Food planning was one of the more intensive aspects of this trip. We have done extensive climbing and hiking in the backcountry so we had most of the gear and knew what we needed and how to use it. But food planning was a task upon itself.
The bad news: Food is heavy. The good news: Food is consumable.
Your pack will continually get lighter in between resupply locations. We resupplied on food about every 5-7 days at various places along the road where you can ship packages ahead and pick them up. But that also means every 5-7 days was quite the load to haul!
We began by researching others who had recently completed through-hikes and we aimed for a goal of 3,500 calories per day which ended up as about 1.5 pounds of food per day for us. Although hikers will average 5,000-6,000 calories burned per day, we felt this was the right amount to balance replacing burned calories and keeping the weight manageable. Even the fittest person has lots of calories stored in fat on their body so everyone's body has plenty of untapped reserves to pull from throughout the trip. It takes weeks to starve to death!
I created three "meal plans" that helped not only to track calories and shopping needs but also to vary the food we were eating. Calories per ounce is your key metric and I devised several spreadsheets that helped determine the best foods for the weight and total weight for each meal. This is typically high fat, high calorie foods like peanut butter, trail mix, and dried meat like jerky with a mix of energy bars and energy gels thrown in for good measure.
The count refers to the number of days I was planning on eating that meal.
Tables can be scrolled to the right to see the whole plan.
The Complete Shopping List:
|Two-serving freeze-dried meals (split)||20 meals / 1 serving each|
|Single-serve Peanut Butter||80 packets/cups|
|Gu Energy||80 packets|
|Instant Oatmeal||20 packets|
|Trail Mix||40 cups (1 cup per day)|
|Stinger Energy Waffles||80 waffles|
|Jolly Ranchers||~240 pieces|
|Beef stick||30 sticks|
|Corn Chips||40 servings|
|Poptart||20 packages / 40 poptarts|
|Loucks Dark Chocolate Sesame Snap||
10 packages / 2 per package
|Dry stuffing mix||
20 cups / (1 cup per)
|Instant Macaroni & Cheese||