- Oct 21, 2017 at 7:56 pm #3497781
mik matraBPL Member
@mikmikLocale: Brisbane AUSTRALIA
Hi everyone :-),
Our usual hikes are 5-7nights and I end up taking about 4 or 5kg of food on the trips. I have read somewhere that 800g of food a day is what you need to be aiming at but I can get lighter than that on most trips. On the last trip (6nights) I took 4050g of food but was envious that my sis and her fiancé took exactly the same 4kg of food BETWEEN THE 2 OF THEM!! It’s not just the weight that I would like to work on but I am hoping I can get the volume down too.
Over the years I have found that I need to get a fantastic breakfast in in order for me to have a good day. My breakfasts are the heaviest of all things and it consists of; mixed nuts and fruit, oats, cinnamon, powdered milk and a tablespoon of ricebran oil. The contents are about 1.5-2cups in a ziplock bag then just add water and spoon it out. Lunch is usually a cheap chinese noodle pack with a small pack of some kind of fish (sardines, tuna, salmon). Dinner is always a 2 serve freezedried meal (we have access to the Backcountry products so we take them). I have recently opted out of ‘snacks’ mainly because I found that going a little hungry leading up to the 3 big meals isn’t so hard to do as well as I found I actually ate snacks due to ‘boredom in camp’ or ‘something to do’ but not necessarily to fuel the body.
Can I please get some options to possibly work on or try out?
Ta for your time :-)Oct 21, 2017 at 10:01 pm #3497789
Lester MooreBPL Member
@satoriLocale: Olympic Peninsula, WA
Generally speaking, dense, fatty foods will give you the most calories per unit volume of food. One way to decrease your food volume in the pack is to take more nuts, nut butters, sausage, etc and to carry less carbs and high-air-content foods (crackers, raman, etc.). Of course you still need to get proper nutrition, so you can’t just carry olive oil alone (even though it’s very calorie dense).
Also, depending on the length and the frequency of your trips, going into a slight calorie deficiency is not a big deal IHMO. Especially on the first day or two, I almost never eat as much as I “should”. Bottom line is gain experience with how much food you need and what kinds of foods work for you, then use that info to plan future trips.Oct 21, 2017 at 11:14 pm #3497793
Lester nailed it. It’s all about nuts, nut butter, fats and sausages.
Air is the enemy when it comes to volume. You can get an entire can of Pringles into two tiny snack-sized Ziplock baggies (~800 calories) IIRC.
You can likely decrease the volume of your food supply by lightly crushing and then repackaging in Ziplock bags. Bulk packaging two or more meals per bag is typically space efficient.
Eating soupy meals may make you feel like you are eating more. Andrew Skurka advocates this approach for many reasons. I like his recipes better than commercial FD meals.
You might try googling around looking for advice on packing food into bear cans. There are dozens of sites that cover this topic in relation to the JMT. You will find many suggestions about increasing calories while decreasing volume…Oct 22, 2017 at 5:46 am #3497835
I remember discussing food weight with a guy who had done a two-week trip on 400 g dry weight per day. Now, I just don’t believe that is possible, so I challenged him on his claim.
He stuck by his claimed weights, but admitted a) he was over-weight at the start, and b) he lost over 400 g of body fat per day.
And a mate of mine used to go mountaineering in S America looking like a seal – and return looking like a bean pole. He burnt up all his body fat over there.
CheersOct 22, 2017 at 2:18 pm #3497844
James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
800g is like 28oz. I typically take about 1.1lb or about 17.5oz per day…call it 18 oz/510g. You take about 715g/day. My typical carry is about 200g lighter than yours. I am usually out for a week to three weeks.
I get about 120-140C/oz average from my food. For shorter trips, I sometimes take more. For longer trips, sometimes less. I plan on loosing around 1/2lb per day. I take a vitamin pill per day to offset the high calorie/low nutritional density nature of the foods.
1) Carbs and other polysaccharides: rice, oatmeal, cocoa, macaroni, etc. These form about 40% of my calories.
2) Protiens form about 20-30% of my calories, Jerky, sausage/pepperoni/salami, dried fish, sometimes fresh caught fish, etc.
3) Olive Oil, Parified Butter or Ghee, fatty meats like bacon, potatoe chips, corn curls, nuts, etc. These form about 30% of my calories. I list nuts, and junk food here because about half the calories is from fat.
4) My own fat reserves form any calories I might not have gotten over the course of a day.
I get about 2300C/day from my food. I burn about 3500-4500C/day. So about 1200-2200C per day comes from internal fat. But, you have to get used to burning your internal fat. You cannot simply go out without feeling very hungry all the time. I don’t normally eat any breakfast except maybe a banana or muffin and I don’t eat lunch. I havn’t done this for well over 20 years. When I am out hiking, however, I eat some every four hours. Usually oatmeal & mocha for breakfast, a portion of salami, jerky and a piece of a wrap for lunch and rice, bacon, and jerky with some dehydrated veggies as a soup, stew or type of pilaf say, for supper. But, I can afford to loose 5-10 pounds most anytime, too.
If you absolutely cannot afford to loose weight, then you must carry the food. Calories for 4500C/day including other nutritional needs (proteins, vitamins, fat soluable vitamins, carbs, roughage, etc.) This means about 800g-1000g per day. But for short trips, you can easily get by with a lot less. BTW, I have been camping like this for many years with no detriments…yet anyway.
I have found that I can go on less foodOct 22, 2017 at 5:13 pm #3497870
A fellow BPLer does serious off-trail mileage on about a pound of food per day. But around town, he puts on an 15 extra pounds. And then burns those off over a month of backpacking. He factors that half pound of fat per day into his caloric accounting
I don’t go out for that long at a time, but if I dont really ramp up my calories, I lose 0.5-1 pound a day.
Also, when I’ve provisioned food scantily, I more actively snag berries, rose hips, fiddleheads and slow chipmunks as I hike.Oct 22, 2017 at 7:58 pm #3497883
John VanceBPL Member
@servingkoLocale: Intermountain West
I carry a bit over 16oz/day for trips up to 10 days or so. 1800-2000 k/cals a day and I rely on stored body fat for the rest. My diet on the trail is very similar to my diet at home with lots of bars made with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, protein (bars and powder), but differs for dinner from a salad and meat to a freeze dried Mt House and/or ramen or powdered potatoes. I split up the Mt House and eat just half of one. One of the few benefits of aging is the ability to eat less and maintain my boyish figure.
Operating in a state of ketosis (burning fat for energy), can take some getting used to but is certainly doeable, even for high mileage days. Staying below your aerobic threshold when possible helps, particularly when first getting used to it.
Nut butters are another great way to pack high density calories. I really like a mixture of peanut butter and honey at a 2:1 ratio. After a few days it takes on a cookie dough like texture that can be spread/mashed on tortillas, cookies, crackers, or just eaten with a spoon. Another good one is the cookie butter from Biscoffs, Trader Joe’s, or even Walmart’s version (my favorite).
Jerky doesn’t pack a whole lot of calories for the weight but pemmican sure does. You can make your own or buy it prepackaged. It isn’t my favorite but I am a “food is fuel” kind of guy and it is calorie dense – you can follow it up with some thing you like better.
,Oct 23, 2017 at 1:07 am #3497937
mik matraBPL Member
@mikmikLocale: Brisbane AUSTRALIA
I noticed the using up body fat replies and I am also in that boat. Interestingly I ‘may’ return with only slightly lower body weight compared to when I started the trip with but the body still burns the fat off me for the next 1-2weeks. Often times I go out with a slight tummy and 2 weeks later it’s flat again.
In short, over the years of hiking I have learned to cope with ‘hunger’ better (never really hungry in suburbia vs some hunger in the wild…..it kind of adds to the experience) even pushing beyond the hunger faze where it goes completely and your ‘hunt senses’ come alive…..interesting experiences they are!!! Though for the ‘enjoyment’ of the trips I don’t utilize that prolonged hunger MAINLY because this is my only get away per year and I don’t want to be hungry all the time.
Ta for the info so far :-)Oct 23, 2017 at 4:18 pm #3498032
MJ HBPL Member
Does going hungry and living off your fat work in colder weather? I find that if I don’t eat enough (and get a reasonable amount of sleep), I feel cold even in weather that wouldn’t bother me if I had a good dinner and a nice nap. I’ve never tried it on a hike because carrying too much food has always seemed like a better option for me than not having enough food.Oct 23, 2017 at 8:20 pm #3498063
Does going hungry and living off your fat work in colder weather?
I don’t think so. In warm weather your body can idle along, so to speak, but when the temperature drops, as in winter/snow trips at night, your body needs to generate a bit more heat. That is hard to do without ‘spare’ energy.
CheersOct 23, 2017 at 9:36 pm #3498074
Tom KBPL Member
“I find that if I don’t eat enough (and get a reasonable amount of sleep), I feel cold even in weather that wouldn’t bother me if I had a good dinner ”
That is at least partially due to the fact that the digestion of food produces heat. As much as 35% of the caloric value of protein is used up in its digestion, 5-15% for carbs, and 5% for fat, according to the following article, which mentions the following as a generally accepted rule of thumb. It agrees with reading I have done in exercise physiology texts.
“Understand that there are no hard-and-fast values for the thermic effect of the different macronutrients, because research shows slightly different results from study to study. Granted that, here are some generally accepted parameters:
- Protein: 20-35% of calories burned through processing
- Carbohydrates: 5-15% of calories burned through processing
- Fats: 0-5% of calories burned through processing
To put this in tangible terms, if you eat 200 calories worth of protein, your body will use between 40 and 70 of them in digestion. The most common estimate for the total thermic effect of food is around 10 percent of your total caloric intake, but as your protein intake increases so does this number.”
Oct 23, 2017 at 11:40 pm #3498099
- This reply was modified 6 months ago by Tom K.
@jimmyjamLocale: Mid Atlantic
Ditch the ramen lunches and try Justin’s almond butter or peanut butter on tortillas. I add crushed Fritos to almost all lunches and dinners for more calories.Oct 25, 2017 at 10:37 pm #3498422
Terry SparksBPL Member
@firebugLocale: Santa Barbara County Coast
For the life of me, I can’t understand why hikers program themselves to X amount of food weight or calories per day while on trail. Use your experience to determine what your body requires for the type of hike you are planning and the hours per day you plan to hike. Obviously, we need more calories if we hike 14 hours per day than hiking 8 hours per day. The other thing I find is, if I didn’t get enough calories yesterday, I’m going to feel it today and that is usually worse than carrying a little extra food weight.
If you don’t already have a dehydrator, you’ll find that your menu and trail food choices open up considerably, which in turn improves trail nutrition. Also start incorporating powdered fats, such as Nido, powdered butter, powdered heavy cream and the like in every meal possible. All are available on Amazon, Nido at Walmart or Smart & Final is cheaper if you have that store nearby (west coast).
Another trick to use while on trail is to take a digestive enzyme with every meal, that will help with getting the most nutritional value from what you eat. I found this by taking them with meals at home and after a couple weeks, I was gaining unexpected weight. I then stopped and lost the weight, only to gain it back after I stared taking it again. I know that’s antidotal but, it’s cheap and each pill is less than a gram in weight.
Oct 26, 2017 at 3:14 am #3498515
- This reply was modified 6 months ago by Terry Sparks.
James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
“The other thing I find is, if I didn’t get enough calories yesterday, I’m going to feel it today and that is usually worse than carrying a little extra food weight.”
I never noticed any effect after a good 8 hour rest period. Carbs, sugar and coffee and I am good for 4-5 hours. Add a little protein (like a half ounce) and I can go for 7-8. Corse, 10 is about my limit. Too old to bother with any more. I would MUCH rather expend energy getting/cutting firewood, getting cleaned up, cooking supper, having a cocoa and scotch in front of the fire, not to discount camp chores.Oct 26, 2017 at 3:24 am #3498518
All this going hungry thing – WHY?
Round about 3pm both Sue & I start thinking about tonight’s dinner.
CheersOct 26, 2017 at 5:24 am #3498548
“Does going hungry and living off your fat work in colder weather?”
Anecdotally, several folks with lots more sub-zero, sub-minus 20F and sub-minus 40F than I have reported that a diet high in fat helps keeps you warm.Oct 26, 2017 at 5:33 am #3498549
” I ‘may’ return with only slightly lower body weight compared to when I started the trip with but the body still burns the fat off me for the next 1-2weeks. Often times I go out with a slight tummy and 2 weeks later it’s flat again.”
It could be that you are both burning fat and putting on muscle while you hike. If you burn a pound of fat due to being slightly calorie deficient, but bulk up with a pound more muscle because of all the exercise you are getting, you’ll still be ahead a net 2300 calories (i.e. your diet could be 2300 calories low over that period). 4100 burned from the pound of fat minus 1800 consumed building a pound of protein/muscle.
Sometimes when I track caloric intake and keep it below my basal + (increased!) exercise demands, I’ll have a week or two of no weight loss, but I lose belly fat and gain muscle mass, especially in my thighs.
I suspect if you measured percent body fat, you’d be much leaner at the end of such a hike.
Fat is 9 calories/gram. Muscle/protein is 4 calories/gram. Giving you 5 calories for each gram of fat burned if your exercise regime also puts on a gram of muscle.Oct 27, 2017 at 12:12 am #3498728Oct 27, 2017 at 12:44 am #3498739
John S.BPL Member
Like David says, always take along an extra friend (snack) on your hike.Oct 27, 2017 at 1:05 pm #3498848
MJ HBPL Member
Situational cannibalism can solve most problems, but to save weight without legal questions, maybe just get a pack goat to carry your food and then be your food once there’s not enough to carry.Oct 27, 2017 at 5:57 pm #3498900
Amundsen said one reason he succeeded (versus Scott who used ponies) was that “dogs can eat dogs”.Nov 16, 2017 at 8:47 pm #3502453
@thomas51Locale: Rainy Pacific Northwest
I bought the book Recipes for Adventure by Glenn McAllister and highly recommend it. The book explained everything I needed to know about dehydrating food and making recipes from them. Of course, for this a good dehydrator is required.
Especially helpful were the sections on how to make dehydrated hamburger in such a way as to rehydrate them more easily. I also learned how to make a dehydrated eggs/polenta mixture that rehydrates well. HIs basic rehydration formula for all his recipes is to soak the dehydrated food in a pot for 5 minutes, then bring to a boil for 1 minute, then put the pot in a cozy for 10 minutes.
I made a hamburger based dish ( hamburger, carrots, onions, sweet potato, zucchini, black beans ) for supper that fits in a snack-size ziplock and weighed 3.70 oz. My breakfast bag ( egg mixture, ham, veggies) weighed 3.20 oz. When the dish was ready to eat, I would add some fat to it. I read that coconut oils ( deodorized coconut oil ) has beneficial fats, so I used that. For lunch I would have a cliff bar and some organic store-bought beef jerky.
Link to the book at Amazon : http://a.co/28PwRyv Hope this is helpful to you.
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