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maxepstein
11-23-2009, 14:24
I don't plan on eating anything 'fancy' or expensive on my thru-hike. Ramen noodles every night is not an issue. My questions for anyone who plans on hiking the AT in 2010 or has hiked it in the past is:

1. How often throughout the day do you eat?

2. On an average day what do you eat for each meal? (Curious as to what particular foods/brands you are thinking of purchasing/eating)

3. Is some sort of trail mix a good substitute for a meal(s)?

Thanks!

Max

ShelterLeopard
11-23-2009, 14:38
Max[/QUOTE]
I'm going NoBo 2010:
1. It depends. Sometimes I eat three meals a day (even occasionally cook for lunch) with a couple snickers in between, sometimes I only eat a full meal for dinner, and eat constantly throughout the day.

2. Example: Oatmeal and brown sugar, snickers, dried chicken noodle soup or pitas and peanut butter or cheese or jam, more snickers, an then Korr rice and pasta sides for dinner. (They're in the "prepared food" section of the grocery store, usually, and they are great. I think they're better than those hiker mountain house meals, and about 1/5 of the price. And there's a large variety.) I eat a ton of different stuff though. Occasionally I'm going to have tinned fish and barbeque sauce or rice and mushrooms (Korr sides, again).

3. Not a huge fan of trail mix, but I do eat lots of almonds- they'll get you your protein and calories, but they're on the expensive side sometimes.

Pickleodeon
11-23-2009, 14:55
1. How often throughout the day do you eat? All the time, any time you stop for more than a few minutes, I ate 3 meals plus snacks in between. I thought about food constantly.

2. On an average day what do you eat for each meal? (Curious as to what particular foods/brands you are thinking of purchasing/eating) Breakfast I had oatmeal when it was cold outside, sometimes those carnation instant breakfast packets (I'd use them with cereal too) and in the summer I ate huge amounts of cereal for breakfast with Nido (whole fat dry milk, it's discussed a lot in the food forum)

Lunch was pita or those deli flats bread things, or bagels/english muffins, something sturdy and whole wheat, with cheese and lunchmeat or the precooked bacon, or those packs of processed lunchmeat that are like 79cents a pack. Or pb and J. Or sometimes pb,j, cheese, and pepperoni. :)

Dinner- Knorr sides with tuna or chicken, kraft mac and cheese, some of the asian prepared meals or SuddenlySalad sides are good too. and then cookies or some kind of snack after dinner and snacks and trail mix throughout the day.


3. Is some sort of trail mix a good substitute for a meal(s)? Never, at least not for me. I need variety, in addition to trail mix. I carried goldfish crackers, m&m's, trail mix, granola bars, cookies for snacks, but always had a meal in addition, and most of the time I was still wanting food after the meal. I'm a pretty small female, but I can eat, especially on the trail. Toward the end of the trail I carried a tub of cake frosting through the 100 mile wilderness and every time I'd eat it during meals I'd want to just keep eating it. It was really tough to ration it.

Jester2000
11-23-2009, 15:28
1) About 5-6 times per day.

2) Breakfast: Oatmeal/Pop Tarts/Fresh fruit, instant coffee with hot chocolate packet mixed in

Lunch: Pita or bagel with cheese, summer sausage, mayo. Sometimes PB&J, usually ham or turkey first day out of town. And then more cheese and a candy bar or two.

Dinner: Lipton sides, Mac 'n' Cheese, Instant mashed potatoes, Stove Top Stuffing, Tortellini, sometimes mix in tuna/salmon/shrimp/turkey from foil packets to the above. Cheese added to mostly everything, particularly Parm. Some sort of dessert as well, mostly candy.

Snacking as well during the day on GORP, Clif Bars, cashews, Snickers Bars etc. I usually have some sort of flavoring for drinks and pick up different types each time I'm in town. Gatorade, Kool-Aid, Country Time Lemonade, Iced Tea Mix, that sort of thing, always the kind with sugar, which is heavier but makes me happy.

3. No. At least not for me.

I would caution you on thinking Ramen every night won't be a problem. You probably won't get enough calories from Ramen, but more importantly you'll probably want to make sure you have a good amount of variety for your meals.

Many Walks
11-23-2009, 15:51
Max
I'm going NoBo 2010:
1. It depends. Sometimes I eat three meals a day (even occasionally cook for lunch) with a couple snickers in between, sometimes I only eat a full meal for dinner, and eat constantly throughout the day.

2. Example: Oatmeal and brown sugar, snickers, dried chicken noodle soup or pitas and peanut butter or cheese or jam, more snickers, an then Korr rice and pasta sides for dinner. (They're in the "prepared food" section of the grocery store, usually, and they are great. I think they're better than those hiker mountain house meals, and about 1/5 of the price. And there's a large variety.) I eat a ton of different stuff though. Occasionally I'm going to have tinned fish and barbeque sauce or rice and mushrooms (Korr sides, again).

3. Not a huge fan of trail mix, but I do eat lots of almonds- they'll get you your protein and calories, but they're on the expensive side sometimes.[/QUOTE]
.....and BACON!

Jeff
11-23-2009, 16:28
This is a great topic that too few hikers spend enough time to research.

One issue I discovered (and others have agreed)...you will not have a big appetite for the first fews days of hiking. I found this to be true every time I started a section. Don't overpack the foodbag starting out & that is hard to accept.

ShelterLeopard
11-23-2009, 19:09
.....and BACON!

Well DUH!!!


And Jeff is right- I've been out for three weeks at a time (assuming it'll be similar for my thru) and the "hiker hunger" didn't start to kick in until the third week, who knows what it'll be like for the third month!

ShelterLeopard
11-23-2009, 19:10
And pickelodeon, I like the cake frosting idea! How bout snickers dipped in frosting??? Yes...

Jester2000
11-23-2009, 19:30
And pickelodeon, I like the cake frosting idea! How bout snickers dipped in frosting??? Yes...

Or Snickers bars dipped in Peanut Butter. I've done this & it's excellent.

Powell19
11-23-2009, 22:19
I'm planning a thru hike in 2011. So trail food is on my mind too.

I've always had good experiences with stovetop stuffing. It's really easy to deal with and has pretty high calories per ounce (especialy if you add some oil to it.) They make instant potatoes in lots of different flavors now too.

BrianLe
11-23-2009, 22:46
"... and the "hiker hunger" didn't start to kick in until the third week, who knows what it'll be like for the third month!"

I think various things impact this, including how much body fat a person starts the trail with ... on the PCT it took me about a month before "the hunger" came upon me and I could get my money's worth out of AYCE buffets and the like.

One idea I've not seen listed so far is some sort of protein shake; I think it's good to get protein along the way (and some will food-geek out on which type of protein it is ...). For me it's nice to get fresh fruit and eat a yoghurt, that sort of thing when in town.

To keep life simpler I'll just have 5 resupply mail points on the AT next year, so I'll have to be a little more creative in some of the smaller stores along the way. For example, I'm not a big fan of tuna-mix meals, but might have to go that route. It's also possible to open a can of something in town and repackage in a ziplock (or double ziplock ... with care). I use the freezer bag cooking method, so if the food contents aren't particularly sharp/pokey, it can be helpful to make up the per-meal units in town to limit packaging --- and also to improve the odds of having the right proportion of fixin's for the various main meals.

+1 to olive oil, just do it, add an ounce to every dinner.

TimeSnake
11-23-2009, 23:39
potato ramen dinners cheap and filling

garlic08
11-23-2009, 23:40
All my three-season hikes over the last four years have been stoveless, so my diet is slightly different than most. And I'm vegetarian. I don't eat the pots of warm salty glop that most do. Instead I carry tortillas, cheese, peanut butter, muesli and powdered milk, crackers, fig newtons, nuts, raisins. And I buy it all as I go. I hiked the AT with no food drops. Once I hiked a couple of days on nothing but hot dog buns and peanut butter, but that was part of the fun.

I eat something every time I stop for more than a pee break. Yes, trail mix is a great meal if you carry enough trail mix.

a_tigger
11-24-2009, 01:26
+1 to olive oil, just do it, add an ounce to every dinner.

just cause it tastes good, or because of a particular vitamin / attribute?

interested

BrianLe
11-24-2009, 02:48
The reason people typically start adding olive oil is because it's a calorically dense food, i.e., a lot of calories for the weight carried, and it's easy to add a little to a dinner type meal. Goes well too with dried refried bean powder on a tortilla.

The reason people keep doing it is not only for the calories, but because it tastes so darned good. Better I think for thru-hikers than for ordinary humans. Kind of like, I expect, that folks who are working hard in very cold conditions can eat sticks of butter. The reaction of someone reading about that at home in their armchair is "yuck", but when your body wants the calories, oils and fats taste really really good.

BrianLe
11-24-2009, 02:51
I guess an adjunct to the comment about "calorically dense foods" is that it can get difficult to get enough calories to avoid losing weight (and maybe muscle mass) on the trail, in a form that you're able to choke down. Thru-hikers compensate as much as possible by pigging out in towns, but after the first few weeks a good thing to factor into meal planning is trying to get as many calories as possible into whatever it is you're eating.

JoshStover
11-24-2009, 04:02
Or Snickers bars dipped in Peanut Butter. I've done this & it's excellent.

Doesn't get any better than that!!!:banana:banana:banana

maxepstein
11-24-2009, 09:51
Thanks Everyone! This has been really helpful.

buz
11-24-2009, 10:27
I think you will have to experiment regarding eating levels on what works best for your body. For me, I can't start without eating something in the first am. I would also rather snack more often then eat a real meal around lunch time. For that reason, I am a gorp type person. Dinner, different story, I am looking for a substantial big meal. I would just advise trying different things as you start, and I would predict you will find the best mix for your style. Peanut butter and olive oil are great foods for the trail, once that hunger kicks in.

garlic08
11-24-2009, 10:48
"...+1 to olive oil, just do it, add an ounce to every dinner.

Good stuff...in moderation! Pay attention to "an ounce"--that doesn't mean "half a cup". I hiked with an olive oil guzzler once, who went through a liter every week, claiming all the benefits of long life, etc. He finished the hike with chest pains and shortness of breath, went home and barely survived a heart attack at age 40. Way too much fat in his diet. It turns out the long-lived Mediterranean people eat olive oil in moderation, like an ounce a day.

Cabin Fever
11-24-2009, 12:53
Anything dipped in peanut butter is good! Something else I have dabbled in for sweets is the Jello no-bake cheesecake. In cold weather, it is nothing to make these using powdered milk and water. In warm weather, a creek for cooling is a necessity.

I am an Olive Oil man also. Put some in all of my cooked meals. Tastes better and it also makes clean up easier - non stick properties.

jersey joe
11-24-2009, 13:03
I found that I had absolutely no desire to fire up the stove and cook for breakfast. I had planned on eating oatmeal for the majority of my breakfasts and that changed very quickly.

ShelterLeopard
11-24-2009, 13:31
For me it depends on how cold it is. If it's really cold- tea/coffee and oatmeal for me! If it's warm, sometimes I'll eat lunchish no cook food, just a snickers, or I will heat something up, depending on my mood.

I find that I do more cooking when I tent near/ sleep in shelters.
But, I don't often tent away from shelters, and I'm hoping to do a lot more tenting away from shelters on my thru, so we'll see.

Boy, I can get repetitive, sorry.

jersey joe
11-24-2009, 13:56
For me it depends on how cold it is. If it's really cold- tea/coffee and oatmeal for me! If it's warm, sometimes I'll eat lunchish no cook food, just a snickers, or I will heat something up, depending on my mood.

I find that I do more cooking when I tent near/ sleep in shelters.
But, I don't often tent away from shelters, and I'm hoping to do a lot more tenting away from shelters on my thru, so we'll see.

Boy, I can get repetitive, sorry.
I thought the same exact thing ShelterLeopard. I thought I would want hot oatmeal more when it was cold out. However, once I started my thru, I realized that the last thing I wanted to do was fumble around with a stove with cold fingers. Instead, I preferred hitting the trail quickly and warming up while hiking for 3 or 4 miles and THEN stopping for breakfast once I got my body heat going.

ShelterLeopard
11-24-2009, 14:18
Sometimes I'll do that (get going, then stop later for breakfast) on a cold day, but I still have something warm. It just feels good.

Besides, sometimes I stumble out of bed and want nothing more than to clumsily light my pocketrocket and hear it whisper. Sometimes I even remember to put the pot of water on top. :D

Blissful
11-24-2009, 14:23
I don't plan on eating anything 'fancy' or expensive on my thru-hike. Ramen noodles every night is not an issue.


Ramen may not be an issue to you but to your body it is. You are literally damaging muscle and soft tissue every day you are hiking. And you need the proper nutrients to heal yourself so you can hike for longer periods of time. Or you will get problems down the road with fatigue, pain, etc.

Good nutrition is paramount to a successful hike. And that means the proper protein, carbs and fats. And dried fruits and veggies.

Check the meal and food forum for ideas on what to pack.

Many Walks
11-24-2009, 14:54
We would get up early, pack, have a protein bar of some type and hit the trail by first light. Lots of “web walking”, but we saw a lot of bears in the morning. We would stop every couple of hours for a 10-15 min. rest and a snack. Lunch would be about hr. for a cold lunch of salami, cheese crackers, etc. We'd go 18-20 mi. average, get to our destination late afternoon and find a good place to camp. We'd set up, get water, do the chores and have a leisurely hot meal, enjoy the surroundings and people, and get a good nights rest. Do it over and over and over again. In towns we'd gorge to satisfy our cravings. Worked for us.

As a note, we made some great GORP and had it vacuum bagged, but our taste changed on the trail and sent it back. I've heard several thrus say their tastes changed on the trail from what they thought they would want, so don't be surprised if it happens. It's good to only lock in a month or so of meals rather than trying to plan out the entire trip. Stuff happens and it's easy to buy along the way.

ShelterLeopard
11-24-2009, 14:58
Exactly what I'm doing, the first month I'm doing food drops, and two other places where resupply is slightly difficult. Apart from that, straight outa the grocery store, 'cause who knows what I'll crave!!!

Many Walks
11-24-2009, 15:07
Yes I saw that and believe you're smart in doing it that way. We did a bunch of mail drops and it was a pain dealing with PO hours. A few times we hiked up the trail faster than the PO could truck our package...freaking nightmare. Next time we'll do it like you are planning.

ShelterLeopard
11-24-2009, 15:59
(Though I will say for maildrops, they're fun to pack!)

Jester2000
11-24-2009, 19:11
I found that I had absolutely no desire to fire up the stove and cook for breakfast. I had planned on eating oatmeal for the majority of my breakfasts and that changed very quickly.

I like having coffee in the morning, so I'm going to end up heating water anyway. When it's cold out I eat oatmeal, and I've found that I start to get really sick of it right about when the weather starts warming up.

Hikes in Rain
11-25-2009, 10:32
I'm with Jester. There's no point to morning, even in the mountains, without coffee. Although for some reason, I prefer cheese grits with bacon bits. I don't seem to eat that anytime but on hikes.

llano
11-25-2009, 10:54
For breakfast I have to have my coffee. I also like hashbrown potatoes with bacon or sausage added for cold mornings. When it warms up its Lucky Charms w/ Nido. Also Instant Breakfast.

Lunch is peanut butter and what ever I have to spread it on, cheese & sausage on crackers, or tuna salad on crackers.

Supper is a variety of stuff. I like the meals from Packit Gourmet (their banana pudding is the best instant pudding I have ever had). If I am eating ramen I will punch it up a bit by adding dried veggies.

I keep a bag of trail mix in my pocket and snack along the way.

ShelterLeopard
11-25-2009, 11:40
Llano just reminded me- I love packing out dry cereal from town- usually froot loops for me!

jersey joe
11-25-2009, 12:03
I like having coffee in the morning, so I'm going to end up heating water anyway. When it's cold out I eat oatmeal, and I've found that I start to get really sick of it right about when the weather starts warming up.
I have become more of a coffee drinker since hiking the trail so I understand what you are saying about the desire to boil water for coffee in the morning.

ShelterLeopard
11-25-2009, 12:05
I have so many hot drinks while hiking, that I've begun to carry a fuel canister for just hot drinks.

FishBone
11-25-2009, 12:36
from my limited research: RE: protein powders

soy protein is better taken while exercising, absorbed better, more slowly; you feel fuller, longer. (I use soy powder, Nido, granola for a breakfast meal. - easy to re-supply at WalMart.)
whey protein is used for after workouts to rebuild muscle.

I hope some nutritionist corrects me if I'm wrong.:o

darkage
11-25-2009, 12:44
No one has mentions instant carnations ... i drink them in the mornings all the time ... snacks between then normally some sort of tuna/tortilla combo .. or dried cereal .. more snacks "trail mix" or granola bars and for dinner i eat those chinese rice noodles with oil/flavor packets .... called thai kitchen ... ALOT better than raman.

Then when i'm near a water source at camp its game on for late night pudding, finger cleaning and quick wash up ... Everything varies on what i'm carrying ... i try to find packets of meat whenever possible ... heavier, but i like my meat.

Johnny Thunder
11-25-2009, 12:46
I don't plan on eating anything 'fancy' or expensive on my thru-hike. Ramen noodles every night is not an issue. My questions for anyone who plans on hiking the AT in 2010 or has hiked it in the past is:

1. How often throughout the day do you eat?

2. On an average day what do you eat for each meal? (Curious as to what particular foods/brands you are thinking of purchasing/eating)

3. Is some sort of trail mix a good substitute for a meal(s)?

Thanks!

Max


OK...here comes Johnny Thunder's primer on eating good (and looking great).

(worth of post #999?)

First off, unless you have specific dietary concerns you should not plan your food in advance. Being vegetarian no longer counts as a dietary concern because there is no lack of veg-friendly foods to be had at most all resupply.

Go to Springer with some combination of the following...

Dinner: Pasta/Tortellini w/seasoning packet, Mac and Cheese w/parm, Lipton side (all with the potential for the tuna kick).

Lunch: Nuts, snack cracker sandwiches, candy bar, peanut butter, cheese, bagels or other sturdy bread. Drink mixes?

Breakfast: whatever you can stomach. I've eaten Oatmeal once in 2,500 miles. One time.

It's more important to bring things that you'll actually eat than to plan on the most calorically heavy/disgusting foods you'll never touch. So, it's best to just show up with 3 or 4 days of food, a map, a pack, and a bunch of questions.

Seriously, dude, I could tell you to eat some things that'd make your head spin...either from the impossible complexity of the meal...or from the downright dirt-bag-disgusting nature of the food.

In light of that, here are some simple rules to live by. They might not make sense now but you will definitely grow into them as you head North:

Olive oil. Early and often.

Just as all good Brazilian steakhouse fillet is wrapped in bacon, so to is every good Snickers slathered with peanut butter and wrapped in a tortilla.

Fresh foods last longer than you think. Feel it out.

All hail the mighty strap-on!!! A strap-on is a last bit of prepared town food that you strap on to the top of your pack and eat first dinner out. Be aware that condiments spoil before sandwiches, pizza keeps longer if cooled and packed in zips, and that the chicken sandwich is the most viable of all fast food items. Quiet that dirty mind.

Be on the lookout for new ideas and good luck.

Johnny T

Jester2000
11-25-2009, 13:27
OK...here comes Johnny Thunder's primer on eating good (and looking great). . .

Lunch: Nuts . . .

I can't tell you how many times Johnny has been seen lunching on somebody's nuts.


All hail the mighty strap-on!!! A strap-on is a last bit of prepared town food that you strap on to the top of your pack and eat first dinner out. . .

You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

Lookin' great, JT!

llano
11-25-2009, 20:50
I agree wholeheartily with Johnny about packing what you like to eat versus stuff that is supposedly good for you. One thing I have learned about food on the trail is that if you can't stand it at home it will not taste any better on the trail (I have never found oatmeal edible, except in cookies :)). So pick things that you like.

ShelterLeopard
11-25-2009, 21:43
Same with me, except I love oatmeal, and HATE HATE HATE GRANOLA... OH MY GOD I HATE GRANOLA. Just a warning to all 2010ers, if you offer my granola, I will vomit.

Just wanted to make sure my message was clear.

But I love oatmeal.

AzWildflower
12-22-2009, 16:40
I have lurking for several months now and have learned much. Thank you everyone for all the good advise.

I was not going to use food drops until I realized I needed to mail my ATC maps to myself, so I am planning 10 resupplies.

I will not send food that can be easily obtained on the trail - ramen, sides, energy bars, oatmeal, raisens, candy, etc. These will not be included.

Instead I am dehydrating pintos, black beans, homemade humus, homemade salsa(goes on everything, well almost), fresh and frozen vegetables, lots of spaghetti/sauce(because I like it on the trail). I have loaded up on pecans (tis the season they are on sale) which I will add to most meals along with walnuts and almonds. Also I have tried Starbuck's Via. This will also go into my boxes. In hot weather it can be easily mixed with cold water and CIB.

At home I do not eat the Lipton and Knorr sides, so I bought some to try. Yuck. But that is my taste now, I might get to like them on the trail. I think if I fortify them with nuts and vegies they would be much better.

I am not a vegetarian, but I do not eat much meat either. I plan to eat animal protein, fresh vegetables and fruit in towns or where ever I can find it.

On the trail I like to carb load in the mornings, snack throughout the day (this includes calorie dense junk food, yet making sure I get nutritious food also), and then cook my dinners.

Cooking in late afternoon is sort of a ritual for me. A time to socialize and relax, wind down, reflect on my day. A time to take inventory of my food bag and plan for the next day. Decaf herbal tea after dinner is my custom also.

I also use olive oil. I add this to my humus, beans, wraps, and dinners.

I like orange juice. It is the best energy drink for me. Glucose and potassium. So I plan to pick up a bottle or fresh oranges any time they are available at a road crossing.

This has been a long post for one of my first. I welcome useful critiques.

I hope this has been helpful to the OP or to anyone else.

Graywolf
12-22-2009, 17:21
Kinda funny, I love cream of wheat and on my section hike in August, I took along single packs..Thinking I would have some for breakfast..Instead I found myself just eating a breakfast bar, drinking some english breakfast tea, then moving on..

I just didn't seem hungry..

I came home with all the packs I left with...mmmmmm...

Graywolf

Jester2000
12-22-2009, 17:55
AZWildflower -- sounds like you're on the right track. Good luck!

mudhead
12-22-2009, 18:05
I have loaded up on pecans (tis the season they are on sale) which I will add to most meals along with walnuts and almonds.



T

FYI-Hard to find good pecans up here. Peanuts yes. Good pecans no.

takethisbread
12-22-2009, 19:47
I give this subject a lot of thought.

I have several thoughts that shape my food philosophy

1. I hate mail drops. I much prefer resupply in towns and at outfitters.
2. Weight is my major issue with food. It's the heaviest thing in my bag.
3. Simple steps. I like one step cooking
4. Hate energy bars, but they are useful.
5. Ramen noodles are king, light and easyg, just not nourishing enough
So here would be a basic 4 day diet
Breakfast:
Whole wheat bagel all four days
Lunch:
Odwalla superfood bar all four days
Dinner:
Very heavy
Mountain House Lentil Soup
And 1 package of Ramen for one night.
Dehydrated Vegetarian Chili and Ramen Noodles for night 2
Mountain House Chicken Ala King and Ramen Noodles night 3
Mountain House tuna cassrole and ramen noodles night 4

Snacks; gummy bears, fritos, popcorn, a couple of protein bars

I know it's boring but it works for me.

I have found some ramen noodles that are healthy and organic. They have lots of seaweed in them and taste good, which helps.

I admire people who have all these ingredients, and cool sounding meals (yea I am talking about you Frito Bandido!), but for me, food on the trail is mostly about filling up)


Good luck folks!

BrianLe
12-22-2009, 20:00
Hate mail drops, but Mt. House meals for most dinners? And a specific brand of trail bar for lunch? I don't mean this as criticism, I just don't see how that works, but perhaps this is just my own inexperience with the AT. I know that thru-hiking is a better-known concept along the AT, but apart from the expense, I wouldn't have guessed that Mt. House would be readily available in small-to-medium sized grocery stores, especially when specifying a limited subset of the 20-some flavors of Mt. House dinners.

For me it comes down to finding things that are sufficiently healthy, filling, calorically dense, easy to prepare, not too expensive, readily available, and of course, taste at least "ok" if not always fantastic. A lot of bullet points to hit there (!), so the old standards work well for me ... Lipton/Knorr, instant potatos, ramen "with stuff", etc. Then for a little variety some Mt. House or the like in a very limited set of resupply boxes (5 for me for this coming years thru attempt).

takethisbread
12-22-2009, 20:32
Yes it seems extreme and that was a sample I would use for a four day hike not a thru hike strict diet, as on that you must deviate quite often. It's what I am packing for my hike Jan 16-20.

If I can't find a dehydrated meal on a thru hike, (simplicity!) I will use one it two knor or Lipton meals. As for one energy bar, sorry I only like a few, and that is one. I can replace it with a Black Dog Bar which is really tasty, or another brand with few nuts in it.


It's just a sample, like I said. I have no problem eating a bagel for breakfast a hundred times. And it's easy to get. The other stuff is interchangeable, but it's part of my one step cooking philosophy.
My negative with the knorr packets is one is not enough for me, which means I need a second package.

Side note;
I don't actually use mountain house but rather if possible, MaryJanesFarm brand. It's an organic line of dehydrated meals.
Hate mail drops, but Mt. House meals for most dinners? And a specific brand of trail bar for lunch? I don't mean this as criticism, I just don't see how that works, but perhaps this is just my own inexperience with the AT. I know that thru-hiking is a better-known concept along the AT, but apart from the expense, I wouldn't have guessed that Mt. House would be readily available in small-to-medium sized grocery stores, especially when specifying a limited subset of the 20-some flavors of Mt. House dinners.

For me it comes down to finding things that are sufficiently healthy, filling, calorically dense, easy to prepare, not too expensive, readily available, and of course, taste at least "ok" if not always fantastic. A lot of bullet points to hit there (!), so the old standards work well for me ... Lipton/Knorr, instant potatos, ramen "with stuff", etc. Then for a little variety some Mt. House or the like in a very limited set of resupply boxes (5 for me for this coming years thru attempt).

BrianLe
12-22-2009, 20:51
"My negative with the knorr packets is one is not enough for me, which means I need a second package."

Don't get me wrong here, I agree with the vast majority of what you're saying, or rather, your approach and mine are quite similar. I assume your comment on the knorr packets is when you're up to thru-hiker hunger. Adding some TVP helps this, and for me it's just then a matter of eating other stuff until I'm full. A Knorr packet plus TVP and olive oil go a long way to filling me up even when "the hunger" is upon me; add a king sized snickers or the like and I'm generally good for the night.

And MJ Farms is the other brand that I too like. Big knock on both alternatives is the cost; Knorrs with TVP or something like an Idahoan brand instant potatos with (of course) olive oil and some shredded jerky is a lot cheaper calorie delivery system, apart from being more readily available.

Blissful
12-22-2009, 21:04
Sounds like a good meal plan AZ wildflower. :)

daylaandjasper
12-22-2009, 22:37
I hiked before in 01, I am not a really picky eater, I did almost no mail drops the first time, this time I am doing mostly mail drops in order to eat a little better quality food.

1. How often throughout the day do you eat?

I eat every two hours or so, typically a mid morning snack, then a lunch stop, then a mid afternoon snack, I often stop and cook dinner and then keep hiking, have another snack later before bed.

2. On an average day what do you eat for each meal? (Curious as to what particular foods/brands you are thinking of purchasing/eating)

in 2001, breakfast was a poptart pasty swirl or two, maybe a granola bar. Snacks were candy bars, granola bars, gummy candy, double stuf oreos. Dinner was a lipton/knorr, or mac n cheese, often with a ramen added later on. drinks- herbal tea, hot chocolate when cold, gatorade powder when warm.

what I'm planning this time: breakfast Carnation instant breakfast made with Nido and possibly adding protein powder (probably not soy tho- I'm not supposed to eat soy supplements since I had breast cancer last year), mixture of hot cereals (oatmeal, precooked and dehydrated quinoa, barley, cream of wheat, sweetened with dried fruit and honey powder).

Snacks: gorp/trail mix with a lot of variety, granola bars, candy bars in moderation, energy nuggets mix, dried fruit, chewy fruit snacks, cookies,

Lunch: tuna or chicken pouches with packets of mayo and relish on tortilla, peanut butter, cheese on bagels, summer sausage, crackers, powdered hummus.

Dinner: mac n cheese (I never get tired of it!), bulk pasta (we had a bunch already- one of the primary reasons for us to do drops), powdered cheese, spaghetti , alfredo sauce mixes, lots of parm, the occasional ramen, sometimes with peanut butter and red pepper for Thai peanut dish. Also rotate through a veggie/rice meal a couple times a week- sorta a stew. And another meal called thanksgiving on the Trail- mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, pouch of chicken or dehydrated ground turkey. I want to make pudding and jello maybe other desserts as well.

one thing I found before- I really craved protein, I only had tuna once or twice a week - this time we will have tuna and chicken pouches every day, add tvp to a lot of our meals, summer sausage more often, cheese more often. My husband is a lot more into cooking than I am. We'll probably cook at lunch often too. For variety we'll carry chili powder, garlic, pepper, salt, maybe curry powder.

I got some shaker lids for film canisters to hold spices. We still plan to buy a significant amount of food along the way- namely lunch stuff like tortillas, bagels, cheese. I plan to make our snacks a little light in our mail drops in order to be able to satisfy some cravings/add variety. I am sending mail drops to non- post office places whereever possible in order to avoid the post office push (trying to make it there before it closes/during the week)

One thing I want to do often is carry food out of town to make unique meals the first night out- like hot dogs on the campfire, dumping canned veggies into a ziploc.


3. Is some sort of trail mix a good substitute for a meal(s)? I use it as a snack only.

Dogwood
12-22-2009, 23:05
Aside from breakfast and dinner, throughout the day I prefer to eat using the drip method. About every 2-3 hrs or as often as I feel it's needed I'll usually nosh on the go w/ handfuls of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, trail mixes, and nutritional bars like Raw Revolution, BumbleBars, Prana, Nicole's Nutty Goodness, or Go Raw. Often, I supplement my water w/ Lemon/Lime Emergency w/MSM or Cytomax. On short sections of trail between resupplying I'll take an apple, small orange, carrot, or avocado to the trail.

ShelterLeopard
12-23-2009, 11:30
Lipton and Knorr sides- I LOVE 'em. Really, I do. I tried them on my section (traded another hiker Mountain House for his Korr side- he didn't want to take it cause he thought he'd be gyping me, but I hate pad thai. And realized that I LOVE Korr sides. So I made sure not to eat any more at home (tried a couple) and found a lot of good ones for the trail. I'm only doing food maildrops for month one, to get into the swing of things. After that, who knows what my appetite will be?


I just didn't seem hungry..

I came home with all the packs I left with...mmmmmm...

Graywolf

On shorter sections, I'm never very hungry. On a three week section I actually started to get hungry after about week two. I did it with a group, and after the third week was over, the 10 of us went to a pizza place on the way back and ate 12 pizzas between us.

(I got really sick, but the moral of the story is, my appetite began to kick in. But that was when I was thinner, so maybe it'll take longer this time, who knows?)

Doctari
12-23-2009, 13:47
This is a great topic that too few hikers spend enough time to research.

One issue I discovered (and others have agreed)...you will not have a big appetite for the first fews days of hiking. I found this to be true every time I started a section. Don't overpack the foodbag starting out & that is hard to accept.

I agree, in fact here is what I pack for the first day on the trail: 3 candy bars. That's it! Usually don't eat all I have packed that first 3 - 4 days.

BUT, as I get along: I eat breakfast, usually; 4 packs of grits, a slice of Spam, 2 servings Carnation instant breakfast. Then I pack the rest of my stuff & eat a candy bar (or granola, etc) then it's about 1 snack each hour, I rarely stop to eat a traditional lunch, most of my breaks are less than 15 minutes, I just "graze" all day.

Dinner is usually something like (set up hammock so I have a place to sit): Liipton Noodles & sauce, often with some kind of meat cut into it (I just changed to Vegetarian, so that will change,,, somehow) 2 - 4 candy bars, Gatorade, GORP. Then I set up the rest of my camp & eat a candy bar (or similar) just before going to bed. Sometimes I eat a snack during the night.

As I am leaving town, I sometimes carry a chicken breast or 2 in aluminum foil for that first night on the trail. Just for that, I carry a zip lock of Italian seasoning; sprinkle on liberally, add salt, wrap in TWO layers of foil. In camp, place on fire, turn a few times, eat, wish you had brought twice as many, vow to do so next time. Next time, "That is too much weight". Repeat to infinity. :p

ShelterLeopard
12-23-2009, 13:50
takethisbread- where do you find things like Mountain House type meals on the trail? It seems to me that most resupply places carry a couple, but they're always the same. (If you want to live off of pad thai, go for it.)

ShelterLeopard
12-23-2009, 13:52
Oh, and I load up on candy bars too. I try to keep a bit of variation- snickers can get a little hard to swallow after two weeks. Snickers, Twix, MilkyWay, MilkyWay Midnight, all differnent ones.

Brass Rat
12-23-2009, 16:05
5. Ramen noodles are king, light and easyg, just not nourishing enough



Don't underestimate the nutritional value of Ramen Noodles, one package gives you almost 400 calories @ 59% carb and 33% fat; pretty close to an ideal food source. You also get to consume a bunch of water along with them, useful for maintaining hydration.

A lot of sodium, though. And I agree with the need to add other stuff for taste.

takethisbread
12-23-2009, 17:06
takethisbread- where do you find things like Mountain House type meals on the trail? It seems to me that most resupply places carry a couple, but they're always the same. (If you want to live off of pad thai, go for it.)

I will send em in maildrops, and I'm not picky. Actually I prefer the organic line MJF, but I would eat ramen if I had too. For me it's about speed and ease.
It's a preference, more than a scheduled meal. I go with the flow, what's available.
I'll eat frito's every day if I had too. No complaints.

takethisbread
12-23-2009, 17:35
Don't underestimate the nutritional value of Ramen Noodles, one package gives you almost 400 calories @ 59% carb and 33% fat; pretty close to an ideal food source. You also get to consume a bunch of water along with them, useful for maintaining hydration.

A lot of sodium, though. And I agree with the need to add other stuff for taste.

the sodium is the issue. I am trying out these organic ones tonight. Let u know

Dogwood
12-23-2009, 22:16
I agree wholeheartily with Johnny about packing what you like to eat versus stuff that is supposedly good for you. llano

You don't have to take this perspective w/ food. It's not an either or proposition!
We can eat the things we like and they can also be good for us! Tastes can change. For example, we can retrain our tastebuds to consume less sugary drinks like so called soft drinks(anything but soft on your body and mind)!

Mjkocher, have you ever considered ditching the MSG and salt ladden Ramen Noodle spice foil packages and reflavoring w/ something healthier like a broth, low sodium soup, or dried vegetables? Some solutions I've found is to add dried coconut(or if you can find it dried coconut milk), A Taste of Thai Peanut Sauce mix, a dash of my own spice(lemon pepper, cilantro, chives, etc.) and a spoonful of peanuts to Ramen. Another alternative is to add a packet of low sodium Pesto Sauce mix, a heaping tablespoon of Olive Oil, and heaping tbsp of Pine Nuts to Ramen. I'll also add a packet of low sodium Miso soup w/ tofu, some dried mushrooms, and seaweed to Ramen. I find I can eat all these meals hot or cold.

Dogwood
12-23-2009, 22:21
I also like the MJ Farms dehydrated meals, but after a 35 mile day 400 cals or so just isn't going to refuel me. They are more like a snack to me. I have to add something to most of them in order to get enough cals. so the cost even goes up further.

skylark
12-23-2009, 23:36
I like to mix equal parts raisins, roasted/salted sunflower seeds and oatmeal in a wide mouth bottle for an easy breakfast. Eat right out of the bottle while walking down the trail. You have to ration yourself, don't eat too much. I generally eat it dry but will try drinking (dried) milk or carnation instant breakfast with it to improve the protein content in the morning.

Jerky is a good snack but it is hard to know which kind is good quality. Sometimes I will eat a couple of pieces of jerky while the mashed potatos (or noodles, etc.) are cooking. That takes care of the meat part of the meal. Also need to ration yourself and don't eat too much of it.

Tuna is always good when the hunger strikes. Something crunchy to eat it with makes it excellent. Fritos or wheat crackers do the job.

I usually eat simple to cook foods and if I don't have to mix it all together, I don't and eat things seperately, sometimes eat the uncooked stuff like foil chicken out of the bag while the other stuff is cooking.

I have tried a lot of dehydrated vegetables and have not been able to make a decent meal out of 100% dried vegetables. However, if you simmer one regular undehydrated onion in olive oil, and add rehydrated carrots, leeks and celery it is a pretty good base for a number of meals, like lentil stew, pea soup, rice dishes or spaghetti sauce. Lentil and pea soups take a lot of cooking time (about an hour) so they are only for days when a wood fire is available to cook on.

Bronk
12-24-2009, 05:58
You really should be shooting for 1000 calories at least for every meal, and probably another 1000 calories in snacks throughout the day in between meals. I lost over 50 pounds before I figured out how much I had to eat in order to keep hiking and not waste away. It is very hard to do with trail food...

Tie a loaf of bread to the outside of your pack...you will be able to eat at least half of it before it gets too smashed.

Two peanut butter sandwiches: 1000 calories

Two grilled cheese sandwiches: 1000 calories
--use two slices of cheese and squeeze butter or olive oil
--experiment with different kinds of cheese for variety
--add bacon or other meat
--I use the lid of my pot as a frying pan
--experiment with other types of grilled sandwiches...I made pizza sandwiches a few times.

1 box of Velveeta shells and cheese: 1000 calories

Add chicken or beef or ham to ramen = 1000 calories
--I know cans are heavy...I think its worth it to be able to have meat.

garlic08
12-24-2009, 10:00
Don't underestimate the nutritional value of Ramen Noodles, one package gives you almost 400 calories @ 59% carb and 33% fat; pretty close to an ideal food source. You also get to consume a bunch of water along with them, useful for maintaining hydration.

A lot of sodium, though. And I agree with the need to add other stuff for taste.

A couple more advantages I find in Ramen: 1) You can eat them cold, like a big cracker, since the noodles are already cooked (fried). That's handy sometimes. 2) You can find them almost everywhere for those who don't do maildrops.

I don't really like them and don't eat them normally, but there's usually one or two in my pack for an "emergency" meal and I've been happy to have them more than once.

Brass Rat
12-24-2009, 15:24
... have you ever considered ditching the MSG and salt laden Ramen Noodle spice foil packages and reflavoring w/ something healthier like a broth, low sodium soup, or dried vegetables? Some solutions I've found is to add dried coconut(or if you can find it dried coconut milk), A Taste of Thai Peanut Sauce mix, a dash of my own spice(lemon pepper, cilantro, chives, etc.) and a spoonful of peanuts to Ramen. Another alternative is to add a packet of low sodium Pesto Sauce mix, a heaping tablespoon of Olive Oil, and heaping tbsp of Pine Nuts to Ramen. I'll also add a packet of low sodium Miso soup w/ tofu, some dried mushrooms, and seaweed to Ramen. I find I can eat all these meals hot or cold.

Those do sound pretty appetizing. Do you pre-package the ingredients, or just carry those items as staples?

I don't have a particular personal objection to the flavoring packets, but I'll frequently toss them and add something from my Lunch supply, maybe sausage or cheese (although the cheese tends to get a bit messy). As someone else suggested, I like to keep a Ramen packet in the food bag, just in case I run low on other supplies.

I remember one December afternoon, hiking in drizzly, mid-30's weather, and getting to the point of being beyond cold / tired and feeling a bit depressed (you know the feeling). Stopped to fire up the Whisperlight and made some Ramen / Sausage; I don't think I've ever had a more satisfying meal in my life. It's amazing how a simple hot meal can turn you around.

Bags4266
12-24-2009, 15:55
I just got a dehydrator for Christmas. I hope it works out. 5oz meals for diner sounds good to me. And the variety is endless.

Rockhound
12-24-2009, 17:04
Normally not a big fan of mail drops but you might want to send drops to Mt Crossings, Hiawassee, Franklin, Fontana Dam, Standing Bear, Erwin, Hampton and Damascus. Add the total on what you spent on these supplies to the additional money you spent eating out, hotels, hostels etc.. and multiply by 5. If somehow you can get to Damascus on a total of less than $400 more power to you. Your goal of a thru-hike on a $2000 budget may be realistic. But if you are like most hikers you will have spent about twice that much by that time.

AzWildflower
12-29-2009, 14:54
Somewhere else on this forum there was a discussion about pesto, so I am experimenting with pesto recipes on my dehydrator.:banana Dried pesto weighs next to nothing and can easily be added to ramen noodles + olive oil.

Has anyone tried Enertia meals by Coleman? Are these available in trail towns?

My favorite energy bars have lots of dried fruits and nuts - Odwalla, Bear Valley, KIND and others. Are these available in Trail towns?

Is olive oil easily available close to the trail?

Dogwood
12-29-2009, 15:45
Those do sound pretty appetizing. Do you pre-package the ingredients, or just carry those items as staples? - mjkocher

Aside from the olive oil, which I carry in a double baggied 2 oz(volume) plastic bottle w/ screw cap and maybe the pine nuts which I often include in trail mix I don't carry these ingredients as staples. I prepackage them. I realize prepackaging isn't for everyone. It means added time and some perceived inconvenience and mail drops. I like the idea of knowing what I'm eating, that it's available in a priority mailed resupply box waiting for me so I can get in and out of town fast, being able to tweak the portion sizes, caloric and nutritional intake, tastes, and eliminating unnecessary bulk and packaging wt. Doing this enables me to get 3200+ cals per day with less than 1 1/2 lbs of food per day. Besides, I just turn off the BOOB TUBE(which I think can be a good thing for most Americans), put on some music, and prepackage my meals at the kitchen table. Understand, not every long distance trail in the U.S. has resupply opps so closely spaced apart as the AT. I would only do mail drops on an AT thru at some key places that don't have med-lg grocery stores. This works for me!

Andrea356
12-29-2009, 16:17
Somewhere else on this forum there was a discussion about pesto, so I am experimenting with pesto recipes on my dehydrator.:banana Dried pesto weighs next to nothing and can easily be added to ramen noodles + olive oil.

Has anyone tried Enertia meals by Coleman? Are these available in trail towns?

My favorite energy bars have lots of dried fruits and nuts - Odwalla, Bear Valley, KIND and others. Are these available in Trail towns?

Is olive oil easily available close to the trail?


Hey, if you figure out that pesto recipe, would you mind sharing it? What have you tried so far? The best I've figured out is a vegan recipe that subs nutritional yeast for parmesan cheese. It's surprisingly tasty, and rehydrates way better than the alterntive.

Zoooma
12-29-2009, 18:30
Hey, if you figure out that pesto recipe, would you mind sharing it?

I was thinking the same thing!
Please let us know what you come up with! :)

takethisbread
12-30-2009, 18:23
I started eating trail type food at home. For the next 30 days all of my meals are going to be testing ground for a long distance hike.

Today's menu:

Breakfast:
Granola with dehydrated milk

Rating: no surprise, though the dehydrated milk might be a luxury I can do without.
It's a bit clumsy adding the right amount of powder.

Lunch: Nile Spice brand red beans and rice soup.
4oz cup. Add hot water. 200 calories. Rating A+. light, easy and tasty. Nile Spice is from Boulder CO, might need two for dinner. $1.25

Dinner: Nissin Spicy Chicken chow Mein. 4oz, comes in a tray. 560 calories per tray.
Spicy and tasty. Huge upgrade over Ramen packs, $1.09 A++ grade. Very nice calorie per ounce.

Dogwood
12-30-2009, 19:10
Normally not a big fan of mail drops but you might want to send drops to Mt Crossings, Hiawassee, Franklin, Fontana Dam, Standing Bear, Erwin, Hampton and Damascus. Add the total on what you spent on these supplies to the additional money you spent eating out, hotels, hostels etc.. and multiply by 5. If somehow you can get to Damascus on a total of less than $400 more power to you. Your goal of a thru-hike on a $2000 budget may be realistic. But if you are like most hikers you will have spent about twice that much by that time.

I think it a must for anyone attempting an AT thru-hike and having resupply questions to initially read the Resupply article here on WB written by Jack Tarlin "Baltimore Jack." His article is non-judgemental, informative w/ good detail, makes pointed suggestions, and leads a perspective hiker to initiating a resupply plan that is right for each individual hiker. It's the kind of well written article that I would expect from a mutiple time AT thru-hiker! He also makes some common sense suggestions on what food and a thru-hike will cost.

AzWildflower
12-31-2009, 14:23
Here is the thread about pesto:


http://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=56524

BrianLe
01-06-2010, 03:13
While there are many and various thru-hiker bits of knowledge and skill, this article expounds on something that all thru's hold dear and revere:
The 2010 All-Inclusive All-You-Can-Eat Buffet Guide (http://topcultured.com/the-2010-all-inclusive-all-you-can-eat-buffet-guide/)