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Reasonable Weight Target PPPPD for Low-Carb?
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Jack Elliott
(JackElliott) - F

Locale: Bend, Oregon, USA
Reasonable Weight Target PPPPD for Low-Carb? on 04/20/2012 20:10:44 MDT Print View

I've planned plenty of backpacking trips since I was a tad in the late '60s, and have a good sense of how many PPPPD one should plan for when packing easily-dehydrated and room temperature-stable carb-heavy menus.

But I'm eating very low carb these days.

The real issues I see for backpacking are that low-carbohydrate foods which are calorie-dense are (1) gonna be high in fats, some of which can go for several days w/o spoilage, but are a real mess to handle, and (b) are proteins, which spoil quickly w/o refrigeration.

Advice requested from those who have cracked the nut on low-carbish, paleo-grade dining!

How many PPPPD can one expect to achieve on a low-carbohydrate menu?

Edited by JackElliott on 04/20/2012 20:39:35 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Reasonable Weight Target PPPPD for Low-Carb? on 04/20/2012 20:22:17 MDT Print View

I understand that you are trying to get higher in fat calories. What I do is get higher in fats other than saturated fats. By sticking more to the healthy fats, you can get the calories that you seek without clogging up your arteries.

For proteins, lots of lean meats will dehydrate well. Then you supplement that with vegetable proteins like dried beans.

I plan for 1.3 to 1.5 PPPPD, depending on where I am going.

1. Hormel Bacon Pieces
2. Any hard, dry, powdered cheese
3. Olive oil (monounsaturated fat)
4. Crumbled dry kidney beans
5. Dry onion flakes for flavor
6. Instant potato flakes for carbs


Edward Barton
(edwardalbarton) - F
Re: Low carb diet on 04/20/2012 22:18:05 MDT Print View

Coconut fat comes to mind, less messy, still healthy, very stable, though it is liquid at about 75F. Also pureed whole coconut, sold as 'coconut manna' by Nutiva, although I typically add it to a multi-grain hot cereal for breakfast. I would recommend Ovaeasy eggs, jerky (both meat and fish), and beans, as Bob said. Remember that a paleolithic diet can contain tubers, so you could experiment with some of the tuber vegetables in a dehydrator or freeze-dried - potatoes, carrots, squash, or sweet potatoes, etc. These tend to be higher weight for the calories than something like dry grains, because of the water content, but they also have less carbs, except white potatoes. A site like will have information on caloric and carb density for different foods you might be considering. PPPPD will depend on what you replace the carbs with - if it is fiber and water with veggies, the weight will go up, if it is fats, the weight will go down, but you should try to balance it out so that you can still enjoy what you bring. I actually find that a high protein diet works well when I exercise a lot. The issue will also be about making sure you have the calories available, because protein and fat take longer to digest. That said, they also 'burn cleaner' in the body, more efficiently. I would experiment a bit with the level of physical activity you're likely to have on the trail and see how the low carb diet feels.

Edited by edwardalbarton on 04/20/2012 22:26:35 MDT.

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Reasonable Weight Target PPPPD for Low-Carb? on 04/21/2012 03:29:23 MDT Print View

"you can get the calories that you seek without clogging up your arteries."

Sorry, saturated fat does not "clog" arteries. That is caused by chronic inflammation from things like sugar and industrial vegetable oils.

I don't think you can get more calories per ounce than pure fat can you? The trick is finding a way to store it. Maybe one of those old Coleman peanut butter containers? or any plastic water tight container.
per 1 tblspoon all have aprox. 115-120 calories ( I can't find one straight answer on how much exactly )
coconut oil ( one tblsp is .45 ounces)
olive oil
avocado oil
beef tallow
pemmican may be the most nutritious and pleasant to eat. While I like pure coconut oil you may get a little tired of eating it alone.

Andrew McAlister
(mcalista) - F
Shelf stable fats and proteins on 04/21/2012 06:53:45 MDT Print View

Olive oil is just about the most calorie dense hiking food you can get - pretty much all fat, and heart healthy to boot. 9 calories per gram. A little bit added

Summer sausage or salami is a good fat and protein rich food that will keep on the trail.

Nuts are a shelf stable and tasty way of carrying fats. And speaking of nuts, peanut butter (or other nut butters) are possibilities.

Jack Elliott
(JackElliott) - F

Locale: Bend, Oregon, USA
But Finding It Without Added Nitrites/Nitrates is the Trick on 04/21/2012 08:31:50 MDT Print View

"Summer sausage or salami is a good fat and protein rich food that will keep on the trail."

And one I have on my list, though I hope to find one without these preservatives which correlate highly with colon cancer. Taylor's Sausage here in Bend has a bratwürst that is preservative-free, but their Summer and other dried sausages do get the added nitrites/nitrates. I'm gonna stop by and have a chat to see if they can't do a special.

For pemmican (the real stuff, not the candy bar) I am, even as I write this, drying beef and elk to grind up for pemmican. Next step is to find a good source of tallow or suet, preferably from grass-fed beeves or some bison for a better Omegas 3:6 ratio, but them critters ain't so fatty.

Simply living off oil does sound terribly bland. But you can't beat calories per unit weight! I'll have to simply try it, I suppose.

Everyone: You've posted some great ideas here, I thank you.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: But Finding It Without Added Nitrites/Nitrates is the Trick on 04/21/2012 08:52:27 MDT Print View

There are very scary reasons why commercial meat preservers use Nitrites/Nitrates. They do exist but are rarely shelf stable. Just realize you need to know exactly where the meat came from before not using them.

On tallow - have you rendered it before? If not, be prepared for a mess (I have done it). Melt it outside, not inside, it floats in the air and you get grease on everything. Rendering is easy enough to do and you really, really need to do it - it removes all the impurities.

Andrew McAlister
(mcalista) - F
Olive oil on 04/21/2012 09:22:22 MDT Print View

I agree with you about the olive oil. I meant to complete that paragraph about a little bit (about 0.5-1 oz added to my evening meal is the way I normally do it - boosts the fat and calorie content. Definitely NOT gargling it straight.

Also, powdered eggs. Basically comes out as scrambled eggs.

Brad Abrahams
Coconut on 04/22/2012 20:10:44 MDT Print View

I recommend the coconut products. Coconut mainly fueled a 46-mile 3-dayer for me. I used coconut oil, butter/manna(artisana), dried coconut (oskri coco bars), and powdered coconut milk (family wilderness). All tastes great and is a nice slw-burning fuel that doesnt cause an insulin rollercoaster.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Reasonable Weight Target PPPPD for Low-Carb? on 04/22/2012 20:49:04 MDT Print View

"Sorry, saturated fat does not "clog" arteries. That is caused by chronic inflammation from things like sugar and industrial vegetable oils. "

Brian, if you want to duke it out with my physician, then that is OK.


Kimberly Wersal
(kwersal) - MLife

Locale: Western Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Re: Reasonable Weight Target PPPPD for Low-Carb? on 04/22/2012 22:34:25 MDT Print View

We are just back home tonight from a 3 days trip. We usually eat pretty strictly Paleo/Primal which is somewhat challenging when BPing. Our staples were homemade beef jerky, cheese, dried fruit, nuts, Larabars and 85% dark chocolate. Breakfast included a sweet potato/sausage freezer bag meal. The big compromise was dinner made with rice (chosen as the least toxic of the grains--and it is a big favorite treat for my husband)--freezer bag meals: "spaghetti" rice with dehydrated ground beef, onions, sun dried tomatoes, powdered tomato (Packit Gourmet), spices, olive oil: and chicken curry rice with dehydrated chicken, onions, coconut oil, dried coconut flakes, spices, dried cherries and cashews. Both very yummy--heavy on the meat, moderate on the rice. You could skip the rice and go really heavy on the meats... I have plans to make a more perfectly Paleo FBC meal with dehydrated beef, powdered beef stock and dried veggies or maybe a beef stroganoff with beef, dried mushrooms, powdered sour cream and beef stock and spices....
The foods we carried for this trip were pretty compact, filling, and lightweight.

Good luck with the Pemmican!

Elton Peace
(Beldar) - F
Good source of grass fed products on 05/27/2012 09:51:39 MDT Print View

US wellness meats sells grass fed products including tallow and pemmican

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Reasonable Weight Target PPPPD for Low-Carb? on 06/02/2012 19:56:07 MDT Print View

My food list for my most recent 3 night (4 day) backpack trip:

US Wellness Pemmican
Starbucks Via with unsweetened cocoa powder

Lunch (admittedly not that low carb):
3 large dates
large hunk of dry jack cheese
macadamia nuts

I found a large mushroom, but I also carried dried mushrooms
Organic Creamed Coconut (higher in fat than Coconut Manna, but the latter is better)
Curry paste
Dried whole anchovies (not as bad as they look)
Tuna in a pouch (the old stand-by)
Pork Fu (look this up, it's delicious, but has MSG)

Most of my dinner items can be found at an Asian grocery. They have a lot of dried seafood and not all of it stares at you. Dried mushrooms are cheap. Since most of this is not dehydrated, it is not lightweight. However, it tastes pretty good. I did not find my 4 days worth of food to be a big burden.

This is puffball mushroom and dried anchovy curry.

Anchovy mushroom curry

Jack Elliott
(JackElliott) - F

Locale: Bend, Oregon, USA
Possibly Yummy! on 06/03/2012 09:12:09 MDT Print View

Thanks for that, Piper -- inspirational!

Nicholas Meadors

Locale: Teh Front Range
Re: Possibly Yummy! on 06/03/2012 19:10:22 MDT Print View

I'm putting together my food for a Colorado Trail thru hike right now, and basically live off of coconut/chili as it is. My transition is easy. I bought a bunch of boxes of the Creamed Coconut from amazon, coconut oil I already had on hand, coconut milk powder, homemade jerky (because i couldn't find good suet or tallow), macadamia nut oil (which is amazing in reconstituted chili by the way), homemade dehydrated bean free chili, quality protein powder for breakfasts, and homemade sunflower nut butter with macadamia nut oil added...delicious, also dehydrated potatoes to go in with the chili on heavy days

I'm sitting at like 2700 calories a day, and although I haven't worked out the percentages, it appears to be at least 50 percent fat and over 100g of protein per day. Winning!

The thing I've found since switching away from carbs as my major energy source a couple years ago is that I only need to eat a fraction of what I used to. I was working 65 hours weeks on my feet doing manual labor for like 16 months, and my employer thought I was nuts because I'd never eat lunch. I would have a monstrous breakfast full of fat/protein and be good until an equally calorically dense dinner. I was only eating like 1900 calories a day and not really losing any muscle mass.

I'm hoping 2700 calories of REAL food will be enough out there, but am definitely ready to supplement if my appetite becomes to voracious. Hope any of that helped!

Edited by nickoli on 06/03/2012 19:14:40 MDT.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Possibly Yummy! on 06/04/2012 10:28:29 MDT Print View

I find the same thing is true for me, too. That the real food higher in protein and especially fats plus having a body adapted to using fat for energy reduces my need for frequent and voluminous food intake. So even though some of it is heavier food, there is less of it to carry.

I'm planning a trip in the Winds this summer. I am going to take a stab at making my own pemmican. I ordered tallow from US Wellness and I'll just use some grocery store lean beef.

It occurred to me that perhaps I could crock-pot some chuck roast and dehydrate that for use in stews and curries. I've heard that when the meat fibers are broken down by certain cooking methods, the meat dehydrates well (and also rehydrates well). Has anyone dehydrated crock-pot cooked beef?

Kimberly Wersal
(kwersal) - MLife

Locale: Western Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Possibly Yummy! on 06/04/2012 21:31:30 MDT Print View

I have not. I have had good luck dehydrating lean ground beef (after browning in a frying pan and draining. I understand that pressure-cooked meat rehydrates well, but I don't have a pressure-cooker, so have never tried myself. When dehydrating chicken, I only use canned (since, if I am not mistaken, it is cooked using a pressure-method). I have also dried canned roast beef, which also rehydrates well. I am tempted to splurge on of these days and buy some freeze dried meats from Packit Gourmet.

(tordnado) - MLife

Locale: Europe
Pemmican from butter on 06/18/2012 05:35:25 MDT Print View


I hiked for 10 days with pemmican for 80% of the meals, the other part was home made energy bars from grounded nuts, coconut oil and cacao.

I´ve found that clarifying butter (ghee) is a lot easier to make than to render tallow and it is tastier as well. I sometimes ate it cold but ended up eating it like a soup with half a stock cube and the pemmican melted in the cup. I was really surprised that I did not crave my hiking mates deserts, bars and other food. I was totally satisfied with the pemmican and i´m a bit of a gourmet at home...

To me it has become very clear that cutting the carbs really low means that the sugar cravings go away, as soon as I increase carbs (even "good" ones) i crave sugar.

Edited by tordnado on 06/18/2012 05:40:07 MDT.

Brad Abrahams
Re: Pemmican from butter on 06/19/2012 18:17:03 MDT Print View

Mr T did you make the pemmican yourself?

(tordnado) - MLife

Locale: Europe
Made it myself on 08/02/2012 03:22:04 MDT Print View

Sorry for the late answer, I missed your post. Yes, I made it myself.