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  1. #1
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    Default Backpacking/camping foods

    Ok, so I'm going to be taking my first backpacking excursion within a couple of weeks, for 3~4 days in and out. I've been doing a lot of research on what to take, since I will not have a car this time to haul around food, in a cooler. My base metabolism makes me burn about 1800~1900 just being alive, and I'll probably be burning around 4000 calories per day average (probably around 5000 on the days i hike up and down the mountain). Considering that, i intend to take enough for around 3000 calories per day for 4 days. So here is the list of items I plan to take. If anyone is interested, i can add in the amounts, cost, and calorie counts for all of them.

    Italian dry salami- I was able to find a 1.5 pound role of this stuff for only $4! It's the "Gallo" brand. The dry sausages and salamis usually cost $7~$10 per pound minimum, so I will be eating lots of this on the trail.

    Cheese- I'm going to be taking some form of hard cheese, likely gouda in some wax and cheesecloth. I'm able to find gouda at $5 per pound, though i havent tried it before. I like cheddar, blue, jack and provolone but really dont like swiss cheeses. Would I like the flavor of gouda?

    tortillas- A calorie dense flat bread, perfect for some melted cheese and salami.

    nuts- All kinda of nuts, though I'm trying to keep a balance between roasted and raw. Roasted may keep better (really doesnt matter over 4 days), but I don't know if i digest it as easily as raw nuts.

    dried fruit- Mostly just the huge red/pink flame raisins from bulk bins. taste much better than typical raisins, not to mention rather cheap at $2/lb (nuts are also cheap from the bulk bins) and packed with much needed carbs.

    coconuts- Calorie dense as a mofo (one coconut, 1400 calories) with mostly fat, but coconut fat is a peculiar medium chain fatty acid that provides quick energy, similar to carbs, but with more calories per gram.

    canned mackerel- A wonderful canned food, imo. Tons of protein in a small package, delicious, and lots of calcium to boot.

    bagels- calorie dense and delicious bread, high in carbs and protein.

    And maybe some miscellaneous sugary snacks.

  2. #2
    meinmeinmein! mmhmm's Avatar
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    yes, nutrient densed foods -- coconuts. <3 them.

    i prepare a lot of raw energy food.
    food processed figs, dates, dried fruits and soaked raw nuts,
    and make balls out of them. they keep well, and great for digesting.

    raw banana bread (bananas, flax seed, nuts -- then dehydrated).
    every normal man must be tempted, at times,
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    and begin slitting throats.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member WoodsWoman's Avatar
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    Look up 'wild food' on Amazon and find a guide to the edible plants in the area you're going camping in. Knowledge of as few as two or three plants can make a very nice diet variation.

  4. #4
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    Good ideas suggested so far, and I'm going to have to start taking coconut on my trips, so thanks for the idea.

    I avoid canned food because the weight of the can is actually significant, although one can probably doesn't matter too much. Salmon, tuna, and chicken are available in small foil pouches with less liquid (liquid=heavy, unnecessary). Salmon especially is an extremely healthy food. Hang your food well, as bears like it too.

    Starkist sweet and spicy tuna in a pita tastes like a sloppy joe.

    I like to take things like rice, instant mashed potatoes, crackers, pretzels, energy bars, candy bars, and peanut butter. PB is fairly calorie-dense.

    I'm planning to switch to doing mostly freezer bag cooking to avoid the need to clean the cooking pot. Just boiling water and then letting things cook in a freezer bag inside an insulated "cozy" (made of sleeping pad foam or Reflectix) saves time and work.

    Most people end up taking around 1.5-2 lbs of food per day.

  5. #5
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    I would bring a couple of those "sugary snacks" just so you get a change of pace at night when you stop. It gets boring eating the same stuff, everyday. You might also want to think about throwing in a couple of those little individual packets of kool-aid or crystal light or something. Water is awesome but it's nice having something different once you stop. I never go without beef jerky to snack on since it is beef, composed of small pieces, and you can just suck on it while you're moving, but that's personal preference.

    Just make sure you bring enough (can't emphasize that enough) and waterproof it. Why do you plan on operating on a 1000-2000 calorie deficit?

    Also, make sure you have something to reseal your canned food in after you open it.

    I don't know if you've ever used MRE's but you may want to look into getting a couple of them and just taking out the main meal and heating pouch. A hot meal after a day of hiking is awesome!
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

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    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  6. #6
    morose bourgeoisie
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    Bring peanut butter and whole wheat bread. Those are camping staples. Very caloric and satisfying.

    Also try this:

    Homemade energy bars: cheap, delicious, and surprisingly easy!

    oatmeal-raisin cookies are good too.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphosis View Post

    Just make sure you bring enough (can't emphasize that enough) and waterproof it. Why do you plan on operating on a 1000-2000 calorie deficit?
    To make it overall easier in terms of the amount of food I must carry, and might as well shed a pound while i'm at it.


    Also, make sure you have something to reseal your canned food in after you open it.
    I'll most likely be eating the whole thing within 5 minutes anyway. The can should be useful for heating stuff in over the fire. I don't plan to do a lot of cooking, and so wont be bringing any pans and stuff (it's possible to improvise cooking implements anyway should I need to). But I do want to bring like a thin, flat, sturdy aluminum hot plate/long spathula or something like that.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Phoenix_400's Avatar
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    Sounds like you've gotten some great advice and done your homework. I remember reading a lot of these tips when I started trying to get set-up for backpacking.

    Make your own trail mix: I mix unsalted peanuts, crushed walnuts, pecan halves, raisins, m&m's and coconut flakes.

    I'm banged up enough and just flat out don't have a lot of time right now, so I usually only do day hikes now. My day-pack has enough gear for if I have to camp in an emergency though. I keep a small molle medic pouch on the outside of my pack (that I can unsnap and clip to my belt) with the following:
    1 x Sandwich bag of trail mix
    1 x Sandwich bag of beef jerky,
    2 x Pack of peanut butter crackers (the 6 per pack ones)
    2 x Peanut butter chocolate chip power bars.
    Plus my camelbak has a 100oz water reservoir in it.

    Its not the best mix of food (certainly wouldn't work for an extended trip), but it works for my purposes and its all stuff that I can eat on the move.
    "People in glass houses shouldn't use Windex when living near bird sanctuaries."- myself

    "We are never alone my friend. We are constantly in the company of victories, losses, strengths and weaknesses. Make no mistake, life is war...and war is hell. Those who fight the hardest will suffer the most...but that's what you have to do: Fight. As long as you're feeling pain, then there's hope...because only the dead do not suffer." -RD Metcalf
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  9. #9
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    I'd advise against coconuts (unless already shaved) and canned food. Preparing them is too burdensome and when it comes to food generally you want as little of the weight and space it takes up to be inedible. Doubled up plastic bags of trail mix, dried meat, etc. provides a much better weight/calorie ratio and the bags take up no space when they're empty. Cans, on the other hand... you get my point. If you're going a decent distance, most of what you'll eat will be on hiking breaks so it's best to focus on foods that don't require prep and only portion the foods requiring prep for dinner after camp is set up and possibly breakfast.

    Also, remember that at higher altitudes the body's digestion is much slower. The higher you climb, the more you'll want to avoid long digesting foods high in fat or protein (saturate your system with this before you get into high altitudes) and stick to carbs. (I like to take a few snickers bars on summit day).

    If you aren't taking a stove and pot, what is your plan for water? Do you know you can make camp near a fresh stream every night, or plan to use chemicals?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by foolish heart View Post
    I'd advise against coconuts (unless already shaved) and canned food. Preparing them is too burdensome and when it comes to food generally you want as little of the weight and space it takes up to be inedible. Doubled up plastic bags of trail mix, dried meat, etc. provides a much better weight/calorie ratio and the bags take up no space when they're empty. Cans, on the other hand... you get my point. If you're going a decent distance, most of what you'll eat will be on hiking breaks so it's best to focus on foods that don't require prep and only portion the foods requiring prep for dinner after camp is set up and possibly breakfast.
    They're not that difficult, I eat them all the time. The better the knife you have, the easier they are to eat. Plus they can carry a nice amount of coconut water, which is great for rehydrating yourself on/after long hikes. Most of the food I mentioned is easy to snack on while on the trail, the rest of it requires as much preparation is opening a can or bag, and that's about it. You're not exactly pressed for time when you have camp set up and you're just out in the woods all day :P .

    Also, remember that at higher altitudes the body's digestion is much slower. The higher you climb, the more you'll want to avoid long digesting foods high in fat or protein (saturate your system with this before you get into high altitudes) and stick to carbs. (I like to take a few snickers bars on summit day).
    That's interesting, makes sense considering the lack of oxygen higher up. I was worried about that anyway considering how my system usually handles fatty foods and some proteins. At 5000 feet it shouldn't be too bad though. I've been up there before, and it's juuust high enough to make the air feel thinner, but not too bad.

    If you aren't taking a stove and pot, what is your plan for water? Do you know you can make camp near a fresh stream every night, or plan to use chemicals?
    If I had to I'd just use a campfire, ya know, the kind you make on the earth that burns wood :P . Don't know what it is with people and camping stoves. Carrying them is more inconvenient than knowing how to make a safe fire, and just setting it up when you get to camp. It seems almost foolish for people to be camping/backpacking and not even know how to make a fire without a stove (not saying you don't, but in general). And if i needed to, I could boil water in the couple of cans I'll be bringing, as I mentioned above. Shouldn't be an issue though because it'll be in a more or less developed campsite with spring water for drinking. Otherwise I'd bring a water filter.

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