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Long distance hike- food ideas?

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  • Long distance hike- food ideas?

    I'm planning on thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail this coming spring, and need some ideas for packable, nonperishable foodstuffs. High caloric value is a must, since I am a skinny guy already, and will be burning in the realm of 5-6,000 kcals per day for about 6 months. Any ideas?
    "Itís not about how strong you are, itís how well you can move with that strength."

  • #2
    Pemmican? Jerky.

    I'm sure sbhikes has some good ideas and will be along shortly.


    • #3
      I second the suggestion of pemmican. I am jealous! For a long time I have dreamt of doing a thru hike and have thought about what foods I would bring.

      Pemmican, coconut butter (basically very finely shredded coconut), dried fruit, and dehydrated sweet potatoes would be at the top of my list. If you buy/make a large dehydrator, you should have time to make a pretty large supply of these foods yourself.

      I would also consider bringing some homemade dehydrated beef stock powder. I made some recently and it's pretty good. It's basically just very reduced beef stock that's then put into the dehydrator until it's hard, then ground up. Some of the flavor evaporated, but it still has plenty of body/gelatin.

      I also read a book that talked about dehydrating whole meals, like chili for example. I haven't tried it myself, but it seems like a cool idea.

      Good luck in preparing and on your hike!


      • #4
        nuts and jerkey/pemmican will be your friends i think. they pack the biggest caloric punch without adding a bunch of weight. fruit and nut butters, canned fish packed in oil, hard boiled eggs whenever you can get them, bacon, sausage...those should be good for those treks where you're only going for a few days in between towns.


        • #5
          Good luck! Would love to hike the AT some day, was just talking about this to a co-worker... Assuming you have drop ships along the way?


          • #6
            Very dark chocolate, and jars of coconut oil. Dehydrated sweet potatoes sound good too, along with sardines canned in olive oil. Also nutrient-dense dried fruit, e.g. figs, sour cherries and apricots.

            Awesome opportunity - have fun!
            F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.


            • #7
              When I did my long distance hike, I didn't eat paleo foods at all. Since then I've done some shorter trips and I also have two friends who completed the CDT on sort of primal-ish diets.

              What I liked:
              Pemmican (homemade, not tasty, haven't seen if it melts in hot weather)
              Coconut butter (very messy, can make curries or just use it as a soup base without spices)
              Dehydrated sweet potatoes and garnet yams (best meal ever is to melt a pemmican puck into rehydrated yams)
              Various dehydrated veggies and jerky
              Candy (chocolate covered nuts)
              Nuts, especially macadamias (good to mix dates, cheese and nuts together)
              Dehydrated canned chicken

              What my friends on the CDT used:
              - They did eat grains and lots of them, especially rice and oats. But no flour and no sugar and no pasta.
              - One friend made yogurt in his sleeping bag over night with Nido powdered milk.
              - They both went no-cook. Typically they set breakfast soaking (if it was oats or something) before they went to bed, added water to lunch at breakfast and added water to dinner at lunch.
              - These rehydrated meals consisted of copious dehydrated stuff they made themselves included dried hamburger (cook and rinse first), dried canned chicken, dried cooked pork tenderloin, dried cooked grains, dried vegetables, dried cooked potatoes, various spices.
              - They ate huge blocks of cheese. The biggest block of cheese you can get at the store lasted about 3 days.
              - Summer sausage and salami. One sausage lasted about 2-3 days.
              - Olive oil. About 8 ounces lasted about 4-5 days.
              - Nuts, dried fruit, jerky.

              You might enjoy reading his description of his diet and trail food here, and you might send him an email and ask for his recipes.
              Continental Divide Trail -- Pie Town, New Mexico - Pleasant Hill, CA Patch
              Last edited by sbhikes; 10-22-2012, 01:53 PM.
              Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.


              • #8
                Thanks for the input everyone! I'll do some research into pemmican (though I have heard from multiple sources that it is not very appetizing). Melting it into meals sounds like a good idea. SB, thanks for the in-depth answer. A couple questions (for anyone)- what is the best way to dehydrate potatoes/sweet potatoes? My first thought would be bake, cool, and then thin slices in the dehydrator, but if there is a better way, please let me know! Yodiewan, the dehydrated beef stock idea is really interesting. I'm not big on canned stuff (ie sardines) but I'd be interested to know if anyone has ever tried making salmon jerky or something similar (it's real, swear! I had some in Oregon once).
                "Itís not about how strong you are, itís how well you can move with that strength."


                • #9
                  How about some of that tuna in a pouch?


                  • #10
                    Summer sausage. I took 14oz of it on a 3-day climb of Mt. Rainier and just kind of munched on it throughout the trip. It was great.
                    Subduction leads to orogeny

                    My blog that I don't update as often as I should: