What food should you pack for a multi-day hunting, camping, or backpacking trip? That’s an important question, and the answer shouldn’t be… “Whatever I can find in my kitchen right before I leave, or pickup at the gas station on the way to the trailhead.”
Last year I wrote a post entitled, Food for Backpack Hunting – Tips, Ideas, and a Lightweight Menu. In that article I not only shared what I was bringing each day for my backpack elk hunt, but why I was bringing it. I highly encourage you to read that post to learn about the key elements of Packaiblity, Ease of Use, Value, Edibility, and “The Magic Number”.
In that post I shared my meal plan, which I put together based on previous experience with backpacking trips. But how did the menu work out for my elk hunting trip specifically? Did I have enough calories? Did any of the foods not work particularly well? What am I changing for this year’s trips? Let’s answer those questions…
The Dietary Debrief
Overall, I was really happy with the food that I brought last year. I looked forward to eating what I had with me, and felt satisfied and energized throughout the day. I had more than enough calories (~2,900/day), and finished the trip with a decent amount of food leftover. There wasn’t any particular item that didn’t agree with my stomach, or failed to be appetizing. The strategy of packing all of each day’s food into its own zip-loc bag was perfect. I loved the convenience of grabbing one bag per day for my daypack and quickly seeing what I had left to eat for that day.
First, let’s take a look at my updated list for this year, and then we’ll talk about some of the specific changes…
I am bringing a bit fewer calories and have optimized the caloric density, so I’m saving a total of about 1.5lbs for 7 days of food. The changes from last year to this year are…
- Calories: Down to 2722, last year was 2915
- Weight: Down to 1.45, last year was 1.65
- Calories per Ounce: Up to 121, last year was 114
Breakfast – Last year I only ate my planned breakfast of granola cereal on one or two of the days. It was much quicker to grab a Probar Meal Bar for breakfast than it was to deal with adding (and sometimes heating) water to the cereal and dirtying a bowl and utensil. This year’s breakfast will be a Probar for sure; they are quick, convenient, filled with quality nutrients, and freaking delicious. (My favorite flavor is Superfood Slam.)
Lunch – Almond butter, Wheat Thins, and Landjager = Perfection. I’m not changing a thing here, except I am moving from Justin’s Nut Butter packets to PocketFuel Naturals Nut Butter packets. They’re both quality products, but I like the larger serving and resealable packaging of PocketFuel Naturals better.
Dinner – I wouldn’t want to live off of Mountain House for much more than 7-10 days, but there is nothing better for a weeklong excursion into the backcountry. I like to use the “ProPak” meals to save on space in my pack. I’ll be moving from Snickers bars, which worked well last year, to Probar Base protien bars. I love the Chocolate Mint flavor, and the extra protein helps get me after a the macronutrient levels that I’m after. Not to mention, the Probar is made with higher quality and natural ingredients; Snickers, not so much. I’ll also be adding some extra fat to my Mountain House meals by bringing along single-serving packets of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Snacks – The trail mix, jerky, and Honey Stinger Waffles are staying on the list from last year. Last year’s Probar “snack” has become this year’s breakfast, and because I had more than enough calories last year, I’m not replacing it this year. The Clif gel that I have listed with Breakfast will more often than not become a snack/energy shot for later in the day. The Nuun Hydration Tablets provide a light, refreshing flavor to filtered water and also help to replace electrolytes.
Let me know if you have any questions!