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#129363 - 02/23/10 10:18 AM Long Haul? Food For A Month?
TomFenton Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 5
Loc: Abu Dhabi, UAE
I am new to Backpacking/hiking/camping but am planing a trip across Canada (see The Canada Experience)
I'm wondering if its possible to put a months worth of food in your pack with everything else that you need to survive.
What is the most food you have put into a pack? and how long did it last you?

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#129369 - 02/23/10 11:11 AM Re: Long Haul? Food For A Month? [Re: TomFenton]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1735
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
I have carried as much as three weeks worth at just about 2 pounds per day (44 pounds total). On this particular trip I was carrying about 15 pounds of gear so my starting weight was just about 60 pounds. This was for an extended trip in the High Sierra with temps to freezing and, I was a constantly hungry teenager.

If you don't mind a starting weight of about 75 pounds, you can carry a month's worth of food as long as your gear is near the above weight. Or, you can start with some body fat and cut down on the daily ration.

Personally, I would arrange for resupply stops at whatever intervals are possible.
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#129371 - 02/23/10 12:53 PM Re: Long Haul? Food For A Month? [Re: TomFenton]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
You'll need a way to secure your food every night from big critters. My neighbor used to go in the Sierra a month at a time with olive oil and pasta, had to carry a lot of weight with the old gear.

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#129374 - 02/23/10 02:04 PM Re: Long Haul? Food For A Month? [Re: TomFenton]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2859
Loc: Portland, OR
A month's worth is just possible -- under nearly ideal conditions.

How much food weight you'd need to carry would depend a lot on factors like your own weight (smaller people need fewer calories than big people), your body fat reserves, how far you intend to hike in a day and how much elevation change is involved.

A middling estimate would be in the neighborhood of 3300 calories per day - and you still might lose a chunk of weight at that rate. It would be quite difficult to attain a varied diet of 3300 calories in less than 1.75 lbs. a day. (Granted, you could drink pure olive oil and get by on less weight, but no one sane would try.) That would come to 52.5 lbs for 30 days. And that is a low-ish estimate.

Carrying that kind of weight would force you to use a rather huge and heavy pack. Right there you are pushing hard against 60 lbs. before you put a single piece of gear in your pack.

For all I know, you are an infantryman used to a 90 lb field pack and all this would seem like child's play to you. In which case, you would fit that "ideal" condition well enough I'd say, go for it. Otherwise, I would council you to figure out a way to resupply at the two week mark and cut your food burden into two equal halves.

Happy hiking!

Added later: I see you are contemplating making this trip in winter in Canada. In which case, 3300 calories a day is definitely too low for a long distance hike. PCT thru-hikers who often are carrying less than 25 lbs in summer conditions can easily eat 5000 calories a day by the end of their hike.


Edited by aimless (02/23/10 03:45 PM)
Edit Reason: Additional remark.

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#129396 - 02/23/10 10:57 PM Re: Long Haul? Food For A Month? [Re: aimless]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
"I see you are contemplating making this trip in winter in Canada. In which case, 3300 calories a day is definitely too low for a long distance hike. PCT thru-hikers who often are carrying less than 25 lbs in summer conditions can easily eat 5000 calories a day by the end of their hike."

I can personally attest to that latter statement, and depending on the condition you start out in, at some point you'll have burned off enough body fat that your metabolism will climb and you'll definitely want (a lot) more calories than you need when starting out.

But a winter trip in Canada potentially changes a key factor here --- I've not looked into the details of your trip, but is pulling a pulk (sled of some sort) an option? If so, then you could be a bit more relaxed about weight restrictions if most of the load wasn't on your back/hips ... ?
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#129399 - 02/23/10 11:17 PM Re: Long Haul? Food For A Month? [Re: BrianLe]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

He's lookng at doing the trans-canada trail which is somewhat urban, it's not a pulk trip. Of course there are long distances without towns.

While yes, you need to worry about calories, on many sections of the trans-canada trail, you will be able to go through towns and stop for a big pig-out. This helps.

I think you'll probably not want to carry a month's food unless you really really have to - and depending what route you're taking, up in the far north you will have to be worried about bears and critters.

Breaking it up into carrying two weeks food at a time would probably help you a very great deal - this may mean finding a couple of places where someone could meet you with a resupply on a long stretch, or stash one ahead of time for you to get it when you make it there.

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#129495 - 02/25/10 04:31 AM Re: Long Haul? Food For A Month? [Re: phat]
skippy Offline
member

Registered: 12/27/09
Posts: 129
Loc: CO
Originally Posted By phat

Breaking it up into carrying two weeks food at a time would probably help you a very great deal - this may mean finding a couple of places where someone could meet you with a resupply on a long stretch, or stash one ahead of time for you to get it when you make it there.



I competely concur with Phat on this one. I also believe in another post you had mentioned that your were going to be stopping and giving presentations on the way about your trip. Well there is your chance to pig out and resupply. You're going to be burning a ton of fuel to stay warm and to haul your pack so it would be very hard to haul enough food to keep you fueled.

-Skippy


Edited by skippy (02/25/10 04:31 AM)

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#129498 - 02/25/10 08:57 AM Re: Long Haul? Food For A Month? [Re: phat]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Being totally ignorant of the actual conditions, I'm not sure about this. But, if a pulk isn't feasible (either because of urban conditions or no snow), would a small wheeled cart work? There's been a couple of mentions of such things on other threads.

Feel free to ROF and LYAO (did I get that right?) wink

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#129546 - 02/26/10 03:50 AM Re: Long Haul? Food For A Month? [Re: TomFenton]
TomFenton Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 5
Loc: Abu Dhabi, UAE
thanks for the information it is really helping me get a better idea of how Iím going to need to prepare for my trip! I guess my next question is what food would you suggest I take for these 3 to 4 week trips? How can I get 40 to 60 pounds of food into my pack, Without just drinking olive oil smile ?

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#129548 - 02/26/10 06:05 AM Re: Long Haul? Food For A Month? [Re: TomFenton]
DTape Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 656
Loc: Upstate NY
Ryan Jordan's Arctic 1000 page has some good info about food for an extended self-supported trip. Check it out here: http://www.ryanjordan.com/2006_arctic/
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#129700 - 02/28/10 10:27 AM Re: Long Haul? Food For A Month? [Re: DTape]
Tango61 Offline
member

Registered: 12/27/05
Posts: 931
Loc: East Texas Piney Woods
And here's a thread to a journal of a cross-country trip:

http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=1870
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