What do you eat on the trail

4:00 p.m. on August 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Hello All,

the question is in subject: "What do you eat on the trail?"

The source of the question is following. When i was reading about comparison of different stoves I found pretty interesting statement which was the basement of all (sic!) investigations/comparisons: "1 hot meal per day". It's a bit strange for me.

What do you eat/drink when you are on the trail? How many hot meals/drinks do you have? Have many liters are you usually boils per day?

In order to reduce amount of variants lets talk about: 1) no resupply during trekking; 2) Spring/Summer/Autumn; 3) altitude up to 4km (no need to melt snow); 4) per one person; 5) no fishing, hunting, gather mushrooms/berries and so on.

PS. I'm definitely interesting in trail more than 1 week long and more. It's better to talk about 2-3 weeks long. So you can't use only snickers


4:35 p.m. on August 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Pro Bar

5:01 p.m. on August 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Um... I'm not very familiar with USA brands and abbreviation. Could you please explain?

11:45 p.m. on August 26, 2012 (EDT)
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I have 2 hot meals a day whilst backpacking! Its just something I always do!

as for snacks, my bosses made us take 2 bars (granola, cliff, or whatever) per person per day! so 7 days would be at least 14 bars... I did ten days and took 30 bars! some days you wont eat any, others you'll have 5!
On top of that, just get some granola, GORP (good old raisins and peanuts), sunflower seeds (the ones with the shell already off!), and snacks like that.

I believe that while backpacking you're daily intake is supposed to be eating:

50% Carbs

30% Fat

20% Protein
So keep that as a guideline! and remember, lunch starts as soon as breakfast ends!

5:06 a.m. on August 27, 2012 (EDT)
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How many grams of food (including packing) do you "eat" per day? How many water do you boiled per day?

May be it's a simple questions for you and someone else but ex-USSR experience very differs from USA trekker and I want to do a kind of comparison.

7:14 a.m. on August 27, 2012 (EDT)
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There is a large growing market of trail food. If you go into any grocery store the choices of candy bar style protein or meal replacement bars is staggering. A lot of people I hike with use the freezer bag method of cooking. Usually two hot meals a day during colder trips. Sometimes only one hot meal if the weather is warmer. I dont generally boil my wate, I use a filter. What do you eat on the trail in the ukraine?

9:58 a.m. on August 27, 2012 (EDT)
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Freeze bag?

Could you please explain. I tried to read about this and it seems to be a kind of nuts+oatmeal to be cooked without boiled water. Is it correct?

Do you like the taste of water after filtering?

Usually (if it's not a winter or high mountaints) I take the following:


1) buckweat + 0.2L of boiled water is enough to be cooked (if it was dunked in the evening ) + dried meat

2) tea + biscuits/rusks (or something like this)


1) tea + biscuits

2) nuts/dried fruit/ or something sweet


1) oatmeal + 0.2L boiled water + dried meat

2) tea + biscuits

A couple years ago I tried to used russian analog of "Mountain House" (is it a freeze bag you told me?) - "Gala-gala" but I didn't like how it tasted.

Could you please describe your daily ration?

5:30 p.m. on August 27, 2012 (EDT)
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While backpacking (or just car camping for that matter), I most always have two packets of flavored instant oatmeal and hot tea (black) for breakfast.  I'll snack throughout the day on gorp or energy bars, an apple, a hard boiled egg, etc.  For dinner I'll have a Mountain House meal or some other prepackaged food.  I carry caffeinated goo packs to ward off caffeine withdraw headaches.

If I happen to be near the car at a meal, it's usually Spam on a bagel (with Wheat Thins for crunch) for lunch and bean burritos (hand made) for dinner. 

7:26 p.m. on August 27, 2012 (EDT)
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You should go on youtube and search freezer bag cooking. My eating habits on the trail are similar to yours. I generally make my own meals. I can control the sodium and protein to carb ratio. I eat oatmeal with something added, either dried fruit, nuts or both. I usually snack all day instead of having a traditional lunch. I eat jerky,cheese,fruit and some commercial food bars. I like the honey stinger brand. For my evening meal I cook a pretty big meal, I dehydrate everything and put my ingredients in diffrent bags. Then I can mix what I feel like eating and im not stuck with the combos somebody else likes. If I have my kids with me I cook more elaborate meals, they wiil go hike if I feed them good. I will freeze any meat then wrap them well in the middle of my pack. This is what we eat on the first night. Everybody is diffrent, ive seen people eat everything you can imagine in the woods.

6:38 a.m. on August 28, 2012 (EDT)
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All thanks for your replies.

Could someone tell if freeze bags counts for hot meal or not? If it is a hot meal then I really want to see examples of daily rations based of freeze bags.

12:19 p.m. on August 28, 2012 (EDT)
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RV N freezerbag is either hot or cold. An example of hot would be Maccaronni and cheeze. Cold would be precooked pasta with pesto in a freezerbag.I tend to cook meals and dehydrate them and put them in a freezerbag to rehydrate on the trail later. It makes it cost affective and weight affective. When you dehydrate your own you get a better option than some meals already out there for sale..

10:37 p.m. on August 28, 2012 (EDT)
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rvn, I know you're new here but everyone else knows this about me... I'm a NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) alumni, and I am an advocate and base much of what I know from what I've learned from NOLS.****  And the number one thing I've taken from my time with NOLS is to look at the cook book!!! :)
NOLS Cookery
That is by far the best outdoor cook book you'll want for the outdoor!
I haven't read any others, but I know for a fact it is the best (just an average NOLS alumni helping out my school!) you will appreciate everything it has to offer from how to set up kitchen, where to set up bear bags, how to prep for a trip, and finally the glorious abundance of recipes!!! I feel like it is fairly simple, especially since English isn't your native language.

Idk how much it'd cost in the Ukraine, but on Amazon, in USA, you can get some for almost $4!
If not this one, take a look around and find some cook book to inspire some great backcountry meals!

****while this is great for me to share my personal experiences and knowledge, many others learned not from paying a few thousand dollars to attend a such an "institution" but by actually trial and error(ing) in the field. So to completely discredit anything I say, some of the stuff I say is theoretical, and while some may agree other may call me out on it.

12:07 p.m. on August 31, 2012 (EDT)
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On the trail or on the entire hike? I eat Granola with powdered milk for breakfast, crackers like CheezIts for lunch, and some pasta meal for dinners. I also take instant Gatoraide, dry salami and block cheese.

April 20, 2018
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