View Full Version : Fueling up for 30+ mile days

09-01-2003, 17:31
For the last 1600 miles of my hike, I was covering about 30 miles a day (including days off). This meant that a standard hiking day was usually in the mid 30s. What did I eat? A lot. Here is a sample days food. Since I didn't send myself maildrops, I tended to eat a large variety of food. So, the food below only represents what I may have been eating around Lassen, but not around Shasta.

Breakfast - 2 sleaves of poptarts or 2 Breakfast squares or 4 fruit and grain bars, etc. I didn't cook in the mornings.

I would generally eat most of my food while hiking. During the day I would tend to consume: 3 regular snickers bars or 2 king sized ones, 2 packets of "Golden Toast Flavor Crackers" (crackers with cheese, Jalapeno Dorritos are the best), 2 packets of nuts (hot peanuts are the best. I don't know the size, but they have 350 cals per packet), 1/2 quart bag of snack mix (i.e, Ritz snack mix, Snak' Ins, etc), 1 bag of Craisins.
During one or two of my breaks, I would tend to consume something not convenient for eating while walking. For example, 1/4 lb of cheese during one break and 1/4 lb of hard salami on another. Or cheese on one break and two nutella (or peanut butter or hummus) burritos.

I would cook 1 meal a day, usually between noon and 5, and would then hike on. A typical meal would consist of 2 Ramen (eating light) or 2 Lipton Rice (or Pasta) and Sauce or 1 packet stuffing or 2 packets instant, flavored potatoes or 2 boxes of couscous or 1-2 boxes of mac and cheese or 1/2 lb pasta with a Knorr sauce packet I'd add around 1/4 cup of olive oil to whatever I cooked, including the ramen.

When I stopped for the day, I would tend to have desert while writing in my journal. This was usually 2 Mrs Field's cookies. They are individually wrapped and far superior to Grandma's cookies. Pepperidge farm softbaked cookies are quite excellent as well. Or, 1 row of double stuffed Oreos.

All this adds up to a fair amount of food weight and definitely more than a hiker doing 15 miles a day in the summer on the AT. I needed it, however. Except for one stretch coming out of Yosemite when I mis-estimated the amount of food I would need, I was never hungry. That's right, never. I have very few food cravings during the trip and did not become emaciated. I did lose about 20 lbs of fat. No muscle loss.

09-01-2003, 19:35

BTW, how long is a "typical" 30+ day?


What no corn pasta? I didn't think it was humanly possible to do 30+ miles per day without consuming corn pasta. Maybe if you had corn pasta (and a fresh potato) each day you could have gotten away with only 2# per day in food.:D :D

09-01-2003, 23:44
thanks a lot chris. that was a very helpful post.

09-02-2003, 08:16
I would usually start walking around 6 am (5 am in the south, 7 am in the Sierra) and stop around 8 or 9 pm. I would take about 3 hours worth of breaks during my hiking day. Some days I would hit 30 miles at 6:30, but usually later and only rarely earlier. Since I wasn't hiking to a spot (i.e, "Tonight I'll camp at Showers Lake") or for a specific distance, but rather a time (i.e, "I'll hike till 8:15"), I never really felt rushed. Where ever I was at 8:30 was where I camped. The PCT is vast and it was rare that I couldn't find a nice place to camp at my stopping time.

09-02-2003, 09:42
Sounds nice.

BTW, how were the horses and pack traffic on the PCT? I've read that at times they can ruin the experience.

09-02-2003, 10:00
Horses were almost non-existent on the trail. However, I would run into horse dung fairly regularly, but this wasn't much of an issue. I probably encountered 8-10 groups of horses, and only 2 or 3 large (more than 5 horses) groups. Cattle were on the trail and cattle dung was rather abundant in some places. The forest service and the BLM did a good job of securing critical water sources, however, from spoilage via fences and piping systems. Since the land is so arid, trail damage from horses was minimal and usually took the form of overly loose ground.

Incidently, horses are an integral part of the PCT. Mainly, horse packing groups are frequent and avid maintainers of the trail

09-11-2003, 09:52
How much water did you drink on a 30+ day?

09-11-2003, 10:13
My water consumption varied with where I was and what the weather was like. In southern California, it was a wee bit hot. I tended to drink around 2 gallons of water a day. Maybe less, but atleast 6 liters. That was for 25-30 mile days. In the Sierra, it was colder and I tended to drink about 3 liters for a 23-25 mile day. After the Sierra, I was averaging 30 a day and would usually drink about 4 liters a day. In Oregon, it was really, really hot. But, my body was pretty efficient with water and I only needed around 4 liters. In Washington, the temperatures cooled, and I could actually get by on 2 liters.

Good question, by the way. Water is one of the most important components. If you don't get enough, not only does your body suffer physically, but your mental state goes down hill. I don't use a hydration system, and so would usually stop every 2 hours or so and down 1-2 liters of water. People in the know say that this is not the best way to drink water, but it is the way I prefer.

09-18-2003, 16:56
i am sorry...as a noobie, i dont get 'i dont use a hydration system'...does it mean you dont filter or purify your water? where do you get your water from?

09-18-2003, 17:24
He doesn't use a water bladder (CamelBak, Plattypus, etc.) in his pack.

09-22-2003, 08:49
That is right: I just use water bags or bottles. I also don't purify or filter or treat most of my water, but that depends alot on where I happen to be at the time.

09-22-2003, 20:54
Great read. The idea of averaging 30's just blows me away! Personally I only managed to average over 20 in my last month on the AT.