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Thread: Lunches

  1. #1
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    Default Lunches

    Hey Everyone!

    I'm a total newbie here. Myself, along with my father-in-law and brother-in-law are going to do the in-state portion of the AT the week leading up to Labor Day. This will be my first long hike that I've ever done (96.1 miles). As far as lunches go, we'd like for them to be quick. A break is good, but we also want to keep going. My thought process to keep from taking out everything in our packs would be protein bars and dried fruit with some nuts.

    My question is: Is this dumb? If not, what are some protein bars you suggest? I'm seeing everything under the sun researching online.

    Thanks for your help in advance!

  2. #2

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    My standard lunch bar is either a Larabar or a ThinkThin protein bar. (I've been thru every energy bar you can imagine---Clif, Pro Bar etc etc. They all get old).

    If you take a loaf of bread on your trip in the morning you could make a couple peanut butter/jelly or honey sandwiches and ziploc them up for a quick sit down lunch.

    Some people like a red apple and some cheese. Then there's peanuts and raisins---GORP. Or trail mix. Or granola. Or a bagel and cream cheese.

  3. #3
    Registered User Nanatuk's Avatar
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    Protein bars are usually Oatmeal based (Clif Bars and similar) or Date based (Lara Bars and similar). I bought a bunch of different kind of bars to taste test before my hike last year and ended up packing Kind bars, Lara bars, Probars and RX bars in my resupply boxes.

    I loved the Probar - Superfood slam and the RX bars. Very filling and good energy,
    I ended up loathing the Lara bars - Something about the texture. I ended up smearing peanut butter to make them palatable.
    I love the Kind bars, but not very filling as a meal, more of a snack.

    Everyone's taste is different so go give them a try before you go.

    My usual trail lunch is a tortilla with either Peanut butter and dried fruit or salami and cheese (baby bels).

  4. #4

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    I also like doing something with a tortilla. Peanut butter and jelly or honey is one option. Salami and cheese is my favorite on trail.

    If you are worried about having to take everything out, you can make it during breakfast. Place your lunch in the top of your pack so it's easily accessible.

    You might find that taking a lunch break is refreshing and a good time to remove your shoes and socks to give your feet time to fully dry out.

    As far as protein bars, I would take a variety of brands and flavors. Having options will make eating more enjoyable and give you choices. What sounds good to you now or what works for us might be awful to you on trail.

  5. #5

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    There was a thru hiker long ago that surmised that variety of eating sensations were needed to keep from getting bored. They advocated something crunchy, something chewy, something sweet and something salty. My staple was soft tortillas spread with Nutella and crunchy peanut butter, jerky and gorp that contained nuts and Good and Plenty candy licorice candy mixed in. I was usually short on the crunchy part. The torillas seem to last forever without refrigeration as long as they are kept dry and surprising available along the southern AT as there are usually migrant populations in the area.

    I have tried bagels multiple times and unless I score some fresh ones locally I find the bagged store versions just don't digest that well post lunch.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by john844 View Post
    ...You might find that taking a lunch break is refreshing and a good time to remove your shoes and socks to give your feet time to fully dry out...
    ^^THIS!!!

    The only long distance hike I've done was the 200+ miles of the JMT... and this is one way I made sure my feet were going to be upto the task.
    {I've seen too many videos of people not used to day-after-day of long trail miles suddenly trying on and getting some pretty bad blisters}


    I never watched the clock, but mentally, my idea was to rest for an hour each day in the middle of the after noon, resting my feet and giving them and my footwear a chance to dry out a little bit.


    By contrast, I used various bars for a quick breakfast... once awake, trying to get a quick start to the day.


    The other thing I did was snack foods. I had prepackaged several 200 calorie snacks. Each morning during breakfast, I would pull out three of these snacks and put them in my pocket to munch on between breakfast and lunch break. During lunch, I would pull out another three for the afternoon. Lunch itself was usually a peanut butter sandwich (made with soft taco shells).

  7. #7

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    If you hike a lot then the “keep moving” mentality is fine. But you better be in shape approaching that of a thru hiker who is well into their hike. For those of us not currently settled into the daily hiking grind you will likely find that lunch time gives you a needed break for your feet and back. This isn’t about comfort. It’s about improving your odds in the battle with injury: blisters, tendon damage, overuse of muscles, and allowing your body to generally heal and get stronger.

  8. #8

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    I've probably eaten thousands of backpacking lunches over the years but only TWICE during the last 40 years have I ever dumped the pack and pulled out the stove and cooked up a hot lunch-meal. Like oatmeal or pasta or ramen or soup etc.

    There are some backpackers who religiously stop mid-day and fire up their stoves for a meal. Too dang much work for me---plus you gotta fumble finding the stove and the fuel and the Bic lighter and the pot and the spoon and have extra water etc.

    One such guy was Sgt Rock who met me on Whiggs Meadow on the BMT and he fired up his alcohol stove for something cooked for lunch. Here's a pic of the event---(January 2008)---Midday Repast.


  9. #9
    John B's Avatar
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    Definitely miss Sgt. Rock. Among other things, his constant quest to improve the alcohol stove or find THE most energy and weight efficient stove was fun to follow .

    For lunch, I have an apple, an energy bar, and I typically put 2 Earl Grey teabags in a Nalgene in the morning, and by noon it's ready to drink. In re energy bars, I can't do Cliff bars anymore. I went through a phase of ProteinPlus and Gatorade bars. My latest phase is Bobo's, a brand made in Boulder, CO, which doesn't have any weird chemical flavors, and is filling and enjoyable to eat.

  10. #10
    Registered User kestral's Avatar
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    Make sure you try out the bars at home. Some have sugar alcohols or types of soy protein in them which I for one am extremely sensitive to... builder bars were a big problem - they give me wicked gas, cramps and diarrhea... you don’t want to go there.

    Funny, a snickers bar was way healthier for me than a hyped protein bar.

  11. #11
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    My Dad was one for a long lunch break at work and on the trail. He could also close his eyes and take a nap as well as any cat around - a genetic trait I didn't inherit, I'm a night owl.

    Dad often made soup at lunch, Mrs. Grass chicken noodle, often with some added meat, then we'd have tea and play a game of chess before getting back on the trail. We rarely did high-mileage days.

    I, on the other hand, tend to turn my hikes into death marches, but I still stop for a longish lunch, roll out the z-rest, take off my shoes and put my feet up. Dates, nuts, fresh or dried fruits, cheese, bagels, etc. are all good options, and if you happen to have a packet of SPAM...

  12. #12
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    I love Lara bars, but the dollars add up - you can get the same thing, less the wrapper, by stuffing dates & nuts in your mouth!

  13. #13

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    I believe the first continuous single year triple crowner, was a big fan of Snickers Bars. (Flying Bryan was the first single year triple crowner but he skipped around to take advantage of weather).

  14. #14

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    As you can see, there are as many lunch favorites are there are people.

    I once ate nothing but PB+J sandwiches, GORP and Snicker bars for something like 700 miles. It was a resupply which could be made at any gas station convivence market and eliminated the stove.

    I'm not fond of bars. Okay, if I really have to I'll eat them. I keep a few for emergencies and never seem to have that emergency.

    My current lunch is mostly corn chips. Fat and salt, just what you need on a hot day. Easy to snack on. I keep them in the packs "brain" for easy access. They can also be mixed into dinner to make it a little more crunchy and even used to start fires with.

    A hot lunch can be nice during cold or rainy weather. Instant mashed potatoes or Raman makes a quick hot lunch and can really perk you up.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by kestral View Post
    Make sure you try out the bars at home. Some have sugar alcohols or types of soy protein in them which I for one am extremely sensitive to... builder bars were a big problem - they give me wicked gas, cramps and diarrhea... you donít want to go there.

    Funny, a snickers bar was way healthier for me than a hyped protein bar.
    Traditionally snickers were made from Hydrogenated oils---a big No No---but they may have changed it to non-hydrogenated palm oils---to avoid the Trans-Fat label.

  16. #16
    Registered User Nolan "Guido" Jordan's Avatar
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    Look up EPIC meat bars. It's a delicious bar with meat in it for protein and fat. I also like Larabars and RX Bars

  17. #17

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    I went on an Epic vegetarian bar kick along with an RX Bar phase---as Epic has many meatless bars too which use egg whites---like with RX bars. They're pretty good if you're into eggs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kestral View Post
    Make sure you try out the bars at home...
    And make sure you love them...
    Hiking can sort of change your taste buds.
    I started my hike eating a Nature Valley nut bar and Nature Valley "Biscuits" for breakfast. While the nut bars were ok at home, I found I didn't love them (and therefore wasn't really eating them) on the trail.

    Of course my hike had more than just the change in physical activity to change my taste buds. On the JMT, altitude comes into play. After the third night of camping at 9,000' to 10,000', I woke up with little to no appetite... definitely note one that was going to allow me to eat Nature Valley bars and biscuits for breakfast. Fortunately I had some precooked bacon with me... and THAT I managed to still have an appetite for.

    On that trip, I discovered I personally really like the Nature Valley Almond Butter Biscuits, still use those for breakfast on camping trips to this day. My son has learned he likes the Chocolate Brownie Cliff Bars for breakfast.

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    Pita or tortilla or other flat bread or crackers with: a can of tuna in olive oil (good fat calories here), can or pouch of chicken, summer sausage, can of deviled ham. Empty tuna size cans surprisingly weigh about the same as the empty pouches, contain more food, are easier to eat out of if going that route, and cost less than pouches as well. The only extra weight needed is a little P-38 can opener https://www.google.com/search?q=army...hrome&ie=UTF-8 which weighs all of 4 grams.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    As you can see, there are as many lunch favorites are there are people.

    I once ate nothing but PB+J sandwiches, GORP and Snicker bars for something like 700 miles. It was a resupply which could be made at any gas station convivence market and eliminated the stove.

    I'm not fond of bars. Okay, if I really have to I'll eat them. I keep a few for emergencies and never seem to have that emergency.

    My current lunch is mostly corn chips. Fat and salt, just what you need on a hot day. Easy to snack on. I keep them in the packs "brain" for easy access. They can also be mixed into dinner to make it a little more crunchy and even used to start fires with.
    yep...corn chips are the best (and I also really dislike bars). My stomach is finicky when hiking and I often have little appetite but Fritos always taste delicious.

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