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#136690 - 07/24/10 10:40 AM Week Long AT Menu
TheOx Offline

Registered: 05/29/10
Posts: 3
Hey guys, leaving in a few weeks and trying to sort out my menu. Heres what I got so far for 5 days:

5 Cliff Bars
5 Snickers (trade bait)
1/2 lb Dried Dates I get 'em from a Middle Eastern market, they are awesome)
Brodie's Edinburgh Tea

You might note I have no main meals, heres where I need some review. I was thinking about taking 1-2 cups of rice per day and then carrying foil tuna/salmon/chicken and rotating maybe dropping some small packets of soy sauce or other spice in there. Does this sound legit? Am I missing anything?

EDIT: FYI, carrying JetBoil only, no pans or anything.

Edited by TheOx (07/24/10 10:42 AM)

#136699 - 07/24/10 06:25 PM Re: Week Long AT Menu [Re: TheOx]
Rdljr Offline

Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 14
Loc: NH
I will give you a bit of knowledge for a 8 day trip I just finished with 2 friends. Friend #1 eats oatmeal for every breakfast at home and regularly has an apple and power bar for lunch and then a very minimal diner that is very restricted as to ingredients. (no high fructose corn syrup, glutton free low sodium and low fat and next to zero red meats) for the trip he figured for dinners he would just carry homemade granola for each diner. Calorie and nutrition wise everything was covered and weight wise it was not bad. Four days in we walked 2 miles off the trail to get him a block of cheese and summer sausage to break the routine of his diet. Friend #2 had instant rice with a mix of dried veggies and meats to make up soups each night, his only problems was a miscalculation of the amount he would want to eat. Myself I carried oatmeal or freeze dried eggs for each breakfast and 4 granola bars for lunch and a freeze dried meal for dinner each night along with 4 pounds of trail mix for snacking. I ended up with over 8 pounds of left over food.
So the wisdom that I would impart is work real hard to have some variety and then work real hard to get the quantity correct. The extra eight pounds I carried took a toll I could have swapped that out for an extra set of dry socks or some frozen steak to trade for chores around camp. In hind sight 2 granola bars per day and the number of breakfasts and trail mix would have put me with just 2 meals left at the end and being that we finished a day early that would have been perfect. Low weight is good but you want to have enough. I did give away a few pounds of food to some others that were running scary low and had a good 35+ miles to go to get any re-supply.
Variety and quantity two very hard to things to balance.

#136700 - 07/24/10 07:39 PM Re: Week Long AT Menu [Re: TheOx]
sarbar Offline

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
Snacks? Don't look at hiking as 3 meals - see it as 4 to 5 or more snacks per day plus dinner.

An energy bar, a candy bar and a handful of dates a day won't cut it for most people (some can).

As for dinners...sure you can eat rice and protein. I might suggest adding in flavors - be it gravy mix, veggie soup mix, Parmesan cheese, etc for more taste. Vegetables and fats add more as well.

On need to think about what will fuel you. Will a Cliff bar fuel you from 6 am to lunch? Most likely not.

Add in some variety!
Freezer Bag Cooking, Trail Cooking, Recipes, Gear and Beyond:

#136702 - 07/24/10 08:14 PM Re: Week Long AT Menu [Re: sarbar]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6430
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
My breakfast (since I detest hot cereal and usually don't want to bother with the stove in the mornings) consists of meusli or grapenuts, freeze-dried berries or bananas, 1/3 C. dried milk and 2-3 tablespoons slivered almonds or other chopped nuts. If I'm out when the blueberries are ripe, I omit the freeze-dried fruit. I put each day's breakfast in a sandwich bag. Add cold water, stir gently to make sure there are no dried milk lumps, eat out of the bag. No dishes to wash; just lick the spoon. For me this is a very satisfying breakfast.

My "lunch" (eaten from 9 am to when I hit camp) consists of varied kinds of nuts (excellent source of healthy fat), dried fruit (freeze-dried for long trips to save weight) and a couple of bars, usually the Kashi bars since I have to avoid the ingredients of most "health food" bars. I vary each from day-to-day, so I'm not eating the same thing all the time. You will be so tired of dates by the end of day 3 that you'll never want to eat them again! You can pick up all sorts of dried fruit and nuts in the bulk foods section of any health food market or health food section of a regular supermarket (like Kroger's or its west coast affiliates like Fred Meyer and QFC). Dried apricots (my favorite), apples, raisins, cranberries, prunes, figs, various tropical fruits, all kinds of nuts--the selection is big enough that you could go a week without repeating, or just vary the mixtures!

Dinner is normally a home-dehydrated meal, rehydrated by pouring almost-boiling water into a freezer bag and letting it sit in a cozy for 15-20 minutes. If you're not into home dehydration, see Sarbar's website for many, many ideas using supermarket ingredients. Note her suggestions for adding flavor! I tend to dump herbs into anything I prepare. Cous-cous (actually a form of pasta which is ready in a couple of minutes after adding boiling water) is an excellent "filler." You can use bouillon powder (chicken, beef or vegetable) and either soy protein (such as TVP) or another bean product as a lighter weight substitute for meat. Just be sure to season it well.

I strongly suggest a varied menu or you will be sick of everything you have by the second day!

Another warning--test everything at home, first!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#136709 - 07/24/10 10:44 PM Re: Week Long AT Menu [Re: OregonMouse]
thecook Offline

Registered: 10/03/08
Posts: 541
Loc: Minnesota
One piece of advice that hasn't been mentioned yet is that the more miles you go per day, the more calories you need which is balanced by the fact that some people (I'm one grin) lose appetite when hiking long miles.

My usual: oatmeal with nuts and fruit for breakfast, midmorning snack granola bar, lunch bagel and meat or peanutbutter and dried fruit, midafternoon snack trisket or chips or cliff bar, dinner 1/2 c couscous or 1/3 c bulgar or one package ramen or 1/2 c rice (before cooking, I use Jasmine) with protein and flavoring and olive oil and two fig newtons.

Edited by thecook (07/24/10 10:45 PM)
If I wouldn't eat it at home, why would I want to eat it on the trail?

#136713 - 07/24/10 11:16 PM Re: Week Long AT Menu [Re: TheOx]
wandering_daisy Offline

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2771
Loc: California
Whatever you use, read the labels. How much water to add, how long to cook. Avoid anything that takes more than 7-10 minutes cooking (most 10-minute cook times can be reduced to 5 minutes if you let it sit 5 minutes before eating). If you want to reduce fuel, just use stuff that needs boiling water added.

Lay out all your food (I do it by meals - for example for a 7 day trip: 6 breakfasts, 7 trail packets, 6 dinners.

Calculate total calories protein, carbohydrates and fats. The nutritional labels are based on "serving size" so be sure to read how many servings in the box of stuff you are taking and multiply the amounts on the label by this. Serving sizes are pretty small- I usually need two servings for one meal.

Divide these totals by full days out, for example a 7-day trip where you eat breakfast before leaving and dinner after getting out is 6.33 "food days". You should have between 2000-3000 calories per day, 15-20% of the weight protein and at least 50% carbohydrates.

Then weigh the food bag. Divide the weight by your "food days". You should have between 1-2 pounds per day - closer to 2 pounds if you take regular dry food, closer to 1 pound if you do mainly freeze-dried meals. If you fall outside this range, add or subtract items accordingly.

For your first trip, you need not get too hung up about nutrition. Just take one multi-vitamin per day. With practice you will learn how to make better nutritional choices.

Be honest about your food cravings - for example I simply cannot do with a cup of coffee every morning or one small candy for my reward for hiking all day!

Aim for variety, even if it is 7 different flavored Knorr side dishes, 7 different energy bars, 4 different types of nuts, etc.

#136732 - 07/25/10 08:19 PM Re: Week Long AT Menu [Re: wandering_daisy]
balzaccom Offline

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1742
Loc: Napa, CA
All good advice here. Remember that your body at rest uses about 2000 calories a day---hiking will require more than that.

We start with oatmeal (3 packages for the two of us--to which we add some chopped nuts for more calories and interest) plus hot cocoa and some dried fruit.

Lunch is usually salami and hard cheese, with bread/crackers, an energy bar or two, gorp, and more dried fruit.

Dinner is miso soup and a freeze dried dinner, plus energy and some kind of fruit.

And we'll eat an energy bar or two ( or gorp ) on the trail as well. And we're in our fifties--well past our peak metaboic rate!


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#136752 - 07/26/10 12:10 PM Re: Week Long AT Menu [Re: balzaccom]
Heather-ak Offline

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
Another thing to keep in mind, if it is chilly at night, you need some sort of easy to break down calories before bed time. Every time I forget to have something high in fat before bed I get cold! Particularly important in winter. Oh and water too! Being properly hydrated keeps you warmer.

Sorry it is starting to get chilly where I live!


#137591 - 08/13/10 12:29 PM Re: Week Long AT Menu [Re: TheOx]
tjn Offline

Registered: 08/13/10
Posts: 12
When I did a week-long solo trip on the AT, I loaded up on light and easily made foods- not always the healthiest, but it got me through just fine: mashed potato flakes (choose a good flavor), oatmeal (again, pick something good), soups (that heat up in a few minutes), and occasionally, rice (be sure it is the minute kind if you hike fast/all day). Also, drink mixes (in small bags). This was all I needed (besides your snack list) and suited me very well. I placed all of these individually in small zip-locks and made sure it was airtight.


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