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Kea
2005-08-24, 15:20
I have in front of me, Enertia Trail Foods Switchback Spaghetti, which weighs a bit more than 4 ounces with the cute plastic cooking bag. It serves one and clams to be 380 calories. Under normal conditions, it is filling and vaguely tasty.

All the guidance on how much of what kind of food to take along is a little...vague. We have everything from the crowd carrying canned food(rare), to those carrying all dehydrated, to those carrying what turns out to be gourmet meals, to those like Jardine who is making good points but not really helping with an answer that makes packing for the weekend trip a scrutable process.

I won't throw in my dietary restrictions for the moment, but note that those among us with problems get to add a whole new dimension to whatever 'conventional' wisdom says is true.

Me? I can pack two or 3 of these little bagged meals, a bit of trail mix and jerky, my gatorade powder, and call it a weekend. I can also take a soft-sided cooler with a couple frozen steaks and some 'real' food in the top of my pack and go nuts. I can halve the distance between.

What are you guys doing? It's apparent that people doing long hikes have vastly different strategies than weekender folks.

txulrich
2005-08-24, 16:54
All the guidance on how much of what kind of food to take along is a little...vague. We have everything from the crowd carrying canned food(rare), to those carrying all dehydrated, to those carrying what turns out to be gourmet meals, to those like Jardine who is making good points but not really helping with an answer that makes packing for the weekend trip a scrutable process.

Me? I can pack two or 3 of these little bagged meals, a bit of trail mix and jerky, my gatorade powder, and call it a weekend. I can also take a soft-sided cooler with a couple frozen steaks and some 'real' food in the top of my pack and go nuts. I can halve the distance between.

What are you guys doing? It's apparent that people doing long hikes have vastly different strategies than weekender folks.

I think you hit the nail on the head in your last sentence. It depends on the event. Most of my outings of late have been tailgaters. Bring on the dutch ovens and the cobbler!!!!! :cheers:

I'm an early riser and like to get up and get going. Thus, I prefer a no cook breakfast (all though if it's cold, I like a hot beverage and/or oatmeal), lunch and trail snacks. For dinner, I will spend some time and make sure that I replenish the carbs and such.

I've heard of people freezing steaks and such for their first night out, but I've never done it.

dougmeredith
2005-08-24, 17:16
I've heard of people freezing steaks and such for their first night out, but I've never done it.

I took my six year old son for an overnighter in April and brought a shrimp ring. It worked well and he loved it.

Doug

txulrich
2005-08-24, 17:51
I took my six year old son for an overnighter in April and brought a shrimp ring. It worked well and he loved it.

Doug

On some scouting trips, we have actually have made a no-bake cheese cake. When it cools down a little (currently in the 100's for a week or so!), I plan on doing that for my new troop.

GregH
2005-08-24, 18:29
I like to put Wolf's Brand Chili into a vacuum bag and boil it in some water over my stove. That and a few tortillas make an easy and tasty dinner.
Breakfast is usually coffee, cheese biscuits (which I make in my Bakepacker), and some jerky. I'm a 'get up early and enjoy a cup of good coffee while watching the sun come up' kind of guy.

Seeker
2005-08-24, 19:18
What are you guys doing? It's apparent that people doing long hikes have vastly different strategies than weekender folks.

i'm fortunate that i don't have a vast 'reportoire' of food likes... chicken, beef, corn, noodles, mashed potatos, gravy, green beans, and that's about it for home. love seafood too, but that's not 'home' fare. don't like anything spicy at all. pasta's 'just ok.' i'm not picky... i'll eat anything. but i prefer 'simple'. breakfast has been plain old raisin bran for as long as i can remember, and lunch is the same old ham sandwich, apple, and cake/ cookie/ whatever my wife or daughter baked. pretty boring, but makes life simple. went 6 weeks once eating the same "omelet with ham" MRE with the occassional (weekly, maybe) beef stew thrown in, and i traded an italian guy for one of their rations one day. not bad, not great. so while camping, i don't get sick of the 'same old thing'... lucky, i guess. tried carrying a lot of condiments and stuff once or twice (soy sauce, salt, pepper, honey, and a few others). all travel well, i just never used them, and the whole thing weighed about 10 oz and just wastn' worth the effort. i'm a decent cook, just don't like to fuss. I do carry powdered milk and olive oil though. good with my lipton noodles, as i'll explain.

i am a slow riser. i like cocoa and oatmeal in the morning. daughter loves pop tarts, so that's what she gets. i tend to 'graze' most of the day, so between say 10 and 2 i'll eat two packs of cheesy/peanutbuttery crackers, some GORP, a couple inches off a pepperoni stick or some landjaeger (german smoked summer sausage in a natural skin casing), maybe a cheese stick, a granola bar if i'm still hungry, and that's it til dinner. (probably an old army habit, from having a hot breakfast and dinner, and an MRE lunch, which you could never just sit down and eat "in peace", but ate "in pieces" as you could during the day.) dinner is usually ramen or lipton noodles and sauce (stroganoff is my favorite, but there are a bunch of other flavors) and chicken from those foil pouches. i carry one mountain house freeze dried beef stew as a backup/emergency ration. sometimes i carry tang/ gatorade/ koolaid mix, but not for just a weekend hike. i like plain water just fine. the noodles cook quickly and quietly while i set up camp, and cleanup is simple too... (my brother, on the other hand, needs something different every meal, carries fresh fruit like bananas, apples and oranges, and usually makes two different drinks for dinner. he carries way more food than i do.)

about the only "rule of thumb" i've ever heard is that about two pounds per day should be enough for the average male hiker. females, being generally smaller, might require a little less, larger hikers of either sex might require more. but your mileage will vary. everyone's different. some people live to eat, like my brother; others, like myself, eat only because it's required... if i could take a pill, i would.

JPW
2005-08-25, 12:44
I did 146 miles on the AT in 12 days with one day off in a trail town. I started with a 7 day supply of mountain house dehydrated food. I got a case packaged for a solo hiker for seven days. Took a little extra dried fruit and hard candy. Then I had a restaurant meal whenever convenient. My pack was 25 pounds with everything. I realy like mountain house!
You didn't say if you go ultra lite or not. I have repented from my heavy ways after 6 Philmont trips with a 40-60 pound pack. Now I hike UL and solo. Hope I die on the trail and let the cyotes have a feast.

Seeker
2005-08-25, 17:34
JPW,

if you mean me, yes, i'm borderline ultralightweight and usually solo.

my 10-year old daughter often goes with me on short overnighters, but the heat kicks her butt, and i haven't had much luck finding a decent lightweight pack for her. a school pack is too small, and all the others are too big and/or too heavy. even something like my gust, or a breeze, while light enough, is too big for her little body.

mountain house is great, but a little too expensive. i'm also not really close to anything here, namely a real outfitter who carries dehydrated foods. closest one is about a 3 hour drive, in the opposite direction from where i camp/hike now. but i like how small and light their stuff is. still not sure i'd use it a lot, even with mail order available. i carry about 12-15 lbs, usually, before food, and am a tree-hanger, so i guess by some definitions that's ultralight. it's easier here in LA due to the lack of a need to carry many warm clothes. 'three season' camping is from Sept to June, with the 'severe season' being the summer (when you just switch to canoing). i don't miss my army rucksack at all. "forced camping'' was no fun at all. and on some of the trips people shot at you...

i prefer solo trips... get up, eat, walk, stop, ad infinitum, with no one to answer to, no clock, no phones, nothing. best trips i've ever taken were 7-10 days in the smokies, with a trip back to a centrally located car (read 'newfound gap parking lot') for resupply in the middle. there's a water fountain there too, and trash cans. if i was craving something, it was a quick run into gatlinburg for a meal and then back up again.

Kea
2005-08-25, 17:53
about the only "rule of thumb" i've ever heard is that about two pounds per day should be enough for the average male hiker. females, being generally smaller, might require a little less, larger hikers of either sex might require more. but your mileage will vary. everyone's different. some people live to eat, like my brother; others, like myself, eat only because it's required... if i could take a pill, i would.


Well, the problem with the 'rule of thumb' is that 2 pounds of Mountain House or 2 pounds of any other packaged backpacking food is going to be different than taking 2 pounds of real food. I'm halving the distance, but I really way overpack and the guidance doesn't help me avoid doing that. :/

I'm basically packing for one major meal beyond the end of the trip and taking the things I know I can fix that will work around my dietary restrictions the best. My liver failed in late April, so the restrictions are on things like fats and chemicals, which leaves out things like commercially manufactured jerky, processed foods, and eggs. Getting enough water is an interesting proposition when you eat trail mixes filled with dried fruit. Note that it hasn't stopped me from going. :)

Seeker
2005-08-25, 17:56
can't help you then. one thing i used to do is write down what i took, then look at what i brought back, and figured out why. helped me for the next time.

and that reminds me: did you get my packing list ok? sent it out yesterday morning...

Kea
2005-08-25, 18:14
Oh yeah. It was very helpful and I'm busy weighing and updating it. :)

As to the food, I know my dietary issues are really a non-issue here, because they are mine. My real question rolls back around to the what, when, how, since I know that I'm not the only novice hiker who has ever faced the mystery of how to pack food.

Ray Jardine has some interesting ideas, as does The Well-Fed Backpacker. I like your approach, at least as a post mortem. Do you find that it hones your packing, or do your tastes and cravings drive what goes when?

deadeye
2005-08-25, 22:18
Ilike to keep it real simple - breakfast is usually granola with some powdered milk thrown in, lunch is often the same, and sometimes that's the snack, too, but without the milk. During the day, I nibble on granola, various bars, dried fruit, bread with peanut butter and jelly, and I usually make a pint of gatorade in warm weather. Dinner is usually something very simple, never more than boiling water added to something - a dehydrated meal, ramen noodles or mashed potatoes with added shrimp, tuna or chicken in the pouches, and an occassional MRE. Only experience will tell you how much you like and when you like it. Writing down successful regimens would be a great help in remembering when hikes went especially well, as in always had the right food, never felt hungry, never bonked, and didn't carry too much. Someday I'll try that.

blackdog
2005-08-25, 22:26
My 10-year old daughter often goes with me on short overnighters, but the heat kicks her butt, and i haven't had much luck finding a decent lightweight pack for her. a school pack is too small, and all the others are too big and/or too heavy. even something like my gust, or a breeze, while light enough, is too big for her little body.
You should consider sewing a dayskin (http://hikinghq.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1284) for her. The only problem i've had with mine so far is a little cut because of some unnoticed sharp edge.

JPW
2005-08-26, 09:47
Kea, get a dehydrator and make your own meals. Repackage what you buy into ziplock bags, clip the instructions if you need them.
Seeker, rayjardine.com has a Breez kit, you measure the sholder girth and buy the kit for that size.

Seeker
2005-08-26, 09:57
Oh yeah. It was very helpful and I'm busy weighing and updating it. :)

As to the food, I know my dietary issues are really a non-issue here, because they are mine. My real question rolls back around to the what, when, how, since I know that I'm not the only novice hiker who has ever faced the mystery of how to pack food.

Ray Jardine has some interesting ideas, as does The Well-Fed Backpacker. I like your approach, at least as a post mortem. Do you find that it hones your packing, or do your tastes and cravings drive what goes when?

i'm pretty disciplined, and so use it to hone my packing. no sense doing the 'post mortem' if you're not going to make use of it. my tastes are pretty simple, and it sounds like deadeye and i have about the same philosophy in regards to dinner-making.

Seeker
2005-08-26, 10:02
Kea, get a dehydrator and make your own meals. Repackage what you buy into ziplock bags, clip the instructions if you need them.
Seeker, rayjardine.com has a Breez kit, you measure the sholder girth and buy the kit for that size.

JPW and Blackdog- thanks for the ideas... i can't get the other link to open, but i seem to remember reading that thread. i'll find it.

thanks again.