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Appalachian Trail adventure planned. What to eat?

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  • Appalachian Trail adventure planned. What to eat?

    Hey folks -

    Me and my Grokette and 3 of our friends are planning a 4 day hike along the AT this summer. One of the guys going is an AT veteran. Unfortunately, he doesn't think we can hike without consuming massive loads of Carbohydrates. He said that the last time he hiked his typical diet consisted of:

    Breakfast - a huge bag of cereal w/ powdered milk.

    Lunch - 2 packs of Ramen noodles.

    Dinner - Powdered Lipton noodle soup.

    Freakin' nasty crap, hey?!

    Soooo.. I was thinking of going with some pemmican, dehydrated fruit and dehydrated vegetables, some nuts. . .any other suggestions? Stuff that's lightweight, preferrably.

    Thanks, guys and gals.

  • #2

    Protein pudding would serve you well if you permit whey.

    Whey protein powder

    Flaxseed or chia

    Raw Pumpkin seeds

    Shredded coconut

    Raw eggs

    Psyllium husk

    Coconut milk or almond milk

    Cinnamon, cocoa, stevia, xylitol, etc for flavor if you want

    Mix and go! You can make as much of it as you want and it fits in a small container.

    Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

    Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!


    • #3

      Definitely tons of beef jerky!!!

      Maybe some primal protein bars?

      Canned fish, or those pouches of tuna maybe? I like smoked oysters!

      My husband (avid outdoorsman, fisherman type) likes to dehydrate ground beef. He cooks the beef and then lets it cool to room temp, then dehydrates (takes about 24 hours) until dry and crumbly. Rehydrate by adding small amounts of water (remember you can always add more!) and allow it to boil a bit then cover and let reconstitute. He's done spaghetti type mixtures, taco beef, spicy, and plain.

      He also makes dehydrated stew. Make your stew as you would (but make sure your beef cubes are no bigger than a 1/2 inch), then once it's cooled dehydrate. Add small amounts of water and allow to cook slowly over the fire or campstove, driving your ramen scarfing friends nuts! lol

      The more I see the less I know for sure.
      -John Lennon


      • #4

        Pemmican, buy it at US Wellness Meats, or make your own:

        Canned fish (anchovy, herring, salmon, sardines), and you can get dried/smoked fish, too.

        4 days of Pemmican will give you the best nutrition per ounce, so it would indeed be your lightest option. Mix with hot water for a soup, or eat it straight up.

        Experiment with the foods you are taking, so you get no gastro-intestinal surprise!


        • #5

          Acmebike beat me to it. Without a doubt, the #1 primal trail food would be pemmican, both for nutrition, and for primal authenticity.


          • #6

            I would have to also agree with pemmican as well as home-dried jerky. You could also do some due dilligence and find out what sort of natural foods are available in the Appalachians where you are going. What you find out that is edible might just surprise you.

            Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
            Check me out @ my blog: Retrospective Caveman
            I set up a Facebook Group for all those who are eating and living Paleo/Primal


            • #7

              OMG - Such great Ideas! I didn't even THINK about jerky!! Duh! ::slapping forehead:: Of course! Thanks, Lil'Earthmomm. The dried fish/ pouches of tuna/salmon's a wonderful idea, too. LOL! DEFINATELY gonna do the dehydrated stew.

              Stabby! Those will seve me very well. I don't permit whey - but the seeds, coconut and spices along w/ the coconut milk - awesome!

              Acme - thanks for the gastro-intest. advice, too! That'd make for a LONG hike. LOL!

              Would you guys hike the AT in your VFF's? If it were just a regular hike - there'd be no question - but I'm concerrned about the terrain and carrying a weighted pack...I snapped a tendon that runs along my left ankle several years back and it never healed properly. I'm concerned about it twisting on a rock or something.


              • #8

                My brother just got the VFF Treks and loves them, maybe a new pair is in order?? They have thicker soles and actual traction, along with a leather upper. I'm always looking for a reason to buy new VFFs anyway...

                Would you be able to do a few "training" hikes in a similar setting to see how your ankle feels in VFFs after a couple of hours? I know my ankles are much stronger/more stable now than when I hiked in "ankle supporting" boots (which I always hated anyway), but I've never snapped a tendon either.

                You are what you eat,
                and what you eat eats too - Michael Pollan


                • #9

                  Powdered eggs! I gave them a whirl 2 weekends ago -- got the big bag from REI. While the texture leaves something to be desired, the flavor is good and overall they're now a must for my backpacking trips. Premix powder with some small jerky pieces and dried veggies and reconstitute your eggs and veggies in one bag as soon as you wake up so they'll be ready to cook in 15-20 mins.

                  Also, my experience, if you take any pouches or cans of fish or meat and you have to pack out all your trash, plan it into meals near the end of your trip. No matter how well you wash that package, or anything else you use during that meal, it will hold the smell, which will develop into a stench, which will not be very appetizing. It could also enhance your scent to bears since you will be in bear country!


                  • #10

                    Ugh - even for carbs he's eating crap hiking food. When I was doing outward bound we ate a lot of rice and beans, noodles, peanut butter, and oatmeal. None of this is primal but it's better than four days of cereal, ramen and lipton's powdered soup.

                    Hard cheese (if that's part of your diet) will keep without refrigeration for four days.

                    Fresh veggies won't last long but they might be a good part of the meal for the first night.

                    Summer sausage

                    Chicken comes in a pouch

                    Oranges keep well, have minimal trash to pack out, and are a nice treat.(You can also use the peels to filter out the taste of chemicals in treated water. Just make sure the water's disinfected before you add the peel)

                    And don't forget to make yourself some trail mixes.


                    • #11

                      I'm with Verdilak. Think high fat for what you take with you, so pemmican fits that bill well. I think the most valuable thing you could bring is a small field guide of edible plants for the areas you'll be in. Gather some of your food as you go. What could be more Primal than that?


                      • #12

                        Hmm, I know how to build a mousetrap out of rocks and sticks - that's pretty darn primal.

                        I have qualms about the gathering of edible plants along the trail though. I'm not saying don't do it - but I do have qualms.

                        1) I wouldn't count on foraging as a primary way to provide food.

                        2) There's only so much daylight to burn. If the plants aren't growing right next to the trail or in camp then you might not have much time to look for them.

                        3) What if everyone did it? The AT ( or at least portions of it ) is fairly popular. It's one thing to be foraging in less visited parts of parks, (off the beaten path as it were) but too many people foraging near the path could ruin the path and leave it kind of sparse.


                        • #13
                          I’m a backpacker and a bit of a chief so I have found that food is one of the few things you have to look forward to on the trail. Particularly dinner so make sure everything is stuff that you love, full of flavor, and relatively nutritious. If you are going for just a few days it doesn’t really matter if you have a lot of carbs or protean.

                          Breakfast: I mostly ate instant oatmeal. Go for about two packs per person per day then spice it up by adding peanut butter, trail mix, or anything else you can think of. I have herd of people bringing powdered eggs and really going all out but I always want to just get up make something hot and go.

                          Lunch: I never really ate lunch. It was just too much of a pain in the butt to get out my stove every day. I mostly just snacked all day or had a peanut better sandwich. By the way I know a jar of peanut butter is a bit on the heavy side but if you’re just going out for a few days with a bunch of your buddies it’s totally worth it. For bread you can just carry a whole loaf or you can use liter tortillas or flat bread.

                          Snacks: Trail Mix is really the way to go. (On the trail we call it GORP for some reason.) Make it yourself out of whatever you want. Don’t by the prepackaged stuff; it’s a huge rip off. If you want to use M&Ms use the ones made for baking. They taste a little different but they won’t melt. Nuts are a given but they are still awesome. They give you something to chew on while you’re walking and really bored. I love to bring a bag of fun sized snickers two. They are awesome for raising your spirits and have a bunch of protean. Jerky is good but I have found that you can get sick of it quick but you can cook with it too so if you like it go for it.

                          Dinner: By far (in my opinion) the most important meal. You can do a lot on the trail by just adding water. Unless you have access to a bunch of free MREs don’t bother buying any. Make them yourself. Some of my favas are potato soup made from instant potatoes and instant milk. I have never tried it but you can dehydrate ground beef by mixing it with bread crumbs frying it up than slowly baking it. I made a recipe for an Indian beef curry but I haven’t tried it yet. Just take very flavorful recipes that you like at home and take out all the water. Raman is good but not all that exciting. You can use the noodles but spice it up with something. Instant gravy, taco seasoning, all of those little packets that they have. Just remember anything you buy you need to carry on your back all day so don’t go to crazy.

                          About picking natural foods on the trail I’m normally ok with a little bit along the lines of ferns and dandelions and stuff when there is a lot of it. You should try to leave nature the way you found it as much as you can.


                          • #14
                            Check out this guy's site:

                            HawK VittleS

                            He may even be able to do custom for you. $ though.

                            I'm toying with the idea of a NH thru hike this summer. I've done NY, MA and CT in day hikes + a few overnights and would love to actually do a 10ish day thru hike. Going over the Whites seems like a nice way to do that


                            • #15
                              Talk to this guy:
                              Wheat is the new tobacco. Spread the word.