Food Stuffs

15 May

In all our research one of the biggest gaps of information we found on thru hikers was “What do these people eat?”.   Everyone talks about the intricacies of the trail, where they slept, how rocky Pennsylvania is and occasionally what crazy amount of food they ordered at a restaurant in town, but there is little information on the day to day.  If you are walking/running 20-30 miles a day up and down mountains with a backpack on you need some serious calories.   My usual granola bar and a fruit leather isn’t going to cut it.  So Emily and I have been experimenting and have had to play a lot with foods that we have already eaten too much previously as guides (oatmeal for Emily, dehydrated pasta sauce for me).  Here is what we have come up with so far and what we are going to try to make work for us:


Cream of rice/wheat

Pop tarts

Shredded wheat, Cracklin’ Oat Bran


Granola bars

Lunch (on the go):

Trail mix

Energy bars

Justin’s Almond Butter




Tuna packets

Fig Newtons



Vigo beans and rice

Mac and cheese

Knorr rice and pasta sides

Dried soup mixes

Instant mashed potatoes



Breakfast has actually been the hardest for Emily (and in a lesser way for me), because we are not first-thing-in-the-morning eaters.   Not only do we not usually eat breakfast, but this will be the first time in 8 years for Emily and 3.5 years for me that we will be living on a “day shift” schedule.  We both work nights and try to stay on night shift schedule when we are not working.  So that means waking up at 4-5pm, maybe eating something around 7 or 8 pm and then starting our nights.   We usually go to bed somewhere between 5-10am depending if we are working or not.  This makes a lot of things complicated as we transition to a schedule where we rise with the sun and sleep at sunset, including when and what to eat.

First thing in the morning the only thing we have found so far that we can definitely stomach is dried fruit and maybe a granola bar after a few hours, but we are going to keep trying.  Lunch will just be snacks as we go on the trail and anything you can throw in a tortilla (peanut butter, nutella, etc.).  This last trip to Mt. Wrightson we tried a couple trail mixes we liked and found that we both love Fig Newtons, which helped.  Dinners are easiest for us because we both could eat mac and cheese or beans and rice forever.   We have started adding protein powder to our breakfasts and dinners and found that it helps fill us up with a lot less food.  Plus, one of the nutrition complaints we have found is that people lose a ton of weight including a lot of muscle due to lack of protein.  So with just a couple of extra tablespoons of protein powdered added to mac and cheese we can hopefully avoid that.  If any experienced hikers have some additional advice, please let us know!

One Response to “Food Stuffs”

  1. Eric W. May 23, 2012 at 12:35 am #

    Please… no more cream of wheat…

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