic trail mix fare: Peanuts, but make them butter toffee; raisins, but wrap them in smooth and creamy yogurt; and, yes indeed, more peanuts, but chocolate-covered in this second go-around.

This delicious trail mix is sure to satisfy your need for a sweet treat, but underneath the playful coatings, you're guaranteed to get something feel-good and nutritious in every handful, thanks to the raisins and peanuts. We certainly felt the brotherhood — or sisterhood, more accurately today — when buzzing around each other in friendly debate. Toffee or regular chocolate? And why aren't we eating more yogurt-covered raisins on a daily basis? We would recommend this trail mix in particular if you have kids and want to get them to eat their fruits and nuts without complaint.

9. Harris Teeter Cajun Style Trail Mix

You may not know it, but nuts and spices go very well together. Just ask the culinary geniuses behind many of Blue Diamond's hottest products. Literally, there are some crazy, tear-inducing, epically spicy concoctions to try. This pick, in particular, is highly subjective, but we love some good Cajun seasoning. So, we love this Harris Teeter Cajun Style Trail Mix since it makes liberal and cheerful use of it. You can't find a single piece that doesn't fit the theme. No boring bites around here! We've got the basic almonds and peanuts that still pick up the seasoning and round it all out.

One team member preferred the hot Cajun-style cornsticks the most. Another was all about the chili crescents. We all agreed on the merits of honey-roasted sesame sticks, and playing on that touch of honey; the butter toffee peanuts were a must-try. Also, it's a great deal: you get 15 ounces of fun for a few cents less than the Simple Truth trail mix, which is only a mere 5.5 ounces! That's a lot of bang for your buck, which is always a factor at play in our rankings. We ranked it towards the middle because it's a lot of fun but has a bit of the same issue as the Mexican Street Corn one does; mainly, it's more snack mix than anything else. Sometimes bold flavor isn't really what you want on the trail.

8. Simple Truth Probiotic Trail Mix

Simple Truth Organic is a great source of organic food products that are still accessible and affordable. Besides, you never know what fun spin on a classic they will roll out next. Though this Simple Truth Probiotic Mix does not, we're afraid to inform you all, include any chocolate, there's still hope. Looking closely at the photo, you can see large white ovals peaking through the plastic windowpane. Those are positively massive yogurt-covered cranberries, and we loved sinking out teeth into every milky-yet-tart bite. It almost tasted like a candy ingredient we would find in some of the other trail mixes (butter toffee peanuts, chocolate drops — you know the type).

There was also a great textural contrast between the larger, juicier dried cherries and tiny little dried blueberries. All the ingredients are specially chosen for gut-health, and the 2 grams of fiber per serving provides even more evidence that this trail mix is a nice little boost to your system. It certainly was not our favorite we tried, but if you're on the hunt for extra probiotics and less candylike contributions to your snacktime, you'll enjoy this Simple Truth product. Meanwhile, we're eating all the yogurt-covered cranberries. Taste-wise, we would have ranked this one higher, but it's quite pricey at $5.99 for the small size (more on that to come).

7. Trader Joe's Sweet, Savory & Tart Trek Mix

Don't give up on the products with less flashy labels. We all know that something called "Gourmet Nut Power Up Mega Omega Trail Mix" is going to grab our attention quicker than one that doesn't shout out everything from the front of the bag. That doesn't mean we're discriminating in this ranking. Though we do eat with our eyes first, it all comes down to the finer details, like taste. This Sweet, Savory & Tart Trek Mix from Trader Joe's isn't exactly an internet-breaking innovation. It still provides enough of an upgrade to a classic, traditional trail mix. Come on; you really can't go wrong with sweet and salty, can you? There's a lot to be said about the almond. It's a great little nut, full of flavor and nutrition, and equally interesting with jelly or Thai food.

Still, there's also a lot to be said for adding another nut or two to your trail mix to break the monotony. Almonds are an obvious choice, but what about cashews? Or even better, all of the above? We loved that this mix goes all in and combines the three for multiple salty options, then delivers the sweet with three kinds of dried fruit (raisins, golden raisins, and cranberries) plus three kinds of treats (mini peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, AND regular chocolate chips). This trail mix provides good value and fantastic diversity regardless of which side of the sweet/salty debate you're on.

6. Gourmet Nut Power Up Mega Omega Trail Mix

We all like to feel that we're making empowered food choices. We also like to feel empowered by our food choices. With a handful of Gourmet Nut Power Up Mega Omega Trail Mix, we can do both. It has us reevaluating our go-to snacks for dealing with stressful back-to-back-to-back meetings sorts of days — we're considering swapping the tired old granola bar for a few handfuls of this deeply nutritious but also fun and satisfying mix. In fact, when we tried this one in particular, it felt like a callback to simpler times before every new food product had a gimmick, crossover, or death-defying new flavor innovation. 

There's something really comforting about a classic, classy trail mix like this one. Though it might be the most objectively boring option on this ranking, the high quality of each ingredient means that it's still more than worthy of inclusion, and the dried mango is the saving surprise punch. Honestly, we'd choose this one whenever our priority is nutrition over pure enjoyment. But, since most of the timea we want to find small joys and sweet surprises where we can, this isn't ranking as high as less-Mega mixes.

5. Nice! High Energy Trail Mix

Here's a pro tip from the experts that nobody knows about: You can find affordable, creative, and nutritious dried fruit and nuts from your local Walgreens. Naturally, and thankful, that includes trail mix. There's a lot to like about this High-Energy Trail Mix. Obviously, on the subject of nutrition, it comes jam-packed with tons of vitamin-heavy ingredients.

This one involves some expected ingredients, like dried cranberries. The nuts which we discovered in this taste test are generally peanuts and almonds; this time, they were walnuts and cashews. We're here for it! 

The clincher for his one was the surprising number of bright, fresh, island-inspired additions. Banana chips are not only fun to eat but full of potassium, coconut flakes were the missing piece of the Kahuna Crunch Trail Mix from Whole Foods, and there's a gorgeous duo of dried pineapple and papaya that sold it. Many of us struggle with fresh papaya due to its musty, robust flavor. But when dried in little squares, it tastes like a sweet little vacation. As far as the more nutrition-forward trail mixes go, we were slightly disappointed in the mere single gram of protein and fiber per serving. It's still pretty darn happiness-inducing, though!

4. Nice! Blueberry Pie Trail Mix

Once again, we have to shout out Walgreens for hiding affordable, delicious trail mixes in plain sight. The store brand, Nice!, is actually pretty darn nice to us. Amidst the many options, we were excited to hone in on one in particular that tasted just as good as something you could get at Whole Foods: the Blueberry Pie Snack Mix. We're happy to report that it tastes as good as it sounds. We're a sucker for a dessert-like twist on our favorite snacks, just to sneak a little romance and luxury in there. 

But Blueberry Pie was a creative choice that even we had never known we wanted! It's an eye-opening idea. What's next, a coconut cream mix replete with coconut shavings, dusted almonds, and coconut-cream-filled mini truffles? We can only hope. As of now, it seems to be a really unique trail mix in the market — from Walgreens. Who would have thought? Last cool feature: You can buy a perfect single-serving size for only 99 cents. It seriously impressed us with creativity and taste.

3. Favorite Day Dark Chocolate Espresso Trail Mix

Favorite Day has so, so many options to choose from in its trail mix section, and since we ranked one of its products at number one, it should come as no surprise that others are almost just good. We could barely reduce the recommendations down to 10, let alone one, so we settled on two. One had to be the Dark Chocolate Espresso Trail Mix. A trail mix is supposed to satisfy you, make you ready for anything, and power you up for adventure. What's the missing puzzle piece? Caffeine. Now we can't necessarily recommend eating a bunch of chocolate-coated espresso beans as a substitute for a cup of coffee, but if you need a fraction of a cup for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, stashing a bag of this trail mix in your desk drawer is a fantastic idea.

We're also meeting the sweet tooth craving in a less extreme style than a plain old chocolate bar by embedding a nutritious almond inside said chocolate. But the almonds weren't even our favorite nuts in the mix, chocolate-coated or otherwise. We fell head over heels for the hazelnuts, which, though devoid of chocolate, created an indulgent Nutella-esque flavor profile when combined with the chocolatey elements in one mouthful. This stuff is dangerous because we could see ourselves bouncing off the walls after eating a few too many espresso beans accidentally. Overall, this trail mix is dreamy, maybe because it's basically an edible hazelnut mocha.

2. Second Nature Immunity Defense Smart Mix

Though trail mixes are typically full of fruits and nuts, they are not always gluten-free. All those fun bits and baubles can disappoint a gluten-free shopper because a wayward cracker can bring down the whole bag. Second Nature ensures no gluten-free individuals go deprived by filling any gaps with immunity-centered ingredients. It's an admirable solution that we believe will appeal to literally anyone: The gluten-free, the nutrition-focused, the protein-packers, the creativity-craving, and the sugar-conscious. Balance is key to a good snack mix!

The brand's Immunity Defense Smart Mix somehow covers everyone's bases. You get a little bit of everything, a lot of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate, and none of the gluten. Our favorite touches were that the dried fruits weren't the usual raisins or craisins but instead juicy dried strawberries and blueberries. Yes, strawberries! They're all jammy and naturally sweet, the perfect trail mix add-in and our new favorite dried fruit. It's also great that the dark chocolate drops are sugar-free because when they're not the focal point, we barely notice that they aren't as genuinely sugary. Best of all, we're getting much-missed vitamin E, antioxidants, 4 grams of protein, and vitamin C. It's creative, delicious, and feel-good, everything we could want in a traditional trail mix. 

1. Favorite Day Carrot Cake Trail Mix

We would argue that buying a bag of this goodness will improve your quality of life. At least it will if you love Carrot Cake. We tend to believe it is undoubtedly in the top tier of cakes, but we know that's a whole other debate. Anyway, you can have your cake and eat your trail mix, too, with this stellar Favorite Day Carrot Cake Trail Mix. 

We've got yogurt raisins that mimic cream cheese frosting, sweet and salty glazed walnuts, and coconut-coated pineapple ... Yes, those are some must-have additions to our carrot cakes but in a trail mix! Sorry, we just got stoked about this one. And that's before we even found the little pretzel sticks or–heaven help us–the carrot-cake mini cookies, spiced nuggets of pure joy. Is this really a trail mix? Probably not. Still, as the worst of the best, every crunchy, salty, sweet, orange, and white bite is a treat for our inner child, a spot of sunshine amid mundanity. Well done, Favorite Day. You've made our day.