The Hunger Game of Long Distance Hiking
Journal entry from January 2015
The Christmas season is over and now it feels like the start of our hike is just around the corner.
We’ve talked to lots of friends and neighbors about our plans and we get so many interesting questions. While I was out walking with friends this morning, one of them was particularly concerned that I would have enough to eat and that I would be getting enough protein. I said it’s just not possible to carry enough calories, but that we would eat well whenever we got into town. She was a little worried about the ‘starvation/binge’ cycle that’s inherent in long distance hiking. Here’s how one hiking website describes it…
“Most thru-hikers pack around two pounds of high calorie, lightweight food per day. This provides around 3,500 calories. But hiking for 12 hours a day can easily burn 5,000+ calories. This means that you will always be running an energy deficit. So when you start a long distance hike, you basically begin the process of slowly starving yourself.
I have found that I lose 5-8 pounds per month on a long backpacking trip, and this seems to be pretty common. It will vary depending on a number of factors. If you are thin already you will likely lose less weight, if you are fat you will lose more. Women tend to lose less weight than men do. But anyone who has completed a multi-month thru-hike knows that by the end, most hikers look like they escaped from a prisoner of war camp.” (from: https://blackwoodspress.com/blog/11329/how-to-train-for-hiking/ )
Here was a good website I found about high calorie, lightweight foods for long distance hiking. Check out the website for the full article– I’ve just briefly listed the 10 ultralight backpacking foods that they suggested.
10 Ultralight Backpacking Foods
The best ultralight backpacking foods are lightweight, nonperishable, high in calories and easy to prepare. Here are 10 backpacking foods you can find in stores everywhere that provide, on average, more than 100 calories per ounce of weight, making them ideal for ultralight backpacking.
1. G.O.R. P. 130 calories per ounce (G.O.R.P. stands for “Good Ole Raisons And Peanuts”. But the ingredients don’t always have to be that boring.)
2. Mac & Cheese 105 calories per ounce (with olive oil & summer sausage)
3. Breakfast Pastries 120 calories per ounce
4. Peanut Butter 170 calories per ounce
5. Snickers Bar 140 calories per ounce
6. Olive Oil 230 calories per ounce
7. Liptons (Knorr) Pasta/Rice Sides 110 calories per ounce (with olive oil and tuna)
8. Foil Pack Tuna (and other meats) 30 calories per ounce
9. Wraps (Tortillas) 100 calories per ounce (w/ tuna, mayo, mustard, relish, olive oil)
10. Instant Mashed Potatoes 115 calories per ounce (with olive oil & SPAM)
I wonder how much weight I’ll lose on this little expedition??
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