View Full Version : How much food?

12-21-2010, 21:08
I have a feeling that when I went on a weekend trip I brought too much food. How much do you plan to eat on a thru hike? One day of food I had consisted of a mini muffin or poptarts for breakfast, a granola bar for a snack, a tuna pack and tortilla for lunch, and a freeze dried Mountain House meal (1 serving) for dinner. I also had a pack of sunflower seeds to snack on throughout the day. Another day I substituted an instant mac n cheese pack but wasn't sure how much else to eat with it since it seems small. I want to bring enough food, but not too much, and I understand hunger is a constant thing, just where is the balance? One snack a day? Two snacks a day? Larger or small meals?

12-21-2010, 21:37
eat for the hike. try to get some freash foods. drink tons of good liquids. allways walk into town with extra food. or not. it dosnt matter if your comfortable. watch your salt levels what with all thw trail food being salty. eventualy your furnace will rage and be unquenchable. you will have abilitys to eat pure sugar or live on fiddleheads. at a certian point, you get hungry. really hungry. so allways eat for the hike and when you start, and you have no appetite, eat. eat regaurdless of hunger. and after a while, you will feast with us on whole bacon!lol.

12-21-2010, 22:29
...........What matty said..............

12-21-2010, 22:52
You won't be hungry that much to start. So don't bring a whole lot in the beginning (though I thought what you suggested looked reasonable, though eating Mtn House every day will get very expensive). But by the end of six weeks,the thru hiker hunger kicks in and you will readjust what you carry. You will also have trail legs to handle more food. And you will want to eat a whole Knorr packet or Mtn house 2 serving packet by then.

Del Q
12-21-2010, 23:03
I am a section hiker (currently) and have worked hard to dial-in the food side. Have gone to no cook, much happier with that (less stuff-less weight-nothing to clean up), as time goes by my pack gets lighter and simpler which makes hiking more pleasurable, takes time to settle into I guess. Anyone could just copy the lightweight/ultra-lightweight lists that are readily available but what fun would that be? Love taking some fresh fruit out of town, apples especially.

12-21-2010, 23:06
Boy I could never go no cook myself - I like a good hot dinner for a morale boost. But that's me.

12-21-2010, 23:25
best advice is get experience and know how much you need. What you need on a section hike will differ greatly from what you are eating 1 month into your thru.

What I do is I carry my daily allotment of food, and then I will carry extra food on top of that doesn't weigh much, such as two or three knorr rice or pasta sides, or the mac and cheese, or oatmeal. That way if I'm still hungry I can just fix one of those but I'm also not carrying a whole lot of extra weight.

12-21-2010, 23:27
but remember everyone is different, figure out was is best for you and what your body needs. You can also always ditch food with other hungry hikers.

12-22-2010, 09:17
Some good rules of thumb I've seen here are that a typical thru hiker's food weight is around two pounds per day plus or minus half a pound, and caloric density is about 130 calories per ounce plus or minus 10 calories. Within that range are an infinite number of options of things to eat and how often to do it. And there are plenty of hikers outside those ranges, as well.

I've met a raw food hiker, a hiker on the chocolate and caffeine diet (get wired, hike until you crash, then do it again the next day), one who ate nothing but Pringles and Cocoa Puffs, one who ate nothing but organic granola...and they were all successful hikers.

12-22-2010, 13:03
Boy I could never go no cook myself - I like a good hot dinner for a morale boost. But that's me.

I agree B, nothing like wrapping gloved hands around a steamy cup of hot cocoa or bowl of oatmeal on a cold morning to get your mind right before the days hike as well.

12-22-2010, 13:32
I agree B, nothing like wrapping gloved hands around a steamy cup of hot cocoa or bowl of oatmeal on a cold morning to get your mind right before the days hike as well.
My favorite! But I do mix the hot cocoa (and coffee) with the oatmeal, like putting nitro in the old dragster to get the butt moving on the cold mornings.

12-22-2010, 14:01
Within a couple of weeks of starting my 2010 thru, I was eating a double portion of everything AND having two full lunches every day, the first around 10:30 and the second about 1:30. That was in addition to snacking at least a couple times in between. My calorie load was 4,000-5,000 per day on the trail, more like 8,000 when in town. In seven months of hiking, I lost 76 pounds. But like others have said, everyone is different. My metabolism went into hyperdrive will all the exercise; yours might not.

12-22-2010, 15:04
My hiker appetite kicked in while going through the Smokies, and I literally spent hours lost in food fantasies. By the time I got to Damascus my appetite was insatiable, and the amount of food I had to carry out of town was amazing. My food bag leaving Damascus was almost 20 pounds.

Whenever you are in town you need to eat constantly; just take in as many calories as you can. There is no way you can carry enough food to satisfy your appetite on the trail.

12-22-2010, 22:14
I thru hiked this year and this is typically what I ate:

-bagel flat with Nutella
-via instant coffee w/ nutella stirred in

Am snacks:
-snickers bar
-nuts/trail mix/choco covered raisins/m&m's

-bagel flat w/ tuna salad packet & fritos crunched in
-powdered gatorade

pm snacks:
-snickers bar
-nuts/trail mix/choco covered raisins/m&m's

-lipton dinner(1x) or ramen(2x) or easy mac (3x) with tuna packet stirred in

***I'd refrain from packing ALL of your food into drop boxes unless you have a special diet. It is not necessarily cheaper. You can get food at all of your stops along the trail.***

12-23-2010, 02:44
i make pancakes every morning or biscuts and gravy or bacon and pancakes and coffie.

at lunch i eat cheese and tortillas and pepperonie and bagels and peanut butter

at night i eat coosecoose and cheese and coffie and tea and bagels and dry fruit.

i dont eat sugar but i carry chocolate and gummies to share and trade.

Appalachian Tater
12-23-2010, 07:40
The amount you eat depends on what point you are in your thru-hike, the weather, how many miles you're doing, your metabolism, etc. It will definitely vary.

Start out with the amount of food you take for your weekend hikes and a couple of extra snacks for each day. Keep an extra Mountain House (double portions only for a thru-hike!) in your pack for emergencies or in case you decide to take a zero on the trail.

It takes a few weeks to get used to doing your resupply efficiently but as long as you have enough food to get to the next resupply you'll be fine. It's like a series of 4-7 day hikes as far as resupply, you don't have to think about the entire thru-hike as far as food.

If you're carrying too much food coming out of town you can always eat the heaviest stuff first.

12-23-2010, 19:57
Thanks everyone thats all very helpful!