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#198928 - 08/21/17 09:39 AM New discovery
toddfw2003 Offline
member

Registered: 01/08/16
Posts: 318
Loc: Texas
I just found out on my Sawtooth wilderness backpacking trip a few weeks ago that when I put 6 days worth of food in my pack it is no longer ultralight. I have all my gear in check except for my food. Im 6'4, 205. My food is averaging about 2 lbs a day. I would like to get it a half pound to a pound a day lighter. My daily food look like this ( knorr pasta, tuna, a few granola bars, couple packets of oatmeal, beef jerky, slim jims, instant coffee, gorp, and a few other thing) I also added a plastic jar of peanut butter and tortillas. I barely touch the peanut butter on this last trip.

I have some knee issues so I am only backpacking 6 -8 miles a day depending on the elevation gain. My l;ast day in Sawtooth I did 9 miles but it was a steady mild slope down hill

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#198929 - 08/21/17 02:07 PM Re: New discovery [Re: toddfw2003]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1360
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Sounds like the peanut butter (and tortillas, if their only purpose is PB delivery) are a prime candidate for elimination.

I'm a big ultralight advocate, but with a grain of salt. I won't go to a frameless pack or a barely-there hipbelt. The reason is that, while it may be overkill for my usual 17 pound, two-night summer-trip load, if I have to make a dry camp and carry an extra 3 quarts of water to camp, I'm suddenly at 23. Cool weather clothing or a few extra days' food drives that toward 26. I want a pack that can actually handle a 25 pound load, so I've got the ability when I need it.

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#198930 - 08/21/17 02:07 PM Re: New discovery [Re: toddfw2003]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2852
Loc: Portland, OR
I've discovered that even with almost exclusively dehydrated food and calorie-dense food, it is very hard to get much above 1850 calories per lb. That's just about where you hit a ceiling. Once you've standardized on meals and snacks that get you close that ceiling the other factors are going to be how strenuous your hike is, your body size and overall metabolism, and whether your appetite starts slow at the beginning of a hike and increases a few days in.

The food items you mentioned are not high water content or low calorie-density, so you aren't going to make big strides in that department, unless you failed to mention the fresh fruit and celery sticks you took. wink

The main area I'd look at would be matching the calories you take with you more closely to the actual calories you burn. If you brought back an nearly full jar of peanut butter, this area promises to yield you some weight savings.

It takes some good guesswork to begin with and some good record-keeping as you continue to arrive at a sound estimate of your calorie requirements per day while backpacking. I tend to take in the neighborhood of 3000 to 3200 calories per day, but I am 5'11" and 160 lbs. and I hike closer to 10 to 12 miles per day, so you can't base your estimate on my numbers. You'll just have to tailor it to your personal needs.

Here are some basic hints that help me considerably. Read those Nutrition Labels carefully. Serving sizes always list a calorie count and a weight in grams, which opens up a lot of info you can calculate with. Weigh what you take and what you bring back and calculate approximate calories eaten and not eaten from those weights. Figure out how your appetite changes through a hike and alter your food amounts to account for that.

You may find out your current food is closer to lightweight than you thought, but I am sure you have some room to improve, too. Happy hiking!

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#198931 - 08/21/17 04:01 PM Re: New discovery [Re: aimless]
toddfw2003 Offline
member

Registered: 01/08/16
Posts: 318
Loc: Texas
I need to do some research. I didnt eat the oatmeal,peanut butter. I try to keep everything as dry as possible. I use an osprey exos 38 so i do have decent back and hip support. I have been researching making pemmican. I wonder if i can get the cal intake i need with that and also lower my weight

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#198932 - 08/21/17 04:06 PM Re: New discovery [Re: toddfw2003]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2852
Loc: Portland, OR
If nothing else, lowering your body weight would help some with knee issues.

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#198941 - 08/23/17 03:40 PM Re: New discovery [Re: toddfw2003]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 838
Loc: Torrance, CA
Originally Posted By toddfw2003
I need to do some research. I didnt eat the oatmeal,peanut butter. I try to keep everything as dry as possible. I use an osprey exos 38 so i do have decent back and hip support. I have been researching making pemmican. I wonder if i can get the cal intake i need with that and also lower my weight


If you didn't eat certain foods at all, you should question how happy of a hike you will have if you are eating only things you don't like. I've read some reports on pemican... none of the people mentioned how much they enjoy eating the stuff. Some people don't care much at all what they eat as long as they get enough calories. I have an old boss that used to say: some people eat to live and others live to eat.

Instead of drastically changing what you bring on trips and since you currently are bringing back extra food. The first step seems to me is to reduce the amount of extra food you bring back. Weigh how much food per day you are bringing back and eliminate it next time.

The other thing to keep in mind, is many people (myself included) take a while to develop an appetite while hiking (particularly at elevation). I don't eat very much the first couple days, so don't need much food for a weekend hike. You could get into trouble extrapolating that to a longer hike.

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#199011 - 09/01/17 07:32 PM Re: New discovery [Re: toddfw2003]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2745
Loc: California
It helps to really know the nutritional content of the food you take. I have a spreadsheet with all my backpack food. When I buy a new food, I copy the data from the label as a new item. Over the years I have establised a really good database. I do have to revise it regularly because food manufacturs sneakily change things, like the annoying practice of reducing the weight by a few ounces and charging the same price!

Column A is the name of the food
Column B is the weight of what I take, zero or blank if I do not use that item. Added all up this is my total food weight. Divide by days, I get pounds (or oz) per day
Column C is the "serving size" that the nutritional data is based on
Column D,E,F,G are calories, fat, carbs, protein.
Column H is what meal the food is to be used. I do this so I can see how my meals balance out
Column I, J, K, L are the adjusted calories, fat, carbs, protein for the exact weight I am taking. I add these all up and figure the percentage of calories as fat, carb, protein.

I just pack what I want. Do the spreadsheet. Then look at my nutritional balance. I aim for 20% protein, 50% carbs, 30% fats. For 1.25 pounds, I get about 2,200 - 2,400 calories per day. On longer trips I take more fat, just because it is calorie dense. I use "good" fat as much as possible- nuts, olive oil. For carbs, I minimize sugar and use complex carbs. I usually fall short on protein, but since I fish, that is not a big issue. When I am not fishing, I may throw in a bag of textured vegetable protein (TVP)- can get it from bulk containers at many regular stores. I throw a spoonful in every meal. You cannot taste it at all. In fact, if you look on the ingredients of FD meals, they have a lot of TVP. On longer trips I also take a multivitamin daily, because the diet is not as well balanced as I would eat at home.

YOu have to trial and error a lot to get 1) food that you actually will eat, 2) minimum weight with maximum calories, 3) and food that will agree with your individual digestive system. If you get constipated or diareha on the trip the food is not a good balance for you.

After tracking your food and experimenting a year or two you can be more casual about packing your food.

Of course, you absolutely need an accurate scale to do this. I use a postal scale.

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#199017 - 09/01/17 09:35 PM Re: New discovery [Re: wandering_daisy]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6391
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I agree with W_D here--I try to balance my meals nutritionally. I also try to make my meals tasty! After all, these trips are supposed to be vacation! Life is far too short to spend forcing onself to eat horrible blah food!

There's a caveat, though. For trips of 5 days or less, I take quite a bit less food because I'm just not hungry for the first four or five days. This is a case of cutting serving sizes rather than eliminating tasty items. In fact, I tend to take more tasty items, like "Kind" bars to which I'm addicted, and cut back on the "good for me" stuff. I figure that I'm not going to get malnourished on a short trip, but I do need to keep up the calories. Of course the whole problem with this appetite business on short trips is that the hiker appetite appears when I finish the trip, when I no longer need the extra calories!

For a longer trip or a closely packed series of short trips, I'm more careful about nutritional requirements.

I loathe Mountain House! Most other ready-made freeze dried meals are, for me, too salty and too full of MSG, causing me indigestion and bloating. I tend to make my own dinners out of the one-dish meals I eat regularly at home. I cook up a pot of something, freeze a few meals to zap later at home (don't want to eat the same dish for a week!), and dry a couple of meals. If it's a new dish, I dry just one serving and try it at home to see how I like it. There's no point in dehydrating several if they don't pass the taste test!

I have also bought bulk freeze-dried items (mostly from Packit Gourmet) and added those to my home made meals. I make heavy use of couscous for pasta, since it doesn't require cooking (when rehydrated with the meal, it's fully cooked) and tastes fine (I use whole wheat). I must admit that couscous with spaghetti is a bit strange because there is no noodle-slurping factor, but it tastes just as good!

I strongly recommend "sarbar's" site, Trail Cooking. Lots of tasty recipes that take little preparation, often use easy-on-the-budget supermarket ingredients, and (If you use the "freezer bag" method) result in no dishwashing! (Did I ever mention how much I hate washing dishes?)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#199488 - 11/13/17 08:52 AM Re: New discovery [Re: toddfw2003]
Adventurejus Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/11/17
Posts: 14
Loc: NC
This is actually a very simple problem to solve, add more fat to your diet. Nuts have 150-200 calories per ounce. They're low in saturated fats which are what will make you feel more sluggish and do not process as well and high in mono and polyunsaturated fats which metabolize more like carbohydrates. Experiment with adding different amounts into your calorie intake while hiking and learn what ratio of calories from nuts or trail mix works best for you. Everyone's body metabolizes food differently. Search for foods that are 140 calories per ounce or higher, there are more out there than you think.

My pack generally weights 25lbs on a 4-5 day trip with no resupply(29lbs if I have my camera gear with me), this is including all my food and 100oz of water in a camelbak bladder. I eat trail mix with high nut content all day and honey stingers(150-160 cal per oz) to snack on then Good To-Go dehydrated meals for dinner usually. Granted I know this will not work for everyone but it works for me and it still allows me to consume about 2500 calories a day without carrying a ridiculous weight in food. Plus I love trail mix so there is no trade off in enjoying food for me. 2500 calories weights about 1-1.2 lbs with what I eat.

Out of curiosity what is wrong with your knees? It might be more advisable to try and figure out and fix the actual cause of your pain versus just lighten your pack.


Edited by Adventurejus (11/13/17 08:54 AM)

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