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The highest calorie medium flat rate challenge!
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Phillip Colelli

Locale: AT, follow@
The highest calorie medium flat rate challenge! on 03/20/2012 22:03:22 MDT Print View

Ok so I'm trying to plan a resupply to mail to myself at Fontana, NC that will last 5 days till I get to standing bear hostel at the other end of the Smokys for my thru next week. I'm not planning to use any large priority flat rate boxes because they are not cost effective. I'm limiting the challenge to what you can fit in a single USPS medium flat rate box. They come in 2 sizes, either will do. The challenge is as follows, come up with an actual meal plan with the highest possible calories per day for 5 days.

So far I've been able to get a 3500 cal/day for 5 days into a medium flat rate box. I'm sure I could get a little higher but it will take some more serious planning.

Food items used:
4 nights worth of dry tortellinis
4 nights worth of garlic alfredo
4 servings of olive oil
1 night Knor pasta sides teriyaki noodles
4 days supply of various trail mix
5 snickers bars
5 cliff protein bars
5 gatorade pouches
1 beef summer sausage

That's pretty typical of what I would eat on trail. I might prefer to have some more salty foods in there instead like a big bag of chips. Also a loaf of bread would be nice. Can't really ship those items though. I bet I could get higher calories by swapping that sausage for some other items. This is just what I happen to have in hand at the moment to test with.

Hopefully I'll have some takers on this challenge. If not I'll still enjoy planning this out on my own.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: The highest calorie medium flat rate challenge! on 03/20/2012 22:24:48 MDT Print View

Since you're already in NC, you should be using Regional Rate Priority, not Flat Rate Priority. Regional Rate Priority might even be cheaper than Parcel Post. Even regular Priority in your own box might be cheaper than Parcel Post or Flat Rate Priority. It might be too late to get the Regional Rate boxes though.

Phillip Colelli

Locale: AT, follow@
Re: Re: The highest calorie medium flat rate challenge! on 03/21/2012 11:59:26 MDT Print View

Thank you for the advice. I'll be shipping the packages friday so I think it probably would be too late for regional rate. For some reason on the USPS website it says unavailable. I guess that means they just don't stock those boxes locally. Parcel post seems to be cheaper than regular priority too. Shipping in my box with parcel post costs about the same as a medium flat rate box for a 10lb package. The catch is it's very very hard to cram 10lbs worth of food into that box. I might lose a dollar or two on some of my smaller mail drops but it's pretty convenient to just get a flat rate box. Plus I'm only mailing myself like 4 boxes.

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
Hi cal flat rate solution on 03/21/2012 21:39:47 MDT Print View

All peanut butter, all the time. OR half peanut butter, half Nutella. OK to add any amount of coconut oil in place of either. 200 calories per ounce, baby! No jars, just two or more heavy duty ziplocks until you can't cram anymore in. Warming the spreads will help you dispense them into the ziplocks in the mailing box. Make sure there is no air left in the box.

Now beat that!

Phillip Colelli

Locale: AT, follow@
Re: Hi cal flat rate solution on 03/22/2012 15:50:26 MDT Print View

Well I guess I should have been a tad more clear when I said "actual meal plan" I meant a variety of foods that I would actually eat for 5 days out of a thru hike. Also I get PB being around 170 cal/oz not 200. Now macadamia nut butter is nearly 200 cal/oz which would be great if it was widely available. I also just saw pumpkin seed butter is 200 cal/oz too. I also think I remember reading pumpkin seeds are the highest protein content per ounce too.

Thanks for the advice though, I have some PB in the pile-o-food that I'll specifically put in the GSMNP box.

Edited by pdcolelli42 on 03/22/2012 16:07:46 MDT.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: Re: Hi cal flat rate solution on 03/24/2012 02:10:49 MDT Print View


I pay attention to complete, healthy nutrition, not just calories. As a long time endurance athlete, I had to study nutrition. So let me preface my answer this way, calories are important, but they aren't everything. It matters where you get your calories from. There are 3500 calories in a pound, but obviously ingesting 3500 calorie of processed white sugar is not as good for you, much less when your body is under stress, as 3500 calories taken from an array of fruits and vegetables. If the calories you consume are high quality and contribute to consuming all six basic nutrients (water, vitamins, minerals, carbs, protein, fats), you actually need less calories than if your calories come mainly from junk. If your body is properly fueled, it will work better and more efficiently, especially on a long thru-hike. That also means you don't have to carry as much stuff.

So for me, I always include a high-quality organic meal replacement powder. One of my favorites is Garden of Life's Raw Meal. It has about 100 calories per ounce, but better yet is that each 3 ounce scoop/serving (300 calories) contains 38 grams of carbs, 33 grams of protein and 4 grams of healthy fat. Plus a long, long list of vitamins, minerals, fruit and vegetable source superfoods, live probiotics and enzymes, etc. I usually mix a 20 ounce water bottle for breakfast and drink it throughout the morning.

I don't eat that for every meal - usually breakfast or also an after noon snack. But packing a ziploc with a pound or two of this type product is really compact in the medium flat rate box. I fit 1.5 lb bag of this and had plenty of room for a ton of extra stuff. Usually, rice noodle ramen, instant soups, humus mix, couscous, instant mashed potatoes, PB, dried fruits, GORP, Cliff bars, Emergency-C packs, etc. I also put in a 1 lb ziploc bag of powdered sports drink/recovery drink with protein and electrolytes to drink when I'm done hiking for the day.


Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Hi cal flat rate solution on 03/24/2012 18:13:17 MDT Print View

"There are 3500 calories in a pound, but obviously ingesting 3500 calorie of processed white sugar is not as good for you,"

Minor correction: There are 3500 calories in a pound of fat. A pound of sugar will be ~1792 calories at 4 calories/gram of fat and ~28 grams/ounce.