food: lbs / day

1:07 p.m. on May 24, 2006 (EDT)
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Hi. I'm assuming 1.5 - 2 lbs of food per day. My question is, is that reconstituted weight? Should I calculate the weight of water added to my dried food, or just the dried food alone?

Thanks

1:48 p.m. on May 24, 2006 (EDT)
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The canonical 2 lb/day is kind of an average, including packaging. It dates way back before there was freezedry, when "dehydrated" meant dry pasta, jerky, dried fruit and veggies (like you do in a "food dehydrator" at home), prepared foods, like the candy bars you might stick in, powdered drink mixes, the fairly dry Italian Salami. For whatever reason, the prepared freezedry meals seem to fall in the same weight range. Maybe because of the rather extravagant packaging they all use (and you have to pack out).

It all depends on what you choose to take by way of food. Which is very much a matter of personal taste. I strongly suggest you try your potential choices at home before getting out on the trail and finding (1) you can't stand the taste of the junk (2) you have way too much to eat (3) the amount was way too little, cause you are starved from the long vigorous hike (4) you really really wish you had brought that special something else. Some of the freezedry meals are way too spicey for some people (and tastes change with altitude and days on the trail - you will eat anything after the 4th or 5th day out). Some of the foods are way too bland (I recall an experience where we decided to take baby cereal because it was supposed to be easy to fix and loaded with nutrients - most bland, tasteless glue you can imagine).

You can cut the weight on a lot of stuff by repackaging. Pasta, for example, can be taken out of the cardboard box and put into plastic bags - smaller, lighter, easier to pack out. Just be sure to include the directions. Not much to be done about canned foods, though. But you can get meats packed in foil packets much compressed - tuna, salmon, chicken, turkey.

No, you don't have to count the water you will be adding to reconstitute dried meals or cook the pasta, as long as you have a water source within a short distance of your campsite (remember, LNT recommendation and most wilderness areas say camp 100-200 feet from water at least). But in some areas, We have had to pack our water a couple miles to the campsite (deserts, some mountain areas, a seacoast trip, and one swampy area where the local water was too contaminated with chemicals).

5:09 p.m. on May 26, 2006 (EDT)
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Wow. Thank you! This is very helpful.

October 2, 2014
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