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  1. #1
    Flip flop, flip flopping' LASHin' 2000 miler LDog's Avatar
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    Default Pounds per 10 miles

    In one of the many threads on determining how much food to carry whilst backpacking, someone here suggested something like 2lbs for every 10miles hiked. I liked it cause it's simple, and I used it during my AT sections last year. If it was 50 miles to the next town, I'd pack 10 lbs - That would be 2 lbs per day if I hiked 10 mile days. If I upped my distance, cutting the passage to 4 days, I'd also up my caloric needs per day. Beautiful in its simplicity. Instead of "2" make it a variable for the weather/elevation gains/personal metabolism ...

    Anyway, I'd like to find the person responsible for the concept ...
    Ldog
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  2. #2

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    I believe it was garlic08?

  3. #3
    Registered User Papa D's Avatar
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    This depends on your pace - I might regularly do about 100 miles on 8 pounds of food - - 4 days @ about 25 miles each and this distance would require 18 pounds by your calculations and I'm 10 pounds lighter than that - - I think what you say is a somewhat reasonable benchmark for your 10 mpd hiker (maybe) but a better thing is just to figure how many days of food you want to carry rather than trying to calculate distance to pounds because there are too many variables. On the AT there are gads of re-supply options - when you get low, just duck into a town.

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    So, by that rule of thumb I should haul/eat 6 lbs for my 30 mile days? If I hauled that much food for 30 miles I wouldn't be doing many 30 mile days. 18 lbs of food for 90 miles segments between resupplies is a LOT of food TO ME. Sadly, that would mean no need for buffets in town. Damn shame. Go for it if it works FOR YOU.

  5. #5

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    I would think pounds per day would make more sense than pounds per mile.

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    Registered User evyck da fleet's Avatar
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    General rule is 2lbs a day because there's too many variables.

    If you sit around on a zero you'll still burn about 2000 calories so doubling your miles won't necessarily double the amount of food you carry. Then you'd have to estimate how many calories you burn per mile, add in elevation, your weight and pack weight and what food you are carrying and eating compared to an "average" hiker. A pound of carrots would only be about 200 calories where a pound of peanut butter M&Ms would be about 2600.

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    Registered User evyck da fleet's Avatar
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    Plus you can run a deficit if you are going to make up for it at AYCE buffets in town or have fat to burn.

  8. #8
    Flip flop, flip flopping' LASHin' 2000 miler LDog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deacon View Post
    I believe it was garlic08?
    I think you may be right. Thanks

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    Assuming you go at a steady effort, and eat just as much on nero days because you are recovering, I can see using a constant per day, with the mileage varying with conditions and recovery days vs pushing hard days, The amount of food per day would I think depend on your lean body mass and fitness level,specifically body may your relative capacity to do work and recover from it. Another big factor is how much body fat you have to lose.

    I am big 6' 215 pounds, my lean body mass is about 150 pounds and more in the legs than upper body. I have good endurance, good capacity to to endurance work, but at 51 and not being a thru-hiker, or consistent at training, my recovery is not great. For me, 2 pounds might be pushing it, but maybe. Assuming that would be 10% protien, 30% carbs, 50% fat, 10% moisture fibre and packaging, it would be about 100g protien, 300g carbs, and 500g fat for 6100 calories per day. That might take some ramping up but I think I could get there and maintain that. But from that I would subtract the body fat I would be burning, and I would use up to 2% of my body fat, which would initially be 0.65 pounds or perhaps 0.58 pounds of actual lipids, roughly 250g fat, which would decrease as I lost weight.

    So my actual diet starting out would be 100g protien, 300g carbs, 250g fats, plus some moisture fibre and packaging for about 1.5 pounds per day, but would gradually increase as I lost body fat. I would use the total burned amount, roughly 6000 calories for me, and my lean body mass, total weight on feet, and average net elevation gain to estimate my daily mileage according to some formula, that might estimate 2000 calories for basal metabolism and 4000 calories left for covering distance and elevation. Typical AT terrain maybe 4000 calories might get 215 pounds plus 20 pounds gear 12 miles per day. Once down to 165 + 20 I might cover 15 miles per day. If my ability to recover improved over time to a total capacity of 8000 calories per day, which would take some time at 51 but might be possible if I ever did a thru-hike or some other form of consistent adventure and kept it up over a full year or two without injury, that would give me 6000 vs 4000 for covering ground, which might give me 22.5 miles per day, and 2.7 pounds of food per day assuming I had no excess fat left to burn.

    So using those numbers, for what they are worth, initally 1.25 pounds per 10 miles while starting out with 0.5 pounds of body fat to burn each day, then 1.33 pounds per 10 miles once I lost the weight, and finally 1.2 pounds per 10 miles if I increased my capacity to do work and recover enough to cover 22.5 miles per day.So 2 pounds per 10 miles might be a bit high. Maybe a good figure when starting at Springer though. Don't know.

    I do know in summer I hike with as little as 1 pound per day, 1.5 pounds Spring/Fall, 2 pounds for winter.

  10. #10
    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    If you lose weight, eat more.

    After 800 miles I weighed 10 lbs more than when I started - which is probably why I was never fatigued.

    If you want to hike strong you're going to have to eat.

  11. #11
    Garlic
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    Yes, I think it's my concept, and thanks for noticing. The number I use is one pound per 10 miles, which at my average pace leads to the venerable two pounds per day number. It does make shopping easier--rather than planning dinners, I just buy bulk food (oats, nuts, dried fruit, cheese, PB, a stack of tortillas, instant potatoes, etc) up to the calculated weight for the next resupply.

    I like it also because it's easy to ration out the food based on how much I've hiked. If I've had a slow 15 mile day, I'll eat (and need) less than if I've had a long 30 miler. This only works, I think, if you eat bulk food. If you're a freezer bag cooker, or buy pre-packaged meals, it might not.

    I adjust the number between eight and twelve miles per pound based on trail difficulty. For instance, in the Hundred Mile wilderness, I carried about eight pounds.

    It's a little different on parts of the AT because of all the options for additional meals. There were plenty of areas I only carried a pound a day because of all the delis, diners, ice cream shops, and even AMC huts.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

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    NOLS has used the pounds per day method for years (which is different that Garlics pounds per mile). Here is a link to one of their books on Amazon which has pages available for reading.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=IXs...20food&f=false

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    Quote Originally Posted by max patch View Post
    NOLS has used the pounds per day method for years (which is different that Garlics pounds per mile). Here is a link to one of their books on Amazon which has pages available for reading.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=IXs...20food&f=false
    The NOLS reference is good. I generally just figure 2 pounds per day though. Two pounds per 10 miles would be way too much for long days IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 10-K View Post
    If you lose weight, eat more.

    After 800 miles I weighed 10 lbs more than when I started - which is probably why I was never fatigued.

    If you want to hike strong you're going to have to eat.

    Pitdog "GAME 97" gained 10 lbs back by the time he was done the trail....

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    I suspect that folks are generally pretty consistent with miles per day on an extended hike. If so then lbs per 10 miles and lbs per day end up being the same methodology. If there is wild swings in full day miles then both methods will be lacking. Example do a 40 mile day followed by 8 mile full day. No way you should eat as much on the eight mile day as the 40. But likewise, you would never eat 5x as much on the 40 mile day as you would on an 8. So bottom line.... It's six of one or half dozen of another. If you have a 100 mile resupply leg that you are doing in three days then it's just as easy to do 3x6000=18000 (day method) or 100x180=18000 (miles method).

    I think the more important consideration is determining the sustainable calorie burn rate. This can only be done with experience.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by gg-man View Post
    I suspect that folks are generally pretty consistent with miles per day on an extended hike. If so then lbs per 10 miles and lbs per day end up being the same methodology.
    I agree. Whatever is easiest for someone is what they should use.

    I guess I'm old school. If I'm gone for 4 days then thats 8 oatmeal packs, 4 bagels, 4 hunks of cheddar, and 4 dinners. Then I eyeball my gorp, dry milk, peanut butter and know if I need to get more or not. No math needed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by garlic08 View Post
    Yes, I think it's my concept, and thanks for noticing. The number I use is one pound per 10 miles, which at my average pace leads to the venerable two pounds per day number. It does make shopping easier--rather than planning dinners, I just buy bulk food (oats, nuts, dried fruit, cheese, PB, a stack of tortillas, instant potatoes, etc) up to the calculated weight for the next resupply.

    I like it also because it's easy to ration out the food based on how much I've hiked. If I've had a slow 15 mile day, I'll eat (and need) less than if I've had a long 30 miler. This only works, I think, if you eat bulk food. If you're a freezer bag cooker, or buy pre-packaged meals, it might not.

    I adjust the number between eight and twelve miles per pound based on trail difficulty. For instance, in the Hundred Mile wilderness, I carried about eight pounds.

    It's a little different on parts of the AT because of all the options for additional meals. There were plenty of areas I only carried a pound a day because of all the delis, diners, ice cream shops, and even AMC huts.
    Cool. That's exactly how I supply and resupply also, even on my short hikes. I buy in bulk, usually in 0.5 or 1 pound quantiites. If I need 3 pounds to get there I only buy 3-6 items. If I need 20 pounds I get more variety. Much the same diet also. Not a 20 pound per day guy yet though. Cheers.

  18. #18
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    lol. I meant not a 20 mile per day guy yet. Doubt I will ever make it too 20 pounds of feed per day, but here's to trying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by max patch View Post
    I agree. Whatever is easiest for someone is what they should use.

    I guess I'm old school. If I'm gone for 4 days then thats 8 oatmeal packs, 4 bagels, 4 hunks of cheddar, and 4 dinners. Then I eyeball my gorp, dry milk, peanut butter and know if I need to get more or not. No math needed.

    This is what I do. So many days = so many meals, plus whatever snacks and such I feel like bringing.
    This is how my thru hike (years away) spreadsheet is laid out that way. I always have extra food for 2
    reasons.
    1 if I need to take another day (bad weather or just not moving fast enough) to get to where my resupply is, it's no big deal.
    2 If someone is in need, I have extra.

    The longer I hike regularly, the less formulas like the on being discuses here. I mean food pounds per mile or day,really? I have to take into account what the food is. The post by JAK above, with the calorie, protein ETC, makes much more sense to me. ymmv

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