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Tell me about your "food strategies"
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Jon D
(cedrec) - F
Tell me about your "food strategies" on 03/05/2012 23:39:35 MST Print View

I’m currently working in Japan, but when I return to America next July, I’ll have 3-4 weeks before graduate school starts when I’m planning a couple long trips (as in 7-12 days in length) in the northern Rockies. These trips will be without re-supply by design, and I’d like to get away from stove use for the most part, except for no more than 10% of my food, if I bring a stove at all.

Here’s the problem: I don’t know where to start planning for food, since this length of a trip is untrodden territory, and I can’t test out the food I’d be bringing because supermarkets in Japan really don’t carry this kind of stuff, and although I can get most of it if I pay enough, testing it out on a comparable backpacking trip is another story.

In the past (growing up backpacking in the States), I relied on energy bars, candy, and freeze-dried meals as the staples of my backpacking food, but these kinds of food are 1) too expensive, 2) too bulky, and 3) don’t taste good. I need to get away from them, at least as my staples. However, I lack experience and immediate resources for testing. I've got about 4 months to do my homework before I come back to the States and can even do a shake-down hike.

I want to know what food you all bring, what do you do to prepare it, how do you eat it—stuff that may seem very basic to you—you may not even be confident of your own strategies. Still, I want to hear it all! For example, I’ve heard about people using different combinations of nuts, dried fruits, and other “bags of ingredients” to cut down on bulk—but what you do with a 2 lb bag of shredded coconut, 5 oz of olive oil and a 3 lb bag of pretzels to make them edible day after day is completely beyond me.

Thanks in advance for any feedback!

Edited by cedrec on 03/05/2012 23:44:14 MST.

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
There are lots of options, but on 03/07/2012 15:33:12 MST Print View

here's some ideas that work for me:

Budget 1.5 pounds of dry food per day, unless doing high mileage (above 15-18 miles/day) or winter, in which case you may want to go to 2 pounds a day. If you have no excess body fat to lose, add a half pound a day to this budget

Cook at least your dinner, so that you have a good meal to look forward to at the end of the day. In cold weather have a hot breakfast or at least a hot beverage in the morning. What you make should be what you like. I tend to combine a carb (noodles, rice, potatoes, quinoa, couscous, etc) with freeze dried chicken or beef and either freeze dried peas or corn or dehydrated veggies. I use a lot of Knorr (aka Lipton previously) "sides", Idahoan potatoes, and others that are 4-6 oz dry and already prepackaged as the carb. Add oil (olive oil for me) to your dinners for lightweight extra calories. Spices the way you like them.

Don't eat a lunch. Instead, have 5 or 6 1.5-2.0 ounce snacks with 150-250 calories each every 90-120 minutes through your hiking day. Examples might be Snickers bars or cracker packs. Some should be sweet and some should be salty. These on-trail snacks should be about half of your daily calories. The rest are in breakfast and dinner meals, about 1/3; 2/3.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Tell me about your "food strategies" on 03/07/2012 22:52:16 MST Print View

I went to several grocery stores with (a) a calculator (my phone), and (b) time. I wandered the aisles looking at anything and everything: prepackaged, dried, bulk foods, chips, energy bars, cookies, etc. with an eye towards what I might like. I made a basic list of foods that were closest to 150 calories per oz (a number I took from Andrew Skurka's site). Of course, you cannot always get close to that number, but it served as a good reference point. This gives you a good list of high caloric foods that will weigh the least for a given set of calories (in theory).

Then instead of 1.5 lbs/day, I build a list of calories per day, loosely based on others' info, both here and on other blogs. If, say, you shoot for around 3k -4k per day, you can pick items off the list to get to that number. Not surprisingly, this will most likely include the kinds of food that backpackers have been instinctively taking for a long time: nut butters, nuts, chocolate, chips, cookies, energy bars, dyhydrated soups, pastas, etc.