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Help with a weekends meal plan
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Nino Lorenzo
(neanYOe) - F

Locale: Bay Area
Help with a weekends meal plan on 05/24/2010 22:26:47 MDT Print View

If i did the equation right for normal backpacking.. my BMR would be 1231. (i'm 5'9, 150lbs)

I'm backpacking for my first time in a couple weeks for 3 days and 2 nights in yosemite. We will do 5-10miles/day. 2500-4000 total gain. and will be trailed hiking.

I've done a lot of reading and have a general idea of what I want to pack, buy, bring for my breakfasts', morning snack, lunch, snack and dinner each day.

My question is.. What would you tell me to bring if you were my guide?

What basic, easy to bring foods would you pack for 3 days?

How much variety?

I'm basically asking for a 3day meal plan.. :)

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Questions. on 05/24/2010 22:32:41 MDT Print View

Not sure I have an answer, but I'll watch this with interest.

A couple of Questions.

What's your cooking setup?
What temps do you expect?
Freeze dried or supermarket shopping?
What's your 3 days cover? (2 breakfast, 3 lunch, 2 dinner?)
I'm assuming no food sensitivities or dietary restrictions.
(What's BMR?)

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Help with a weekends meal plan on 05/24/2010 22:42:06 MDT Print View

First of all, you have to bring food that you like to eat. I've seen backpackers bring all kinds of stupid stuff, but then they could not eat much of it, so they ended up carrying a lot in and then back out.

I assume (worst case) that I am going to have some kind of stove problem, fuel problem, weather problem, or similar problem that limits my effective cooking. Therefore, I bring at least one third of my food that can be eaten cold. Maybe that will be your lunch food, anyway, because people seldom have stoves out at lunch time.

I concentrate on getting lots of hot fluids at breakfast, typically 2-4 cups worth, plus at least one bowlful of hot food like oatmeal. Lunch, as mentioned, is cold and is typically 300-400 calories of energy bars, fruit leather, etc. The emphasis there is on something quick. When you get into camp is when you may deserve a hot cup of tea or miso soup. Dinner can be about as big as you want. However, most backpackers would favor a nurishing one-pot meal for simplicity, maybe capped off with a dessert bar and more hot stuff to drink. Personally, I can go a long way on dehydrated soup.

Don't drink too much too late or it will keep you up all night.


Nino Lorenzo
(neanYOe) - F

Locale: Bay Area
rod on 05/24/2010 22:43:56 MDT Print View

-canister, pocket rocket
-its too far out to get averages/predictions on but on they show lows of 40. BUT its snowing the week before so I do expect snow on the ground.. highs of 70-75
-both? or whichever you would do. i bought a couple of things on bp panty to try things out.. theyre alright.
-exactly, 2 breakfast, 3 lunch, 2 dinner?)
- no food sensitivities or dietary restrictions.
-BMR. basal metabolic rate. basically measures amount of calorie burn per, weight, height, activity.. ill post equation when i can dig it up. (rei provided)

Edited by neanYOe on 05/24/2010 22:46:20 MDT.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Help with a weekends meal plan on 05/25/2010 00:17:04 MDT Print View

As Bob says, take stuff you like to eat! Try it out at home first. Not much time until the weekend, so you may want to taste test several dishes rather than try to eat a whole meal. You don't want to get out there and find that what you took tastes terrible or that (as in my case many years ago) the peas you so carefully home-dried retain the consistency of buckshot after 20 minutes of hard boiling!

Here are some things I take--your mileage may and probably will vary!

Breakfast--I'm a cold cereal person and usually don't fire up my stove in the mornings. Meusli or grapenuts, freeze-dried berries or banana slices, dried milk in sandwich bag, add 3/4 cup cold water and mix, eat. If you like hot cereal, there are lots of instant oatmeals. I can't stand hot cereal, especially oatmeal, but my grandkids love the instant oatmeal from the health food store. I think it's Health Valley brand but I'm not sure. Again, add some freeze-dried berries or banana slices and dried milk; package in freezer bag; pour in boiling water and stir; let sit a few minutes in cozy or something insulating wrapped around it before eating out of the bag (no dishes to wash!). One hot cereal I do like is bulgur wheat (precooked whole wheat), dried milk, bits of dried apple. Freeze dried fruit available from Trader Joe's (their own brand), any health food store or Fred Meyer health food dept. (usually the "Just Tomatoes" brand--"Just Blueberries," "Just Strawberries," "Just Bananas," etc.).

Lunch--for me, lunch lasts all day and is dried fruit, nuts, cereal bars. I save a little to eat when I get to camp so I have enough energy to set up camp and get dinner. I'm not a jerky fan but if you like it, take some! If you really want to cook a lunch (remember, it takes extra time and fuel), take dried soups.

Dinner--I use a lot of recipes from Sarah's "Trail Cooking" site, altering them to use whole grain items (which I much prefer). At this soon before the trip, you're not going to be dehydrating anything! Cous-cous is really good because it hydrates almost instantly. Basically it's a form of instant pasta. For whole-grain freaks like me it comes in whole-wheat form, too. Other pasta generally has to be cooked. For stuff like Hamburger Helper and Tuna Helper, if it can be cooked in less than 8 minutes, you can add boiling water, stir and keep it hot in a cozy or something similar (I don't recommend a jacket in bear country!) for 20 minutes. Otherwise you need to cook in the pot. Instant rice (either white or whole-grain) is available. So are various broth packets and sauces. I've made up a combination of cous-cous, chicken or beef broth powder, TVP for protein, lots of seasoning, dried onions and garlic, other dried or freeze-dried veggies. But do try this at home first; you'll find you need to add lots of herbs and spices, and that's an individual taste question. For a short trip, where weight isn't so critical, there are the foil packages of chicken and tuna or the tiny cans of deviled ham or deviled chicken, to add to the above or to any other combinations you may want to try.

Of course you can go out and buy the packages of freeze-dried dinners! Might be a good idea to repackage them in freezer bags for less bulk, to fit your bear canister better.

As Bob mentions, dried soup mix is always good--you can beef it up with instant rice or cous-cous, packet of chicken or tuna or whatever to add calories. In fact, that might be a better way to go than my suggestion about the cous-cous and TVP with seasonings to taste. If you like the soup, you'll like it with the "fillers" and meat mixed in! I find most soup mixes too salty, but that's because I'm on a low-sodium diet. Unless you bloat on lots of sodium, the sodium content won't matter for you on a three-day trip.

I suggest you look on for various recipes. One recent yummy-looking one was "Pizza in a Pot" which I will try on my grandkids this weekend. It uses cous-cous, sundried tomatoes, dried oregano, basil and garlic, olive oil, stick mozarella and pantry-stable pepperoni slices. I won't know until Monday if this is a winner, but I can assure you that my grandkids (especially the 8-year-old girl) are finicky taste-testers--if it passes them, it's a winner!

Most important, though, prepare each dish at home and taste-test at home before you go! I noticed that you are not going this weekend, so you do have some time to try stuff out first!

For a three-day trip, don't worry too much about calories and nutrition unless you're seriously underweight. For a short trip, weight of your food isn't as much of a concern, either For a week or 10 days, it would be different. You can always throw in some Snickers bars or similar for dessert if you're worried about sufficient calories. Take a 2-3 oz. plastic bottle of olive oil (keep it inside a plastic bag in case of leakage) and add some squirts of olive oil to your dinners (more calories and tastes better).

Have a great time on your trip!

Edited by hikinggranny on 05/25/2010 00:42:07 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Help with a weekends meal plan on 05/25/2010 09:09:44 MDT Print View

Mary, hope the kids like it! It was a Ford approved recipe :-D He scarfed it down after I made it.

On meal planning never underestimate snacks and dessert. They not only keep you going but can get you happy when worn down.

Nino Lorenzo
(neanYOe) - F

Locale: Bay Area
im soooo hungry now!! on 05/25/2010 19:01:05 MDT Print View

I bought a package of someones left over backpackers pantry packs so ill try a couple of those out this week just cause. if i love any, re-buy!

Sarah and Mary,

ive made a pretty tasting looking list for my meals. Ill try to make some of these @ home this coming week and pack officially what Ill take thursday. I thank you for all of your information!! it really helpd a lot..

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Help with a weekends meal plan on 05/25/2010 19:05:39 MDT Print View

One more thing. When you are hiking along the trail at a steady pace, it can be awkward to really stop, take off your pack, fish out some food snack, put the pack back on, and then continue.

I always have some small food snack in one cargo pocket on my trousers, something that I can get without breaking stride. Maybe it is only a tiny bag of dried fruit, but it is something.

Eventually, you will reach some major rest stop, and then you can replenish your pocket stash from whatever food is inside the pack.


Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: Help with a weekends meal plan on 05/25/2010 19:23:12 MDT Print View

When you are hiking along the trail at a steady pace, it can be awkward to really stop, take off your pack, fish out some food snack, put the pack back on, and then continue.

That's why you carry your gorp bag. At last for me, that works way better than anything in my pockets.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
BMR on 05/26/2010 06:09:28 MDT Print View

Thanks Nino,

I thought that was what it might be, but it looks really low. Just so I'm clear, The BMR suggests you need 1232 Calories a day for your 5-10 miles and 800-1300 ft of vertical a day?

I'm the same height and weight, but older. I run a relatively high (inefficient as my wife says) metabolism, but I'm pretty certain I'd be looking for 2000-2500 calories a day for the 10 miles 1300 ft scenario. Especially if my sleeping bag is a little under cooked for weather.

I think I'd be pretty happy to recommend that you take a good extra whack of high calorie food, if you're basing your diet on 1230 Cal. Think along the lines of an 8oz jar of PB (1500 cal) and some crackers or tortillas to serve as a delivery system for it.

My concern is that you have prepped for this big first trip, and if you run short on food, you'll just be plain miserable. Not hungry, where you're hanging for a burger, but miserable where every step is a chore, you're cold at night, and nothing is fun.

PB is good, since it's instantly edible any time, including 3am, and the high fat gives a long lasting hit. Another option would be something like 8 oz of Cashews or Macadamias.

If you want, you can even leave them in your pack untouched to see how your menu plan goes without them. (I know this sounds like a 'just in case' kinda deal, but I really don't think it is, since I think you're undercooked to start off. Think of it as a 'trying a new system' plan)

And I'm absolutely certain that not taking it won't kill you, but it might kill the FUN part of your trip.

I'd be keen to hear from some of the more experienced calorie counters here, since it's entirely possible I may have this all wrong.

And whichever way you go, I'd really like to hear back at the end, what you used and what worked and what didn't.


Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: BMR on 05/26/2010 08:46:46 MDT Print View

1200 calories? No way! You want at least 2000 if not more per day. That rate of 1200 is what you might need to survive. You will be starving the whole trip if you go that low!

Many men eat 2-3K or more per day when hiking. Even easy backpacking is still all day work. Hiking gets the body humming along and ramps you up.