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  • Appalachian Trail Thru Hike

    Hello all, I am fairly new here. Just registered but I have been on this site for a couple months.

    I am planning an Appalachian Trail Thru hike meaning I'll be hiking the entire 2200 or so miles of trail and would take 4+ months (from Georgia to Maine). Has anyone here completed the whole trail or some of it? If so were you able to stay Primal for the most part? I'm trying to figure out ways to stay primal and carry 4-5+ days worth of "primal" food before having to resupply. What do you all recommend for food bought from grocery stores that will stay good for 4-5 days and keep me well nourished?

    They say the average thru hiker burns over 6000 calories a day. I doubt I could afford/carry that many calories a day for 4+ months, maybe 3000 calories a day. Would it be wise to do added upper body exercises like push ups, pull ups, ab workouts or would I be pushing myself way to much and my body eating away more muscle than i would be putting on?

    All input will be appreciated! I'm still a Noob to primal lifestyle so my name should be Jedi Padawan Learner Grok...

  • #2
    you know, if i were to do this primal, i would probably prep myself rather than rely on modern grocery stores.

    the most simple solution would be to make and utilize pemmican, which can keep quite well in cool temperatures for a number of months. even so, i would vacuum seal it into proper sealing bags so that it may keep even longer.

    here is a recipe for making traditional pemmican. this is essentially dried meat and rendered fat, similar to a sausage, and then tightly packed into a cake. it is highly dense and nutritious, particularly suited to this sort of travel.

    in addition, i would make jerky, determine daily amounts for that, and then seal it in it's own pouch.

    next, i would ferment veggies in all sorts of forms -- krauts, kim chee, salsas, various cole slaws that i also like to ferment, etc. a daily veg, so to speak. i would make them into servings of my daily amounts, and vacuum-seal them.

    after this, i would dehydrate some fruit leathers of various sorts. then i would vacuum-seal them into daily pouches.

    i would also carry nuts and dark chocolate. i would also carry tea, because i'm obsessed with drinking tea.

    i would make enough for every day of four months -- which would come to 120-130 days worth. I would pre-box each package for my friends to send to the post offices were i'd be picking them up, so that there's no guesswork. This would be 3-4 pouches for each day (pemmican, jerky, veggies, fruit leather).

    the reason i would vacuum seal the pouches is two-fold: 1. better keeping; and 2. less air/density/weight to carry. all of these things, actually, can be fairly easy to carry -- and the fermented veggies, you won't need a whole lot of them, perhaps about 1/4 cup per day or so. this is mostly for digestive aid and added vitamins. so, everything becomes small and nutrient dense and easy to eat and easy to carry over so many days. Also, you won't need to cook a thing. you can just cut open your pouches for the day at your meal time, and then eat as you need to.

    this is probably how i would do it, personally. i think if you make 5 different flavors of each thing (eg, 5 pemmicans; 5 different jerkies; 5 different ferments; 5 different leathers), then you'll be able to choose flavor profiles and won't loose your noodle about eating the same things over and over. I would probably match up my flavor blends pretty specifically, because i'm crazy like that. things have to go together for me.

    when you are close to towns, might be a good idea to go ahead and hit a grocer for some fresh fruit and veg, but you probably won't need it.

    when yuo finish, you have to tell us your trail name.

    i've only hiked portions of the trail at a time, usually staying with people along the trail, or in huts, rather than any camping. i usually carry enough food for the day (nuts, fruit, chocolate), but would be given breakfast and dinner by these friends or hosts.

    Comment


    • #3
      Welcome Jedi Grok (love the name)!

      Sounds like pretty solid advice from zoebird. I dream of one day doing a thru hike and after going Primal thought about what foods I would use since many traditional hiking foods are out. Pemmican is where it's at; super-calorie dense, filling and has all you need. I like the idea about fermented veggies too, never thought about that. It would be a LOT of work to prepare and package all that food, but if you're going to do it, do it right I suppose.

      I am jealous! Have fun on your adventure!

      Comment


      • #4
        You are probably aware of WhiteBlaze.net Search leads us here: Dehydrated meat - WhiteBlaze - Appalachian Trail

        And be careful out there: DVBID: Incidence | CDC Lyme Disease <--keeps me off the Trail in warm weather
        Retirement has afforded me the ultimate affluence, that of free time (Sahlins/Wells)

        Comment


        • #5
          i think it would take a month -- if you pretty much only did it on weekends. you'd need a good dehydrator, too.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you all for the awesome advice. I've heard of pemmican but never gave it much thought... will defiantly try to make some!

            Zoebird - That is a lot of work but I guess if I want to stay primal then thats what I gotta do.

            Thanks Yodiewan (thats a good name too!) I hope you can do the whole trail someday!

            TCOHTom - Yea lyme disease would suck, defiantly going to keep an eye out for ticks.

            I have a feeling I'll have to break some rules and eat some grain food... I am on a budget so dehydrating lots of meat and fermenting veggies and shipping them to different post offices would cost quite a bit. Will try my best though. Maybe I'll get a book on identifying edible plants and try to catch my food as I walk, then I will be a true hunter/gatherer! Maybe I can advance to Jedi Knight Grok when I'm finished.

            Thanks

            Comment


            • #7
              Hey there, congrats on tackling the AT... I have a non primal friend hiking NOBO right now, and I'm planning a CDT thru-hike myself.

              Some good advice, but I'm concerned about food keeping properly for 3-4 months, especially if it is going to sit in a post office under who knows what conditions. Does anyone know the actual shelf life of homemade pemmican, vacuum sealed? I'd be interested in any shelf stable kind... US Wellness meats do not guarantee shelf stable

              Also a big concern is pack weight, so some of the heavier foods are out (although resupplies every 4-5 days isn't too bad). I'm stocking up on wild salmon packs, which are great with freeze dried veggies in various sauces. Also small packs of olive oil are handy for extra fat calories.

              I'm curious what other ideas you all have. Happy hiking, Jedi Grok!
              Jen, former Midwesterner, living in the middle of nowhere.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jen AlcesAlces View Post
                Hey there, congrats on tackling the AT... I have a non primal friend hiking NOBO right now, and I'm planning a CDT thru-hike myself.

                Some good advice, but I'm concerned about food keeping properly for 3-4 months, especially if it is going to sit in a post office under who knows what conditions. Does anyone know the actual shelf life of homemade pemmican, vacuum sealed? I'd be interested in any shelf stable kind... US Wellness meats do not guarantee shelf stable

                Also a big concern is pack weight, so some of the heavier foods are out (although resupplies every 4-5 days isn't too bad). I'm stocking up on wild salmon packs, which are great with freeze dried veggies in various sauces. Also small packs of olive oil are handy for extra fat calories.

                I'm curious what other ideas you all have. Happy hiking, Jedi Grok!

                Thanks! Plan on doing the A.T. and PCT too, to go for the Triple Crown? That is my goal someday. When did your friend start his hike? I plan on leaving around first week or so of april going NOBO.

                Yes pack weight is a major concern. My pack currently weighs in at 40 lbs with all the essentials for camping/hiking, 3 liters of water and about 5-6 days worth of nuts, dried berries/fruits, olive oil, tuna pouches, and non primal food like raman noodles, oatmeal, snickers, tortilla shells, and crackers.

                Could you list your gear for your CDT Hike? I love to look at what other people pack, helps me figure out more on what i might need. Although the CDT and AT would require different gear in certain areas. If you want I can list mine too.

                Comment


                • #9
                  the website i linked above asserts:

                  Storage: If possible, wrap the pemmican in plastic wrap or store it in ziplock bags or in plastic storage containers with a tight fitting lid. Pemmican can be safely stored for 8 months. If you can keep the temperature between 40 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 24 degrees Celsius) then pemmican can be stored for several years.
                  vacuum-sealing just takes out any extra air to prevent contamination and makes it much easier to carry (because it makes the packets smaller/flatter/etc. i also assume it can help things keep.

                  fermented veggies tend to keep for a very long time -- they have an 8 month life span if in cool conditions (fridge, basement, root cellar). but they won't go bad in a week/etc in terms of shipping/carrying on a hike. usually, they just get more fermenty, which is good for ya.

                  dried fruit leather (and i bet you could add veggie leathers to it!) keep for a long time due to sugar content. i don't know how long, but they have a good shelf life.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I would probably comprimise with legumes and non gluten grains if I absolutely had to.

                    Coconut oil/butter packs a huge a mount of calories, so you could probably carry a container of that, or vacuum seal it into squeeze tubes!
                    The more I see the less I know for sure.
                    -John Lennon

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by zoebird View Post
                      the website i linked above asserts:



                      vacuum-sealing just takes out any extra air to prevent contamination and makes it much easier to carry (because it makes the packets smaller/flatter/etc. i also assume it can help things keep.

                      fermented veggies tend to keep for a very long time -- they have an 8 month life span if in cool conditions (fridge, basement, root cellar). but they won't go bad in a week/etc in terms of shipping/carrying on a hike. usually, they just get more fermenty, which is good for ya.

                      dried fruit leather (and i bet you could add veggie leathers to it!) keep for a long time due to sugar content. i don't know how long, but they have a good shelf life.
                      Excellent advice, probably wont be able to do much of this for my upcoming hike ( will defiantly try to make some pemmican or just plain deer jerky) but this is good info for possible hikes in the future.

                      Oh and yes I will tell you my trail name, if it isn't to embarrassing...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        we're just back from a 3 day hike in north Wales, it was cold wet and hilly - perfect

                        it's our first hike since I went primal about a month back and I was amazed how little I ate! We had a big breakfast each day (bacon) then I was fine till lunch (meat & nuts) and again no snacking till dinner (re-hydrated ration packs, leaving the carbs to my wife). I guess my body must be burning it's own fuel rather than relying on hourly energy bars or crackers. We walked slightly slower than normal, but really not much. Experiment with it in the run-up to your big trip, you might be surprised too!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi Jedi Grok,
                          Have only done a short hike on the AT, but it was very cool. You are going to have a blast! Would love to get all 3 trails under my belt someday. My NOBO friend started March 1, in the snow. They are taking it a bit easy at first, so if you catch up with him... his name is SuperChef, haha, say hello.

                          I'm at 30-35 fully loaded (for 8-9 days), but have a hiking partner which helps to share the shelter & cooking supply weight. I'm still working on the food, and definitely will bring dried fruit, nuts, olive oil, tuna, salmon, chicken pouches, along with a bunch of dehydrated veggies to add to everything - I have a dehydrator, but bought these from Barry Farms and Harmony House.

                          I have been researching pemmican & plan to make some batches soon... also the coconut oil sounds good, maybe it comes in small containers hmmm. Luckily I have a few months (going SOBO). As for the carbs, my stomach doesn't like wheaty food, so I am relying more on rice and legumes for carbs, have some really good freeze dried refried beans. I'm also looking into making sweet potato bark, or something like that... I already do have dehydrated sweet potatoes from Harmony House, but they require a long soak (they are good!) I've faced the fact that hiking 15-20 miles a day with a full pack will require more carbs than I am used to having, so some compromise is in order. And when I get to Pie Town, NM... I will definitely be eating PIE and lots of it!

                          I'll post my gear list, just need to find the latest version. I keep changing some things, like camp shoes... yes or no. So much to think about. Yes, I would love to see your gear list for the same reason, also curious how different the AT needs are. Someday I'd really like to see the 100 mile wilderness in Maine... supposed to be a lot of moose (aka Alces Alces Americana) there. I'm jealous!

                          (Sorry I can ramble about this stuff for hours... haha)
                          Last edited by Jen AlcesAlces; 03-17-2011, 10:15 AM. Reason: Added more rambling about backpacking
                          Jen, former Midwesterner, living in the middle of nowhere.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jen AlcesAlces View Post
                            Hi Jedi Grok,
                            Have only done a short hike on the AT, but it was very cool. You are going to have a blast! Would love to get all 3 trails under my belt someday. My NOBO friend started March 1, in the snow. They are taking it a bit easy at first, so if you catch up with him... his name is SuperChef, haha, say hello.

                            I'm at 30-35 fully loaded (for 8-9 days), but have a hiking partner which helps to share the shelter & cooking supply weight. I'm still working on the food, and definitely will bring dried fruit, nuts, olive oil, tuna, salmon, chicken pouches, along with a bunch of dehydrated veggies to add to everything - I have a dehydrator, but bought these from Barry Farms and Harmony House.

                            I have been researching pemmican & plan to make some batches soon... also the coconut oil sounds good, maybe it comes in small containers hmmm. Luckily I have a few months (going SOBO). As for the carbs, my stomach doesn't like wheaty food, so I am relying more on rice and legumes for carbs, have some really good freeze dried refried beans. I'm also looking into making sweet potato bark, or something like that... I already do have dehydrated sweet potatoes from Harmony House, but they require a long soak (they are good!) I've faced the fact that hiking 15-20 miles a day with a full pack will require more carbs than I am used to having, so some compromise is in order. And when I get to Pie Town, NM... I will definitely be eating PIE and lots of it!

                            I'll post my gear list, just need to find the latest version. I keep changing some things, like camp shoes... yes or no. So much to think about. Yes, I would love to see your gear list for the same reason, also curious how different the AT needs are. Someday I'd really like to see the 100 mile wilderness in Maine... supposed to be a lot of moose (aka Alces Alces Americana) there. I'm jealous!

                            (Sorry I can ramble about this stuff for hours... haha)

                            Hey sorry I havn't replied in days... very busy at work and has left me tired everyday ( Can't wait to get away from work for 4+ months )

                            Your friend will be a good month+ ahead of me but who knows we might meet. Did he get that name on the trail or before going?

                            Yea my gear list changes a lot, should I take this or get something lighter or not take it at all? Haha it is fun to do though.

                            All the bold numbers are in ounces

                            Shelter + Backpack
                            202.4

                            Casper sleep bag 15 degree 62.7 oz
                            Flash 65 52.2
                            MSR Hubba tent 52.1
                            bigangus sleep pad 26.2
                            Sleep bag liner 9.2*

                            Clothing 103.4

                            rei convertable pants 12.9
                            rei heavyweight top 9.9
                            rocky midweight therm 9.1 probably leave this home
                            rei heavyweight bottoms 8.9
                            sahara longsleeve top 8.1
                            lightweight wool sockx2 6.2
                            heavyweight wool sock 5.4
                            Facemask 2.1
                            REI Glove Liners 1.6
                            Neck gaiter 1.1
                            Cabelas 750down vest 12.4
                            Rain jacket 13.4
                            Rain pants 12.3

                            Cook kit 25.73

                            Katdyn water filter 15.5
                            Alcohol Stove 0.59
                            Wind screen 0.9
                            Fuel bottle full 4.6
                            Evernew pot 30floz 4.14

                            Electronics kit
                            11.5

                            Cell Phone 5.3
                            USB Cable for phone 0.7
                            Brunton power pack 5.5
                            SPOT 5.5
                            Camera 5+
                            Camera charger

                            toilet kit 22.5

                            All purpose soap 5.1
                            chapstick 0.3
                            moist toilet wipes 2.3
                            wet hand wipes 2.6
                            half bottle hand sanitizer 1.6
                            small tube sunscreen 1.3
                            ziplock 0.2
                            half roll toilet paper + zip 1.4
                            Bug repellent spray 7.5* probably leave this at home and buy some when I really start to need it

                            Tool kit
                            22.1*

                            50ft para cord 1.2
                            fish line + hooks 1.1
                            whistle+thermometer+compass+magnifer 1.0
                            small multitool 2.3
                            Sog trident fold knife 3.5
                            Personal defense 12.4
                            zip lock 0.2
                            pocket Shovel 4.7
                            pen fishing rod 2.5 I love fishing
                            lightweight spin reel 5


                            first aid kit 6.7

                            half bottle benadryl spray 1.6
                            2 packets emergen-c 0.7
                            6 bandaides 0.2
                            potable aqua tabs 1.1
                            small tube neosporin 0.7
                            aquamira straw filter 0.5
                            tube of cortizone 0.9
                            tweezers 0.2
                            ziplock 0.2

                            hygeine kit 3.4

                            small deodorant 1.3
                            small toothpaste 0.9
                            small toothbrush 0.4
                            small toenail clippers 0.4
                            zip lock 0.2

                            fire kit
                            2.7

                            waterproof matches 0.3
                            4 esbit type cubes 0.6
                            firesteel 0.9
                            bic 0.5
                            ziplock 0.2

                            Footwear 98.1

                            NB AT shoes 30.3* going to wear my boots till they fall apart then wear these. will use these as a camp shoe in the mean time
                            Bates Boots dirty mud 67.8 These were covered in mud (dry mud) when i weighed them.

                            Not all the weights are 100% correct. A few items have been changed but forgot to change weights. It all comes to about 22-25 lbs though with no food or water and about 40 lbs with food for a 5+ days and 3 liters of water.

                            When it gets warmer at nights I'll probably send my sleeping bag home, that will cut 4 lbs. I'm pretty sure my clothing and bag liner would keep me comfortable down to 45ish degrees.

                            Would love to see your list!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I've been wanting to do the Trail ever since I read Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods."

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