What to watch out for
Another good reason to go to REI! Fixing insulin resistance allows you to absorb your nutrients even better, but you still need to eat well to get all the necessary nutrients. I eat this amount on hikes up to miles. I also noticed this. Not a good thing. As far as diet goes, I think that carbohydrates are more important for hiking than protein.
Calculate Your Macronutrients
I eat this amount on hikes up to miles. After that my metabolism kicks into high gear and I have to eat more as much as 5, calories a day to keep my energy up and stave off weight loss. The easiest way to add an extra 1, calories to this plan is to double up on the snacks.
Packaged, processed foods are a staple of my backpacking diet because they are calorie-dense, non-perishable and available everywhere — but some of them are not very nutritious. In the context of a sedentary lifestyle this leads to obesity and disease. In a highly active lifestyle it provides much needed energy that few other foods can match. I think this pretty much sums up the whole page in a couple sentences.
Where do you store the other 8lbs of food at night? Like the Mountain house food? How do you keep the smell down? If you are going to hang food to protect it from bears you should include all of your food with it and other smelly stuff like toiletries.
Also, it may be wise not to cook at your campsite because lingering smells can attract bears even if you store all of your food in a bear box or hang it afterward. I like to cook at the last rest break of the day and then hike a few more miles before camping. I would have never put my toiletries in the food bag had you not said anything!
Thanks for the help and advise, stay safe. We eat to stave off the rapid weight loss that occurs on a long distance hike. Most thru-hikers look like they escaped from a concentration camp after five or six months on the trail, even if they started with an extra 30 lbs of body fat.
What was your mileage when you did this? I am doing a 4-day, mile thru hike. I do not want to pack too much food. It seems like a lot of calories. I usually do around 20 miles a day. I would think that to 1, calories per day over what you eat normally would be sufficient. Thanks a million for the menu example. Keeping food weight down is a worry. If you want to keep all five days of food inside the canister something like the Bearvault BV should work.
Took a lot of your food suggestions on a 5-day pack to Yosemite. Thanks Also brought along a 1 pound Big Agnes camp chair. Really nice to be able to rest your back. I recently started using some butter sandwiches, smashed flat, then dried. Not sure of calorie density, but actually tastes pretty good, eats easily, which can be nice, not sweet, cheap, and fairly space efficient. Carrying a big pepperoni stick is a good source of food.
All I can find is low or no fat. Love your guide book and your site. The Peak brand available from Amazon is also good. Her cookies really sucked from our point of view…. Thank you for making this easy to understand, with pretty visuals! Thank you for all the time it took to put this together! How do you pack items like fruit pies in order to prevent crushing on the trail?
They usually get crushed, but they are still good. You are an animal. That being said, thanks for taking the time to put this all together.
I am planning a week-long trip through the Uintas for later this season and the information really came in handy for considering my own meal preparation. Will be checking back with your site in the future. If you want to go really lightweight, you have to go high in fat. I wrote an article here with some very lightweight very delicious meals. Thought you might be interested in a better tasting peanut butter I use and is easier to pack then the Jif round packs.
I recommend the Honey Peanut Butter pouches but he has several kinds to choose from. I purchase mine from Amazon. I enjoy your site and lists I have used many ideas for myself and son. Very convenient to pack and lots of flavor varieties.
Thanks for mentioning them. Erik- Thanks for the meal plan. The pot cozy worked great. How much would you say this 5 day supply of food would cost? What did you carry the olive oil in? Did you mail whole packages of food ahead like this? This meal plan as it is laid out exactly here shows different foods every day. I did this to illustrate the variety of different foods you can eat to achieve the same goal.
It is better to eat some of the same foods over and over again for a single resupply leg, because you can purchase those items in bulk some items are not available in single servings. I carry olive oil in the small 1 ounce bottles like you can find at REI. I try to avoid mailing food and prefer to shop in towns as I go. That way I can make changes to my diet on the fly and the food is fresher.
But, in cases where there are no grocery stores to shop at, I will mail non-perishable foods forward from the last big town and then buy perishable foods like cheese to supplement with at a convenience store or whatever is available.
Why only a 1oz size bottle for olive oil? Do you split that with someone? Or do you bring several 1oz bottles instead of a bigger one? Have you ever had a leak? On longer hikes I usually carry more olive oil like around 4 ounces. What I have done in the past was just buy a bottle at the store and send it forward in my bounce box, then refill the little bottle in my pack occasionally. You can put olive oil in almost all of your hot meals, it just depends on how much you can tolerate more than a tbsp at a time can make it kinda oily.
Eric the Black, this is really great information — thanks for sharing your methodology and the nutritional information. The same issue with the box of Couscous — calories on the box, but on your list. What am I missing? The box contains several servings. I eat the entire box at once.
I run faith-based adventure ministry for students ranging from students per trip so simplicity and ease reign supreme first. I use a cozy and hydrate in his bags or buy the double size and break it into 3 meals using ziplocs. I carry a long handled titanium spoon and a. Macadamia nuts are loaded with calories mostly from fat.
If you are an athlete watching your carbs and running your body on fat, these are awesome but expensive. Erik, As opposed to a pot cozy, have you tried using a Kleen Kanteen wide mouth insulated cup? This is what we use as it makes for easy clean up. After a meal you basically fill the cup up halfway with water, shake it up and drink your water, no waste. Also, what are your thoughts on Patagonia Tsampa Soups? Also using sunflower seeds and pine nuts as they provide the lots of calories.
I tend to buy stuff in bulk like granola and mountain house meals in a 10 can and just weigh out portions and compress into Zip lock bags. Over a 5-day span, how much weight do you have in used food packaging? Do you save it and dispose later? Or do you burn it up at some point? Erik, another question on the individually wrapped cheese sticks i. Do you also put them in your resupply caches which could sit somewhere unrefridgerated for several weeks?
I just buy them at a grocery or convenience store in trail towns. We are starting to prepare for the Colorado Trail and we are wondering do you use an Opsak inside of your Granite Gear Zippsack? I have tried one before, but it wore a hole in it very quickly. I do keep most of my food packaged in regular plastic ziploc baggies inside the zippsack though.
I love the organized layout that you did with the food, it makes everything very easy to understand. Salami and string cheese will last for 5 days in a backpack as long as the weather is not terribly hot. It looks like mountain house breakfast skillet 4. The lasagna remained unchanged in the packaging update. Your advice is invaluable. Thanks for the great ideas Erik! I have 2 questions about the Gatorade mix with the sawyer mini Ive seen on your other gear posts…1 does the sawyer filter out the taste and 2 does the mix clog the filter quicker?
To get filtered water into the bottle you could squeeze it out of the water bladder through the filter which is kind of a pain or use chemical drops like Aquamira or MSR Sweetwater Solution for mixed drinks as an added bonus the flavored drink powder covers up the taste of the chemicals. My son is about to hike appx.
Do you bring powdered milk to use in place of actual milk or do you use some other substitute? I like to add olive oil for extra calories and richness. The trick is getting the amount of water right. The amount they recommend on the package is usually too much designed for a long simmer and will end up with runny noodles. Off the top of my head I think the right amount of water is about 12 ounces. Bring the water to a boil, then add noodles, simmer for a minute or two, remove from heat and transfer to a pot cozy and wait about 15 minutes, then stir in some olive oil and should be good to go.
One mistake to avoid is putting the noodles in the cold water before boiling. That makes em mushy. Eric, just wanted to thank you for all the useful info on your blog, and in particular, this post. Usually I travel by kayak, so weight of gear and food has never been an issue.
I am headed out tomorrow on a 4 night backpacking trip to Cape Scott on Vancouver Island. Next challenge will be to downsize my gear tent, bag and pad, which probably weigh a total of 13lbs. Thanks again and keep the posts coming; they are very much appreciated. Capella — With only a 4 day trip, the crazy amount of calories is not such a big issue. What are your thoughts on using an Ursack for hanging the excess food?
Would that be overkill? Thanks for your help. But since there are some sections of the JMT without trees, an Ursack could be useful for those nights where you have extra food but no good trees to hang from. You can also try and schedule your hike so that some of your nights with extra food are spent in campsites which have bear lockers. But every little bit helps.
Hello Erik, First off, I have to say that I have been reading and following your website now for the pat 6 months and I love all the info and tips.
I do have a question, what type and how big is the bag you use for your food? I like this type of sack better than a stuff sack because the zipper makes it easy to root around inside and get to all your food without having to dump it out first.
Hi Eric, Wow, you are so patient with all our questions! Just want to say thanks for all the great info on food and clothing. Yay Hostess Fruit Pies! Erik, Getting ready to take 20 boy scouts on a 50 miler. Your site has been tremendous. Any attempts with eggs? If they were premixed and put in a sealed container, how long would they last without refrigeration? Quickly scrambled in the am sounds good. I have not tried fresh eggs on the trail myself. You might want to check out these plastic egg carriers.
You can also do dehydrated eggs. The Ova Easy brand actually tastes like real eggs when scrambled up. I will crack eggs,season and mix thoroughly and freeze in a zip lock bag. Put in a small insulated bag with other chilled foods for my first night and first breakfast on the trip.
Do you think the trail will be difficult to navigate in the early spring? Normally the TRT would be covered in snow in the early spring, making navigation more difficult.
I would pack a GPS just in case though. It makes navigation in the snow much easier. You might want to suggest to Richard March 5th post that he should see a cardiologist before hitting the trail again. Needing to stop every 50 steps might be, and probably is, simple dehydration, overexertion, etc. But… it also might be something else that requires more immediate attention.
Sounds similar to something my dad experienced ended up w a triple bypass. Hey Erik- wondering about fuel consumption with pocket rocket. Most of the stuff talks about how long to boil water- but with the mac and cheese, noodles, rice stuff you are cooking longer, right? So if you use a MSR small canister everynight for a dinner, how many days could it go do you think? I can usually squeeze 5 dinners and breakfasts instant oatmeal and coffee out of a small 4 oz canister this way.
I always like to see how other backpackers lay out their food plan for more than a day or two. After working off a diet that is very similar to yours I bought a dehydrator a few years ago and a food saver vacuum packer shortly thereafter.
It was the best investment I every made to my gear. Creating dehydrated meals ahead of time that are both tasty and have the protein and calories we need has changed the way we eat. You can also boil in the food saver bags without worry of leaching chemicals.
Home made jerky is 10 fold better than grocery store bought and experimenting with things like dried chili-pineapple chunks and watermelon chips is always fun! It takes little planning, but completely worth it! For transport we use Opsaks, one for food, one for trash.
However the granite gear bag looks like it may be what I try next. The Opsaks get holes in them after tumbling around camp for a week or two. Thanks for all your info! Of course, I love to cook and bake anyway, so this is just another tool for my obsession! I am 62 and will start my thru hike of the A. During my recent 5 day shake down hike I struggled with leg fatigue. The entire five days were rated moderate to strenuous.
By day 3 I was taking 50 steps and resting several minutes and did this many, many times during the day. I think it is diet related, so do you think it is more of an issue of lack of protein or lack of carbs??
It could be related to carrying too much weight, lack of overall physical fitness or diet. As far as diet goes, I think that carbohydrates are more important for hiking than protein. Protein is the building blocks of muscle and other tissue, but carbohydrates provide energy. One way you can test this theory is when you start to bonk, eat something like a Snickers bar, which is high in sugars and fats.
You could also be dehydrated so make sure you are drinking enough and getting electrolytes. I would try and walk five miles every day around town is fine , do day hikes on the weekends with a full pack 10 miles a day , and get your base pack weight all gear minus food, fuel and consumables down under 15 lbs. Also, count up all the food you are eating on the trail and make sure you are getting at least 3, calories a day.
Erik lots of great info for sure and I trying to absorb as much as I can. I am retired and hope to get back on the trail but doing some long distant hikes. My question is I see you pack your food into a Granite Gear Bag but how do you separate the days within the sack or not?
You can separate your food into days by putting each day in a gallon ziploc bag. Or you could divide it into meal-types breakfasts, lunches, snacks.
The only downside to doing it that way is it creates un-used space inside the food sack between the ziploc bags. Do I need to add any more gears? Opinions differ on when the best time to start a PCT thru-hike. But I prefer earlier when it is cooler. This will give you more time to go slower in the beginning and get used to the desert conditions which are a lot different than on the AT.
Some of the water sources which normally run in the spring in Southern California may be dry, which means longer water carries. I recommend having a water-carrying capacity of at least 8 liters. You can find reports of recent water conditions at points along the trail here: Direct sunlight is also a big factor in Southern California. I like to carry a reflective umbrella for shade, but you will need at least a floppy sun hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
Some people with fair skin like to wear a long sleeve shirt too. There is more water still not as much as the AT , more greenery and more shade. For the meats like tuna, they can come in either water or oil. Oil sounds good to me. I thought the tuna that comes in the foil pouches was always in water, but maybe I just overlooked it. If you can get tuna in oil without the can I will definitely try that. Comes in different flavors and uses a minimum amount of fuel.
As soon as the water boils, you remove it, pour in the couscous, oil and spice bag, and let it sit for 5 minutes: I also tested couscous on the trail with no heating; put all the ingredients in the pot, and walked away for about 20 minutes.
It is done perfectly, just at ambient temp. A good meal to have along in case you run out of fuel before resupply stops. I grow tired of pouch tuna, so I always add pouch chicken. Not as readily available, but so tasty. Hiked the Colorado trail a couple of years back and ate couscous with chicken for 35 days. Never got tired of it. Frankly, I love your list. Being hungry on the trail is awful and eating bland food is nearly as bad.
Another way I look at it is that all this high carb, processed stuff is my treat for the other 51 weeks of the year that I eat well and exercise so I can treat myself to a wonderful walk in the woods for a week. Hey Erik, I first gotta say awesome site. A lot of helpful Information with the pictures and listing calories.
That would equal 50 — 75 cents per mile. If you take 20 weeks 5 months to hike the trail, and stop in town once a week and eat two restaurant meals one dinner and one breakfast , that would be 40 restaurant meals. Throw in a handful of zero-days will probably add another 10 town-meals. Food is going to be your biggest expense after your gear is all paid for. If that is too much there are ways to reduce your food costs, by spending less in towns and buying more staple foods in bulk and fewer pre-packaged foods.
Soy usually gives me really bad stomach indigestion and issues, so I stay away from it. Unfortunately, soy is in most processed foods. Peanut butter, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, instant oatmeal, instant rice, pasta, couscous, mashed potatoes, beef jerkey, summer sausage, foil-pack tuna.
The main criteria to look for is: Dinner…a bag of mashed potatoes and a slim jim??? The amount of processed junk food in this pack is ridiculous. Junk food is what long distance hikers live off of.
Occasionally you can find some foods that are nutritious, lightweight, non-perishable and provide enough calories to fuel such a massive energy expenditure — but they are few and far between.
My last trip I cooked out of the pot eating my food out of it. I want to save more fuel. My question for you is what are the pluses and minuses of cooking in the ziplock bag vs the pot? I heard some foods are hard to cook in the cozy method. What do you think?
Which method between bag vs pot do you prefer? For a while I liked cooking in Ziploc bags because of the easy cleanup. Another benefit of cooking in the pot is you have the opportunity to simmer some foods which may require a bit more cooking than just adding boiling water. My hubby and I are planning to attempt a thru hike on the AT in when I retire , and are getting in as many day hikes now as we can.
Have been swapping out gear for ultra light, and getting ready to hike one of our favorite spots in a couple weeks: Our daily food list has a lot of the same items. We use pepperoni in place of salami. Like the spiciness, and it packs well — never had a problem with it in warm weather.
Pepperoni and PB on a tortilla — yum! Hubster also likes foil packets of sardines. Noticed you also have fig newtons — another of our favorite treats, as they pack well and give just the right amount of sweetness. Your website and guidebooks have been invaluable for my research and preparation. I even set up my tent in the yard several times. Thank you for making this info so accessable for us newbies!
Was looking over your post while planning for my next hike and was curious as to how you calculated your caloric requirements. How did you figure your requirements and how many miles would you expect to hike on 3. That equation sounds about right to me. My base metabolic rate is about 2, calories and I like to hike around 20 miles a day, so I would I burn around 6, calories per day. But, to carry that much food assuming calories per ounce would require 4 lbs of food per day, or 20 pounds per 5-day stretch between resupplies, which I think is excessive and possibly counterproductive carrying that much extra weight will burn even more calories.
I prefer to carry less food between lbs a day and plan to lose weight over the course of a long hike. This seems to be the approach that most thru-hikers take. One way to try and stem the tide of weight loss is to pig out during weekly town stops to hedge against the caloric deficit on the trail. How long does it last? I buy Italian Dry Salami usually the Gallo brand which is available in most grocery stores.
You can buy it pre-sliced or buy an entire tube and slice off chunks as you go the second way stays fresh longer. I pack Salami for up to five days with no problems. This will stay fresh for five days? IVe also noticed some people carry babybell cheese that comes in the wax coating. What im worried about is the cheese going bad and having one less item for lunch. String cheese will last for five days no problem. It helps that mozzarella is a low-moisture cheese and they are individually wrapped.
In cool weather cheese works great. Ingredients Fish Fruit Meat Vegetables see more Occasions Sunday lunch Dinner party Afternoon tea Easy entertaining see more Seasonal Spring Summer Autumn Winter see more Vegetarian Iron-rich Vegan Vegetarian barbecue Vegetarian party see more More recipe ideas Cheap eats Courses Slow cooker Cheap cut see more Christmas biscuits Christmas gifts Festive desserts Vegetarian Christmas see more Home Recipes Not sure what to cook?
Try our other marathon meal plans: Vegetarian marathon meal plan Vegan marathon meal plan Gluten-free marathon meal plan Marathon meal plan - Monday It's the final countdown! Monday's meal plan Marathon meal plan - Tuesday It's the week before the marathon and getting your nutrition right is key to peak performance. Tuesday's meal plan Marathon meal plan - Wednesday Make sure you're giving your body all it needs in the week leading up to an endurance event.
Saturday meal plan Marathon meal plan - Sunday Race day is here and it's time to put all that training to the test. Sunday's meal plan Now try Comments 4 Questions 2 Tips 0 Everything on this meal plan is delicious. It requires a lot of time and effort, but so worth it!!! Recipes easy to follow.
The meal plan are great, looks delicious! These meal plans are a great idea, however, i'd have liked an alternative option for each day for vegetarians. I'm following the intermediate training guide advised by London Marathon Official and have not been advised to to a 70minute run this week. I have checked the beginners guide too and mine doesn't advise that. Is this incorrect information or should I be doing a 70,impute run today?
I am doing a marathon in June and want to start eatting healthier and excersice more before then; would this meal plan be good to use every week till then or would thins only work for the week prior to the run? Hi there,Some of the meals from the plan will work well at any point of training, but first go to the marathon hub to look at the key principles of structuring your diet to support training: Be the first to suggest a tip for this recipe Got your own twist on this recipe?