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Thoughts on long distance food
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Christopher Mills
(Hiker816) - MLife

Locale: Denver
Re: Thoughts on long distance food on 04/20/2010 11:03:43 MDT Print View

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.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Thoughts on long distance food on 04/20/2010 15:33:37 MDT Print View

That's a good one Christopher, I'll try it.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
12 Days Worth on 04/26/2010 16:17:10 MDT Print View


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!


Edited by scottbentz on 04/26/2010 16:21:44 MDT.

Mike McHenry
(mtmche2) - F
Long Distance Foods on 04/26/2010 17:05:37 MDT Print View

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?

Deanna Roy
(bluesmama) - F

Locale: midwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Thoughts on long distance food" on 05/04/2010 11:37:44 MDT Print View

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.


Darren Bagnall

Locale: El Portal, CA
"Thoughts on long distance food" on 05/06/2010 12:52:32 MDT Print View

Looks like a lot of good advice. I am wondering of you have thought about your bear can. The entire JMT requires the use of a bear can and I would be very impressed if you can get 12 days of food into one. I would consider making your life easier and resupplying at VVR. Mail yourself 6 days of food to VVR. It's close to the trail and I nice place to take a full or half day off.

Erick Panger
(eggs) - MLife

Locale: Mid Life
Hawk Vittles on 05/24/2010 08:02:13 MDT Print View

I ordered some and my wife and I did not like them. Not to say they are bad just not for us.

We like the Mary Jane's Farms stuff way better. We normally add a a pack of tuna fish in sunflower oil to the meal which brings the calories up by about another 165 or so.

Edited by eggs on 05/24/2010 08:03:05 MDT.

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
Re: "Thoughts on long distance food" on 06/15/2010 08:23:23 MDT Print View

"The entire JMT requires the use of a bear can and I would be very impressed if you can get 12 days of food into one."
Darren, this is not quite right. A bear canister is required on some parts of the JMT, but not others. Anyway, it's a moot point for someone like Craig who is not resupplying, since he's going to have the same equipment all the way through. And in any case, you make a good point that energy per unit volume may be even more important than energy per unit weight.

Tom's suggestion of olive oil is a great one. Olive oil has twice the energy density of a granola bar! You can buy it in single-serving foil packets ( ), although the price may not be compatible with Craig's budget. I've brought pesto, and it keeps very well, but the energy density is not as high as for pure olive oil.

Ghee is another extremely energy-dense food. You can make it yourself from butter, so it's not too expensive. Basically anything with lots of fat in it is energy-dense: oils, nuts, ... I know a lot of people take an entire plastic jar of peanut butter, but that would bore the heck out of me, and you need something to spread it on. I prefer plain, shelled nuts, because I can get a greater variety of flavors.

Craig, what's the reason for not doing resupply? Do you just want the experience of total solitude? Or is the challenge of doing it without resupply what appeals to you? Otherwise, you can certainly stretch your calorie budget by, e.g., buying a double cheeseburger and fries at Tuolumne, ice cream and candy bars at Reds Meadow. Both of these are right smack-dab on the trail, no detour required.

Maybe I'll see you on the trail. I'm going north to south, second half of July. Have a great trip!