Forum Index » Food, Hydration, and Nutrition » How Much Extra Food? If Any?


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Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster)

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
How Much Extra Food? If Any? on 08/27/2013 00:04:24 MDT Print View

I was reading about the "Ten Essentials," which includes "bring extra clothing" -- but the guidelines of UL say if you don't wear all your clothes at some point, you brought too many. And then there's "bring extra food" -- where many ULers try to finish their last meal as they're hiking back to the car. So, for safety's sake, how much extra food do you usually carry? If any? Do you carry extra food as a proportion? Or a set amount?

Recently I was on a 3-day hike that required 7 meals. I brought enough for 8 meals. Sure enough, I hauled around a half pound of food that I never ate. I'd pay big $$ to reduce my gear by a half pound so--an extra meal--Foolish? Wise?

Second question...IF you carry extra food, what do you carry? A meal? Or snacks? Ie, chocolate/nuts/cheese and other high-calorie-low-density food?

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: How Much Extra Food? If Any? on 08/27/2013 06:08:54 MDT Print View

Extra clothing is nearly manditory. Your hiking cloths get sweaty from hiking, or, wet from mist and rain. I keep a set of long johns and sleeping socks with my bag. If I am wet, I can change into these at camp and use them. I also have been known to hike in them when it is hotter. They dry fairly quick.

Food? No extra. For a week, I plan exactly what I need, with the exception of a few candy bars (chocolate.) I plan for one a day, but it is rare I eat them all. For a week, I might eat 4. Energy bars for lunch are the same. I bring 4 for a week. I usually come out of the woods with a candy bar and an energy bar. Enough for an extra day if I HAD to. Cheese/nuts are usually gone by day 5 of a week.

Ben H.
(bzhayes) - F

Locale: So. California
Re: How Much Extra Food? If Any? on 08/27/2013 14:25:42 MDT Print View

The typical human can survive 30 days without food so extra food is not a survival thing. It is purely a comfort thing. If you hardly ever get stuck in a situation were you want that extra meal then it does seem a bit foolish in comparison to paying $100's to drop a half pound in some other piece of gear.

You can die of dehydration in days and of hypothermia in no time at all. Water and warmth are things you really don't want to be without.

I have the problem that I loose my appetite at elevation, so I end up with extra food because I underestimate how much I will eat.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: How Much Extra Food? If Any on 08/27/2013 14:54:37 MDT Print View

We started by packing almost 2 lbs/person/day and gradually figured out how to drop it down to 1 1/2 lbs by trial and error. In the beginning we had extra food at the end, so we modified food on the next trip, and so on until we now pretty much eat what we bring. We aim to have a little extra at the end in case plans change, but not too much, perhaps 8-10 oz for the two of us.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: RE: How Much Extra Food? If Any on 08/27/2013 15:07:41 MDT Print View

It almost always works out that I've brought too much food so I never actually plan to do it. On my last trip, I actually mis-counted the number of meals to put in my pack and did have to kind of make it stretch. I learned that I probably eat a lot more food than I actually truly need.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
RE: How Much Extra Food? If Any on 08/27/2013 15:59:26 MDT Print View

I've been at this for quite some time, and I've pretty much got my food thing dialed in for the way I hike. Most all of my trips are just 1-3 nights, so it's pretty easy to bulk back up when I get off the trail if I miscalculated. For example, on my recent month in Yellowstone, I did 7 trips in 25 days, from 1-3 nights each (14 nights total). I planned 2-3 zero days between hikes, where I could hit the salad bar and pig out on steak and pizza before I went out again. I'd make a pretty crappy thru hiker...

So I plan a breakfast, a lunch, and a dinner for each day I'm out. In addition, I usually carry 9-10 oz. of extra stuff for a 2-night outing, which I'll eat if I'm not into the food I brought, if I feel like a snack between meals, or if I decide to not stop for 1/2 hour to enjoy my sausage/cheese/bagel lunch. So I tend to carry 2 Kind bars, 3 oz. of nuts (1 oz. per pack), an oz. of Goldfish crackers, and then one ProBar (meal) in case the weather forces me into the tent and I don't feel like firing up the stove for dinner.

Most of the time I'll not eat the backup ProBar, and I'll also carry out 1/3 of the other stuff, or give away any extra Kind bars to wistful hikers I see on the way back to the TH. I also try to take my last sip of water when the truck comes into view, so that my pack weighs just 15-17# when I get there (then I think I'm quite cool).

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: How Much Extra Food? If Any? on 08/27/2013 16:15:11 MDT Print View

I know that my normal full food consumption is about 1.5 pounds per day, and that includes three meals plus some beverage powder. However, I also know that sometimes I can't quite force myself to eat the entire amount, so sometimes the remainder comes back home with me. Similarly, if I find myself out on some miserable forced march to finish, then often my normal appetite for normal food wanes, and I switch over to my emergency energy rations. This is one tube of glucose tablets. This can power me for about ten miles of trail. I know, because I was into this within the last 48 hours.

So, I really don't plan on taking anything or eating more than the 1.5 pounds of food per day.

--B.G.--

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Extra food on 08/27/2013 16:15:36 MDT Print View

If you miss a meal, or two or three, will you be seriously hurt or die? That answers your question. People run marathons without eating every other mile.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: How Much Extra Food? If Any on 08/28/2013 10:57:05 MDT Print View

It should be obvious, but to be absolutely clear:

Although a lot of people seem to agree on about 1 1/2 lbs/food/day/person, this only works if the food is fairly calorie-dense (e.g. dried or dehydrated food, I seem to recall an average of 100-125 cal/ounce is about right).

But sometimes we'll splurge and bring, say, a can of mussels or a pouch of salmon for a gourmet lunch. This often is not calorie-dense (can weight, weight of water in the can, etc). Then we'll be carrying more than 1 1/2 lbs/person for that day.

I'll note that for us the food is an important part of the trip. I have friends who can live on peanut butter and donuts for a week, but not us. We like to cook and eat well on the trail, and are willing to carry extra weight to indulge ourselves. We keep the weight down by dehydrating our own meals, making fruit leather and jerky, etc.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: RE: How Much Extra Food? If Any on 08/28/2013 11:32:53 MDT Print View

I tend to bring more snacks than i actually eat. luckily i usually have pretty high cal/oz ratios so it's not much weight in the long run. an extra Clif bar or pb crackers isn't going to weigh me down.

I think the fear of being too hungry goes away with more trips.. the more times you bring back extra stuff the more you realize it's not needed.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
re: food planning on 08/28/2013 11:56:33 MDT Print View

I generally bring one day less of food than the length of trip I am planning. (eg On a 5 day trip, I bring 4 days of food). Breakfast on the first day and dinner on the last are usually taken care of on the road. There have been times I've gone without for a day or more, but this has never been a big deal

Bily Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
depends... on 08/28/2013 12:10:19 MDT Print View

For me, it depends on the trip. If it's a winter trip or you expect cold temperatures, then extra food is more important...

Cloths insulate against body heat loss, but food is the fuel for the fire.

Bill D

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
How Much Extra Food? If Any? on 08/28/2013 16:09:41 MDT Print View

I carry one day extra of my day snacks (i.e food excluding breakfast and dinner). For most people this is probably not necessary, but I do it for the following reason:

1. I am prone to hypoglycemia, so have to be very careful to keep my blood sugars up.
2. Getting stuck out for an extra day or more in New Zealand because you can't safely cross a river is not that uncommon.

On my last trip I got stuck out away from my tent overnight on a day summit hike(don't ask). I really appreciated having my extra snack food on me, as my stove, dinner and breakfast were back at camp. Luckily I had a bivy and sleeping back ,but no mat and I was able to find a rock to shelter under.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: How Much Extra Food? If Any? on 08/28/2013 16:18:15 MDT Print View

So Jason, I have to ask....;)

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: re: food planning on 08/28/2013 17:27:16 MDT Print View

"I generally bring one day less of food than the length of trip I am planning. (eg On a 5 day trip, I bring 4 days of food). Breakfast on the first day and dinner on the last are usually taken care of on the road."

+1 but I also carry a lunch for the last day, 5 oz of homemade Perpetuem in my case.
I guess that could be considered my extra food.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: re: food planning on 08/28/2013 17:30:46 MDT Print View

"homemade Perpetuem"

Recipe?

--B.G.--

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: re: food planning on 08/28/2013 17:48:48 MDT Print View

"Recipe?"

My generic version is 4 oz Maltodextrin plus .5 oz whey protein/lunch. I have omitted the trace amount of lecithin and all the micro ingredients for ease of assembly and the ability to supply them elsewhere in my carried food. Work fine for me, but others may want to add additional nutrients and flavoring to suit their individual preference. I have found that this bland vesion is very well suited to my taste and stomach comfort while on the move.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: re: food planning on 08/28/2013 18:16:51 MDT Print View

" I have omitted the trace amount of lecithin and all the micro ingredients"

+1. Lecithin is yucky!

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: re: food planning on 08/28/2013 18:21:24 MDT Print View

Tom, I have those ingredients sitting around, so I may have to whip some of that together for sampling. Thanks.

--B.G.--

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: re: food planning on 08/28/2013 20:02:57 MDT Print View

"so I may have to whip some of that together for sampling. Thanks."

My pleasure, Bob. Anyone 60 or above who gnarls his way up over Harrison Pass in one day from Roads End deserves the finest in clean burning fuel for his next big adventure. I didn't get around to telling you at the time how impressive I thought that was, but better late than never. ;0)

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: re: food planning on 08/28/2013 20:06:58 MDT Print View

"Lecithin is yucky!"

To the point where I've considered sprinkling it on my food bag to repel bears.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: re: food planning on 08/28/2013 20:15:54 MDT Print View

"Anyone 60 or above who gnarls his way up over Harrison Pass in one day from Roads End deserves the finest in clean burning fuel for his next big adventure."

Somehow some misinterpretation got in there. Last year, I went from Roads End up to Lake Reflection in nine hours on the first day. On the second day, I went from there over Harrison Pass, down to Lake South America, and over to the next small lake.

Anyway, if you are over 60 and admit it, then that is your own damned fault. As I used to say to General Grant, "You are only as old as you think you are."

I felt pretty old this past weekend. We did a Trans-Sierra Dayhike over Piute Pass, which is around 27-30 miles. The first team went from Florence Lake to North Lake on Saturday, and then the second team went from North Lake to Florence Lake on Sunday. I was in the second team, and I didn't make it out until 1 a.m. that night. I could have used some better trail nutrition.

--B.G.--

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: re: food planning on 08/28/2013 20:34:50 MDT Print View

"Somehow some misinterpretation got in there. Last year, I went from Roads End up to Lake Reflection in nine hours on the first day. On the second day, I went from there over Harrison Pass, down to Lake South America, and over to the next small lake."

Ah. Well, then, if you'd of had some of Uncle Tom's home brew you would have been over Harrison in one day, no problem. Anyway, it was still a hump to be proud of. Even if you aren't over 60. ;)

On a more serious note, there is definitely something to be said for rapidly absorbed carbs on long days, especially with a little high quality protein mixed in.
I'm not advocating it as THE complete solution, but it's a good arrow to have in your quiver.

For me, it's the only one, but everyone is different.

A little context: I don't generally hike much more than 12-14 miles in a day, for which the 4.5-5 oz packet of "P" in combination with body fat is sufficient, but when I do go longer, I simple double/triple up on the "Perpetuem" and cruise. No need to chew, digest, worry about dental hygiene or messy wrappers, or any need to stop along the way, except to get water. This works for my medium mileage trips of up to 10 days. Beyond that, as Malto has demonstrated very well, you need a wider spectrum of nutrients in greater quantities.

If you decide to use it, Bob, would you let me know how it works for you?

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Extra Food on 08/28/2013 21:08:15 MDT Print View

For trips of 10 days or less I carry 17oz of food at 1550 calories per day and no extra. One nice thing about the aging process is the ultra slow metabolism and I generally come home at the same weight despite the low calories. At home I consume about 1,100 per day and find when I am out on the trail I have to force myself to eat all the food for each day.

I used to carry a full days worth of extra food for any trip longer than 4 days, but found that in 40 years of backpacking I have never needed it and often gave it away to others. On a thru hike of the PCT I missed a food drop and managed 3 days on a Snickers bar and some GORP until I could resupply and found that I was fine. At this point in my life skipping a day or two of food every once in a while would do me some good.

I am headed out to the Winds tomorrow for 11 days, and after reading and responding to this post, I am going to reduce some food and see if I can't lose a few pounds. I don't have big mileage planned - some 12 miles per day with moderate elevation - as I had a double hernia operation just a little over two weeks ago, and am still a bit uncomfortable. Getting out of the tent and getting my shoes on will be the more difficult aspects of the trip!

Edited by Servingko on 08/28/2013 21:10:42 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: re: food planning on 08/28/2013 21:19:48 MDT Print View

"If you decide to use it, Bob, would you let me know how it works for you?"

Well, I will sample it for sure. I use some Ensure powder on an almost daily basis. I really intended it for a close friend of mine, but I need to get the flavoring thing figured out. My friend is a coffee hound, so I was thinking along the lines of the Cafe Latte. Actually, I would probably first buy a package of the Hammer stuff, just to see what that is about. Then mix up some by your recipe. Then try it out on the friend who is more of an endurance traveler than I am.

After eight or ten miles, my appetite wanes, but my thirst is still going, so I have adapted to getting lots of calories from Gatorade, Vitalyte, Cytomax, and several other drink powders. Of course they have zero protein.

--B.G.--

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: How Much Extra Food? If Any? on 08/28/2013 22:03:52 MDT Print View

I think I'm gonna eat 2 lbs per day, but I bring 1.5 lbs, however I end up eating 1 to 1.25 lbs.

if solo I bring extra 3 cliff bars to budget for an extra half to full day.

imagine the worse case scenario or a seriously unfortunate series of events.
This actually happened: a small quake, triggered a rock slide and rocks the size of car tires were tumbling and flying at 40 mph.

I was lucky and I didn't get hurt, but had I broken a leg 12 miles away from a main trail to get help, I would crawl my way out if I have to.

I really do not want to compound my troubles with hunger and dizziness.

it isn't that I can't survive a week, there is a difference between being at optimal condition to deal with a trouble situation, or have a serious problem turn into a series of secondary issues.

in an emergency, I would ration those 3 extra Cliffies based on the situation.

Quite often these days, I run into unprepared trail people, that I may donate them a Cliffie...

Also if I have a trail buddy, I carry only +1 Cliffie, because between the both of us we would have extras, and enough to address emergencies and food shortage.

Other variables are if it's a new trail with little research available, then the risk is higher to get lost or misjudge difficulty, versus revisiting a favorite trail that I have memorized and know what to expect. Those I just bring a Cliffie for that sorry needy stranger I might run into.

Edited by RogerDodger on 08/28/2013 22:04:51 MDT.