For the final part of my Long Trail end-to-end trip report, I wanted to write a followup to the planning posts earlier on– specifically about how the food plans went. I’ll try to keep this short and to the point. But we all know I get long-winded all too easily. For reference, here’s a link to the earlier food planning post, and to the actual lists of what food went into my supply packages.
A few things stood out really well on this trip. These were the foods that, even by the end of two weeks, I always dug out of the food bag without hesitation.
- Larabar was a sure winner, and their new Uber bars are a fine addition to their flavor lineup. The Uber bars add more nuts and salt to the bars, which makes them easier to chow down on a hot day.
- Trader Joe’s pound-plus chocolate bars are one of the best backpacking foods around– inexpensive, calorie dense, and delicious. A few squares of the 72% cocoa version worked better than any energy bar to give me a quick and lasting boost.
- Whole fat milk powder is absolutely amazing! A bit of that with a bowl of granola and berries in the morning kept me going for hours. Simply put, it actually tastes like milk, rather than the swill that you find at most supermarkets.
- Dr Kracker crackers are also fantastic, if a little pricey. I should have brought more stuff like those, because after too many nuts and seeds, a wheaty snack feels great to eat while on trail, especially with some chocolate peanut-butter or Nutella spread on top.
A few things went less well, and will need a bit of a change on my next big trip:
- I need to remember that raw nuts can be a little hard to eat in large quantities. The raw hazelnuts and brazil nuts, as much as I enjoy them, could have been easier to eat if they’d been candied in one way or another.
- Speaking of candy, I would probably bring more simple sugars for quick energy during the hiking day. My energy levels throughout the day were generally consistent, but on some days I really needed a boost.
- I could have replaced some of the seasonings in my dinner foods with more protein, in the form of tuna packets, or freeze-dried meats from Packitgourmet.com.
The plan of two pounds of food per day was a pretty big success. Here’s what I had left in my food bag at the end of each supply period:
- Small amount of dehydrated veggie mix, potato flakes, garlic, and onion. Handful of nuts.
- Almost exactly the same as the first resupply.
- More nuts, some seasonings.
As you can see, it looks like I overpacked on nuts (see above in the food cons section), as well as dinner seasonings and dried vegetables. I was well-fed throughout the trip, and my diet was nutritionally balanced compared to many long-distance backpackers.
Changes I would make in amounts for next time, aside from what I mentioned in the cons section above, would be to take less dried vegetables and seasonings, since a small amount of those goes a long way. I’d replace that weight with freeze dried meats, and a little more seasoning variety for dinners. I’d replace some of the nuts with sweets and cookies, or at least honey roasted, maple glazed, or praline nuts, just for some quick energy fixes.
Finally, a note about cooking. I started the hike with 12 fluid ounces of denatured alcohol, which I hoped would last the entire trip. I cooked one meal per day, which ended up being about 14 meals (since I didn’t cook dinner while at the Inn at LT or on the day I finished the trail). The Caldera Cone stove system is incredibly efficient, and so I walked out of the woods with about two fluid ounces of fuel left. Less than an ounce of fuel per boil? Not bad at all!