I find I need about 4,000 calories of food a day to prevent fatigue later in the day. If I eat less than this, by the third day, I'm ready to leave the trail and win a food challenge. (I'm 6'0", 194 pounds, and a healthy 58 year old male.)

The problem is, it's hard to get too many things that have more than 125 calories per ounce and most things are 100 calories. At 125 calories, that's 32 ounces a day of food a day or two pounds. To go out for 5 days, I'd need 10 pounds of food. Just eating 4,000 calories a day of camp food can be a challenge. Space for it is also a challenge.

This is becoming an annoying issue as the more I hike, the more food I need even on the first day. I tend to lose 2 pounds a day on the trail now, no matter how much I eat. I can stand to lose some weight, but this rate of loss isn't good for endurance. None of this is water weight as I stay well hydrated.

Maybe I'm not balancing the nutrients properly, but I eat the usual assortment of what everyone else eats. I'm a vegetarian, so that makes things more difficult.

It also creates a pack weight problem. I generally carry a gallon of water with me which is more than most, but I wouldn't want to have to dry camp with less should I need to do that. I do carry less where I KNOW there is water, but that's worst case.

(all weights are estimates.)

5 day pack:

Pack: 3 pounds
Sleeping bag: 2 1/2 pounds
Tent (for 2): 6 pounds
Water: 8 pounds
Food and bags: 11 pounds
Stove and pot: 1 Pound
White gas: 1.5 pounds (including bottle)
Fleece: 1 pound .
Rain jacket/outer layer 1.5 pound
Extra shirt, pants
and socks: 1 pound
Toilet paper (1 roll for
2 people.) 1 pound
2 6 inch squares .1 pounds
of camp towels
Parachute cord .2 pounds
SPOT transmitter .5 pounds
Water filter .5 pounds
Tiny flashlight negligable

This isn't so bad at 37.3 pounds, but my hiking partner only weighs 97 pounds, so I have to take on some extra to balance the effort. I generally end up around 43 pounds. He ends up at about 30 pounds. Yet I can't see how I can cut down. I use everything in my pack everyday.

As you can see, I'm an ultralight failure.