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#72177 - 04/13/07 11:25 AM Longest distance without resupply.
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
As a mental exercise, since we seem to be so, if you set out to get as far as you could down the AT or some other trail without resupply, how would you go about it, and how far do you think you would get? In terms of preparation it would help to get your weight down so you could carry more food, but it wouldn't hurt to leave some on for burning on the trail. Similarly extra leg muscle bulk to start with would probably help, and it could be turned into lean endurance muscle during the trip. The first week would probably be most critical in terms of whether way too much is way too much. Once you survived that it would become an issue of finding the right pace to trade off energy efficiency against basal metabolism. The gear tradeoffs would be interesting also.

So I see 4 stages in terms of strategy and planning:

0. Preparation - weight loss & training.
Best training is hiking of course, with lots of hills. Start off without extra weight and just enjoy the weight loss. Towards the train and test with the weight to see what is doable. I'm thinking 90# of food and 30# of further weight loss might be doable. That would be on a 180# frame in very good shape for carrying 100#, and capable of finishing such a trip in something closer to marathon running shape at 150#. Probably means a rather heavy pack, and hiking boots. For training you would definitely need to work up to 90# of food. I think the optimal pace would make for about a 40 day trip, which is a nice round number, even biblical. Of course I am only mental enough to think about such things, so far. Your mileage may vary. For now I am content to remain in stage 0, and maybe skip to stage 3 this summer. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

1. First 10 days - Surviving a 90# pack.
I think the first 10 days would be about avoiding injury.
Probably a steady slow pace, with frequent stops. Lots of sleep.
Perhaps you might only cover 2/3 the distance of the trip average.
Body weight still at 180# hopefully. Food only down to 70# maybe.

2. Middle 20 days - Easier Going. Pack getting lighter.
I think the middle 20 days might be the easiest, at least physically. Still a steady slow pace to burn mostly fat, but increasingly longer days and longers strides, as the pack gets lighter. The challenge might be to avoid overdoing it. I'm not sure if rest days are needed but 1/2 days now and then maybe. I think the key thing on this part of the trip might be to enjoy the scenery. You might cover the trip average during this period, but more each day. Body weight down to 160# now. Food down to 25# maybe.

3. Last 10 days - Endurance. Pain. But Ultralight.
I think the last 10 days would be the longest, so injury again likely. Still a very steady pace, but very long days are increasingly optimal. with night-time travel included more often, if the body permits. Pace and time depend alot on whether the body holds out as long as the food does. If the body does hold out the 10 days might be stretched out to 15 for more distance. Total distance is probably dependant on how much damage you wish to do before stopping. You might cover about 4/3 of the average each day during this period, perhaps more. When the body weight is down to 150#, or the food runs out, you should probably stop.


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#72178 - 04/13/07 12:17 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: JAK]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
How would you build a pack for such a trip?
What shelter and sleep system would you take?
What would be the best diet? What stove?
Best footwear for first and last 10 days?

Pack - An external frame I think, but might be excessive for the last stage. Maybe the backpack could be partly of wooden and natural fibres, so that you could burn it as fuel once you no longer needed it. Maybe it also serves as shelter.

Shelter - Perhaps a little more focus on comfort than usual, though there wouldn't be as much volume available initially. Hammock maybe. Perhaps a traditional approach where the pack cover is also a tarp, or a hammock. Less volume for sleeping pads than usual, so again a hammock maybe. Perhaps the external frame pack could also be some sort of a cot.

Diet - Over 40 days nutrition becomes more critical, so real balanced food with vitamins and minerals and fibre and stuff. It also needs to be consumable and digestible. Volume is also more of an issue than usual. Some normally good foods are that dense. Perhaps a limited amount of foraging might be permitted also, as long as it doesn't slow you down or take you off your chosen path. Anything it fair game when you make your own rules. I'm an oatmeal fan myself, but for such a trip I think I would throw in stuff like flour and honey and nuts and olive oil. Making bread and stuff can save volume and provide some entertainment. Shelf life becomes a bit of an issue also.

Stove - Kelly Kettle probably, except for making bread. I think I would still bring the Kelly Kettle, and then use the coals from it too start a small fire for making bread in a small pot or pan. Semi-consumables like tin foil might have to give way to something more durable for such a trip.

Light - Hmmm. Solar charging might start to make sense on such a trip. On the last 10 days something for night travel becomes important, but it might not make so much sense to carry extra batteries for 30 days just to have them for the last 10. On the first half of the trip a camp light would be nice, and so you wouldn't think an extra candle or two would hurt, but it might make more sense to go solar electric for all your lighting and communication needs, and save the extra weight for food.

Footwear - I'm thinking a good hiking boot for the first 10 days, and that might work well enough for all 40 days or more since for efficiency you will never be trail running. Towards the end you could go barefoot now and then though. Crocks might be worth it also, depending on ground conditions around camp and the last section of trails.

So the most critical design consideration seems to be the pack system, keeping in mind the varying weight and volume of food carried, and the potential to use the pack material as your shelter system, and perhaps the external frame of the pack could also be a cot?

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#72179 - 04/13/07 01:13 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: JAK]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Ryan Jordan and two other guys did a long distance unsupplied trip recently-not on the AT, but in Alaska. He has a full write-up on his website.

Ryan Jordan's website
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#72180 - 04/13/07 01:39 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: TomD]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Thanks Tom.

Having read a little:
Lots of good information there and well written summary.
Tells a good story. I will have to read the individual day reports.

Their trip metrics were:
600 miles in 24 days = 25 miles per day
50 pounds of food = about 2 pounds per day
You might also say 1 pound per day plus 1 pound per 25 miles.
Their nonfood gear was 7 pounds. I think that includes everything.

So they did 600 miles in 25 days with about 60 pounds, skin out.
So in theory 900 miles in 40 days with 90 pounds might be doable.
Perhaps even 1000 miles in 50 days with 100 pounds. By somebody.
Depends alot on terrain of course, and climate.

Worth noting they only burned 2 pounds per day though.
I will read up a little more on their diet, and weight loss.

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#72181 - 04/13/07 02:50 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: JAK]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Having read a little more:

Ryan's original food plan was as follows:
Week 1: ~ 1.5 lb of food / 3,000 Calories
Week 2: ~ 2.0 lb of food / 4,500 Calories
Week 3: ~ 3.0 lb of food / 7,000 Calories
Last 3 Days: ~ 3.2 lb of food / 7,300 Calories
+ 2 pounds of peanut butter as a reserve.
+ 8 pounds body fat and 4 pounds body protien in 21 pound weight loss
155 pound initial body weight at 17% body fat.

Week 1: 20 miles/day + 1200 ft/day cumulative elevation gain
Week 2: 30 miles/day + 2700 ft/day cumulative elevation gain
Week 3: 45 miles/day + 4900 ft/day cumulative elevation gain

So by adding more week 1s then perhaps it could be extended:

Scaling up to 180 pounds person with 20% body fat, starting out.
24 days = 600 miles, 10 pounds gear, 25 pound weigh loss, 60 pounds food.
40 days = 800 miles, 10 pounds gear, 30 pound weigh loss, 90 pounds food.

Actual mileage would depends alot on terrain of course, and climate, and fitness. I would be just as happy to do the 600 miles in 40 days. I'll bet those voyageur guys from the past could do 1000 miles in 40 days with 100 pounds though. I understand the best of their breed were actually somewhat on the smaller side. I'm not sure what role age might play into it. It would probably mostly effect the weight you could start out with, but I'll bet if you weren't in a hurry you could still do 400 miles in 40 days without resupply at a fairly ripe old age.

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#72182 - 04/13/07 03:39 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: JAK]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Read Andrew Skurka's site as well (link posted under Really Really Long Hike).

His diet is basically Balance Bars (a sponsor) all day and one meal at night.

Personally, I don't see the point of these long unsupported trips. Why not just take a gun or some other weapon and hunt along the way like the pioneers or the Eskimos? Not that you can do that on the AT these days, but you get what I mean. Trying to prove how long you can live off of sports bars seems a bit pointless.

Will Steger and some others have done unsupported trips in the Arctic and Antarctic towing sleds with hundreds of pounds of food and gear. Same idea, different environment.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#72183 - 04/14/07 11:54 AM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: TomD]
Bearpaw Offline
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Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
For a trip like the AT, such an extended stretch without making use of the 100's of options for resupply seems pretty pointless. But what folks like Ryan Jordan and Andrew Skurka are looking at is using these sections with built-in safety as testing grounds for long stretches without resupply in much more remote areas like the Arctic 1000. Of course, despite a tremendous amount of experience in solo hiking in terrain types all over the world, I still hate to carry more than a week's worth of food. I'd rather just hike farther faster than pack a huge food bag.
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http://www.trailjournals.com/BearpawAT99/

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#72184 - 04/14/07 02:32 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: Bearpaw]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
It was mostly meant as a mental exercise, in both senses of the word. I think it would feel good though to have that pack get lighter and lighter. For me the ideal setting would be to one without to much temptation for socialing and a bite to eat. I enjoy those things to, but sometimes I think I would like to extend the solo experience into a deeper zone. As for hunting or foraging along the way, yes that would be interesting to. The intention isn't really to see how far I could go without resupply, but more to set some guidelines for a personal challenge that would lead to solutions that involve a variety of experiences, such as having to hike with a lot of gear, but also efficiently with less gear, and seeing how the body responds mentally and physically along the way.

As for hunting or gathering along the way, I think that's all good, but that may or may not be the best solution depending on the route taken. I can't see myself passing up berries after berries after berries if that is what was to be had. Same with rabbits and restaraunts I should think, if they were available, but they are not always available. My general guideline for such a trip would be that whatever foraging I did do would environmentally acceptable, not slow me down too much, and I would eat most all of whatever I killed. I like to finish my plate. I could be mistaken but I don't think I could travel too far on just rabbit and squirrel meat alone. I agree it would certainly make the trip more enjoyable, but not neccessarily lighter. Personally I would chose a route where whatever distractions were available would be more or less fair game. Perhaps such a trip as I have in mind would preclude most sections of the AT because of the desirability and availability of excellent resupply points, which make it ideal for thru-hiking and such. Perhaps so, but there's always the off season.

For some reason, I like the idea of 40 days in the wilderness. It's a nice round number, but I think it's more than that. Traditionally people travelling on foot would only travel between resupply just a few days at a time, for the same reason we do. Hunting expeditions, or military campaigns could be longer, but the longer ones would really involve moving villages. Fortnights of 14 days were a traditional length for an extended trip away, and could be solo, but were essentially round trips of less than 7 days with a stopover in the middle at the destination. In the biblical tradition, and perhaps others, 40 days in the wilderness represented an extended period away, long enough to introduce extreme mental and physical and logistical challenges that would lead to some sort of mystical personal breakthrough, not neccessarily epic, or world record breaking, but something along the lines of penance, guilt and other burdens optional of course. Whatever gets the job done.

Cheers

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#72185 - 04/15/07 07:26 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: JAK]
micale Offline
member

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 188
Loc: pnw
I like your spirit - even if it is just mental! Check out my Muir Trail story. I talk about this stuff there a bit.

http://www.mchalepacks.com/ultralight/Detail%20Hi%20Rez%20Pages/Muir%20Trail%20Story.htm

I have not done it for awhile, but when I was developing My Critical Mass packs (CM), I could carry close to 120 lbs easily at 3 miles per hour on the flat. We used to do fast cruising workouts with 90 lbs. 90 is a piece of cake once you get used to it with a good pack. You have to toughen up. Going out cold turkey with over 100 lbs will make your feet delaminate! I'm sure it's entirely possible for people to do statewide sections of the main trails with a single packload. It just takes some vision like you are showing here. It will probably happen more and more. That's how the Space Shuttle gets into orbit - it's got alot of food tied to it.

At the end of my story I mention that I started off to do the Muir Trail as an unsupported thru-hike using only canned food! Sure, it was going to be a stunt, but many people think that just sleeping under a tarp is a stunt.

It's easy to see that what one person can't see any point in, can be someone elses calling.


Edited by micale (04/15/07 07:30 PM)

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#72186 - 04/15/07 09:02 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: micale]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Interesting post. Thanks.

The feet thing is a strange one. They definitely need to get trained and stay trained like everything else, but I am not sure what all the mechanisms are with feet. I am speaking mostly about sore feet, as I've never had that much trouble with blisters etc, unless I ask for it. I'm speaking more about muscle and bone pain, not sure if its one or the other or both, and how training makes feet stronger, or number. I was thinking the other day that endorphines, or something like them, might get released not just by pain but just from the alternating pressure on the feet from walking. I think there must be some sort of chemical that makes you enjoy the rhythm and want to keep going. Must be a visual thing to though, and some sense of purpose, but I think the natural drugs must be their to help also.

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#72187 - 04/16/07 05:45 AM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: JAK]
Bearpaw Offline
Moderator

Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
And ibuprofen. LOTS of ibuprofen. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

Seriously, I have substantial foot pain on my AT thru-hike, and this was after several years of forced marches on gravel and paved roads in the Marine Corps. I took a great deal of ibuprofen during that 5 months, just as I had during my Marine career (though in the USMC the pain was musculoskeletal injuries all over the body).

Since then I have become much more savvy about bootfitting (including shoes of course) and have made good use of orthotic support such as superfeet and have had considerably less foot pain during wilderness treks under a heavy pack such as NOLS and and long-distances under a light pack such as the Colorado Trail last summer. In both cases, with good foot support from the ground up, I have enjoyed much less foot pain.
_________________________
http://www.trailjournals.com/BearpawAT99/

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#72188 - 04/16/07 02:22 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: JAK]
micale Offline
member

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 188
Loc: pnw
Das Feet! If you have ever had the occassion to examine severly blistered of burned feet, you may see like I have that the feet are different. The bases are multilayered and have evolved to do many things. An Endorphine pump too? You bet! That fits in with my theory that the feet are like batteries and inverters and can actually store and transform energy! I believe they can actually transform heat energy into electrical energy. This latter function is what helps to maintain them during severe hard use and trauma. I believe we are far more amazing than has yet been discovered or appreciated for the most part.

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#72189 - 04/17/07 12:13 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: TomD]
whcobbs Offline
member

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 227
TomD and JAK--
It's worth pointing out that Ryan Jordan and companions, despite their qualifications, did not meet their original goals. Injuries were significant, as I recall. These may owe to terrain, pack weight, and pace. Also, its worth noting this unsupported expedition: http://www.ousland.no/english/about_expeditions.html
A bit more than backpacking, though.
Walt


Edited by whcobbs (04/18/07 12:45 PM)

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#72190 - 04/21/07 03:29 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: whcobbs]
micale Offline
member

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 188
Loc: pnw
They did not meet their goals exactly but came close, accomplished much, and set a record I believe.

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#72191 - 04/21/07 03:53 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: micale]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Did Ryan update his site with respect to food consumed, weight loss, protien, fats, carbs, that sort of thing? I would like to see the mix of foods he actually consumed, and what his thoughts are now in terms of how much protien, fats, carbs to bring and how much fat and protien is lost from the body. I think it makes sense to bring a balance but err somewhat on the side of bringing more carbs, which I think is what he did.

I can't seem to find his stuff on diet now.

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#72192 - 04/26/07 12:12 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: JAK]
micale Offline
member

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 188
Loc: pnw
I don't really know if there's an update. I remember reading about potato flakes in their diet I think. They would be on my list. A big hunk of ham and a giant bag of flakes! I'd get some scalloped potatoes in there though because there some choices on how the texture turns out.


Edited by micale (04/26/07 12:22 PM)

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#72193 - 04/27/07 11:00 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: micale]
gardenville Offline
member

Registered: 09/07/03
Posts: 587
Loc: Remember the Alamo - Texas
Quote:
I like your spirit - even if it is just mental! Check out my Muir Trail story. I talk about this stuff there a bit.

http://www.mchalepacks.com/ultralight/Detail%20Hi%20Rez%20Pages/Muir%20Trail%20Story.htm

I have not done it for awhile, but when I was developing My Critical Mass packs (CM), I could carry close to 120 lbs easily at 3 miles per hour on the flat. We used to do fast cruising workouts with 90 lbs. 90 is a piece of cake once you get used to it with a good pack. You have to toughen up. Going out cold turkey with over 100 lbs will make your feet delaminate! I'm sure it's entirely possible for people to do statewide sections of the main trails with a single packload. It just takes some vision like you are showing here. It will probably happen more and more. That's how the Space Shuttle gets into orbit - it's got alot of food tied to it.

At the end of my story I mention that I started off to do the Muir Trail as an unsupported thru-hike using only canned food! Sure, it was going to be a stunt, but many people think that just sleeping under a tarp is a stunt.

It's easy to see that what one person can't see any point in, can be someone elses calling.



Question for Micale:
If a person was to try say a AT section of 1009 miles over 33 to 35 days and would start out with a total pack weight of 65 pounds what pack of yours would you recommend?

I have looked at your web site many times but you have so many different packs it is hard for me to pick one.

I would want it made with all the "light" options you have so it would be as light as possible but you would know more about how to make that work than I would.

I agree with you that the right pack is what will make something like this possible.

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#72194 - 04/29/07 02:40 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: gardenville]
gardenville Offline
member

Registered: 09/07/03
Posts: 587
Loc: Remember the Alamo - Texas
Possible Pack for an AT Un-supplied / Un-Supported Hike:

First option for a pack. When the Mountain Hardwear Exodus series of Backpacks came out I thought the Harrier might make the basis of a good pack for a heavy load. The stock pack comes apart as a frame and a pack bag. It would be easy to make a Cuben Pack Bag and the Frame can be lightened a bit without to much trouble.

Last December I was able to buy a Harrier at a really big discount. I have several plans for the stock set-up. The first is a new and much lighter pack bag. I have a prototype made and will make the real thing out of some of my "stronger but still really light" Cuben Fiber.

Second option for a pack is a McHale Packs. I don't have one and don't know what Pack in his lineup of Packs might work for me. He makes great packs and some of them are close to the weight range of what the stock Harrier pack is.

Third option is the ULA Arctic Dry Pack that is being sold by backpackinglight.com and coming out in a few months.

I have been on a fitness program to help me hike 25 to 30 miles a day. Today I started carrying my Harrier pack at a weight of about 12 pounds. I will add 6 pounds a week till I get up to 60 pounds. I have a walking route that goes up and down some hills and is about 5 miles long. I walk this route twice a day and also workout at a Fitness Center about 1 hour four or five times a week.



McHale Packs
ULA Arctic Dry Pack


Edited by gardenville (04/29/07 02:47 PM)

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#72195 - 04/30/07 10:09 AM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: gardenville]
micale Offline
member

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 188
Loc: pnw
I'm not sure if you are talking about a pack for non-resupply in this post like in the post below. 65 lbs is not enough to go 1000 miles so it would have to be heavier and that means a Critical Mass pack. The lighter packs could do it but the burden on the body would not be worth it. Even though it would be a burden it can be an enjoyable burden. Based on the Arctic trip even, and you duplicated what their weight was, you would be up to 80 or 90 lbs and you have to account for extra food for the extra weight lose etc. Personall, I would go heavier, as heavy as I could, and work in quite a few easy days - am not recommending that for you. Trips like this would be for people that like heavy brutal work - you know an ex marine, or off-spring of Jack LaLane. I find the idea of seeing how far a pack load can go far more intriging than simply a long walk.


Edited by micale (04/30/07 10:20 AM)

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#72196 - 04/30/07 01:06 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: micale]
gardenville Offline
member

Registered: 09/07/03
Posts: 587
Loc: Remember the Alamo - Texas
Thanks for your reply.

Some background:

When Ryan Jordan at backpackinglight.com and crew started talking about the "Arctic 1000 - as in meters" and the planning was beginning I looked at that idea for an AT hike. I had not thought about just a few re-supply stops but more as a longer time between resupply.

As a result of throat cancer I am on a different kind of diet than most. I have been on an almost 100% liquid diet for about 2 years. At home I use liquid Ensure Plus for my daily food needs. I do add just a bit of fiber in the form of black bean soup or cereal each day. For hiking I get the "Dry" version of Ensure and also use some dry mix Hammer Perpetuem in all the water I drink. The plus side of all this is that the Dry Ensure is packed in a can and has 1750 calories per can at 14.35 ounces in weight. The Hammer Perpetuem is 260 calories per 2.43 ounces. The combination of Dry Ensure and the Perpetuem give me a lot of calories per ounce and I can drink it.
For me to do an AT Thru-Hike or even a series of long section hikes I need to have a lot of mail drops for my food. This is when I started to think about longer periods between resupply. Going into a town to eat normal food is out so why do I want to spend much time in town, I don't. It isn't much fun sitting and watching a bunch of other hikers eating all the different kinds of food that I can't have.

Last November Ron Bell started a thread called "Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes" at backpackinglight.com

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/..._thread_id=4623

This was a very interesting thread and got really deep into the subject of calories necessary and other technical things.

My first real thought about a really long un-supplied AT hike was for maybe 3 to 5 resupplies. I have a fitness trainer and one day I asked him what he thought I would need to do for a long high daily milage hike like this. He asked just what I had in mind and I went with three resupplies.

I did divide the 2175 miles into three segments. The direction could be NOBO or SOBO or some combination.
1. Springer Mt, GA to Daleville, VA. 714.3 miles
2. Daleville, VA to Pawling, NY 716.8
3. Pawling, NY to Mt Katahdin, ME 743.9

My trainer asked when and I said mid to late summer when the days would be the longest and warm enough for a lighter pack weight for my gear. I would try and walk long days and try for an average of 25 to 28 miles plus per day.

A few days later he had a plan. I am on that plan at this time. It is not a fast fix but a slow build up over the next couple months. I plan to go up to Georgia in June and try a fast 6 day (un-supplied) 163 miles on the AT (Springer to Fontana Dam). This would give me an idea of what hiking really long hours for 6 days is like and where I am in my fitness program.

Even if I decide I am not up to a long un-resupplied hike I will still be in much better shape for how ever I decide to re-supply my hike.

PACK TIME:
I am about at the point where I need to firm up my Pack requirement. I will be Super Ultra Light on my gear list. My rough estimate for the volume necessary for just my food is between 2860 cu inches and 2960 cu inches and between 52 and 57 pounds at the start of 33 days.


I think because of the weight of my food per calories I can stay close to a 60 to 70 pound starting pack weight and that is with water. I would like to try for a hike length of 33 days and the milage would be what ever it turns out to be.

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#72197 - 04/30/07 04:30 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: gardenville]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Thanks for that link gardenville. Everyone is probably different in the way burn calories and digest food and repair their bodies. Also I think your body is very likely to adapt during training and during the trip. You already have a rather lean and mean and hungry look about you. You look like you could go very far on 65 pounds. I'm sure you will collect all the data you need in training.

Like you I don't have much trouble digesting dairy based food.
What is the ratio of your diet in terms of protien/carbs/fat?

The best strategy might be to start off with the same ammount of flesh that you intend to finish with, and to hike very efficiently, many hours per day burning more fat and less carbs, which allows the diet to pack more energy per pound. I think on such an extended hike the ratio of fat to carbs should be closer to 2:1, whereas on a fastpacking hike at a less efficient but faster pace the ration might be the reverse. As protien goes I think it needs to be higher on an unsupported hike because you have to rebuild and repair your body as you go if your not going to have any binge burgers along the way. From data collect during training it's fairly easy to work out how many calories you will need, but I'm not sure how you might work out the optimal ratio. A heart rate monitor might help you figure out whether you are burning more carbs or fats, although with training I think you can burn more fat at a higher heart rate. I would err somewhat on the side of carbs though, especially with hills. On flat sections you can adjust your heart rate considerably by slowing down a little, but not so much on hills. Hills must burn a lot of carbs, especially with a heavy pack.

I presume there is data available on cummulative elevation gain for sections of the AT? Perhaps you could work out a simple formula like 50g of carbs and 50g of fat for every 1000km.kg of distance X weight; plus an additional 3g of carbs for every km.kg of cumulative elevation gain X weight; plus an additional 1g of carbs, 1g of fat, and 2g of protien for every kg of lean body mass. I'm just pulling this out of the air, but you could work out your own numbers from training. For a 40km day, with 100kg of total weight, and 1000m of cummulative elevation gain, and 50kg of lean body mass, that would work out to something like 4000km.kg of distance and 50km.kg of gain, for a total of 250g carbs + 400g fats + 100g protien = ~5000 kcal, and just under 2 pounds in total weight including moisture and fibre. Not an exact science, but training data and experience listening to your own body would help create your own formula. I think finding a comfortable efficient pace and maximizing hours per day, within reason, might be key to maximizing your fuel economy. Over many days you still need lots of sleep and recovery time though. Perhaps 10 hours of sleep per day might be key. Not sure.

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#72198 - 05/05/07 10:12 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: TomD]
Paul Offline
member

Registered: 09/30/02
Posts: 778
Loc: California
There may not be much point to seeing how long you can go on the AT without resupply, since so many resuppluy points are available - other than the simple challenge of it, if that's what you want. But there is a real point to longer trips without resupply in other situations. For instance: I would like to do a trip in the Sierra covering the entire roadless section of the crest - that would be roughly from the Tioga road in Yosemite to the southern Kennedy Meadows - no roads cross the crest between those. If I were to do a part on-trail, part off-trail journey through that area, it would be about a one-month trip. I can see a great value for me in keeping that entire trip free of contact with "the outside". So being able to do it without resupply would be preferable - in some ways. And worths considering. Essentailly, it's a way of getting to a different kind of experience. To be completely away from roads and towns and buildings for that long would be quite different from the experience you get on the AT in a month.

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#72199 - 05/05/07 11:18 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: Paul]
gardenville Offline
member

Registered: 09/07/03
Posts: 587
Loc: Remember the Alamo - Texas
Paul,
The AT would be like a training area for a long un-supplied hike. It is more or less safe and would be a good test of the person and the planning necessary to pull it off. If all works OK then a long hike in a more remote area might be next.

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#72200 - 05/16/07 09:04 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: JAK]
LaBang Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/02
Posts: 547
Loc: Utah
I've thought a lot about this and I've come to a conclusion.

Unless you're actually hiking somewhere that you CAN'T resupply, it's a STUPID idea.

Quick easy plan to take all enjoyment out of hiking:
- start with an excruciatingly heavy pack
- hike beyond your limits every day
- eat the least amount of food possible

<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />

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#72201 - 05/17/07 05:03 AM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: LaBang]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Quote:
I've thought a lot about this and I've come to a conclusion.

Unless you're actually hiking somewhere that you CAN'T resupply, it's a STUPID idea.

Quick easy plan to take all enjoyment out of hiking:
- start with an excruciatingly heavy pack
- hike beyond your limits every day
- eat the least amount of food possible

<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />
Sounds good to me.

Gardenville makes a very good point. When you are testing your limits it is important to have multiple exit points. Obviously it helps if the resupply points aren't staring you in the face. I haven't done the AT so I don't know what it's like. How far off the trail are the resupply points? Can you smell the cheeseburgers? That would do me in for sure. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#72202 - 05/17/07 05:37 AM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: JAK]
Bearpaw Offline
Moderator

Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
It's hard to walk more than 20-30 miles without having at least a relatively easy hitch into a town, and bythe time you're into Virginia, you're usually less than a 1/2 mile to a country store at every other road crossing. The NY/Connecticutt/Massachusetts section is sometimes called the "deli hike".

The flip side of carrying a big pack on the AT is that you're carrying it straight up and straight down mountains on the southern and northern segments. Unlike the relatively gentle grades of PCT switchbacks (which are packstock friendly), the AT is full of gut-churning, knee-wrenching, semi-vertical climbs and descents. This seems like a poor choice of places to test out a super-heavy pack and I would offer the idea that it is a major reason for the 10% or less thru-hiker completion rate of the 80's and 90's. With the advent of lighter gear and better knowledge of how easy it is to resupply, pack weights have been easily cut in half or less, and completion rates of thru-hikes have more than doubled.

But I suppose this isn't that different from folks who seek to "hike" the John Muir Trail in under 5 days. It may hurt while they're out, but it genuinely makes those people happy. Folks who know me think I'm a nut because I hike several hundred miles on my summers off, instead of chilling out by the pool. I don't figure folks who push themselves are any crazier or "wronger" than I am. (But then, I'm accused of being "just wrong" fairly often <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />. This, BTW, is completely different from the southernism in which I "just ain't right". <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />)
_________________________
http://www.trailjournals.com/BearpawAT99/

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#72203 - 07/07/07 07:31 PM Longest distance on the same feet? [Re: gardenville]
Noel Offline
member

Registered: 02/19/06
Posts: 634
Loc: Calgary
Quote:

I have been on a fitness program to help me hike 25 to 30 miles a day.


Ok, originally I had to ask 'where the heck are you goin' in such a hurry?!'

I re-read the posts here and at BPL, and it's a little clearer.

But only just a little. 30 miles a day still sounds like a blur to me...


Edited by Noel (07/08/07 03:22 PM)

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#72204 - 07/07/07 08:05 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: Bearpaw]
Noel Offline
member

Registered: 02/19/06
Posts: 634
Loc: Calgary
Quote:
And ibuprofen. LOTS of ibuprofen. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />


Out of curiosity, does Vitamin-I make your ears ring?

A couple of years ago my ex-dentist advised me to take what amounted to massive doses of ibuprofen and acetaminophen after my wisdom teeth came out, and my ears haven't stopped ringing since.... what a quack.

N
_________________________
Noel

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#72205 - 09/07/07 08:57 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: LaBang]
Anonymous
Unregistered


AMEN... i go hiking to have fun... i go to the gym to become exausted and get leg cramps..... i don't go to the gym... i would rather hike.

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#72206 - 03/14/08 09:29 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: JAK]
Paul Offline
member

Registered: 09/30/02
Posts: 778
Loc: California
Was re-reading this thread and began to wonder what is the longest time any uf you folks have actually done without resupply? Just curious to see what actaul experiences have been. My longest have been about 14 days for summer. 8 days for snow camping.

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#72207 - 03/15/08 06:07 AM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: Paul]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1736
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
Twenty days on a 1954 through-hike of the John Muir Trail. I darn near starved to death. I was on half rations for the last half of the hike and was feeding most of the Sierra mosquitoes besides.
_________________________
May I walk in beauty.

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#72208 - 03/15/08 01:00 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: Paul]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2752
Loc: California
My daughter and I carried 21 days food on a trip in the Wind Rivers about 12 years ago. We ended up catching so many fish that we had tons of food left over. We also were able to "hitch" a ride out with fishermen on a boat rather than walk 12 miles of rattlesnake infested sagebrush so our actual trip was 18 days. I think all we brought less than a liter of white gas - we were able to cook on fires a lot.

However, we did not cover a lot of distance but rather did an almost entirely off-trail route. At one point we went 1 mile in 8 hours - had to build a raft of driftwood to get our packs around a cliff!

So I guess the question is meaningless unless you specify exact trail conditions - elevation gain, weather (weight of other gear needed), off trail conditions, etc.

I have never done a long "all trail" route. Most of my 60% off trail routes I average about 8-9 miles per day and go out for 10-13 days.

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#72209 - 03/15/08 01:49 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: wandering_daisy]
Paul Offline
member

Registered: 09/30/02
Posts: 778
Loc: California
I agre about the distance question not meaning much when off-trail travel is involved. My intention was to find out how many days, not how many miles, becuase that seems more useful to me.

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#72210 - 03/21/08 06:36 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: Paul]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Paul,
I think about ten days is the longest cross country Sierra BP I've done. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" /> I would often go for a "week" <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" /> but frankly I generally have the most fun on the third day and am ready to come home on the fourth. On the ten day trip I was carrying the food for 2 people, probably 25 pounds of honey, peanut butter, Ramen, Bisquick for baking bread, granola, powdered milk, jello (it sets up overnight eat for breakfast yum), pinto beans (cooked over a campfire) and jerky. Its an art to keep the beans from falling into the fire when you cook em... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#72211 - 03/21/08 10:03 PM Re: Longest distance without resupply. [Re: JAK]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2752
Loc: California
Your scenario calls for 40 days out; starting with a 90 pound pack and a "survival" mode for the last 10 days.

I think you are being too pessimistic. Say you go UL and have a base weight of 15 pounds. I can pack a nutritinally balanced 2,600 calories per day in 1.5 pounds. That makes 60 pounds food. Now you have a 75 pound pack. I can pack 3,000 calories in 1.5 pounds per day if I go way heavy on fats, nuts, cheese, etc.

I personally regularly go on a nutrionally balanced 2,200 calories per day and 1.2 pounds per day. You could nudge this up to 2,500+ calories with more fat. This pack would be 63 pounds.

If you do not cook, no gas is needed. If you cooked one meal a day, built some fires when you could, I can see taking 3 large cannisters of gas or about 5 pounds. This would be an 80-pound pack at 1.5# food per day or 68 pounds at 1.2 pounds per day. Still heavy but better than 90 pounds.

I admit confining food to the lowest weights would result in boring meals and a VERY high fat diet. But this is still far from 40 days on trail bars alone!

The stragegy of eating a lot at first to reduce weight and starving at the end does not seem like a very good (or safe) plan. My body works a lot better over the long term on a steady diet, albeit reduced calories, rather than a variable caloric intake. However I think it is OK to go without food the last 2 days.

Were I to plan on being out 40 days, I would bite the bullet and pay a horsepacker to bring in a re-supply and break this into two 20-day rations.

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