View Full Version : How much GORP, dried fruits, beef jerky etc. Per Day?

08-04-2003, 12:01
Hi gang. I've got my daily progress for my hike planned out along with all my anticipated maildrops. Now, i'm actually beginning to prepare the contents of each maildrop. So, a question for you grizzled thru-hikers:

How much GORP, dried fruits, beef jerky, etc. did you routinely eat per day?

I plan to cook a hot breakfast and dinner each day but my plan is to only eat lunches that require no preparation. Things like GORP, dried fruits and veggies, dried whole soybeans, sunflower seeds, beef jerky, etc.

For those who employed a similiar strategy for lunch, how much of each of these items did you require each day to satiate your lunchtime and general "during hiking time" hunger? Specifics like "1/4 lb. of jerky + 1/4 lb. of sunflower seeds would tide me over in the span from breakfast to dinner".

Thanks for your input gang.

08-04-2003, 12:13
I would be careful about mail dropping stuff for a thru-hike, You very well might get tired of the same old stuff before too long. There are plenty of places to resupply along the way.

How much? I have no idea. I ate when I was hungry, which was most of the time. 2# of food peer day maybe. That usually meant leaving town with 8-10# of food.

08-04-2003, 12:44
I realize I may change my mind later but i'm dead set on having maildrops right now with the intention of minimizing town-time as much as possible. I know people have lots of views to the contrary on pros/cons of maildrops but, respectfully, i'm not interested in that debate right now as I have investigated the pros/cons of maildrops and have come to the conclusion that maildrops are right for me. Also, I've got my meal plans for breakfast and dinner very much under control but am just trying to figure out the lunches/snacks while hiking and exactly how much of this to plan for each day.

08-04-2003, 12:49
Please throw out your daily schedule. I used one in the beginning and was so stressed out that I fell behind I burnt it. It was good to have avague idea of when I needed my mail drops but day by day is too much. You hit this awesome spot and want to spend a lazy afternoon, but that means I have to do 23 miles the next day to catch up or ARRGh

I think I did something like 25 mail drops for the trip and regret all but two of them. You kick yourself when you walk past a giant supermarket to get to the PO only to go back to the supermarket to buy a few more perishable things. I liked having a mail drop in Monson where the only groceries were to be found in a gas station. Vernon NJ?? was another one of those.

How much. On the AT you can get away with resupplying every 3-5 days for the most part. 100 mile wilderness is the only exception but by the time you get there (if you go NOBO) 5 days is doable. We got into an eating groove.

Bagel and PB in the morning w/poptart
Granola bar a little later
power bar a little later
Tuna on tortilla with some chips/cookies a little later (maybe some summer sausage instead) cheese on triscuits with some pepperoni was always good
Candy bar a little later
Maybe a handful of gorp a little later
Lipton/pasta/mac n cheese/luxury mtn house meal for dinner plus any snack we didnt eat during the day.

Always seemed to have extra candy bars and stuff towards the end of our supplies which made desert much more enjoyable. 3 days of food isn't much. we started buying bags of cookies, boxes of cereal, whatever we felt like.

Of course we were carrying 40lb packs

Other people bring carnation instant breakfast, TVP, some powdered milk, some powdered pudding, and candy bars. And eat that for weeks on end everyday.

08-04-2003, 14:31
I usually make my own gorp for a hike and it includes cereals, nuts, dried fruit, yogurt covered pretzls and anything else in the supermarket that catches my eye (this is a good time to shop hungry). I typically ration 8 ounces for each lunch on the trail and that comes out to about 1000 calories of gorp per day. Of course this isn't enough calories for a day of hiking so I also eat energy bars and candy bars along with the GORP and had a big bagel with lots of peanut butter blended with honey around midday. I found my energy stayed strong if I ate at least a couple hundred calories every two to three hours. It ususally takes about 2.5 pounds of food per day to satisfy me when I'm long distance hiking.

08-04-2003, 16:36
I am not going to throw out my daily schedule. People who would make a daily schedule for the AT hike are probably disciplined, goal-oriented individuals who probably aren't going to listen to other people telling them to just "wing it". Grimace - as someone who made a daily schedule for himself before heading out, and then burned it, you should know the futility of telling me to burn my schedule. I may do so, but not at the urging of you or anyone else. I will do so if, during my hike, I decide it's not of use for me. So please, I'm just trying to get some practical advice on dealing with lunches and trying to figure out how much GORP type snacks I will need on a daily basis. I'm not looking to open up a general discussion on "to maildrop or not to maildrop" or "to plan daily progress or not to plan". I've done my research and read the forums on that stuff and have already made up my mind and it's just not gonna get changed.

celt - thanks for the practical advice. In the past i've just used GORP type mixes, energy bars, sardines, and dried fruits/veggies for lunch. I've never carried honey before. Do you just keep it in the original container? Any problems with stickiness and in general getting all over everything?

08-04-2003, 16:46
Also, celt, just to make sure you're saying the following would satisfy your hunger while hiking between breakfast and dinner?

1. 8 oz. GORP
2. one bagel w/ peanut butter and honey
3. one energy bar (e.g. cliff or powerbar)
4. one candy bar (e.g. snickers)

I know you probably varied it, but is the above a good example of what would satisfy you on a typical day between breakfast and dinner?

08-04-2003, 17:08
I have come to understand that my participation in this forum is counter productive. In an attempt to ammend this I am deleting my posts and have requested to have my account deleted

08-04-2003, 21:47
dionalaniz, with all due respect, seeking advice from other hikers about what is going to satisfy YOUR hunger, is a bit like asking what a good looking woman looks like. You'll probably get 100 different answers from 100 different people. Everyone is different.

If you are not flexible, my experience tells me that your chances of completing a thru-hike will be diminished.

Maybe that's not advice that you "were looking for", but that doesn't change the soundness of that advice one iota.

Wishing you a great hike.

Little Bear
GA--ME 2000


08-04-2003, 22:24

I agree with you. How can I tell dianalaniz how much beef jerky he is going to want each day? People probably couldn't even tell me how many miles I will be hiking each day. Everyone is different.

The only "red flag" that goes up here is an unwillingness to consider the advice of other experienced thru-hikers. I have found this forum to be an excellent place to learn---but a willingness to listen is key.

I also wish him a great hike.

08-05-2003, 04:44
the input from meBrad and celt was exactly the kind of info i was looking for. they gave me general ballpark figures regarding the lunch/gorp issue i'm trying to figure out. it's not rocket science or psychology guys. it's just lunch. I was just looking for a couple examples of what, and how much, was eaten between breakfast and dinner.

illininagel - i did consider contrary points of view regarding "to maildrop or not to maildrop" and how much planning is too much. I rejected the "just wing it" carefree attitude and have gone with the more disciplined rigorous planning approach. There is good precedent of successful thru-hikes in both camps. The rigorously planned hike suits my character better - a series of goals i can strive toward and perhaps achieve (if not - cest la vie).

08-05-2003, 07:59
It basically all depends on how many miles you plan to hike a day. naturally if you hike more miles you are going to need more food. if you plan on doing high miles than your hunger will never be satisfied. right from the start i was hiking anywhere between 15-25 miles per day and i was always hungry. it didnt matter what i carried...bagels, poptarts, gorb, dried fruit...i was always hungry. then again every single time i made a resupply in town i gorged myself at a good old ayce restaurant to catch back up.

08-05-2003, 09:21

I usually ate 2-3 energy bars, each with about 250 calories. Occasionally a Snickers Bar or Nutrageous Bar found their way into my food bag, usually I bought those in a town and they too are about 250 calories (big sizes). I blend my own peanut butter and honey by taste but never more than 25% honey. I would heat up the peanut butter in a microwave until it was easy to mix they honey in.

squirrel bait
08-05-2003, 09:24
I'm following that advice. Schedule is as follows:
Leave Springer.
Arrive Maine.
I just can't imagine that there are not spots/views/places/waterfalls/grassy knolls/fields that eat up alot of time. My limited mail drops are for gear change/swap and basic spices resupply. Wow, a schedule just isn't something I NEED to carry. Ya all do good listening to these folks. I've never seen anyone pary a list more than you all. I agree that after a week or two it won't matter what you are eating, in that it will all taste about the same, keep your energy up and hike on. Good luck on your hike.

08-06-2003, 10:55
My concerns about mail dropping food relate to the fact that many many hikers tire of the same old, same old after a short period of time. I can't tell you how many hikers I met who purchased GORP or some other food item for 2000+ miles, and either ended up getting tired of eating that particular food item, or dropped off the trail early on. On a personal note, I purchased things that I tired of after 2 weeks.

Can you pre-purchase all your food and successfully thru-hike? Of course, there is nothing wrong with that approach, BUT I have seen and heard lots of folks who regretted making that decision. Therefore, I suggested a cautious approach to resupply.

Thankfully, the AT is not a wilderness trail, so resupply places are very abundant.

max patch
08-06-2003, 11:14
Originally posted by dionalaniz

I plan to cook a hot breakfast and dinner each day but my plan is to only eat lunches that require no preparation. Things like GORP, dried fruits and veggies, dried whole soybeans, sunflower seeds, beef jerky, etc.

I ate the things you mentioned all day long. Lunch was almost always a bagel with peanut butter and jelly or honey and a hunk of cheese. I never weighed my snack bag; you'll figure out soon enough how much to take when you leave town.

And to echo some of the comments already made, you will rarely hear an ex-thru hiker lament that they wished they had used more mail drops.

08-06-2003, 11:41
I understand that I may come to lament my maildrops and heavy planning. However, if such is my fate I wish to come to that conclusion through the experience of the trail. I'm very interested in learning from this website everything i can from experienced thru-hikers about all the practical matters (what gear is good, which shelters are nice, where's an especially beautiful locale for tenting, etc.) of the thru-hike but when it comes to the more mental/psychological aspects of the hike I prefer to learn any such lessons from the trail itself. I'm just asking that you allow me the right to learn such lessons via the traditional method of actually being on the trail. I'm not looking to "get my mind right" before going on the trail. Hell, if I could do that then there would be no reason to do the AT in the first place then - just browse this website and "poof!" - instant epiphany. I look at this website in general, and I made this thread in particular, to gather nitty gritty practical info that will help me.

Thanks to all above posted practical information on the lunch situation. I really appreciate it and it's helping to fine-tune my planning.

08-06-2003, 11:53

dionalaniz, you (obviously) know yourself better than anyone. I know folks who eat the same thing for breakfast EVERY DAY for 20+ years, and love it. I'm not that kinda guy. Heck, I used to have about a dozen different ways to drive to my office in NY, and I rarely took the same route twice in a single week. That's ME however. Just yesterday, returning from Myrtle Beach, SC, I didn't know what route I was taking to get home to Chattanooga until I passed Interstate Hwy 26. I made the decision in the last mile. Again, that's my orientation. I know lots of folks who can't function like that. That's OK, it's just who they are.

Wishing you a great hike.

Little Bear
GA-ME 2000

08-06-2003, 12:00
We met someone in Virginia who was eating mac and cheese every single night. EVERY NIGHT! We kinda gasped at that. Couldn't wrap our brains around it. He said he liked it, that's what he had in his mail drops, so that is what he was eating.

I can't help but think that it was just plain stubborness that was making him eat it every night, and that if he could have just let that go, he would learn a lot about him self.

I wonder if he made it to ME, and if he did, if he was still eating mac and cheese. In some ways, the trail is there to teach you that you don't HAVE to eat mac and cheese every night...

We did give him our camera battery. Actually, he insisted on paying for it. We would have been glad just to give it to him though. Nice guy.

Gravity Man

08-06-2003, 12:11
I have come to understand that my participation in this forum is counter productive. In an attempt to ammend this I am deleting my posts and have requested to have my account deleted

08-06-2003, 12:29
maildrops != eat same thing every night. I plan to vary my diet considerably. Actually, i'm planning much of my menus around a book I am reading (i'm at work and don't have it with me). In the book a mother stayed at home while her husband and son went on the hike. They had all their meals planned out on a daily basis. They knew exactly what they would be eating for breakfast, lunch, dinner before they started the hike and had developed a wide array of easily cooked breakfasts and dinners to keep things from getting old. That book is basically the starting point for my own plans. The only part I found the book a bit weak on was the span of time between breakfast and dinner, hence my question in this thread.

And yes, the father and son completed their thru-hike. And no, they did not seem like mindless automotons. I think one can still be brilliantly creative and spontaneous while, at the same time, creating a structured environment for that spontaneity.

This whole thread is eerily similiar to a typical argument between an engineer and an artist. The artist acuses the engineer of being a robotic drone with no passion. The engineer accuses the artist of being a flaky airhead with no discipline. Both are dead wrong.

08-06-2003, 12:55
Oh, exactly what you said about the bounce box. We will definitely put our costco candy bars, cliff bars, meds, batteries, Aqua mira, and other items in there. Pieces of guide books. All kinds of stuff. I think a bounce box is THE BEST on trail. It really gives you a lot more flexibility. You can slack on figuring out what mail drops you need with it and just look a few towns ahead to decide if you might need some extra supplies somewhere. A lot of PCT hikers do their mail drops as they hike. Much easier if you ask me...

Gravity Man