Ramen, 40’s, and “That Love”

The first half of the A.T. was a new experience for me. It was my first long distance hike and I was NOT used to packing lightweight nutritious food. I researched articles on Appalachian Trials, Whiteblaze, and numerous backpacking forums trying to figure out what I should be eating on the trail. I spent a lot of time trying to develop a diet based on calorie intake vs. estimated calorie output, and weighing the advantages of mailing drop boxes vs resupplying in in trail towns. In this post I’m going to let you know what worked for me, what was a waste of time, and what my plan will be for my upcoming hike.

Many people can survive on a diet of Ramen Noodles and Snicker bars. I am not one of those people. I knew during the planning phase that those weren’t going to be options for me. When I was 19 and digging through couch cushions for change on a daily basis, a diet of Ramen Noodles and 40 oz bottles of Crazy horse kept me alive for months. It scarred me for life. I vowed to never eat Ramen or drink Malt liquor again. I did however want to try to eat healthy, pack in around 4000 calories a day, and limit the amount of junk I shoveled into my gullet. I worked out calculations and calorie counts which all ended up being a waste of time. I learned pretty quickly that your body will tell you what it needs. You just have to make sure you listen.


For the first half of the trail resupplying in towns was easy, but quite limiting. Not every town had a supermarket and I was often stuck resupplying at small convenience stores or Dollar Generals. Having chosen to send myself only 5 drop boxes I had the flexibility of choosing when, where and how I was going to resupply. It definitely cost me less to resupply on the go. I averaged 6-8 bucks a day for my food. That is pretty amazing. The problem was that what I was eating was horrible. I was definitely getting the calories my body needed, but they weren’t good calories and my body felt it. It took a long time but eventually I adapted to the Dollar General (budget) trail diet. I was saving a ton of money but found myself longing for vegetables and my home cooked meals. (My chili tastes like love.)


I have decided that for the second half of the trail, I’ll be sending myself 12 boxes. Although the shipping can get expensive and adds up quickly, I feel it’s worth it. I will be feasting on: Love (chili), burritos, hummus, granola, beef stew, spaghettii, fruits, veggies, and jerky. I’ve also dehydrated over 8 lbs of ground turkey that I cooked with onion, pepper, and garlic which can be added to any meal for extra protein. My granola is delicious and filled with the goodness of almonds, sunflower, dehydrated strawberries, and flax seeds. I’ll be snacking throughout the day on homemade trail mix and Simple Squares (not made by me.)  These are just some of the foods I’ll be shipping ahead that will give me the sustenance my body desires. I plan on eating much better this time around. This approach will be considerably more expensive, but I’m willing to pay more for that “love.” If any of you have any questions on dehydrating or meal planning please feel free to ask. I’m starting to get pretty good at this.

OH by the way…I ended up breaking that promise to myself and no it wasn’t the malt liquor. (I rarely drink these days.) On several occasions I used Ramen noodles to thicken up vegetable soup I had bought, and I even found myself eating a couple Snicker bars. As I said, your body will tell you what it needs you just have to make sure you listen.


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Comments 8

  • Jamie Barnett : Feb 24th

    Hi – I’m very interested in your soup recipes that you’ve dehydrated. I’ve recently bought a Ronco food dehydrator to start making foods for my section hike in Georgia over 8 days in October this year. Could you possible email me those recipes? [email protected] Do you put all the ingredients on the same tray in the dehydrator? I’m a newbie at the dehydrating foods and excited to learn more. Thank you!


    • Adam (Griz) : Mar 4th

      Hi Jamie! So I am by no means an expert on soups… But I have successfully dehydrated a couple. I don’t currently have the recipes, but I may be able to help get you started and steer you in the right direction. Thocker soups work best. If you are doing say… A vegetable beef soup (a tricky one) … Make vegetable soup and do the beef separate. Take half the stock and veggies and throw it in a blender to thicken the broth up. Cook beef separate… Rules. Buy the leanest beef you can get. 2. When frying up beef, pat as much fat/grease as possible off of the meat with a paper towel. Fat and oil won’t dehydrate well if at all. Let meat cool and dehydrate (like jerky) and vacuum seal separately. Now for the broth, after blending with half the veggies to thicken, add the rest of the veggies back into the broth. It should now be thick enough to lay on your dehydrator trays. When done vacuum seal it separate from beef. Freeze until ready to ship/ use. That is probably one of the hardest soups to do. Check out this link…. It’s what got me started on soups. They’re much easier. 🙂

    • Adam (Griz) : Mar 4th

      Here’s that link with the tips.

  • Greg : Feb 24th

    Great article! I have a question. What do you recommend getting when you have the chance to hit a grocery store, gas station or dollar general. I don’t want to waste my time or money if there’s nothing worth going for.
    Thank you!

    • Adam : Mar 4th

      Hi Greg! It really depends on what you prefer to put in your body. At many gas stations/small towns your only resupply options will be knorrs pasta sides and candy bars. You will however come across many towns /cities with REAL supermarkets. If I had the opportunity to hit a real store, I’d buy everything and anything my heart desired. Pepperoni, a block of sharp cheddar, fruit snacks, quinoa…. You name it. I got into the habit of packing out bananas and apples when I left towns. They’re heavy, but the weight disappears quickly and it’s worth carrying a little extra for 2 days. I ended up craving vegetablez and purchased powdered vegetable supplements u added to water. It helped immensely. Trust me. You WILL want to hit towns. The prospect of eating a meal cooked FOR you is hard to pass up. 🙂

  • Rich : Feb 24th

    Check out Sporkables.com. These guys have some of the most outrageously tasty dehydrated meals, they are inexpensive and they ship anywhere and everywhere. You will never go back to the mass produced stuff

    • Adam : Mar 4th

      Thanks! I’ll check them out. I’m really into dehydrating my own stuff as well. Im actually dehydrating a massive pot of Inca Stew right now in preparation for my hike!


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