May 7, 2008 at 8:22 pm #1228827
What are some of the most calorie dence backpacking foods out there?May 8, 2008 at 4:40 pm #1432315
@redleaderLocale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
My guess would be in the "Energy Bar" asile.May 8, 2008 at 7:44 pm #1432343
Nuts, nut butters, chocolate(especially 70% or more cacao content), potato/corn/multigrain chips(>140 cal/oz-not baked), high fat crackers, oils(most are in the 240-250 cal/oz range), hard cheeses. The underlying reality is that carbohydrates contain 4 cal/gram, protein 4 cal/gram, and fats 9 cal/gram. With this basic info, you can analyze the nutrition labels on foods and choose those that are both palatable and calorie dense. As Dr J mentioned on his Arctic1000 website, aim for an average calorie density in the 130-140/oz range when planning your trip menu. Some items will be less, some more, according to your taste. Experiment and find out what works for you.May 8, 2008 at 8:08 pm #1432348
@marti124Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
I use an Excel Spreadsheet that figures out how much protein grams, fat grams, and digestable carb grams I will be getting per day. There are two types of carb grams – digestable and nondigestable carb grams. To get the most dense food, it has to have the least moisture, the least fiber, the least nondigestable carb grams, and the least air.
Examples of extreme dense foods: whey protein, dehydrated beans, nuts, dried fruit, beef jerky, cytomax muscle-recovery protein-rich shakes, oatmeal, dried milk, food bars, Emergen-C powdered drink, pasta noodles. (We do bring on the trail meat in a pouch though (alternating between salmon, tuna, chicken) to add in with the meals, such as the Enertia Trail Foods mix, which I favor.
For the last 6 years, I have gotten by with one pound of dead-weight food per person per day on the trail and always, I have failed to eat it all. I do carry some of my calories as body fat. I eat about 3,000 calories a day (at about a 40-30-30 percent ratio of carbs, protein, fat calories), and I figure I'm burning about 7,000 calories a day, burning up 4,000 of bodyfat per day. Last year, I lost 17 pounds of fat in 15 days, gained 9 pounds of muscle, and lost 3 " around the waist. I have a bodyfat weight scale that told me this.May 9, 2008 at 5:00 pm #1432472
I think there is some confusion about the difference between physically dense food, i.e. food from which air, H2O, and non calorie carbs(fiber) have been removed and calorie dense food, i.e. food high in fat(which contains 9 calories/gram vs 4 cal/gram in carbs and protein). In Roleigh's post, most of his food items are high in carbs, both fiber and caloric, and protein, nuts being the exception. This probably explains the loss of so much body fat on backpacking trips, because his dietary carbs provide the carbohydrate "flame" in which fat must "burn". Not a bad approach, IMO, because stored body fat does not need to be digested and is available as required, providing a very efficient energy source for the slow steady demands of backpacking if adequate carbs(dietary or stored muscle/liver glycogen) are available to "burn" it in. I use a variation of this approach on all my trips, with a slightly different ratio of 45/45/10 for carbs, fat, and protein; this is because I am physiologically incapable of accumulating that much body fat under normal conditions and thus need to pack the calories in dietary form if I am to meet my energy needs without cannibalizing my body tissue as a trip extends out into the 10 plus day range.May 9, 2008 at 5:57 pm #1432481
@thomdarrahLocale: Southern Oregon
When hiking long and hard I often supplement my diet with a weight gain protein powder that can be mixed with just water. GNC and other sources carry such products which are fairly high in both calories and protein and weigh very little i powdwe form. Test mix preferences and flavor/product selection at home prior to using on a trip.
A product such as "Twinlab" Mass Fuel Pro.May 10, 2008 at 9:46 am #1432559
Hey thanks for all of the great info. Olive oil mixed into meals, PB, pine nuts, macadaium nuts, candy bars also sunflower seeds, any jerky. I wonder what the calories of say one trout is? Again thanks for the insightful info.May 10, 2008 at 12:02 pm #1432576
@legkohodLocale: Eastern Europe / Caucasus
A favorite of Eastern European mountaineers and backpackers for cold-weather hiking is pig fat. I wonder if it can be found in the U.S. It really is great stuff for cold weather.Jun 6, 2008 at 6:13 am #1436873
@splproductionsLocale: Salt Lake City, UT
Hey Tom – would you mind posting some samples of what foods you would bring per day? I have a BMI of 19 – I can't afford to lose any weight and I can't find a way to gain any. My goal is to try to replace every calorie I burn (I know that's probably impossible) without bringing 5lbs of food a day.
Lately I've been packing a whole lot of:
Hershey's Milk Chocolate bars
I'll eat that all day long, with some instant oatmeal in the morning and some ramen noodles at night. I calculate the calories for the food, but I haven't been factoring in the other things you are talking about.Jun 6, 2008 at 6:43 am #1436876
@marti124Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Ryan, you need to ensure you bring along enough protein (to save weight, bring powdered whey protein). Itemize the amount of grams of carb, protein, fat you bring.Jun 6, 2008 at 7:47 pm #1437003
You've got a problem you need to figure out before my approach would be worth considering, i.e. you have to figure out how to "bulk up" a bit before you start a hike. I've got pretty much the same problem you mention in my frontcountry life-I am 5'7"/137# and do not gain weight easily. But, I make a concerted effort and generally gain about 4# of body fat in the month before a hike of 10-11 days. It ain't easy for me either, but I just go ahead and eat more (and more often) until I get there. Then I use my backpacking food to provide the carbs to burn my body fat, plus ~45% of my dietary calories as fat to augment the body fat calories, plus ~10%(270 calories) as protein to provide a little protein for energy plus enough to "mostly" repair damaged muscle tissue. My carried food weighs 20-21 oz/day and contains ~27-2800 calories. This plus 4# body fat at 3500 cal/#(14000 calories) yields ~4200 calories/day, which seems to be about what I consume, although possibly a bit less. I sometimes come back a "little skinnier" than when I left(1# or so after I rehydrate for a couple of days), so I am occasionally undershooting a little and using some additional body fat(not enough to damage me as far as I can tell, so far, and I have been doing this for several years now). As for what I carry: A typical breakfast is: 1) Seattle Chocolate bar @ 2.5 oz, 394 cal; 2) Bear Naked High Sierra Blend(a trail mix from Trader Joe's) @ 1 oz, 145 cal; 3) Onion Poppy Seed Sticks(I get them at Whole Foods, probably available elsewhere, too) @ 1 oz, 155 cal; 4) Macadamia nuts @ .5 oz, 97 cal. This adds up to 5 oz, and 792 cal with 57 gr CHO, 15 gr PRO, 56 gr FAT, and 5 gr Fiber. My lunch is the same every day, 2 individual packets of Hammer Perpetuem @ 5 oz, 516 cal, 108 gr CHO, 12 gr PRO, and 4 gr FAT. I mix one packet mid morning, and one mid afternoon, and just drip it in to help "burn" body/dietary fat. I never feel hungry until I stop in the late afternoon. A typical dinner is: 1)Stacy's Pita Chips @ 1 oz, 129 cal; 2) Annie's Cheddar Bunnies @ 1 oz, 147 cal; 3) Cheese Sticks(Whole Foods, again) @ 1.75 oz, 264 cal; 4) almonds @ 1 oz, 180 cal; 5) olive oil @ 1 oz, 250 cal; Nectar Nugget(Whole Foods) @ 1.1 oz,171 cal; Ultragen(a sports recovery drink made by Endurance Fuel Systems) @ 1 x 3.25 oz packet, 320 cal. I mix this and drink it immediately after stopping for the day to get it into my system within the 30 minute window for maximum absorption by the muscle cells to begin replenishing glycogen and repairing tissue. This day's worth of food weighs ~20 oz and provides 2754 cal, of which 1184(43%) are CHO, 292(11%) are PRO, and 1278(46%) are fat. I base this diet on the assumption that I am burning FAT/CHO/PRO at a ratio of ~65%/30%/5%, or 2730/1260/210. If I am getting 1278 cal of the 2730 from food, I have to get ~1450 from body fat; over 10 days that works out to 14500, which about equals the 4# of body fat that I mentioned earlier. If I am getting 1184 cal of CHO from my food, I have to get ~76 additional cal of CHO from elsewhere. It can come from either muscle glycogen, dietary protein or muscle protein. I think with this diet, it will come from that 292 cal of PRO I provide in my diet, either directly or via gluconeogenisis in the liver, leaving ~54 grams of PRO for body repair, hopefully enough for my 137# body weight. This is probably way more than you asked for, but I felt that nothing I said would make much sense if you didn't know the reasoning behing it, so take it for what it's worth and I hope it helps a little.
P.S. I take in ~60% of my fat at night when the digestive process does not compete with the leg muscles for energy substrate and O2. Also the digestive/repair processes produce heat, just like exercise; this is why exercise physiologists call them thermogenic processes. At night that heat can be put to use warming your sleep system instead of flaring off into the atmosphere as waste heat during the day. You can't stop entropy, but you can squeeze a little more use out of the inevitable loss of energy if you are careful.Jun 7, 2008 at 3:42 pm #1437099
Get some weight gainer shake – they sell it at gyms, gnc, nutrition stores, bodybuilding supplement stores, etc (expensive) but you can get off brands mail order cheap.Jun 8, 2008 at 9:43 pm #1437297
Hey Tom, Thanks for all of your GREAT INFO. I have printed out your reply. Again thanks. I am in training and prepareing for a 110 mile PCT section= Toulemene to Ebbitts Pass.. I am so excited to get going. I did the JMT 2 years ago and I am heading north this time. I can't wait to hike, eat and loose weifght at the same time- Thanks!Jun 9, 2008 at 5:27 pm #1437463
I hope you have a great trip. Let me know how the diet works out for you, and whatever improvements you come up with. It's always a work in progress and I am very much interested in new info to help me refine my approach. One thing to be aware of in selecting your carbs: most labels lump calorie containing carbs together with fiber and count them all in determining the amount of calories from carbs in their product. Since fiber contains no calories, the amount of calories in a product is often overstated by (4 x grams of fiber). This can be a big deal for backpackers, who need every calorie they can get. It adds up after a while.
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