- Jan 26, 2018 at 7:59 am #3514546
Here’s a challenge for you!
How would you fit as many calories as possible into a Bare Boxer Contender?
Background: I have a bare boxer contender and I think the size is great for most of my trips. I don’t often have the opportunity hikes more than 3-4 days, but I’m looking at some longer hikes later this year and am trying to squeeze every bit I can so I can avoid switching to a bigger canister/bigger pack/etc. I’m willing to eat simply and am quite happy eating the same food day after day. The best I’ve managed in real life is 15,000 calories(5 cups couscous, 5 cups oats, 8 oz oil, 8oz ghee, 5 cups macadamia nuts). I bulk pack, shake, and squeeze, but I’m about at my limit with current techniques. Hoping to figure out a way to get to 20,000 calories.
So what’s in the realm of the possible? Just for a little fun and to bound my imagination, let’s see what I can do with some efficient but unappetizing options. Filled top to bottom with vegetable oil at 1928 calories/cup, we get 36,632 calories. The densest carbohydrate source I can think of is honey, 1023 calories/cup. That’s 19,000 calories. Of course neither of those is realistic due to palatability and nutrition.
Here’s a few idea’s I have. Please let me know your thoughts or any other techniques you might think of to push me over the edge.
-replace quick steel cut oats with scottish oats. finer grind means I can likely compact further. switching to more couscous gives me a few more calories(just 130 a cup, or about 650 the whole intended 5 day pack out)
-switch to produce bags/twist ties for bulk packing instead of the gallon ziplocks I currently use. Ziplocks a heavier and less form fitting, though they do a pretty good job.
-pre pour oil into couscous and butter into oats before departure, allowing them to fill air space in the grains. concerned about spoilage, mess, and palatability. guess I’ll have to try to find out.
-add more fats, but this is already a pretty fat heavy diet.
-replace healther oats, couscous, and macadamias with m&ms and other junk food. M&ms yield over 1000 calories a cup and pack small. No protein and lots of simple sugars though.
If I can’t hit my 20,000 calorie goal, I may just carry a small stuff sack with a couple days food and deal with the hanging/ park bear box hassle for the first few days, but that’s not a possibility on all trails.
Thanks for your input. I’ve really enjoy the communities tips on other posts regarding compact packing and they’ve helped me get this far.Jan 26, 2018 at 1:28 pm #3514557
I like my Bare Boxer and I’m surprised we don’t hear more conversation about them here. Here are the top 15 foods, sorted by caloric density, on my bearcan spreadsheet:
This spreadsheet only reflects food I like eating and is not current (I made it in 2015 when preparing for the JMT and have not updated it as my tastes have changed).Jan 26, 2018 at 1:36 pm #3514558
Bulk packagaing is a very successful strategy.
I read somewhere about a person that was melting Cliff Bars in a low temperature oven in a 9” cake pan at 175°(?) and then pressing another cake pan on top weighted with cans. This made a solid wheel o’Cliff that could be cut into wedges and then dropped into a BV450/500 by assembling the wedges inside a produce bag. I dislike Cliff bars and I don’t know what to use as a mold for the BareBoxer but maybe that strategy could be employed? As you know, air is an enemy… A solid block of chocolate would contain more calories than M&Ms. Maybe chocolate could be molten and then cast against the side of the can, released once it is cooled and put into a produce bag and placed against the side of the cab before other bulk goods are added?Jan 26, 2018 at 2:07 pm #3514569
I’ve never tried to melt a Cliff Bar, but if you want to mold chocolate into a bear canister, just put a bunch of chocolate in a bag and set the canister in the sun on a hot day.
I suppose you could get a little more free space if you smashed up the macadamia nuts a bit.
Personally, I think that diet would leave me ready to murder somebody for a raisin or some fruit.Jan 26, 2018 at 2:14 pm #3514570
@mjh How do you feel about Larabars? They are a key ingredient on my trips.Jan 26, 2018 at 2:19 pm #3514571
I don’t recall that I’ve had one recently. I’ve just accidentally melted plenty of chocolate bars.Jan 26, 2018 at 2:29 pm #3514574Jan 26, 2018 at 2:37 pm #3514575
That’s not bad, calories and a pretty good shot of fiber. I’ll have to look at those.Jan 26, 2018 at 2:41 pm #3514576
They are delicious and compact.
I strongly dislike the chocolate/fudge/cookie flavors but the cherry, lemon and apple flavors are wonderful. Their tartness masks the date flavor quite effectively. They had a special pineapple/coconut flavor back in 2015 that was amazing but it’s gone now ☹️Jan 26, 2018 at 2:43 pm #3514577Jan 26, 2018 at 4:21 pm #3514596
Mark FerwerdaBPL Member
You could run the steel cut oatmeal through a food processor to turn it into a flour. That would save you some space. Possible do that with the nuts also. But I wouldn’t find that appetizing myself.Jan 26, 2018 at 4:30 pm #3514600
Greg MihalikBPL Member
Powdered Olive Oil – 239 calories per ounce
Jan 26, 2018 at 5:02 pm #3514608
- This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by Greg Mihalik.
@matthewkphx Thanks for the list and glad to hear you like your bare boxer. I like mine too. I’m quite pleased with how easily it fits into my pack and how light it is compared to other options.
That table gives me some ideas. Flax/chia/salami are all things I really like. I considered replacing some of my oats with flax meal or chia seeds, but my macro ratio is already so highly tilted towards fat. Macro ratio is my main concern at this point, especially lack of protein. The best sources seem to be protein bars, shredded jerky, and powders, but none are particularly dense.
I regretted not using peanut butter more in my initial 15k attempt(19 cups PB is about 28,800 calories or 7/4000 days!) but didn’t really know what to pair it with other than eating it plain and thought it might be a nightmare of a mess in a produce bag. Normally I slather my clif bars with it but had ruled those out due to airspace concerns.(You’ve resurrected their consideration though. Melting, lol, that’s hilarious, effective, and so inventive! I love it!). Perhaps a PB/M&M combo wouldn’t be so bad to eat. Not sure what to call that. Suspended trail mix? Assuming a 1/1 ratio and averaging, that’s ~1250 a cup. I suspect it will be higher than that due to airspace elimination.
I’ve had larabars and like them, but didn’t realize how much of an edge they have over clif regarding density. I’ll give them another look. I think that’s a great idea because I’d prefer to do have some food that doesn’t require soaking or cooking.
@mjh I think your idea of melting chocolate in the canister would work great, especially in the all black Contender.
I think this shows that for the occasional long trip, the contender can punch above it’s weight, though it requires some thoughtfulness and may not meet everyones palatability requirements.
I’ll toy with all these ideas and get back to you guys with some pics. In the mean time, keep them coming! Anyone else have a success story with the Contender on a long trip?
Jan 26, 2018 at 5:24 pm #3514615Jan 26, 2018 at 7:02 pm #3514634
- This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by Aaron S.
My 2015 spreadsheet omits Parmesan Reggiano and crushed Pringles, two of my current favorites. I also like Perpeteum/Recoverite/whey-protein now but I’m guessing those will not do well in this challenge…Jan 26, 2018 at 7:49 pm #3514645
What about, in cool weather, Braunschweiger? It appears to have a higher fat content than most kinds of salami and can be compressed into any shape you want.Jan 26, 2018 at 8:52 pm #3514670
Lets talk about Honey Stinger Waffles. I find the Organic Honey, Lemon and Gingerbread variations to be absolutely eatable. I like them because they are not too sweet and are very easy to chew and swallow. I can down one in a few bites while walking or taking a quick water break. I’ve not tried packing them in a bulk manner but they do conform really well in a layer pressed up against the wall of the bear can. I’ll make a layer of them overlapping each other going around the bear can, Then I make a circle of Larabars standing on end. Then the bulk stuff goes in the center.
Anyhow they are delicious and score fairly well on my spreadsheet.Jan 27, 2018 at 2:35 am #3514736
Greg MihalikBPL Member
Had to go shopping for dinner and picked up a couple of “Waffles”.
Easy to eat, not to sweet, and 150 calories per ounce. I’m in.
$0.93 each x 16 = $14.79. Free shipping over $25. Honey Waffle
…. end driftFeb 3, 2018 at 10:51 pm #3516350
I tried one also. It was pretty good. Like the cookie United Airlines gives you if you fly at breakfast but not so sweet and not airline-food quality.Feb 4, 2018 at 1:55 am #3516377
David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
“-pre pour oil into couscous and butter into oats before departure, allowing them to fill air space in the grains. concerned about spoilage, mess, and palatability. guess I’ll have to try to find out.”
This works well for me. I like that a bag or bottle failure won’t make a total mess since my olive oil is already absorbed into my tabouli mix. And it saves space.
The stand out on Matthew’s helpful list in my mind was the shortbread. Because it was the maybe only beat by food with more (or much more) percentage of fat in them. Yes, it has butter in it, but it’s not got a lot of sugar and is mostly (by volume before mixing and cooking), flour. Not the most complex carb, but better than many. So they seem to be achieving their caloric density partly through their weight density (there’s very little air in them).
I discovered in my caving days that there was nothing you could do to a classic PowerBar that they hadn’t already subjected it to at the factory. Slither through a cave with your PowerBar taking all your weight as you slide over a limestone knob, and it’s still a PowerBar, albeit of some different geometry. You don’t have to get them very warm to make them conform to whatever shape you want, while leaving them in the original package. And after you get tired of chocolate, banana, berry, peanut butter, etc; you can wrap one in another to create new flavors like “chocolate-covered banana”, or “fruit salad” or “Nutella”, etc.Feb 4, 2018 at 2:32 am #3516383
I have lots of trouble eating on backpacking trips. I’m never hungry. I’ve updated my spreadsheet to include some of my current favorite foods.
Perpeteum is such a nice way to get calories while hiking. I wish it was more volumetrically dense. I’d be extremely interested in any ideas about similar products with more calories by volume. I think the only way to do that is by adding oil (perhaps using the powdered procedure I’ve listed above?).
Maybe I need to give up on carrying the Bareboxer and either use a BV450 or a small Bearikade.Feb 4, 2018 at 2:44 am #3516384
I’m left wondering how I’d do on peanut butter, waffles and Perpeteum…Feb 4, 2018 at 3:08 am #3516386
Tom KBPL Member
“-replace quick steel cut oats with scottish oats. finer grind means I can likely compact further. switching to more couscous gives me a few more calories(just 130 a cup, or about 650 the whole intended 5 day pack out)”
Better yet, switch from oats to cream of wheat and/or rice and/or dehydrated mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes with Nido and powdered butter is heavenly in the backcountry. Spice it up with powdered garlic/onion/curry powder, etc.
Look for powdered cheese. There are several to choose from. My favorite is cheddar. Also powdered butter and cream, and Nido powdered full fat milk
Nut butter packets. They come in a variety of nut flavors, and some are mixed with chocolate. They are soft and pliable, and will fit into a lot of otherwise dead spaces.
Powdered meal replacement shakes. You could add powdered butter or cream to them to bulk up the calorie count.
By all means, grind up your nuts; or at least chop them finely.
Perpetuem: Look for the non agglomerated kind. It packs down much more densely. the trade off is that it does not dissolve as easily. I used it for years and put up with that until Greg Gressel posted a recommendation to use the agglomerated variety for ease of handling.
Find out your body fat percentage, convert the amount in excess of 10% to pounds, then multiply by 3500 to get the number of calories you have available for energy. The hydrostatic and bio impedance tests are most accurate and commonly available. You will very likely find that you are carrying 15K-20K of readily available energy in body fat, if you are like most of us. To make the best use of it, you can either supply ~30% of your daily calorie requirement as carbohydrates or follow the ketosis routine. There are many threads on this site that discuss both options in detail. I’ll bet you didn’t know you’ve been carrying a second Bear Boxer’s worth of calories in your abdomen all this time. ;0)
Neither did I until I got my body fat percentage measured.Feb 4, 2018 at 3:55 am #3516401
I’ll bet I’m carrying more than a bareboxer in calories. I believe this is part of why I do ok eating relatively little on trail.Feb 4, 2018 at 1:32 pm #3516436
@pastyj-2-2Locale: Fed up with BPL snark!
A couple things with which I have had success:
PB2 powdered peanut butter – tastes about 90% the same as regular PB, but without all the oil. Bonus: because of the lack of oil, it cleans up miraculously with just a little water.
myspicesage.com – purveyor of everything spice and powdered.
- Cheddar powder – less salty that most others I’ve tried…combined with the powdered sour cream makes a great Mac ‘n Cheese sauce.
- Butter powder – not really a powder but works great with instant grits or anything else
Collin Street Fruitcake – not UL, but holy hell is it awesome…especially in the woods. Beware revealing to any hiking partners as they will hate you.
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