A few folks have asked me about my diet on trail, so here is a sample menu. I shouldn’t be writing this on an empty stomach, since the grumblings are distracting me something fierce.

Breakfast consists of dry cereal almost every morning. I prefer granola, but will eat just about any cereal I can purchase in town. Cracklin’ Oat Bran is one of my favorites! Instead of mixing in powdered milk, I like to eat the cereal a handful at a time and wash it down with water.

Instead of taking a dedicated lunch I prefer to snack throughout the day. I feel this allows my body to remain fueled with a steady supply of nutrients, instead of one big meal. Bread products like bagels and pita pockets make a good base for peanut butter or cheese. Dried fruits and nuts are always present, as are food bars (Pro Bars, Skout Bars, etc) and those foil packages of tuna fish. I’d eat beef jerky everyday, but high costs prohibit that and I eat it sparingly.

Dinner is the only meal I cook. I like to prepare buckwheat groats (kasha) or quinoa and add whatever random extras I have to make a “chaos stew”. Packing out fresh vegetables from town and cooking them the first night or two is a nice treat. Carrots, broccoli, and cabbage often find their way into my bag. For a flavorful sauce I’ll add dehydrated coconut milk, peanut butter or miso soup packets. After those supplies are exhausted I turn to dehydrated vegetables. My recent partnership with Hungry Hikers will expand my vegetable intake to many new freeze dried foods, and I’m looking forward to that!

When resupplying from a small grocery store that doesn’t offer healthy grains or vegetables, I’ll turn to boxed mac-n-cheese, dehydrated potatoes or ramen noodles. I’ve even developed a taste for those single serving foil packets of SPAM! Living in a city that gives me access to healthy food has spoiled me a bit, and I find it sad to see how many people only have heavily processed junk food lining the shelves of their neighborhood grocery store. But then I eat a sandwich containing a Snickers bar and a hunk ‘0 SPAM and remind myself not to worry about these things.


3 Replies to “Food!”

  1. We saw the interview on Oregon Field Guide and were most impressed by your focus on enjoyable hiking.
    We also wondered about food, so thanks for this post.
    One question. How many days food do you typically carry, since, I am sure there are long spaces on the PCT without grocery stores. I am curious as to how much food adds to your ultralight pack?
    My wife and I are past normal retirement age, but you have sparked a latent interest in hiking without large loads!! Thank you for the inspiration …..Len & Diane

  2. On the PCT, resupply options are often 100 miles apart, so I generally leave town with 3-4 days worth of food. On average I consume 2 pounds of food per day, so that brings my pack weight up to 16 pounds when I hit the trail. Of course, that weight drops each time I eat! Water is 2 pounds per liter, so depending on the availability of water, my pack can get up to 26 pounds in the desert. Again, with each sip that weight drops.

    One of the reasons I focus so much on my baseweight (everything except consumables) is that food and water are so heavy. By shedding every unnecessary ounce from the gear I lug around, even when fully loaded with food/water my pack is a manageable weight. I can’t make water weigh any less, but I can make my gear as light as possible.

    I am currently working an a patent for dehydrated H2O….just add water!

  3. Would love to trade patents. I am currently working on a variable pressure helium filled pack frame that would allow pack weight to be adjusted to feather weight and also allow for altitude adjustments. This is a similar concept to an open water diving BCD. I think it will be worth MILLIONS.

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