Great information Lori. Thanks. I find it very easy to get enough fat in my backpack diet. I have always used a minimum of 1 oz. of cheese per day for snacks and again half that amount for cooking. Plus, I am nuts about nuts! I also take 5-6 oz olive oil (sometimes margarine) for a week's trip.
The part about men and women backpackers having different needs was interesting. I guess I will quit giving men advise about backpack food. What works for me may not for them.
Loc: Washington State, King County
"I love olive oil to, maybe I should take more?"
A general rule of thumb when I do bring olive oil is to add about an ounce to what would normally be a two-person dinner.
Another rule of thumb is to bias it based on how it tastes. If you've lost all your body fat and your metabolism is cranked up, oils and fats taste REALLY good, an ounce in a big dinner is fine. If it tastes too oily to you, then ... it is!
In practice I seem to get by with alot less than that, but perhaps this is because my hikes are usually only 3-4 days and so with meals on each end and glycogen stores I get away with it. I typically eat more like 1 pound/day summer, 1.5 pounds spring/fall, and 2.0 pounds in winter. If I was leaner I would eat more, hopefully.
Loc: San Diego CA
One thing about a week walk that is generally different than longer walks is that most people probably start out with a good supply of stored energy. I know I carry a nice 5 lb energy packet with me at all times. If I am doing 10 miles or less per day, under 1.5 lbs per day works well for me for 3 or 4 days. By the 4th day I have somewhat depleted those stores and am a little hungry if I am only eating about 1 lb per day. If I am doing a regular 13 miles or over per day, I am into the "needing more energy every day from the start" zone. In other words, if I don't eat enough food each day, I will pay the next day with a lack of energy.
You also have to be realistic about how much "energy" you really need. We all love to think we are these world class athletes, but my backpacking seldom seems difficult. The more you are in shape, the less effort you use, so less calories needed. PCT hikers are different- they do 20+ miles a day, day after day. I do not fool myself into thinking that I am doing anything near that. I have been out for up to 100 days straight and do eat more after 2 weeks. We used to say that we finally got our "mountain appatite". The best method is to keep track of the food you do not use on a trip. Careful evaluation of this will help you do better meal planning on future trips. For example: No matter how much cheese I take, I always eat it! I burn out on trail bars (too sweet). As much as I love almonds, last trip I burned out on them and had half a bag left when I got home. No matter how much dried/fd fruit I bring, I eat it all. I usually bring too many hot drinks. As much as I like hot drinks, I usually do not have enough fuel to heat enough water. You really need to match your food that requires hot water with the amount of fuel you bring. So now I take dark chocolate squares to get my chocolate fix after dinner instead of hot cocoa.
Very true wandering daisy. You also have to scale things to size, and lean body mass is probably a better indication of that than total body weight. I am 6' 210 pounds, and I have a fairly good aerobic capacity for my age, but its comparable to that of an average 165 pound runner, or an elite 150 pound runner, not a 210 pound athlete. I think I would like to try some controlled tests with a heart rate monitor to see how many calories I can burn in one day. I doubt it is as high as I think it is. I'll check it out again.