Jun 20, 2011 at 12:03 pm #1275697
I'm pretty happy with my food choices on the trail, but wondering if there are any supplements that I could be adding that would be worthwhile for backpacking. Basically wondering what you would recommend to boost energy levels, help with muscle recovery and to replenish anything that gets depleted after long days on the trail. From the limited research I've done I've considered adding Hammer Perpetuem during the day and Hammer Recoverite at the end of the day. Does this seem reasonable? Given that these seem to be rather expensive, are they worth it? Are there better choices? I have also been adding Propel mix to my water, but I'm not even sure if this is good enough for electrolyte replenishment. I originally got it just for the flavor.
For reference, a typical day of food for me would be something along the lines of oatmeal for breakfast; salami, cheese and tortilla for lunch; mountain house or home made freezer bag meal for dinner, such as chili; dehydrated fruit, clif bars, jerkey, and trail mix for snacks.Jun 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm #1751345
How many days, how many miles per day, and approximately what pack weight?
If your food mix contains enough protein (100 grams/day for loaded, tough, all-day hiking)and your calorie count is around 3500 per day, I would not worry about supplements.
IMHOJun 20, 2011 at 12:32 pm #1751353
"How many days, how many miles per day, and approximately what pack weight?"
Thinking about this for the JMT this summer, so 17 days at about 13 miles per day. Still working on my gear list, but I figure my base weight will be about 13 lbs with bear can and my max weight will be around 27 lbs after resupply at MTR.Jun 20, 2011 at 12:55 pm #1751360
What I said above, except protein might be a bit high, and you may want to up the calories to 4000 for the last week.
Pay attention on your long back-to-back training hikes. Experience is your best guide.Jun 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm #1751363
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
The one thing you might consider for a supplement is Vitamin C. Dehydration and freeze-drying basically destroy this vitamin. Of course if your drink mix has Vitamin C, you don't need to worry. You certainly won't get severe scurvy in 17 days, but you might get a very mild case that would exacerbate any tendency towards gum disease that you might already have.
You might consider adding some dehydrated or freeze-dried veggies to your dinner if it doesn't already contain some veggies.
IMHO, those expensive supplements are primarily designed to lighten your wallet!Jun 20, 2011 at 1:19 pm #1751368
"From the limited research I've done I've considered adding Hammer Perpetuem during the day and Hammer Recoverite at the end of the day. Does this seem reasonable?"
This has been my standard technique for 5 years now, and it has worked very well for me. I use only Perpetuem during the day, as it absorbs much quicker than foods like cheese and salami since it requires no digestion. It goes straight through the stomach and intestine and is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and from there into the muscles.
"Given that these seem to be rather expensive, are they worth it?"
That has to be a personal choice. They are to me.
"Are there better choices?"
I prefer Ultragen, a product made by First Endurance, over Recoverite. It has a better mix of protein and carbs, and also offers a complete spectrum of electrolytes and vitamins in larger, more useful quantities. If I were you, I'd check out the nutrutional information for both products and then make your decision.
On the other hand, I prefer Perpetuem over First Endurances's EFS, because it offers a better combinatin of carbs, protein, and a little fat, at the expense of a smaller amount of electrolytes. Again compare the nutritional specs before making your decision.
A final note: In calculating your food requirements, take body fat into consideratin. It provides 3500 calories per pound, and is available as an energy source, providing you have enough carbs in your dietary food to support its metabolism. I use `42-4400 calories/day when backpacing and carry `2750 calories/day of dietary food, depending for the rest on stored body fat. It has worked well for me on trips up to 11 days so far. Something to consider. There have been several threads on this subject that I woud recommend if you want to pursue this further.Jun 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm #1751373
@ Greg: Training hikes? I figure the only way to train for the JMT is to hike the JMT, so this summer I'm hiking it to train for my real JMT hike which is next summer. Kidding, of course. So far I haven't had any problems with my current diet on the trail other than a little soreness in the legs. Just curious if I'll feel even better with a little bit of tweaking to my diet. I guess I'll soon find out.
@ Mary: I think I'll be all set on the vitamin C, but I didn't realize that dehydrating and freeze drying destroyed the vitamin, so thanks for pointing it out. I'll review the nutrional info on the foods I do take to make sure I've got a enough. And my girlfriend is a vegetarian and has been preparing a lot of our dinners, so I should be all set with the veggies.
@ Tom: Did you feel a noticeable difference after swithching over to that technique 5 years ago? And are you replacing your meals during the day with the Perpetuem or just supplementing? And thanks for mentioning the First Endurances products. I'll have to take a look at them as well and see what's best for me.Jun 20, 2011 at 2:34 pm #1751378
"Tom: Did you feel a noticeable difference after swithching over to that technique 5 years ago? And are you replacing your meals during the day with the Perpetuem or just supplementing? And thanks for mentioning the First Endurances products. I'll have to take a look at them as well and see what's best for me."
Chris – The difference was very noticable. There is a world of difference between having food in your stomach being digested and a liquid that doesn't hang around very long at all. Basically, I mix a packet of Perpetuem mid morning and sip on it as I'm moving, just like water, dripping the calories in while hydrating at the same time. Then I repeat the process mid afternoon. That way I also don't dtop for lunch but just keep on moving. But the biggest difference is that there is very little lag between the time I drink the Perpetuem and when it gets to the muscles. The supply of energy is evened out. When you eat solid food containing more complex carbs and proteins, there is a 2-3 hour lag until the nutrients get where they need to be. You might want to PM Greg Gressel for another opinion on this subject. I think he will tell pretty much the same thing.
Perpetuem has entirely replaced solid foor while I am on the move.Jun 20, 2011 at 3:57 pm #1751403
@sschloss1Locale: New England
+1 on Greg's comments. I hiked the entire PCT on a diet of typical backpacker fare (cereal, clif bars, pasta/rice dinners, various cookies and other snacks) and was just fine. Your JMT schedule does not sound especially demanding, and as long as you keep your calorie intake high, you should be okay.Jun 20, 2011 at 8:19 pm #1751513
@wufpackfnLocale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Hammer Prep has worked well for me in several hikes and I can tell a difference. I have used in many long marathon training runs also with good results. It is recommended that drink whatever you mix in a few hours (except on cold days) because it can spoil given the protein. I also find it more difficult to stomach when it gets warm.
Couple other things to consider:
– Hammer Heed works well but doesn't have the protein component. You could do a combo liquid Heed and Prep in solid form. The solid form is not the same concentration of calories, so don't just substitute the liquid for the solid, but a combination might be a good option. Good reading on hammer website and give them a call if you have questions.
I find Endurolytes to be a good addition on hot days. Allows you to separate your electrolytes from the calories and adjust accordingly. My preference in my last two races (marathon and half marathon) have been Egels (by crankstore) which has calories and electrolytes in one. Then add endurolytes as needed.
If you haven't read the fueling handbook at the hammer website you should. It is a good read and provides a lot of good information. I have tested the information in a lot of training runs and find them to be accurate for me. My hourly targets for endurance activities (running):
– Hydration: 18-22 ozs
– Calories: 200-220
– Protein after about 2 hrs of activity
– Electrolytes: depends on the temperature
I do the same when backpacking but usually add 500 calories for breakfast and 800 for dinner. I know others take in more calories and it works for them. I'm basing this on 4-7 day trips, so I'm sure calorie intake would increase for longer hikes.
Works for me, but probably not everyone. You just need to test and see what works for you.
Brad FisherJun 21, 2011 at 10:39 am #1751672
Thanks guys. Sounds promising. I'll have to try it out and see how it works for me. I'll check out the Hammer website as well for some more info. Do you usually order the stuff online? I stopped by GNC, but they don't seem to carry the Hammer products.
Scott, I agree that I'll be just fine if I stick to typical backpacker food like I've always done, but if there's even just a slight benefit with these other products then I think they're worth trying.Jun 21, 2011 at 10:54 am #1751675
Stephen B Elder JrMember
@selderLocale: Front range CO
"Do you usually order the stuff online? I stopped by GNC, but they don't seem to carry the Hammer products."
Just Google it…I did last night and was surprised to find about a dozen sources in my little town…REI even.
SteveJun 21, 2011 at 4:26 pm #1751797
"I stopped by GNC, but they don't seem to carry the Hammer products."
REI carries both Hammer and First Endurance products, as do many bike and tri athlete shops. You can also find them on many websites.Jun 22, 2011 at 10:00 am #1752069
Thanks again. I did see all the websites that sell it, but didn't realize I could just get it at REI. Easy enough.Jun 22, 2011 at 5:29 pm #1752256
I've looked into these mixes as well. Good to hear that they seem to enhance performance. However, they are really heavy! How are you balancing this with regard to your menu for longer trips. For example, I see that a jug of Perpetum; 16 servings, about 24oz for each serving, is 2#6oz. The Ultragen is 15 servings at 12oz each is 3lbs! There is almost 5 1/2 lbs right there. I'm looking at 8 days of food/fuel, at 1.5lb/day,or 12 lbs; so that takes up almost 46% of my allocated weight. Is the gain derived from these mixes equal to or greater than the foodstuffs that otherwise would be taken?
Maybe a little more detail could be given with your menu choices for example, on your 11 day trip you mentioned.Jun 22, 2011 at 6:15 pm #1752272
267 calories per 69 grams = 3.86 calories/gram
$1.12 per serving
PowerBars 'Harvest' series:
253 calories per 65 grams = 3.89 calories/gram
$1 per serving
I do 5 PowerBars, a 2 ounce snack bag of Lays chips, and a 2 ounce bag of Chex Party Mix for my daytime food. About 1850 calories +/-.Jun 22, 2011 at 7:11 pm #1752295
"Maybe a little more detail could be given with your menu choices for example, on your 11 day trip you mentioned."
The Perpetuem and Ultragen are only part of what I use on a trip. Other items include: Breakfast: 1 Nectar Nugget peanut butter chocolate bar, 1.25 oz @ 176 cal; 2 oz granola @ 238 cal; 1 oz Nido @ 141 cal; 1 oz coconut creme @ 210 cal; .5 oz whey protein @ 48 cal. Lunch(throughout the day) 5 oz of Perpetuem @ 569 cal. I sip it on the go and don't stop for a lunch break. Dinner: 2 oz wild rice sticks @ 286 cal; 2 oz Annies White Cheddar Bunnies @ 281 cal; 2 oz Adzuki Bean chips @294 cal; 1 oz olive oil @ 250 cal; 2 oz Diamond Nut Thins @272 cal 2/oz. This adds up to 2762 calories in 19.75 oz and contains 47% carbs, 10% protein, and 42% fat. For extra hard days, I substitute 3 oz of Ultragen for the 2 oz of nut thins and end up with 20.75 oz supplying 2782 calories. I have other versions of this menu to avoid boredom, but this will give you an idea of where Perpetuem and Ultragen fit in. A bit more explanation: I have learned from experience and study that I use about 4200-4400 calories/day and burn carbs to fat at a ratio of ~30% carbs and ~70% fat. Therefore, I structure my carried food to contain enough carbs to burn not only the dietary fat, but also body fat that supplies the difference between the 2762 calories I carry and what I actually burn. The 1296 calories of carbs(47%) I carry works out to about 30% of 4200 calories burned. Anyway, this is how I go about it, and it has worked very well for me so far. Richard Nisley is an excellent source of information on this approach, as is the Arctic1000 website writeup on food for RJ, Roman Dial, and Jason Keck's traverse of the Brooks Range. I have found it to be spot on, and as long as you're willing to bulk up a bit before a long trip, you can cut down the amount of food carried considerably and use your own body fat. I hope this helps.
Post script. This approach will work only as long as you have excess body fat to burn, without eating into the fat protecting your organs. After that, you will have to increase the amount of food you carry or start metabolizing muscle tissue. I haven't pushed the limit so far, but I have a hunch I could stretch it out 3-4 more days beyond 11 and that would be about it in my case. YMMV of course.
The biggest problem I have to deal with is finding a wide enough variety of ingredients that give me the proper balance of carbs to fats, with adequate protein, that are also palatable over 10-11 days. Theoretically, I could just use glucose, whey protein, and olive oil, which would make it easy to get the proportions right, but I don't think I could get through even one day of that.Jun 23, 2011 at 8:34 pm #1752715
thanks so much for the details! I am beginning to understand alot more of what these mixes, and how they can be used. I think that this is kind of another level of the UL experience. Where we actualy begin to swap out "food" in the typical sense of the word, to these "calories" that provide and enable the same results. A very new and very interesting avenue for me to be exposed to.
I'm starting the SHR this Aug, and with the output of energy I anticipate having to expend, calories are a major issue. I've already begun my learning phase by looking at every food item in a calorie per ounce view. This just takes it further. Thanks for the info and the concepts.Jun 24, 2011 at 6:19 pm #1753037
There's a wealth of info out there, and lots of ways to go about it. Whichever method or methods you end up using, best of luck on your SHR adventure. I hope you'll let us know what you used and how it worked for you, as I for one am always looking for new info on the subject. One thing for sure, it wouldn't hurt to add a few pounds of body fat before you leave. It'll disappear real fast on that route. Guaranteed. ;)
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