Alright! Let’s talk food!
In 2018 I had a pretty dialed in food plan. This worked pretty well for us, but I had some lessons I took away. Some specific to the GDT and some lessons more general about long hiking.
- I can eat a pretty low variety of food for a long time hiking, as long as I like it
- Natasha gets sick of food she’s not 100% in love with. For example, pepperoni.
- We both get sick of peanut butter pretty quickly.
- We would hold off eating our snacks and bars in the last stretch into town for a resupply, then opted to buy lunch there instead.
- Tuna salad worked really well
- Beans and rice and pesto are both the bomb.
- I’m allergic to walnuts!
- Peanut butter cups turn into peanut butter SHOTS on hot days. Keep those in your pack on hot days; don’t carry them in a hip belt.
- Most resupply locations are pretty well stocked.
So basically these little points led me to realize:
- Keep beans and rice, pesto, tuna salad and most of our meal plans
- Pack 15%-20% less food in resupply boxes so we can eat less heading into town and add variety to our diet/food carry during resupply days in down.
- No walnuts
What’s changed with a baby
Not much. He will be eating on trail. We practice baby led weaning (BLW) and he is eats more or less the same meals as we do.
Natasha and I eat baby food pouches on trail as a source of vitamins and fruit/ veggies. Toothless doesn’t eat much pureed food but does know how to feed himself baby food pouches so he will also eat baby food pouches with us on trail.
Instead of prepackaged bean dip with spices we are getting dehydrated refried beans and adding spice. He’s not very tolerant to spicy foods so we have adjusted our taco spice mix recipe.
He can’t eat chips, so he gets beans and rice or other foods before we add the chips.
In fact, he loves beans and rice.
While he loves pasta, our pesto noodle recipe is a little too messy for him so we will need to limit when he eats it and instead opt for him to eat Sidekicks or use rice as a base instead of noodles.
We need to carry some Cheerios, baby crackers and bars. He loves these and they worked well car camping. We are planning on carrying individual prepackaged peanut or nut butter to spread on the crackers or mix in with rice.
We can’t eat much tuna. Natasha is breastfeeding and Toothless will share our snacks. While tuna sold in Canada should not have significant concerns about mercury, we are being cautious and limiting our tuna consumption within the guidelines.
Food for Toothless is selected to be high iron – this includes any baby food pouches he eats.
Our food this year
As usual..it’s a lot.
The basics are:
- Cliff bars
- Oh Henry’s
- Green Tea Kit Kat
- Instant Carnation for breakfast
- Hershey’s Almond bars
- Kind Bars
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
- Starbucks Via
- Baby bars
- Arrowroot cookies
- Protein salads for lunch (some can be added to dinners)
- Salmon pouches + mayonnaise (some)
- Chicken pouches + mayonnaise (a lot)
- Tuna pouches + mayonnaise (only a few)
- Corn chips
- Beans and rice
- Pesto noodles
- Baby food pouches
What does this look like?
This is a lot of food. Since our itinerary is slower than 2018, we are planning on hiking much longer, so need more food.
We have only purchased 85% of our snacks. The remaining will be purchased in town. We have purchased all of the baby food pouches in advance, but have some food for Toothless that we will buy as needed in town depending on how his interests and needs go.
Meat and cheese will be purchased in town.
As an aside, I have eaten some bars during our SCT shakedown hike and I believe someone who encountered my Peanut Butter Cups in the past was having a bad day .. every cup so far (three per package; 8-10 packages) has had a finger indentation right in the middle. This is.. frustrating. Each cup is broken and melts much easier.
How much food?
We usually pack about 1.5 lbs of food / day/ each when backpacking but we might lean towards something closer to 1 lb/ day/ each.
When planning we plan for about 3600 calories per day each.
After a shakedown hike on the SCT we might need to reduce how much food we carry. We found that with shorter, more relaxed days (a necessity when carrying a baby – he’s heavy!) we don’t need as much food. We also noticed he tries to join in when we eat snacks and it’s pretty challenging to eat anything while carrying him! He gets his own snacks and we all eat dinner, but while hiking Natasha and I don’t feed him. So we found we try not to snack while carrying him. Which leads to us eating less or differently.
If we need to adjust food it’ll be very last minute before the trip. I’ll update this post if we do.
So some stats on what we have so far:
- Approx 760 bars (only 85% of planned)
- 7.5 kg of Gatorade powder
- 126 packages of mayonnaise
- Over 30 pouches of protein (tuna, salmon, chicken)
- 2.5 of of instant rice
- Approx 2 kg of candy