Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Current Food Ideas

I've been reading a lot about backpacking food and general nutrition lately. I now understand the difference between complex and simple carbohydrates, the importance of fats, and the Glycemic Index. The reason I'm so concerned about this is because of a failed food strategy during last year's hike through the Colorado Rockies (which I've mentioned before). So here are my tentative food plans for the PCT.

I won't know until a few weeks into the hike, but I think I can expect to be consuming 6000 calories a day, or nearly 3 lbs (1360 grams) of food at 460 calories per 100 grams of food. 

General meal plan
Large cold breakfast, large hot dinner (probably on Caldera Cone alcohol stove) with large dessert. Mostly bars as snacks during the day. If necessary, can switch to 2 hot meals a day or do dinner in 2 stages. 

The information below assumes a food drop strategy. I am fairly certain I can eat all the food below day in and day out. I like it all and have eaten it on hikes, albeit not for this long. I would not have to buy the entire supply of food at once, so there would be chances to adjust my diet.

Breakfast either right as I get up or within a half hour or starting the day's hike. Hot dinner about half an hour to an hour before stopping. Dessert at camp (unless in bear country, then with dinner).

Breakfast (tentative)
1. 200 grams Quaker Natural Granola (Oats, Honey & Raisins) + 60 gram Nido whole dried milk and water.
Total 260 grams, 1140 calories, 40 grams protein, about 30% of calories from fat. 

Snacks (tentative)
(I'll aim for bars with comparatively less sugars and more complex carbohydrates.)
1. 200 grams Mealpack Pemmican Fruit 'N Nut Bars
850 calories, 34 grams protein, 28% of calories from fat.
2. 210 grams Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Nut Bars
1000 calories, 24 grams protein, 45% of calories from fat.
I'm going to aim for 40% of my calories from fat
3. 110 grams Snickers (or similar bar) >>> these are not as good because they have too much sugars
540 calories, 9 grams protein, 45% of calories from fat.

Total 520 grams, 2400 calories, 67 grams of protein, and nearly 40% of calories from fat.

Dinner (tentative)
Dinner might be a dehydrated dinner from or a similar producer, with plenty of vegetables and different kinds of tastes, possibly with some dehydrated meat thrown in. Or, I may boil buckwheat (kasha) with dehydrated carrots, onions, and meat. In either case, I will drench my dinner in vegetable (olive) oil. Over time, I might have to make myself 2 dinners (or one hot lunch) to keep myself satisfied, and for variety.

200 grams, ~700 calories, 20 grams protein, ~40% of calories from fat.

Dessert (tentative)
100 grams Oreos + 60 grams creamy peanut butter
850 calories, 17 grams protein, ~50% of calories from fat.

Total for dinner + dessert: 360 grams, 1550 calories, 37 grams of protein, 45% of calories from fat.

Total for day (tentative)
1140 grams of food, 5300 calories, 144 grams of protein, ~40% of calories from fat.
Cost: should be about $12/day of food, not including food in town.

Food in towns
Eat different stuff for variety, especially fruits and vegetables, and things with tasty sauces, maybe picking up some snacks to take on the trail with me. 


  1. This is the kind of information that is actually helpful to other hikers! Thanks!

  2. You're welcome! Glad it's useful.

  3. If you have not, check out Lärabars (I find then in the healthfood section of the grocery store). They are just fruit and nuts. I find them quite good for hiking and biking.

  4. Thanks, I should try those. However, they look two expensive for my budget -- over $2 per 100 g. That would add about $2/day to my expenses if I were to eat 200 g of those. They might be good in small amounts to add some variety, though.