View Full Version : food planning

12-11-2004, 01:05
how well did you plan your meals before leaving for the AT?
I believe I can plan the few weeks, should I be more cooncerned?
(I have never been good at cooking/preparing meals)

12-11-2004, 01:33
As far as food planning, the first big decision is how you're going to do your supplying. If you're going the maildrop route that will require a lot of planning in advance. And in my opinion what you plan in advance MIGHT not be what you're in the mood for once you pick up that maildrop.

I'm doing to pretty much do resupplies along the trail. Pick up what I'm in the mood for. Sure I'll be doing some more impulse buying than the mail drop route but my tastes change often and I want the option to mix things up.

However, when I first leave I'll probably take 3-4 days worth of food to get to Neels Gap. And I'll just resupply accordingly, whenever an adequate place to resupply is around the corner. So that will take some advance planning, planning my resupplies, but I'd rather buy stuff on the trail than mess with waiting for Maildrops that I may not even want.

However, I'm anxiously looking forward to many boxes of Mac and Cheese :)

The Hog
12-11-2004, 08:27
However you plan to do your food, make an effort to give yourself as much variety as possible. For me, small amounts of a lot of items is better than large amounts of a few.

I made the mistake of packing up six weeks of maildrops with not enough variety. Many of the crackers were stale after 3-4 wks. In my case, overplanning was a mistake - I wish I had relied more on grocery items right from the start.

You might want to consider carrying a variety of spices: cayenne, cinnamin, pepper, curry, chili powder, cumin, garlic, etc. whatever floats your boat.

12-11-2004, 09:43
Your question is about meal planning. Probably the first thing to consider is where to resupply. For answers on this, gather your information. Buy the ALDHA Companion or Wingfoot. Then, using this, and looking at your maps, figure out everywhere you plan to resupply.

You can start this process by making everywhere you walk right past a supermarket, like in Hanover. Then, fill in the gaps by figureing out everywhere you go close to a supermarket, or a post office. Get Baltimore Jack's write-up on mail drop locations.

When you are done with this, you should be able to resupply every 3 to 5 days. More often if you want to go further off the trail and carry less, and less often if you don't want to go so far off the trail and carry more.

Next, the key surviving on 5 1/2 months of trail food is variety. Thus, minimize mail drops. No matter what you put in a mail drop, it will loose its appeal by the time you pick it up along the trail. Tastes and appetite does change. Also, frequent trips to town and enjoying meals in towns does increase the variety available. However, if on a budget, it does add to your costs.

12-11-2004, 13:26
Depends a lot on what kind of stuff you want to eat. For example, some people are strcitly vegetarian, and as such they prefer to maildrop their stuff because theu don't find what they like along the trail. But if you're not too picky and don't need a ton of variety, I'd recommend not planning much at all and just buying along the way. I didn't do a single maildrop in my thru-hike and had no problems. I ate mostly oatmeal, pop-tarts, bagels/bread with honey or nutella, lipton meals, mac & cheese, ramen, and lots of snickers. Let me tell you, the variety just in ramen flavors is endless! :D

12-11-2004, 13:35
On my thru-hike attempt I just went by the seat of my pants. No mail drops, no worries about getting to the post office before it closed. Sometimes variety was scarce but by the time my appetite kicked in I could have eaten tree bark....

I seem to recall that somebody once posted a list of foods and their calorie content on here, or was it Sgt. Rock's website? Anyway, if I ever get out there again I might take that list....

12-11-2004, 15:10
Taylor....my first suggestion is to go to the top of the whiteblaze page, click on the Information link, and go to the resupply advice page. It's written by Baltimore Jack. It's a breakdown of resupply options at just about every possible resupply or maildrop location. It's probably the best resource around for getting a feel of how to resupply. IMHO, there are only a few places where you must do a maildrop. Everywhere else, you can buy as you go. Much easier and better variety buying as you go.

12-11-2004, 15:43
I planned mine in very general terms. By that I mean I identified the types of things I liked and that would go together to make a decent breakfast, lunch or dinner. In a lot of cases I could substitute one item for another but still stay with the same general menu. Flexibility is the name of the game on the trail and for that reason alone I would hesitate to plan things in too detailed a fashion or to purchase all my food up front. My tastes changed a lot during that 6 months and my appetite grew dramatically. I found that I really needed to supplement my regular meals with a lot of snacks. You're jut burning too many calories to go from breakfast to lunch and lunch to dinner without snacks.

If I had it to do all over again I'd do the very same thing. Worked well for me and allowed me to carry an 8lb food bag for a 4 day interval before re-supplying.

Now, I'll admit that I am not a very elaborate meal preparer on the trail. In fact the simpler the better for me. Outside of an occasional hot beverage in the morning, the only hot meal I ate was dinner.

AT 2003