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Food Planning Using Pounds Per Person Per Day
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Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Re: Re: Re: running out of food on 03/11/2011 04:01:41 MST Print View


You're completely right. It's all in my head, and I think I developed a fat phobia somewhere along my journey. I'm getting better though, especially this last week, about eating more and paying less attention to caloric content while not in the backcountry. If I want ice cream, I eat it. I figure I've earned it at this point.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re:Food Planning on 03/11/2011 05:16:15 MST Print View


"If you are a diabetic or hypoglycemic, it's imperative that you plan ahead and take exactly the food you will need - and factor in the most extreme circumstances. Safety dictates diligence"!

I plan the food that I take by the number of meals in a day. I mix and match cook and no cook meals depending if I'm getting a late start on the day or if I'm trying to make a certain point on my hike before dark. I have never really planned what I take according to pounds per day.

I do however always carry mints, hard candy or something else sugary because I tend to be exercise induced hypoglycemic. I nibble my way through the day on what would make most dentists cringe. :-)

I love hiking! Being in the back country with very low blood sugar and no really quick source of a boost is not fun.

Party On,


Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: running out of food on 03/11/2011 20:07:56 MST Print View

" I'm getting better though, especially this last week, about eating more and paying less attention to caloric content while not in the backcountry. If I want ice cream, I eat it. I figure I've earned it at this point."

I am really happy for you, Chris. This is going to free you up for a lot of adventures you've had to forego up until now. There is a whole different quality to longer duration hikes that is addictive, IME.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: follow up on 03/11/2011 20:16:28 MST Print View

"The important thing is NOT to take more food than you will NEED."

But maybe with a half day's ration in case of emergency for three season hiking, and a full day's ration, or even 2 if in a remote location, for winter camping?

"Food weight should be scrutinized just like any other thing in your backpack."

A huge +1

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Food Planning Using Pounds Per Person Per Day on 03/25/2011 02:57:26 MDT Print View

I somehow missed this article until today and really enjoyed seeing the breakdown that Mike used to plan the food per person.

The one thing that I add to my food calculation spreadsheet is a fuel calculation for each meal (if fuel is used). It really helps me plan my fuel requirements accurately and more importantly, if I do any last minute menu changes, the fuel consumption is tied to the meal plan directly so I can easily catch the change.

I plan my meals by the day (one tab per day) but for bulk items I add a summary column (like I do for fuel) so that I can easily calculate the total required for the trip (things like peanut butter, jam, cheese spread etc). Then it's easy to put a measured amount into squeeze tubes or small containers. The multi tabbed spreadsheet (each tab is a daily meal plan) is totalled onto the trip totals page.

I haven't managed to attain the high caloric density that Mike has achieved because I find it hard to stomach some of the really high cal snacks and bars that boost the calories so well. I take a slightly different approach to lightening my food load by carefully planning a weight reduction diet for the days that I'm on the trail.

Reducing my food intake to a slightly lower level than would be required to maintain my weight allows me to carry a lighter food load and also lets me shed a little bit of the extra weight I typically carry. Losing a pound to a pound and a half every 3-4 days works well for me and I rarely feel hungry because I snack often. This method obviously wouldn't be a great idea for long duration trips but since most of my trips are a week or less, it works well for me.

Here's a sample of my spreadsheet from a trip I took last summer:

Daily food plan

Trip Totals

Patrick Starich
(pjstarich) - MLife

Locale: N. Rocky Mountains
Finessing Your Food on 03/27/2011 16:18:52 MDT Print View

Thanks for sharing your knowledge in a great article Mike!

The 1.4 PPPPD model has worked very well for me. I really enjoyed your Thai peanut and pesto sauce concoctions on the 2009 WT2-LDB in the Winds. I think we had a brick of Parmasan cheese that ended up in many evening meals too.

Like Snapple, I'm constantly on the prowl for new "better stuff," if for no other reason than to keep meals interesting. Saving a few surprises for the middle or end of the trip also helps me look forward to those meals. A couple of Walkers short bread fingers and a strong cowboy coffee late afternoon is just plain rejuvenating.

For some reason on day five or six of a trek I always lose my appetite for food altogether and find nothing appealing for a couple of days. I usually force down what food I can stomach and wait for my hunger to return; it always does. Could consuming chlorine dioxide treated water reduce bacterial flora in the gut and slow digestion? Has anyone else out there had a similar experience?

Edited by pjstarich on 03/27/2011 16:22:37 MDT.

Thomas Trebisky

Locale: Southern Arizona
Superb article on 03/30/2011 19:36:45 MDT Print View

There is so much to agree with (and learn from) in this article. Some years ago I planned a trip using 2.0 PPPPD as a guide (based on Colin Fletchers complete walker) and was trying to give food away and hiked out with several extra pounds. I since then revised my guidelines to 1.6 PPPPD and found that worked pretty well for me (but I am thin as a rail and eat like a horse).
Trimming to 1.4 PPPPD over 6 days would save 1.2 pounds, which is significant and worth a try!