So, what is your most favorite food and snack to eat on your trail?
When you are spending a few days in the mountains, of course, you should eat like horse but do not let them replace all the things you have burnt. Well, it is impossible to replace the calories you have used to deal with the long days in the mountains. If you are hiking during winter, your body will work even harder with the mission to maintain your body temperature safely. The good news is that you can eat as much as you want on the multi-day backpacking trip, mountain biking, or even skiing adventures without worrying about the weight you will gain when you go back to home.
Carbohydrates, Fats, And Proteins
The preferred energy source your body will need is carbohydrates. It works to make up the major calories per day and to support your body doing any activities. Your body works to break down carbohydrates easily into glucose. Our brain, as well as our nervous system, will use the glucose and then restore it as glycogen, the real food for our muscles. If you do high-intensity exercise, your body would love you more if you provide carbohydrates. It is hard to ignore carbohydrates when you have to do such exercise. In addition, fats and protein need more energy to break down and it even leads you to gastric distress when you eat those sources while doing high-intensity exercise, for example, running.
While in the mountains, we suggest you drink often to prevent dehydration. A day hike means you have to carry all the fluids. Backpacking means you need to find the water source near you. Therefore, you will need a filter or tablets. Take one to three cups per hour during your backpacking trip and even more when you need to deal with the super hot summer backpacking and insane elevation gain.
How much food is enough for you? The caloric output you will need depends on your age, gender, weight, intensity, and your metabolism. Walk rapidly helps your body burns 300 calories per hour. Of course, you are going to burn a lot more when you are dealing with the steep grades and carry a loaded pack. If you hike 7 hours on the more challenging trail, it means your body may need 4000 to 5000 calories per day, double the needs of home consumption. The key point is to work with a good balance between proteins, carbohydrates, and fats so you will get these 4000 or more calories a day in 2.5 lbs. Therefore, it is important to plan your meal carefully and then pack extra day’s rations just in case there is an emergency situation.
So, the question is: What is the perfect food or snacks for backpackers on the trail?
The answer should be The ones that can work best for you to complete your adventure choice. Use these questions to help you decide the best foods to take to the next adventure:
- How are you going to travel? Hiking, skiing, biking, or running?
- How long are you traveling? Overnight, a day or multi-day?
- What is the terrain/pace/temperature?
- How many calories do you need?
- How much weight to carry?
Here are our suggestions so you can think about your menu plan to complete your next adventure:
It is important to note that there are many backpackers and hikers will not stop for the identifiable lunch. What they do is to take enough “munch” breaks just to make sure that they have enough energy without feeling over full. In fact, you can use regular water as well as snack breaks to prevent low energy and avoid muscle fatigue when you are still on the trail. Some snacks are important like dried fruit or trail mix so you should keep them in your handy side pocket you can access quickly to supply more energy.
When you do a day hike, it means you should carry whatever you want to bring like sandwiches, cheese, crackers, bagels, hard-boiled eggs, fruit, energy bars, cookies, granola, and others.
If you spend a night or two, you have some choices available. For example, if you backpack in warm weather, you don’t even need to bring a stove and carry hearty sandwiches as well as hard-boiled eggs. If you choose luxury and convenience instead of the lightest pack, it is good to pack your favorite soups and canned meals.
Few Days Treks
Having your trips for more than a day or two, of course, your concern will be the weight. If you can make your food supply as lighter as you can, of course, the happier you will on the trail. The easy option is dried or dehydrated meals. It is because they are light, convenient, and easy to prepare with the high calories to offer. You can even enjoy it easily by boil water, heat, and even eat right out of the pouch. Unfortunately, the price is the main matter to deal with.
Next, you should remove the unnecessary food packaging. You can even use lightweight ziplock bags to cut the weight and provide less space in the pack. The weight of food is from the water. Therefore, dried snacks are great to save the weight. Otherwise, you should have a dehydrator to eat your favorite homemade meals.
Ideas For Your Menu
Breakfast – Breakfast bars, dried fruit, hard boiled eggs, hot or cold cereal with milk powder, granola bars
Lunch or snacks – Crackers and cheese, energy bars, granola bars, cookies, chocolate, trail mix, dried fruit, hard bread or tortilla wraps with non-perishable fillings (butter, dried meat, jams, and fish)
Dinner – Cooked potatoes and carrots can to add nutrition and color to your packaged meals especially if you need travel-friendly veggies, noodle, dehydrated meals, bean or rice dinners with the additional protein (hard salami, smoked salmon, nuts and seeds, and pepperoni)
Additional items – Coffee, dried soup, drink powders, cocoa, tea, spices and bouillon for very little weight. One of the best hiking meals to us is sushi especially with some rice and then wraps it up in nori, smoked salmon and carrots with the addition of soy sauce and wasabi. Eat this delicious treat on the top of the mountain, spectacular!