Crunch Time for The Foodie!

First off, I want to share how excited I am about the number of hikers worldwide that have shared interest in improving nutrition while thru hiking. The Backcountry Meal Planning for Thru Hikers Facebook group has grown exponentially with great discussions posted daily. If you haven’t joined, I encourage you do to so. You’ll love it!

T-minus 37 days…CRUNCH TIME!

Due to limited time available, this entry is not the “how to” entry that I promised but will hopefully give a bit of an insight as to what types of meals I’ve prepared. A few quick meal prep tips that have saved me precious time will also be shared.

Here’s what’s going in my pack…

Vegan Chili 177 kcal/oz

Wasabi Pad Thai 141 kcal/oz

Parmesan Pepper Pasta 128 kcal/oz

Sweet and Savory Couscous 109 kcal/oz


Cherry Lime Quinoa Salad 150 kcal/oz

Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake 147 kcal/oz

Raisin Pecan Breakfast Ramen 135 kcal/oz

Lemon Pepper Bean Spread 120 kcal/oz

Peppermint Latte 118 kcal/oz

Vegetarian Burrito 108 kcal/oz


Pesto Pine Nut Hummus 175 kcal/oz

Tropical Trail Rice 163 kcal/oz

Vanilla Spiced Milk 139 kcal/oz

Sun Dried Tomato Couscous 133 kcal/oz

Coconut Ginger Smoothie 129 kcal/oz

Coconut Cherry Almond Oatmeal 125 kcal/oz

Strawberry Coconut Almond Oatmeal 124 kcal/oz

Apple Cinnamon Pecan Oatmeal 108 kcal/oz


Choco-Cherry Muesli 146 kcal/oz

Raisin Pecan Granola 137 kcal/oz

Mango Coconut Granola 117 kcal/oz

Honey Nut Cherry Muesli 109 kcal/oz

Apple Cinnamon Pecan Granola 108 kcal/oz


Mango Chia Pudding 143 kcal/oz

Double Chocolate Pudding 139 kcal/oz

Vanilla Bean Pudding 135 kcal/oz

White Chocolate Coconut Pudding 133 kcal/oz

Trail Tapioca Pudding 129 kcal/oz

The Foodie’s Gorp 127 kcal/oz


Many of these recipes can be found in our Ultralight Recipes for Outdoor Explorers cookbook.

A Few Quick Tips

Nutrition Information

Do not assume that the nutrition information in cookbooks and/or on webpages is accurate. It was only after making a large batch of oatmeal that I realized what I thought was an ultralight recipe was in fact not ultralight at all. This explains why some of the meals above are less than my minimum goal of 125 kcal/oz. The recipes continue to be included in meal plans as I do truly enjoy them. Because of this it took a bit more creativity to make up the calories elsewhere.

Recipe Analysis

As a result of the possible inaccuracy of nutrition information, I recommend inputting recipes into a recipe or meal planner app of some sort. Personally, I really like the Recipe Builder PRO app by Wombat Apps LLC. It’s easy to use, saves recipes within various categories and allows for custom foods to be entered. Although, there are many apps out there that one might prefer.



Labeling Foods

It was only after handwriting names, nutrition information and preparation instructions on hundreds of bags that I realized how much time printing labels would save me.

  1. Choose a label size that works best for your packaging
  2. Type in the information desired
  3. Auto-populate the remainder of the labels on the sheet
  4. Save the file for the next time the same meal is prepared
  5. Print and affix to the packaging

Easy as that!


This is an Avery 18163 2″ x 4″ shipping label

That’s not all folks!

Recipes on the docket…


Apricot Coconut Oatmeal 164 kcal/oz

Tri-Berry Granola 154 kcal/oz

Cherry Walnut Breakfast Couscous 131 kcal/oz

Cheese Grits 130 kcal/oz

Coconut Quinoa Cereal 117 kcal/oz

Lunch / Dinner

Red Lentil Curry 167 kcal/oz

Egglant Parmesan 163 kcal/oz

Parmesan Pesto Pasta 157 kcal/oz

Vegetarian Spaghetti 153 kcal/oz

Parsley Parmesan Ramen 145 kcal/oz

Garlic Mashed Potatoes 146 kcal/oz

Sweet Potato Mash 142 kcal/oz

Raisin Pecan Rice Dish 138 kcal/oz

Black Bean Spread 137 kcal/oz

Tropical Fruit Salad 135 kcal/oz

Garlic Lentils 127 kcal/oz

Italian Couscous 127 kcal/oz

Many of these recipes can also be found in our Ultralight Recipes for Outdoor Explorers cookbook.

Back to the kitchen I go!

As you can see, I have quite a bit of work to complete before leaving to start my trek on March 26th. I will do my best to continue sharing meal planning tips using ultralight foods prior to my departure. Thanks so much for following and I look forward to sharing my adventure with you.

Until next time…

Consider joining the Backcountry Meal Planning for Thru Hikers Facebook group as this is where you will find experienced foodies and thru hikers representing all of the long trails throughout the United States. Your questions will not go unanswered.

For additional tips & tricks consider following my Instagram and/or Facebook feeds as I share the results of ongoing meal planning experiments in the backcountry.


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Comments 8

  • Arlene (EverReady) : Feb 17th

    Looking forward to your posting some of the recipes before you leave! Thx.

    • Aaron Owens : Feb 18th

      Recipes are going to be kept super top secret for now as they haven’t been trail tested for the long haul (>6 months). I don’t want to be responsible for someone going without a meal because the meal spoiled. My goal is to create thru hiker specific recipes as I’ve found that most in cookbooks due not meet thru hikers’ needs. Look forward to recipes after I return.

      • Sonja : May 29th

        Just stumbled across this and I am also super excited to see recipes in the future!

  • Jordan : Feb 18th

    I’m starting March 27, just a day later. I hope you get great trail magic and end up leaving some of that awesome food behind in the hiker boxes 😉

    • Aaron Owens : Feb 18th

      Haha! You’re not the first to hope to find goodies in the hiker boxes. I’m actually making extras to let others trail test and provide feedback. You might be one of the lucky winners. LOL!

  • Dogwood : Apr 12th

    That’s being trail food creative. Lots of tasty variety in your trail food.

    Are you mailing all your resupplies on the PCT or are you doing a hybrid approach?

    I’d also like to see some recipes specifically how you get the Cherry Lime Quinoa Salad up to the 150 kcal/oz ratio, exactly what’s in it, and on trail cook/prep time. Likewise I’d like to see all the same how you get the Red Curry Lentil Entree up to 167 kcal/oz. Really like your Coconut Ginger Smoothie idea for the trail. The Mango Chia Pudding I’d like to hear more about…PALEESE.


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