We love food. Thru hikers obsess about it. What they’re going to eat at their next break. What warm dinner they’ll cook up on a cold and rainy day. And most definitely what they’re going to eat when they get into a town (burgers and pancakes and fries, not necessarily at the same time or in that order). Though we won’t be counting calories while we’re on the trail, it’s super important to get enough fuel to power us through hiking 15, 20, sometimes 30 miles each day. And we’ll eat approximately 3,000 – 5,000 calories per day to do just that. It is rumored in all of the blogs/books we’ve been reading that, at some point in the first month or so, “hiker hunger” will kick in. This more or less means we will be ravenous ALL…THE…TIME. So, while we will probably be at the lower end of that calorie spectrum to start off, we expect that to rise the longer we’re hiking.
At home, we eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, with a focus on whole-food, plant-based eating. This is difficult to maintain when you’re backpacking. While we’ll eat as much fresh food as possible when we reach towns, fresh food is, well…heavy. And therefore has little to no place in a backpacker’s food bag unless you want to be lugging around an extra 15-20 pounds. To get as close to our daily needs for vitamins/minerals as we can, we’ll be taking a really good multi-vitamin to fill in the nutritional gaps.
We are coffee drinkers, so will start out our day with a cup o’ java (Starbucks Via instant coffee) before we leave camp. Some days, we’ll eat some kind of granola bar as we start hiking. Others, we’ll stop for a light breakfast an hour or so down the trail. Lunch will vary a lot, as it will depend on what we can find in town, what our bodies are craving at the time, and how much time/effort we want to put into making a lunch. Tortillas are a hiker’s fave, as you can pretty much throw anything in them and it’ll taste good. We bought some packaged tuna and salmon, and we’ll be buying cheese and sausage along the way. Some people bring a bag of spinach whenever they leave town and add it to every wrap (it stays good for 3-4 days without refrigeration). You can throw peanut butter and raisins and potato chips together (we’ve heard you get creative after a while), and it will taste amazing. Don’t judge.
Snacks of jerky, dried mango, trail mix, peanut M&M’s, cheese, and Snickers bars will flow throughout the day to keep energy up.
Our dinners will consist largely of dehydrated food. When in town, we’ll have to buy and pack out ramen, instant mashed potatoes, noodle/rice dinners, and the like. While that sounds hard to stomach now, you can bet our mouths will be watering for it at the end of a long day. Luckily, we’re shipping ourselves some resupply boxes (boxes with food and supplies that will be mailed to us at certain points on the trail), so we have some control over a portion of our main meals. You can buy them prepackaged or make yourself; we’re doing a little of both. We found this kit of dehydrated veggies and beans, to mix and match into meals. I added grains or potatoes, plus spices and chicken broth powder to them, and sealed them up to put in our resupply boxes. We also bought a kit of soups/stews/chili to add to the variety. We’ll be making one of our favorite dishes (Mexican Quinoa) and dehydrating it ourselves. And we bought a bunch of one of the best backpacking meals on the market…Pad Thai. To add some extra calories, we pour a packet of olive oil in each dinner, too. Mmmmmm….
Here’s what a typical resupply box will look like.
We’re almost done packing up all of our resupply boxes…