First backpacking overnighter. What to eat???
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Steven Davis
(StevenDavisPhoto) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
First backpacking overnighter. What to eat??? on 04/26/2013 18:42:20 MDT Print View

Hey Guys, I apologize. This may be a double post, but it's the day before and I'm wondering what to buy...

I'm doing a short 20 mile over nighter (2 days, 1 night) tomorrow morning and coming back Sunday in the Ohlone Wilderness... I've never really backpacked since I was a teenager.

I have trail mix, beef jerky, some old mountain house meals...

Wondering what you would take for 2 days of hiking, and 4 meals?

Thinking we'll just get some breakfast before our hike somewhere, then do lunch, nice group dinner, breakfast the next day, and lunch. And of course snacks throughout.

I'm thinking I don't even need a stove. Holla!

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: First backpacking overnighter. What to eat??? on 04/26/2013 19:23:56 MDT Print View

Depending on the expected weather, this may be a great time to leave the stove behind. You've got enough to think about, in terms of gear while you're out on the trail, so why worry about a stove, fuel amount (too little?/too much?) and the attendant parts needed to make a stove be efficient.

As a general starting place for food, you should be aware of the calories per serving and the weight per serving from the nutrition labels. If you pack foods that are in the 120 - 150 Cal/ounce range, then you are optimizing the amount of calories you carry in the fewest ounces you have to lug around. But, that's more important for when you need to be careful about how much weight is in your pack and the available space in your pack/bear canister (if one is needed). For an overnighter, not so much.

Trader Joe's is a great place to shop for backpacking food. Tortillas make a great base for thick pieces of cheese and salami and maybe a little mustard. Olive oil is very calorie-dense and a little poured into or on anything is nice. Cheese bagels are tasty and potato chips are often high calorie (Pringles are 150 cal/oz, a number that is not so easy to reach!). Trail bars or granola bars are easy b/c it is one serving and usually pretty high calorie. Trail mix is great. Plain nuts, too. Chocolate is calorie-dense, too, so have a serving after dinner (nice with a little nightcap, too).

Finally, repackage your food into ziplocs so it takes up less space. It can be helpful to organize into serving sizes so you know how much you should eat, rather than just eating a whole bag of chips or something.

As you start to backpack more and more, you can always experiment with canister stoves, alcohol stoves and esbit/solid fuel stoves to find the right stove to add to your gear.

Good luck!

Edited by saparisor on 04/26/2013 20:59:02 MDT.

Steven Davis
(StevenDavisPhoto) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
50-80 on 04/26/2013 19:27:02 MDT Print View

thanks. the weather is supposed to be nice. low of 50 at night and 80 during the day. trying to keep things minimal so we can have luxurious food weight :P

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
re: First backpacking overnighter. What to eat??? on 04/26/2013 21:01:15 MDT Print View

Also, knowing a general total daily calorie amount FOR YOU (YOUR weight, YOUR needs) is a good idea, too. You don't have to eat that exact amount each day but it should be close and knowing the amount will allow you to plan your meals & snacks with a high(er) degree of precision. Bringing too much food isn't a problem (within reason) but knowing how many calories you brought and how strenuous your hike was will be useful for planning your next trip.

A lot of people here extrapolate that carrying the proper amount of calories will equal about 1.5 - 2.0 (max!) pounds of food per day. If you carry the standard assortment of backpacking meals, bars, trail mix, nuts & nut butters, etc., you can assume you'll be getting the nutrients/proteins/fats/etc that you need and the pounds per day might be quicker to calculate.