Food weight

2:36 p.m. on October 11, 2009 (EDT)
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5 forum posts

I was wondering about how much food weight should be for a week.With hot meals at morning and night.Please leave out those dried dinners from MH,Camp meals,Ect.

5:16 p.m. on October 11, 2009 (EDT)
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352 forum posts

Humm....i use a fairly simple calculation that's been working well for me.

1-Everything with more than 100cal/once is good backpacking food, lots of choice in the supermarket.

2-Every day has 4 meals: breakfast, lunch,dinner and snacks.

3-Count around a 1/2 lb per meal equals 2 lbs a day.

So: if you weight your snack bag for 7 days you should be around 3,5lbs. Your breakfast/lunch/dinner bag should total 10,5lbs for a grand total of 14lbs, 2lbs per day.

I recently made some more elaborate calculations for an 8 day trip and with my regular diet at the stated weight i arrive at 3800 cal per day, more than enough for most ventures. After the 8 days i had 2 bars left, i put them in just in case we were delayed. I didn't lose any weight and might have put on a bit, but we didn't hike more than 6 hours a day at a slow pace.

It's easy to up the cals or lower them: i just play with the amount of oil/butter/mayo i put in almost everything. If yon't need that much cals, just trade in a few bars for fresh fruits, bring less fats. If you need more, trade some grains for fats.

Hope that helped!

10:18 p.m. on October 11, 2009 (EDT)
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218 forum posts

2 pounds per day is what most experts suggest. I however, seem to have trouble getting that much food planned into a day, and never eat all that I plan. I am lucky to eat an entire pound of food per day. Of course, colder temps lead to eating more. Basicly, it is a matter of personal choice. There is no right answer. The main thing is to plan meals that dont leave you feeling deprived.

And, of course, longer trips will require your body to use more calories, thus more food.

2:27 p.m. on October 17, 2009 (EDT)
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475 forum posts

Where I hike there is usually a bear or varmint nuisance. So everything I take has to fit in a Bearikade - it is a challenge. This means more fuel weight to cook things like rice and pasta. I try to plan on dense food with many calories. I also think that one meal a day should be one that is NOT tedium or to tedious to cook. I bring along lots of high oil nuts as well as olive oil to dribble on almost anything I can.

At altitude near 10,000' in the Sierra and Rockies there is a lot of relatively strenuous up hill climbing...all day long. I plan on how many calories I burn per hour (600+ http://www.nutristrategy.com/activitylist4.htm) and try to make it up in food. For those charts you have to figure in your TOTAL weight - that includes boots, pack, clothes. For an example of the problem, there are only 2200Kcal in a 16 ounce bag of Nestle Semi-Sweet 'chocolate chips'. That is not even a day's worth of energy expended. You might be able to eat a bag of chocolate chips the first day, but I defy anybody to eat two in a row. :)

I can't carry that many calories nor can I force myself to eat that much per day - at least not the first week. So I plan a few pounds of blubber on a fit body to make up for what I am not going to eat. I make three hot meals a day with three snacks: mid morn, mid afternoon, just before bed. If I don't make an attempt to get nearly as many calories in me that go out my feet per day, I feel it - especially at altitude.

In the bear cannister I can layer pita/tortilla, bagged milk powder, rice/beans/pasta, and other consumables that will need to be cooked. I plan on a soak on the trail before they get cooked to save fuel. Peanut butter/honey get repackaged in a heavy duty plastic bag that can be laid flat. I don't plan on scurvy or rickets or the results of a bad diet (high salt/fat) on any trip less than a few months.

There are some wonderful meals in a bag (http://www.backpacker.com/cgi-bin/forums/ikonboard.cgi?act=SF;f=512107219) Back Country Cooking Forum, that you can prepare ahead of time or use directly for that 'good' meal a day. I actually like those powdered brown gravy mixes. That and Tabasco flavored soy sauce help make anything fluffy white go down easier.

Everything gets repackaged in plastic bags to save weight and space. I use a straw in an end of the bag to suck out as much air as I can before sealing. On a long trip I am usually worried about the space used in my pack. The weight is just what the weight will be.

No matter what you plan for, you will be ultimately constrained by weight and space. Generally I figure on 2+ pounds a day of dry food per person as a base. Winter and high altitude huffn and puffn I add about 50% more (3+ pounds a day each). But then I live well with a punk to pull :)

9:31 p.m. on October 17, 2009 (EDT)
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475 forum posts

Addendum: So when you plan on x pounds of food a day for y calories expended, the list below gives you and example of what you will be up against. A pound of cooked rice (1600Kcal) is a LARGE plateful. Michael Phelps (Olympic swimmer) managed 6,000Kcal+ a day but he didn't have to carry it or cook it. He also spent a lot of time eating and sleeping.

Pound of body fat - about 3500 Kcal

FATS:
16 fl oz of olive oil 3900Kcal (16 (dry) oz more than 4000Kcal)
16 oz of butter (2 cups) = 3,200 calories
16 oz Peanut Butter (creamy) 2708

SWEETS:
16 oz sugar (2 1/4 cups) = 1,733 calories
16 oz Corn Syrup 1920Kcal
16 oz Aunt Jamima's Maple (flavored) Syrup 1890
16 oz Shady Maple Farms Organic Maple Syrup 1680
16 oz Honey 1320
16 oz of chocolate chips 2200Kcal

DRY WEIGHTS
16 oz macaroni pasta 1680
16 oz Spaghetti 1680
16 oz Krusteaz Pancake mix 1680
16 oz of rice 1600Kcal
16 oz Kellogs Froot Loops 1656
16 oz (Blue) Cornmeal 1647
16 oz Bulgar (Wheat) 1520
16 oz General Mills Total 1500
16 oz Split Peas (dry) 1170
16 oz Lintils (dry) 1040

PREPARED: Yum salt and fat added. Where are all of those unhealthy fast food places that are making people obese?

16 oz Trader Joe Madras Lintil (heat and eat) 416Kcal (10oz package gives 2-130Kcal servings)
16 oz Mountain House Beef Teriaki 1224 ( a package for two is .55 pound 680Kcal)
16 oz Mountain House Beef/Noodle Stoganoff 1582 (package for four is .79 pound 1250 Kcal )

5:25 a.m. on October 22, 2009 (EDT)
69 reviewer rep
21 forum posts

I agree with the above recommendations of about 2 pounds per day and with 4 meals per day. You want to get 3000 - 4000 calories per day for moderate mileage and depending on your size and physical condition. Don't skimp on calories from fat. Fat is dense and takes up less room in your pack. Some good options are summer sausage, cheddar cheese (both keep for about a week without refrigeration) and of course peanut butter.

September 19, 2014
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