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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Feeling Better About This

The food is 100% done for my hike. It's a lot of food. Each little meal baggie is packed with ingredients and directions.

ziplock bag with trail food

On the other side is the label with the type of meal, menu, weight in ounces, how many servings and when it was packaged.

ziplock bag with trail food

You might ask, "Why go to all that trouble?"

My answer is one that has evolved over all the years Marie and I have been backpacking.
1. No one wants to spend time on the trail sorting through food packets trying to figure out what they are. Label them at home.
2. When you get into camp tired and cold/hot/filthy/bug-bitten, if you have to struggle to produce dinner... it's not a good thing- on SO many levels. Make meals as easy to deal with as possible.
3. The weight of each pack is important. Eat the heavy meals first so you aren't carrying that any more.
4. Sometimes, for various reasons, meal packs come home uneaten (surprise discoveries of restaurants, trail magic, etc). You need to be able to identify the contents, servings and age of meals perhaps a year later.

This is a long hike, very much away from civilization. I'm only getting one supply drop in the middle. That means I have to carry 8 days of food in each section. That's a lot. Here's the whole pile with the exception of the cheese which was in the refrigerator and I forgot to put out for the picture.

packages of trail food

I sorted it by section (remember, I made two of each meal) and packed the second half in a box. Here's the pile for the first section. I'll be able to get it all in the pack, but may have to get a little creative. Usually I try to only carry 5-6 days of food at a time. The good news is my pack weight will go down by 1.2 pounds each day. (Until I pick up that second box!)

packages of trail food

All the books tell you to pack 2 pounds of dried food per person per day (ppppd). Marie and I started out with this guideline and learned early on that was way too much food for us. I started cutting back, and finally settled on 1.2 ppppd. With this figure we were rarely bringing home food we didn't eat (although I do pack one extra meal for emergency rations).

As I was closing in on the preparations, the total was coming in a little low. I was only at 1.18 ppppd. Then I discovered I hadn't entered the weight of one item, and then I threw in a couple of extra snacks, and I think I'm good at 1.22 ppppd!

How do I know all these numbers? Long ago, I developed a spreadsheet to enter every menu item and its weight. It does the totals and calculations. It also generates the labels you see on all the packages.

In other news: Cathy and I walked at the state park. I carried 35 pounds, and we did 5 miles at a 3mph pace on hilly trail. I'm a little tired, but not as sore as Sunday. And this evening was writer's group. So that's why the blog post is so late. But I'm feeling good about being ready, physically and organizationally.

forest scene

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Ann Thompson said...

You certainly have your meal prep and packing down to a science.

Secondary Roads said...

I never realized how much planning was required for a hike like yours.

Sharkbytes said...

Ann- I do!

Chuck- The more you can do ahead of time the smoother the hike experience will be.

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