Published on Sep 14, 2011
One can't take all the food necessary for a long distance trek in your pack. Resupply en-route is necessary for almost every backpacking trip. Some people have elaborate package drops along the trail with precise portions and combinations all planned out in advance. I just kinda wing it.
I usually shoot for about 3 days worth of food. Next to shelter and water, food is the most important thing you carry. It can also be the heaviest. On a good day, I load up with some dehydrated bacpacking meals, trail mix, energy bars, protien powder, coffee, spam, tuna , and ALWAYS peanut butter. George Washington Carver really had a good thing going on with that stuff.
Backpackers look at calories per weight. That is to say, how many calories are in a pound of this stuff I'm buying? For reference, here's how the three energy providing nutrients stack up:
- Fats: 1 gram = 9 Calories
- Protien: 1 gram = 4 Calories
- Carbs: 1 gram = 4 Calories
I'm running through the woods like a wild man-beast, so I need me some calories. What the FDA, nutritionists, and corn lobby would like you to believe is that a balanced high-engergy diet consists of grains (carbs) and fruits and veggies (more carbs). Now, what every working man and wild, omnivorous animal knows instinctively is that fat is the good stuff. My grandpa used to eat the fat off my plate. Why? Because he grew up in the depression and that fat was what seperated him from starvation. Wild animals devour that stuff first, then the protien rich meat, then they search for nuts and berries. They sure as hell don't plant a 5 acre wheat field and wait for a year.
Today, we know through solid science that bad cholesterol will kill you. Nutrition is one of those quasi-sciences influneced by politics. So that's questionable at best.
Some ultra-lighweight crazies go to the extreme: olive oil.
Olive oil contains 30 grams of fat per 30 gram serving. As far as calorie to weight ratio, that's as high as you get. Furthermore, the cholesterol is the good kind, so you aren't killing youself. These people drink it straight. Which brings me to my next point.
Variety is clutch on the trail. I mix it up naturally because I get bored. However, I have heard of some people getting so routine in their diet that they run into vitamin deficiencies.
So my philosophy is to shoot for:
- Low carb, high protien
- Good fat
I mix it up, the above are more like guidelines than rules. But, most importantly I keep myself fueled, which is the whole point. I feel good when I hike and I don't believe I'm going out with a heart attack...but, statistics say there's still a pretty good shot.