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User Info So You're Hiking? What Do You Eat?; entered at 2017-04-12 07:58:21
Tickerguy
Posts: 148477
Registered: 2007-06-26
LARABARs sound nice and kitchy. They're also nutrient-poor on balance for the mass carried and are full of sugar. One of those things is only good for 200 calories -- if your metabolic requirement is 3,000 kcal/day, and it is for a light-exertion day, exactly how many of those do you intend to carry and eat?

The other day I covered roughly 15 miles and 3,000' of elevation gain across them. That was approximately 2,300 kcal expended beyond my base metabolic demand which is in the 1,800 kcal area -- in other words, 4,000 kcal total. You can safely run a 1,000 kcal/day deficit for quite a while (you'll lose weight like cray-cray) but if you start trying to run a 2,000 kcal/day deficit you'll be hating life FAST.

Yes, it's science. I have the science on my wrist in the form of a nice Garmin watch that has OHR in it. It was expensive but it's a backup navigation tool as well as a means of data logging. Woodscraft is all fine and well (and yes, I carry a traditional compass, printed topo map and know how to use both) but when it comes down to actually going out and doing it I like to be grinning the whole time instead of ridiculously tired, worn out and undernourished.

There are plenty of people who like to hike and just don't give a **** about the economy of their movement, they're day hiking (where you can refill the energy stores at night in a restaurant) or they're only out for an overnight -- where it obviously matters a lot less.

Quinoa is another example of how to carry 50-70% more mass than I do for a given number of days. Its about 100 calories/oz, nearly all carbohydrate.

The packets of salmon and similar are ok but the packaging is a problem since it has to be carried out. This is true for anything of course but with "liquidy" things it can get quite messy and if it does -- especially on your clothing -- you can have problems of the bruin sort in the middle of the night. Pass.

My target is 150cal/oz of carried mass and the only way to get there is by carrying high-fat foods. Since I eschew PUFAs to the extent possible this means saturated fats, and in things that don't require refrigeration the list of acceptable items gets sparse. Those Dukes' sausages were an accidental find a few years ago when on a car trip at a Love's Travel Stop, but they're frightfully expensive in those places. Finding that WallyWorld carries them was like striking gold as they have a quite-decent shelf life unopened.

Oh, and the "organic" and "non-GMO" thing? Spare me. Waste your money if you'd like but I assure you that every so-called "organic" thing has fertilizers and pesticides used -- they're just so-called "organic"! In fact some of the worst pesticides in terms of actual activity are organic molecules; if you think about it for 30 seconds or so you'll understand why, since the entire point of such a substance is to disrupt the target species' metabolic systems. Organic molecules are typically more efficient in that regard.

I have (and carry) a tiny pocketable butane stove that screws on the small gas canisters. In many places open fires (or use of wood as a fuel) is prohibited entirely, usually due to local fire conditions, so if you want to heat anything you need to bring your own fuel and burning device. That also counts as one of my emergency fire sources (always have two!) The Aeropress I bring with me is light but relatively bulky; it's saving grace is that nearly all of it is hollow so it can have other things stuffed in it, and as such the volume is not so much a penalty.

One of the more-amusing things that happens on the AT is that people start at Springer and then a few days later come through Neel's Gap -- the trail goes literally through (ok, "under" if you want to be technical about it) a trail store. It's a cool place and a large percentage of people wind up dropping hundreds of dollars both sending home all sorts of crap that weighs too much and does too little, and replacing stupid-heavy with much-lighter and more-functional.

It's possible to do the no-tent thing around here (hammock and bag or tarp-shelter) but there are issues -- one of the more-serious ones being bug protection. The biting flies are not fun. My answer to that while hiking is either insect-shield clothing (which incidentally works exceptionally well; not one bite or tick on me after a few days out this time around) or home-made equivalents (soak clothing in 0.5% permethrin solution, hang to dry and you're good to go -- but it doesn't last as long as the pressure-infused treatment in the commercial stuff.) The other interesting thing is that chosen well you don't stink NEARLY as much as you would otherwise; two or three days hiking in jeans or "conventional" shorts and anyone within 50 feet of you is going to be terrified, where I took off my hiking clothes last night, showered, and when I got out (now all nice and clean) they had only a slight detectable odor to them.
2017-04-12 07:58:21