I just put together my food for my next trip - 7 days in the Sierra where a bear canister is required. I took some photos while I was packing my food. Beginners have asked about food, so here is one example of what to do.

1. Lay out food – six breakfasts, 6 dinners, 7 lunches

2. Weigh each packet and transfer to a spreadsheet that calculates nutritional value

3. Pack in bear canister (to see how it fits). Pack one day’s food at a time from bottom up.

Keep spices and stuff you use every meal on the top. I separate each day’s food with either a plastic bag or aluminum foil piece.

About half way up I put in my cook pots. On top I add the semi-perishables – cheese and margarine – I keep these in a cooler when I drive to the trailhead.

If it does not fit, I try again without the pots inside. If I keep the ready-made-meals in their original packing, I poke a small hole with a needle so I can squeeze out the air. Also, you do not have to fit your first day’s trail food (seen on top of the bear canister)– it will be eaten by your first night’s camp. The canister is the Bear-i-Kade Weekender and it weighs a hair under 2 pounds.

4. I go to my spreadsheet (a food database) and see what I have. I was light on calories (only 2,100 per day) and about a pound light on weight too. I also had too much protein and not enough carbs. So I deleted the tuna, added hummus, Cyotmax and one more trail bar. I now had the calories I needed and more carbs. Here is the ration list as finalized:

1.5 pounds food per day (9.2 pounds total food weight)
2,400 calories per day
As percent calories: 28% protein, 26%fat, 46% carbohydrate
As percent of weight: 34% protein, 13% fat, 53% carbohydrate

I can get 9-10 days food in this bear canister if I am extra careful with bulk – no using original packaging or any bulky shaped food (no macaroni- rice and cuscous pack better, Malt-o-meal is more compact than oatmeal. No trail bars. Small nuts pack down better than large nuts. No crackers. The bear canister will be full of food and no room for cookware. The one item I leave out for a few days is the butter and olive oil – the tub is just too bulky. Although freeze-dry food or food that you just add water is lighter, it is often bulky. In order to get all the food in the canister, I use regular (not instant) oatmeal. This requires a bit more gas to cook, but the gas cans do not have to fit into the bear canister. With 7-days food I have lots of room and can be relatively sloppy about the packing and take trail bars.

Other than the freeze dried food (I buy at Whole Foods) and Cytomax (from the bicycle shop), everything is from the regular grocery store.

7-Day Ration List (6 dinners and breakfasts, 7 days trail food)

Soups (1 per day) and spices 5.3 oz.
Tea bags (2 per day) 1.3 oz.
Ovaltine and Chi latte (one per day) 6.9 oz.
F.D. vegetables 2.1 oz.
F.D. tomatoes 1.6 oz.
Black beans 4.5 oz.
Cuscous 4.1 oz.
Rice 3.2 oz.
Mexican Rice Knorr side dish 6.1 oz.
Whole Wheat Pasta 3.1 oz.
Dried potatoes 6.8 oz.
Sharp cheddar cheese 5.7 oz.
Butter (some used for breakfast too) 6.7 oz.
Hummas 6.5 oz.
Hard Candy 2.2 oz.

Coffee = 1.2 oz.
Dry milk 3.3 oz.
Oatmeal, fd. Mango chunks, sugar 10.3 oz.
Malt-o-Meal, Mango chunks, sugar 10.3 oz.
Cashews 4.5 oz.

Cytomax 6.0 oz.
Emergen-C (one for each day) 2.4 oz.
Raisins 5.0 oz.
Dried apricots and pears 7.6 oz.
Wasabi peas 3.6 oz.
8-Pepper Jack cheese sticks 7.8 oz.
Almonds 8.9 oz.
Hazlenuts 3.1 oz.
4 Trail bars (variety of kinds) 8.1 oz.