JMT thru hike -Nutrition
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Nate Belcher
(desertdawg) - F

Locale: Southwest
JMT thru hike -Nutrition on 02/10/2011 12:54:50 MST Print View

I'm planning a JMT thru SoBo for end of aug/early Sept. 15 days, I've not gone on a multi of this duration and wondering what I should aim for calories/day along with % of protein/carbs/fat/sodium, etc.

I'm 6'2", 190 athletic build and trying to go as light as possible, with 4 planned resupplies (longest would be VVR to Whitney, 6 days) Thinking 3000 cals/day. More or Less? I figured stashing some high calorie food in the resupply that I can eat there before packing up and heading on so if I'm deficient at all I can make up for it there.
Thanks for any advice.

will sawyer
(wjsawyer) - F

Locale: Connecticut
Re: JMT thru hike -Nutrition on 02/10/2011 13:05:54 MST Print View

You can approximate your BMR (how many calories you burn with no activity) with a formula like this one:

BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) - ( 6.8 x age in year )
and then depending upon what sort of hiking you are planning on doing, go from there.

Without doing any of that, I would say 3000 should be a good starting point. You will want to increase your daily calories for the second week, as you'll start to work up an appetite by then.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: JMT thru hike -Nutrition on 02/10/2011 17:04:03 MST Print View

"Thinking 3000 cals/day. More or Less?"

Unless you're carrying a lot more body fat that your description implies, you're going to need a lot more than that. I weigh ~137#, very lean, and use ~4200 cal/day with a pack weight of 26# for a 10 day trip, of which ~1500 calories are supplied by body fat and 2700 by carried food. A good way to start your calculations is to do a Google search with the search argument "calorie counter backpacking". Select several of the counters from the list and enter the required variables, making sure to include your pack weight in your body weight. The answers will vary, but you will find that a cluster that represents the "consensus" number of calories. This will give you an approximation of the calories you will need to plan your daily food requirement. If you are carrying a few extra pounds of body fat, factor those into your available calories at a rate of 3500 calories/pound of body fat.

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Re: Re: JMT thru hike -Nutrition on 02/10/2011 17:52:36 MST Print View

Most importantly: bring what you like to eat, then bring something else for the other 7 days for when you get tired of the first thing.

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
real-world data on 02/10/2011 21:36:20 MST Print View

On short trips, almost everyone eats about 15-20 calories per day per pound of body weight: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=35516 Here, "short trips" includes the JMT. The figure can be much higher if you're doing a long through hike (multiple months, where you can't go into calorie debt), if you're doing really high miles (30 mi/day or more), or if you're in cold weather (which you won't be). For your body weight, that works out to about 2800-3800 cal/day, so you're in the right ballpark, maybe a little low.

"I figured stashing some high calorie food in the resupply that I can eat there before packing up and heading on so if I'm deficient at all I can make up for it there."
I did the JMT this summer, and had sort of the same idea, but it didn't really work out well. When I resupplied at Red's Meadows, what I really wanted was the food at the cafe (tuna sandwich and milkshake!!!), not the canned peaches I'd mailed myself. When I resupplied at MTR, I tried to stuff down as much pork liver pate as I could stand, but basically there was only so much food I was hungry for.

"along with % of protein/carbs/fat/sodium, etc."
Standard advice is 50% carbohydrate, 35% fat, 15% protein. This is not totally crucial on a 2-week hike. The densest foods are heavy in fat. If you have too much fat and not enough carbs, your body can't metabolize the fat calories completely, and you'll be left with harmful waste products.

With hindsight, I wish I had oriented my own thinking a little less toward pack weight and nutrition and a little more toward enjoying the hike. Remember, you're doing this for fun. If you spend the last 5 days hating your diet and wishing you could be eating pizza, then you aren't having fun!

It's not really possible to calculate your calories exactly, because it depends completely on how many days you're going to take, and you really don't know that. Too much food is not the end of the world -- you'll just have a little extra weight to carry. Too little food is not the end of the world -- you'll just lose a little body weight. None of this is crucial on a 2-week hike. If you realize by the time you hit VVR that you're a little low on the calories, just take a zero day at VVR and gorge yourself on pancakes, sweet potatoes, pork chops, and beer.

Edited by bcrowell on 02/10/2011 21:42:40 MST.

David W.
(Davidpcvsamoa) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
Re: JMT thru hike -Nutrition on 02/10/2011 22:31:17 MST Print View

Nate,

Are you intentionally taking extra time on the northern half? There is no right or wrong way of course, but giving yourself nine days to VVR and then going to Whitney in six days seems a little lopsided to me. I have a feeling you may find yourself at VVR faster than you anticipate and you will end up dumping a lot of the food from your 2 resupplies.

Do you know what kind of canister your going to carry? I think you could get by with one resupply at Reds even if you were taking your time and then a second resuply at MTR or VVR.

You may want to considering giving yourself additional time from VVR to Whitney if you have the capacity to store more than six days of food.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: real-world data on 02/10/2011 23:56:49 MST Print View

" "along with % of protein/carbs/fat/sodium, etc."
Standard advice is 50% carbohydrate, 35% fat, 15% protein. This is not totally crucial on a 2-week hike. The densest foods are heavy in fat. If you have too much fat and not enough carbs, your body can't metabolize the fat calories completely, and you'll be left with harmful waste products."

Ben, I agree with that in principle. However, some of us have a health issue so that we have to be careful with that 35% fat. Sure, it is a way to pack in more calories. However, I need to avoid saturated fats where I can. So, I try to substitute more monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. They are still fats, and they still have the calories, but they don't make problems for me.

So, I carry olive oil and oily nuts, but it is hard to eat that many calories in olive oil and oily nuts. I do carry some very lean dehydrated or freeze dried meat.

I have no-fat cheese that I would take, except that it requires refrigeration.

My physician wants me to eat more fish, but I am not a fisherman. Small sealed packets of salmon are good, but they are marginally heavy.

Any other suggestions for really good fats?

--B.G.--

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: JMT thru hike -Nutrition on 02/11/2011 02:18:53 MST Print View

I just go by bringing plenty of food. Stuff that I like to eat, and things that are calorie to weight efficient.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
JMT thru hike -Nutrition on 02/11/2011 18:16:02 MST Print View

I started to prepare for a JMT hike last summer, but it fell through. However, I spent some time preparing my food drops.

If you are leaving from the valley floor, you can plan to buy food at the grocery there, for however many nights before your hike and for your first night getting over to TM. You will still need a bear canister, but your food weight will be pretty low. First pick-up at TM, that should get you to MTR, with maybe buying some food along the way at Reds and VVR (if you stop).

I spent a lot of time at several grocery stores, especially Trader Joe's (if you have access to one) with a calculator and focused on calories/ounce. This will help you get the most calorie dense foods for packing tight into the bear canister. Not surprisingly, looking at cal/oz, you will probably wind up with a lot of foods that we all already know are good for hiking: nuts and nut butters, chocolate, energy/trail bars, some cookies, granola, oatmeal, pesto, olive oil, etc.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: real-world data on 02/11/2011 20:40:18 MST Print View

"Any other suggestions for really good fats?"

Flax seed oil. Fish oil capsules, which contain the oils your physician is recommending you get in your diet. Chocolate. Sesame tahini, which is basically sesame seed butter-it is an ingredient in hummus, but can be used like any other nut butter on it own. Any of the nut butters, especially almond. They are great with a little honey or maple syrup mixed in.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: real-world data on 02/11/2011 21:06:42 MST Print View

Tom, thanks, I've put some of these items on my grocery store shopping list.

I've been taking fish oil capsules on doctor's orders for a year or two, and it really does have a beneficial effect (as seen in my lab test results).

The flax oil, I am just starting to read about.

Chocolate can be a problem, because typically I end up with the stuff made with lots of palm oil and saturated fats added. I will have to look for semisweet baking chocolate and throw pieces into my trail mix.

I already have peanut butter and almond butter, but again there some bad fats are often mixed in. Plus, I have to spread those nut butters on bread or crackers or something, and they don't pack well in a bear canister. Well, multigrain tortilla bread would.

Olive oil is easy. I just carry a tiny plastic bottle of it and splash a little in when I cook my evening meal, which is typically Quinoa, Couscous, and Rice, mixed with soup base.

It looks bad if I do a long week-long trip and come back heavier than when I started.

--B.G.--

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: real-world data on 02/11/2011 21:25:03 MST Print View

"Chocolate can be a problem, because typically I end up with the stuff made with lots of palm oil and saturated fats added. I will have to look for semisweet baking chocolate and throw pieces into my trail mix."

Look for some of the high end chocolate. It should be made with no added oils other than cocoa butter. Some of it tastes pretty good, too, up to about 72%. Beyond that it gets too bitter for my taste. YTMV

"I already have peanut butter and almond butter, but again there some bad fats are often mixed in. Plus, I have to spread those nut butters on bread or crackers or something, and they don't pack well in a bear canister. Well, multigrain tortilla bread would."

You can eliminate the bad stuff by using the nut grinding machines in a Whole Foods or some of the coop groceries. Basically they consist of a hopper filled with either peanuts or almonds and a grinder that purees them into nut butter, which comes out of a spout at the bottom of the machine. What you end up with is a pure nut butter. You can also purchase these butters, and others, in the organic food sections at lots of stores. No bad stuff added. You can do it, Bob. It just takes a little reconnaissance and label checking. If you have access to a Whole Foods, that would be a good place to start, as they have an excellent selection of nut butters AND quality chocolates. Seeds of Change makes an excellent selection of chocolates with no harmful ingredients added. A little pricey, but quality stuff. Scharffenberger is another good brand. There are others. Good hunting. ;)

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: real-world data on 02/11/2011 21:28:00 MST Print View

I'll have to leave behind a small tribute in chocolate at the top of Kearsarge Pass.

--B.G.--

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: real-world data on 02/11/2011 21:29:46 MST Print View

"I'll have to leave behind a small tribute in chocolate at the top of Kearsarge Pass."

Uh, could you make that Shepherd Pass, so it has a chance of falling into the right hands?

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: real-world data on 02/11/2011 21:31:32 MST Print View

Tom, I keep looking at that avatar photo and think that it is Kearsarge.

--B.G.--

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: real-world data on 02/12/2011 07:49:10 MST Print View

all bodies are different and we all burn calories differently. Hike your own hike.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: real-world data on 02/12/2011 17:05:06 MST Print View

"Tom, I keep looking at that avatar photo and think that it is Kearsarge."

Close, but no cigar. That photo was taken just below Anvil Camp coming down from Shepherd Pass last September. I've never been over Kearsarge Pass. Is the resemblance really that close?

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: real-world data on 02/12/2011 17:35:10 MST Print View

Tom, I don't know, as I've never been over Shepherd Pass.

--B.G.--

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: real-world data on 02/13/2011 17:35:25 MST Print View

"Tom, I don't know, as I've never been over Shepherd Pass."

No matter. To paraphrase The Gipper, "If you've seen one Sierra Pass, you've seen 'em all". ;-)

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: real-world data on 02/13/2011 17:52:29 MST Print View

"I already have peanut butter and almond butter, but again there some bad fats are often mixed in. Plus, I have to spread those nut butters on bread or crackers or something, and they don't pack well in a bear canister."

Not if you mix them into something wholesome and tasty!