Apr 19, 2010 at 5:23 pm #1257902
I'm going to be spending 12 days (maximum, but likely less) on the JMT and would like to do it without resupply. To-date, I've never gone for more than 7 days without resupply.
I'm looking for thoughts on food for this situation.
I'm a simple eater on higher mileage/long trips. I'll be moving, for the most part, from morning to evening, so bars and no-cook trail food are best. The only hot meals I want are dinner. Weight and calories are my concern here, not freshness and good eating (within reason!).
Here's a sample day I've broken down (with a pretty good calorie to weight to space ratio):
6 Balance Bars: 10.71 oz, 1260 cal.
1 Mtn House Mac n' Cheese: 6.8 oz., 940 cal.
1 package Peanut M&Ms mixed with 3.3 oz. roasted almonds: 5.04 oz, 796 cal.
1 portion crushed Pringles: 3 oz, 450 cal.
328g carbs, 164g fat, 160g protein.
That's ~50%, 25%, 25%.
Of course I could easily add more calories with another ounce of Pringles, some oil, another bar, etc.
So I like the weight to calorie ratio, but the carb/fat/protein ratio is a trip: I'd never eat like this in normal life, but this is the sort of menu that's served me well on past trips- this is the first time I've done the actual number breakdown though. It's worked for me on higher-intensity trips in the past so….
Sorry, my math might be fuzzy, keep catching errors…Apr 19, 2010 at 5:53 pm #1599706
Especially interested in low weight vegetarian dinners of 600+ calories.Apr 19, 2010 at 6:01 pm #1599715
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
No nutritional expertise here. But some thoughts. The MH Mac & Cheese is one of their highest calorie meals, also the heaviest at 6.8 oz. The MH Chili Mac with Beef is 4.8 oz and 290 calories. The packaging weighs 1 oz for all the 2 person meals. Additionally the packaging takes up a lot of room. Could you repackage several meals into one larger bag, and re-use a freezer bag to cook it? Also, I find that chocolate melts unless I keep insulated in my pack. Peanut butter is pretty high calorie-wise, 167 per oz and tastes really good to me. Flour tortillas not super high in calories, but pack well and stay fresh. I eat peanut butter and honey tortillas. Pecans are almost 200 calories per oz.Apr 19, 2010 at 6:05 pm #1599719
As for Mac n' Cheese, no doubt their highest calories meal…and a serious effort to eat (though not bad tasting)…but a ton of calories.
I always repackage, just using listed weights for simplicity.Apr 19, 2010 at 7:27 pm #1599788
but I am curious — can you repackage freeze-dried Mountain House dinners (like the one above or the ones with meat), emptying several into a ziploc bag and carrying one bag to prepare it in?
How many days can you go like this without spoiling? Does it depend on how hot it is? Or how wet it is around?
1 oz / meal sounds like a lot of packaging.. what have I been doing all these years?!Apr 19, 2010 at 7:43 pm #1599798
The Mary Jane's organic vegetarian meals are very tasty, and the packaging is made to burn (non-aluminum) unlike the MH and other varieties. So if you have a campfire, or are burning wood in your Ti-Tri, you can 'get rid' of the meal packaging after each meal. FWIW. They weigh about 5 oz. or a bit less each.
They're not quite as high in calories as you want. The Mac and Cheese, per package, has 465 calories, 21 grams protein, 63 grams carbs, 16.5 grams fat. The Lentils, Rice and Indian Spice has 450 calories (per package), only 2.25 grams fat, 88.5 grams carb and 18 grams protein.
I keep mine in an Aloksak, as you can smell the meal while sealed in the bag (probably because of non-aluminum, I guess). But I like that they're organic, one of the best vegetarian selections, and most are very, very tasty.Apr 19, 2010 at 7:53 pm #1599808
Eugene SmithBPL Member
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
I'll 2nd Douglas on the Mary Janes Outpost food. Excellent stuff. I've never had a meal of theirs that I wasn't utmost satisfied with. The organic aspect, though cool, didn't sell me, rather the flavor and the use of whole ingredients, lower sodium, no preservatives or MSG and the ability to burn the packaging. My personal favorite is their Bare Burrito meal. Their meals only run around 300-500 calories per serving, which I've found sufficient, but each persons caloric needs vary. I supplement my meals and eat frequently throughout the day on long mile days so I don't necessarily need to tank up on calories in the evening.Apr 19, 2010 at 7:56 pm #1599810
Thanks for the tips- I've never had Mary Janes. I can always recombine packages- i.. 3 dinners into 2, to boost calories.Apr 19, 2010 at 8:04 pm #1599817
RE: Mary Janes'. You get the best selection online, but I generally get mine at REI. Warning, they're expensive! Between $8-$10 per package. But well worth it to me.Apr 19, 2010 at 8:04 pm #1599818
@jdw01776Locale: Southeast Texas
I'll add my support for the Mary Jane's meals. A little low on calories, but enough for me. Best price is direct from Mary Jane's Outpost. Also available in bulk package. Usually I'll also have a Lara Bar after dinner.
I've tried Balance Bars for snacks and lunch — after 2 days, I had to force myself to eat them. Too much sweet…Apr 19, 2010 at 8:09 pm #1599820
Eugene SmithBPL Member
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
Absolutely. I'd say it's absolutely worth the cost of buying 2 meals and repackaging them in freezer bags since this is a trip of a lifetime, at least it would be for me. Mary Janes Outpost is topnotch stuff. If you go to Maryjanesoutpost.com you can browse through their entire collection and see the caloric facts and nutrition breakdown. I'll have to recommend Red Pesto Pasta, delicious.
Not to further confuse you, but AlpineAire foods is another really good alternative to the sodium logged Mntn House meals.
I can also attest to their excellent taste. These come in 2 person servings which might save you some money. The Alpineaire foods are much like the Maryjanes Outpost offerings, nutritious, no artificial flavorings, no MSG, no preservatives. They sit quite well with my stomach.Apr 19, 2010 at 8:12 pm #1599821
Can't afford to spend $120 on dinners for backpacking!
I'm probably being lazy looking at the store bought stuff…Maybe it's just time to put on the chef's hat and break out the dehydrator for some homemade mac n' cheese (or Trader Joe's). Maybe I'll alternate that and Mary Janes…450 cal/serving is OK.
I didn't mention Mountain House because I like their stuff…I just know their macaroni is one of the highest calorie dinners I can find. You're all right though, the rest of their stuff is way too much sodium and junk.Apr 19, 2010 at 8:12 pm #1599822
Tom KirchnerBPL Member
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Adding an ounce of olive,or other, oil to whatever evening meal you choose is an easy way to add 250 calories to your diet, or slug down an ounce, neat, in the morning. Chocolate is another calorie dense item that fits in well with extended trips where monotony can be an issue-there are dozens of flavors to choose from. I haven't had any trouble with chocolate melting at the elevations you're going to be at in the Sierra, so I'm not sure that would be an issue. Walnuts and macadamia nuts are ~200 calories/oz and pecans are ~190. Nido full fat powdered milk is 150 calories/oz.Apr 19, 2010 at 8:53 pm #1599838
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Some long distance backpackers will pack one special dinner meals for every five or ten normal dinner meals, and they use that as a personal reward for something (like finishing 25% more miles than your plan). The special meal is either an extra large portion or has a special dessert treat.
–B.G.–Apr 19, 2010 at 9:58 pm #1599871
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> Can't afford to spend $120 on dinners for backpacking!
That's for 12 days, right?
I wonder how much your household budget would spend for 12 days of dinners?
I wonder how much you spend on fuel just getting to the start of your walk and home again? (better amortise the car maintenance into that as well.)
I wonder what 12 days of backpacking is worth to you?
CheersApr 20, 2010 at 7:47 am #1599979
I dehydrate everything. It is cheaper than buying mountain house or mary janes or anything else. My grocieries are 50 dollars a week. I dehydrate daily. you can do it on the cheap, suggestions:
buy ziplock bags in 200 count packs at sams
Great value, cheap as hell
– gv is fine for some things like nuts, bread, etc. But some other things from them suck.
– Buy meat at sams club, chicken bres**(censored by BPL, wtF) is super cheap (not for craig, for the others who may be reading this)
To make your meals taste better:
idaho instant spuds
powerdered cheese(hard to find, might have to get online)
pepper, salt, curry powder, ms. dash, chef pauls, etc.
I buoght a few recipe books, i bought laurie ann march's-turned out to be very little FBC, instead shes packing ovens and cookin gear in the backcountry, making pizzas and steakes. Was too heavy of an approach for simple guy like me. Sarah's was pretty good. I found i could only really use 2-5 from lauries book for fbc realistically without going out and buying 50 more herbs/fresh veggies/expensive ingredients.
Just use your man taste buds. You like cheese, butter, meat(well actually you don't my bad), etc. I load up on cheese and powdered butter to make my meals extra tasty. Nido powdered milk is also good and availible in huge tubs at walmart in a vitamin fortified and non-fortified version. Instant rice, Instant noodles you should have as well. Kepp it simple and flavorful. I don't have a lot of vitamin content in my meals, other than delicious meats. But i pack a drink called MILO, its philipino and has nearly every vitamin and tastes like hot chocolate-actually better. And its cheap as well.
Some things i make for the trail:
chicken adobo (adobo powdered mix availible @ asian food stores)
Beef adobo (again asian food stores)
Sweet and Sour chicken (asian food stores, see a pattern?)
Chicken soup with mixed veggies(great value)
couscous spicy chicken
meatloaf (substitute for tofu)
spaghetti (just don't use the noodles from home, use instant rice or instant noodles, you can dehydrate the sauce as well)Apr 20, 2010 at 8:01 am #1599982
$120 for 12 nights of trail dinners is not cheap for one person Roger. That cost is in addition to what is being spent at home by my family (wife and two kids) while I'm gone.
And, as you noted, in addition to getting to the trail. And in addition to lunches and other food. And in addition to a bus and train ride home from Yosemite.
My apologies for trying to keep my costs down. Any donations that would help me maintain your standard of trail food would be greatly appreciated!Apr 20, 2010 at 8:12 am #1599986
Hiking MaltoBPL Member
I usually take one of a dozen variety of Hamburger Helper. You then buy a large can of dehydrated ground beef (MH or other) Usually you need milk, Nido is whole milk loaded with calories and an ounce of olive oil on the trail. Lower cost, yummy and very high calorie content.
You also buy large cans of chicken as well and add these to mashed potatoes, stovetop stuffing or other low cost prepared meals.
Net, the ground beef is the only part that you can't buy dried from the grocery. Don't waste your money on the rest. Here is where I bought my ground beef http://www.campsaver.com/itemdesc.asp?ic=mtn0003
They also have bulk MH meals as well that will be less expensive then the prepackaged.
By the way, you could use Muir Trail Ranch to save carrying 4-5 days of food at the beginning of your trip. It's $50 plus postage and it only adds about a mile on to your trip. There is also a great hot spring just across the river that will feel great at the end of a long day of hiking.Apr 20, 2010 at 8:18 am #1599990
Its so easy to dehydrate your own beef? Why pay for it? Just buy beef that has a very low fat content (96/4, etc). Cook it to your specs, soak up excess fat with paper towels. Put it on dehydrator on highest setting (160 or so), leave for 2 hours. Come back, put on 145, leave for 4-5 hours.
Done when it has the consistency and texture of gravel.
A BIG TIP:
For every lb of gorund beef you dehydrate, add 3/4 cup bread crumbs. The crums will make it rehydrate fast, add nutrition for little weigh penalty, and make it tastier. Just a thought.
Also it helps to marinate the meat for a day before dehydrating, increases taste.Apr 20, 2010 at 8:25 am #1599999
I forgot to add, lauries book is 99% vegetarian. You will find a great variety of veggie based meals in her book. Recommend it to you. You will however have to buy alot of spices/ingredients to follow the directions EXACTLY though. If thats not a big deal to you, just leave out the spices. You will also have to modify them for FBC, if thats what your doing. Hope that helps!Apr 20, 2010 at 10:03 am #1600039
Christopher MillsBPL Member
My favorite backpacking meal is quinoa + dehydrated refried beans + cheese + olive oil + whatever else sounds good to add. It's vegetarian, and quinoa is incredibly calorie dense both for its weight and volume. And it's a complete protein. It takes a little while to cook, but you can cook it at home and dehydrate it and then it becomes instant. All of these ingredients are cheap, too.Apr 20, 2010 at 2:33 pm #1600137
That's a good one Christopher, I'll try it.Apr 26, 2010 at 3:17 pm #1602375
Scott BentzBPL Member
@scottbentzLocale: Southern California
I ran into the same problem while planning my JMT hike last summer. I needed to get my calorie to weight ratio up a bit higher. I was at about 110 cals. per oz. and that was way too low. I got it up to about 130 cals. per oz. and it was okay. We hiked an average of 19 miles a day. We figured to burn about 5-6,000 calories a day and only carried 3,200 calories a day, which is a deficit. Doing that you need to make sure you consume all day long. We finished the night by eating a 2 person MH meal, or something similar, along with some olive oil to kick up the calories.
I re-package just about everything. You will have to do the same to get 12 days of food in a canister if it is even possible. Plan on variety.
I didn't see how many miles you plan to hike each day. If you really hoof it you can hike the whole trail in 12 days!
ScottApr 26, 2010 at 4:05 pm #1602408
I am interested in this thread as I will be out on the Long Trail in August and would like to only stop a couple of times. I have heard pretty good things about Hawk Vittles meals. They are rather expensive, but supposedly the serving sizes are huge as are the calories in most cases.
Has anyone eaten these? are they any good?May 4, 2010 at 10:37 am #1605863
12 days of backpacking may be priceless to someone, but most people have limited funds and must keep their trips as low cost as possible. Ten dollars a meal might not be a lot for you, but for me and many others it is very expensive. I do actually have to budget for extra maintenance and wear on my vehicle and gas, unfortunately, can be a deal breaker when choosing where to hike. I've had to shelve plans in the past because of large increases in the price of gas.It sounds like cost is not an issue for you. For this you should be grateful.
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