View Full Version : Food Weight - daily average

08-13-2006, 10:19
I know this really depends on taste (and size) but what do people find to be the projected weight of their daily food supply. I had always projected 2 pounds a day (which I think was Wingfoot's number) but I also carry WAY too much food. I talked to a bunch of thru hikers a few weeks back and it seems like they project more like 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds.

Any input would be nice for planning how far I want to haul between resupply.

map man
08-13-2006, 14:33
Thru-hikers carrying only 1.5 to 1.25 pounds of food per day are counting on gorging themselves every time they eat away from the trail. Lots of pizza, ice cream, and AYCE eating in trail towns etc. If you want to consume 4000+ calories per day consistently while on the trail you will need to carry at least 2 pounds per day unless you are getting a big percentage (40% or more) of your calories from fat.

My last two week hike I ate all my food on the trail and I was carrying 2.33 (including packaging weight) pounds of food per day. That was for a diet that was 30% fat calories, 14% protein calories, and the balance in carbohydrates for 4200 calories per day. Doing this, I weighed the same when I got off the trail as I did when I got on. I could have done a little better at my calories/ounce food ratio if I hadn't been eating so much dried fruit (raisins, dried apricots and such) in order to make sure I was getting enough potassium (any problems I've ever had with dehydration have come from a deficiency of potassium). Even dried fruit tends to have a high moisture content and this means more weight per calorie.

Pure carbohydrates, with no added moisture, give you 1800 calories per pound. It's the same with protein. Pure fat, with no added moisture, works out to 4500 calories per pound. So, theoretically a diet with zero moisture content and with 30% fat calories would require a weight of 1.82 pounds of food to give you 4000 calories. But unless all your food is rehydrated, either through adding hot water to dehydrated meals or adding water to powdered drink mixes, you will find it really hard to choke down foods with zero moisture content. That's why with some moisture and some packaging weight thrown in you really can't get by with less than two pounds of food per day, if 4000 calories is your goal, unless you're eating a whole lot of fat.

So, then the question becomes: how much of my diet do I want to supplement with off trail foods that I don't have to carry on my back?

08-13-2006, 16:49
Pure carbohydrates, with no added moisture, give you 1800 calories per pound. It's the same with protein.

Hmmm...this didn't sound quite right to me, but after a quick search I found this. Interesting, and a reliable source. Provided you aren't shopping for pain meds. :eek:


08-13-2006, 18:18
It's worth it to carry foods you like, and enjoy eating than to carry foods that you don't like as much and don't enjoy eating quite so much, even if they are significantly heavier. There's nothing like trying to eat foods that you don't like so much after a long day of hiking, even if these foods make your pack lighter.

I've never had this problem....For some reason, just about anything that'll fill me up tastes GREAT after a long day on the trail...

08-13-2006, 18:26
Hard to believe that a male thru-hiker is carrying less than 2 lbs/day after they've been on the trail for a few months.

As a 170-pound male section hiker, I've found that 1 to 1.5 pounds per day is more than enough for me for at least the first few weeks.

08-13-2006, 21:34
noone eats like me. no one. do you understand? dont even try to carry as much food as i do. i have so much more food than you that calories called,......he wanted to know if he should come over and let you eat him.i eat any time any thing all the time.my tyipical food bag allways weighs the same no matter how many days it is to the next store.and it weighs pal- see -pie.oh mercy does it weigh. in my opinion, lightweight exspensive gear has one function. letting you eat more.i allways have 2 lbs of cheese and i allways have 5 lbs of gorp and snack bag.so right there im carring most peoples food weight. add the 7 dinners i carry standard and the rest and im walkin out of town for a seven day( smokeys)pig out weighing as much as all my other gear. my pack with no food,17 lbs.with food for the long sections,35.so 18 lbs max = about(remember 7 days is for 6 days of hiking) 3 lbs a day.i like to be able to pass my famouse mixture of candy around a camp with 6 people in it and let each have some without affecting my needs.sharing is where its at.

08-13-2006, 23:06
My food bag during my thru weighed about 2 lbs/day on average. Sometimes you can't get the foods you prefer and you need to carry heavier items.


08-13-2006, 23:55
I always carry too much food - but I know I will not starve. I figure I am coming in at about 1.25-1.5 pounds of food per day, rarely more than that (although there is the occasional extra weight in shared 'surprise' food for fellow hikers like cheese and sausage).