If you’re preparing for a long hike for at least a day, or even for several days or longer, then food preparation is going to be a big part of your planning. If you’re going for several days and need to carry all the food on your back, you’ll have to think about what meals you plan to take, how you’ll bring them, and ensuring you have enough calories to keep you going.
Minimizing waste – People hike to enjoy nature, and a big part of that is looking after it. When you’re hiking, there’s nothing worse than to see plastic food packaging lying around which will never decompose. Because of this, you should think about what food you take, how it’s packaged, and how you can carry any waste you create.
Storing your food – If you’re traveling for a long time, anything over a day, most likely, you’ll have to think about how you store your food. Food that’s going to spoil quickly is the main thing to avoid, and maximizing how much space you have is a crucial priority, too. Vacuum-sealed meals are a good choice that covers both of these. Removing all of the air minimizes how much space they take up in your backpack, and the meals are made so that they will last at least a few days. Dry food is also your friend. Energy bars are great to eat while on the move, as is trail mix which you can make yourself. Click here for a great selection of nuts to add to your homemade trail mix.
Getting the calories – If you’re walking for 10-15 miles a day, you can expect to be burning 2,000-4,000 calories a day. This can get up to 6,000 if you’re walking for more like 30 miles a day. This is most likely two to three times as many as you burn on an average day. All of these calories need to be replenished, and you also need to be able to carry them on your back. Calorie-dense foods that are also lightweight are the key.
The density of the calories – When making your food choices, you’ll want to try to get an excellent all-around diet to make sure you’re performing well. But then, calorie density is what will make sure you can both eat all the calories you need as well as carry it all. Fruit and vegetables are relatively low calorie-dense foods, while high-fat foods like nuts and seeds are very calorie-dense.
Access to water – As well as food, water is the main thing you’ll need. Water can get heavy very quickly, with 1 liter of water weighing 1 kg. Ideally, you should have regular access to water on your hike, so that you can keep refilling your rations rather than carry it all at once. Making sure you can carry it, with all these calories needed to keep you going, it can be easy for the weight of your load to get heavy fast. One of the most common beginner hiking mistakes is bringing too much, or rather too heavy food.