how to pack your hiking food

Sectionhiker put up a great post:

Tips and Tricks: How to Pack a Food Bag:

1. When I pack my bear bag at home, I first divide all of my meals into 5 piles: breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and drinks.

2. I put each pile into it’s own plastic bag. I find that the best ones to use for this purpose are the plastic bags that I get from the dry cleaners that wrap my folded dress shirts.

3. I place my backpacking towel, bear bag line, and mesh sack at the bottom of my food bag.

4. Then I insert my O.P. Sack into my bear bag and place my long handled titanium spoon and toob tooth brush along the inside, propped up vertically for easy access.

5. Next, I put the 5 bags of food into my O.P. sack, one by one, so that the meal or snack that I want next, is positioned at the top of my food bag. After, I’ve eaten something, I reorder the bags as required, so that food breaks can be kept short if I want to get going again.

6. I always carry my food bag on top of the other gear in my backpack so that it’s easy to access during the day.

Click through for the details – Tips and Tricks: How to Pack a Food Bag – Sectionhiker

camping – where is the salt?

Oh … taped to the meal package. Of course!

Thanks Jason!

One thing I’ve tried to do over the years is to simplify my in-camp procedures by reducing the number of odds and ends I carry. Something that’s always bothered me is fumbling through my Ziplock of condiments to dig out that one specific spice I need for the meal at hand. Then, I had one of those “why didn’t I think of it before” moments last week.

goose-creek-029.jpgSimply put, I figured I could tape meal-specific condiments to their respective packages with masking tape, thus eliminating one more storage bag from my pack. Now, I plan ahead so when mealtime comes, I have exactly what I need all in one place.

… Here you can see salt packets taped to the top of dehydrated eggs.

Homemade Backpacking Gear | by Jason Klass

Jason posted a video of this so-simple-I-never-would-have-thought-of-it-on-my-own idea on his Gear Talk blog.

PCT late season hike – Freezer Bag Cooking

Sarah’s Freezer Bag Cookingâ„¢ | Outdoor Food Simplified site is #1 for hiking food in my opinion.

But Sarah’s a hard core hiker, as well.

Check these photos from her latest trip report:

My friend Steve and I set out to do the section hike of Chinook Pass to White Pass on the PCT here in Washington. We headed southbound on this section. It is roughly a shy 30 miles. …

We left Chinook Pass in a snowstorm, the only vehicle besides us up there was the snow plow.



Would you go out this late in the year?

Snow on the PCT – trip report and more photos

blog – Outdoor Food Simplified

Sarah’s Freezer Bag Cookingâ„¢ | Outdoor Food Simplified is simply the best on the net for hikers looking for great grub.

Check this post as an example:

Often I get asked if one can actually save money by doing their meals at home versus running down to the local REI for meals.

The answer is always “Yes!” but I hadn’t really ever run how much one could save. And simply put, I decided to see if it was more than just money that one could save.

Could you also eat healthier and save money? …

Sarah compared the $6 Mountain House Spaghetti and Meatballs meal-in-a-bag vs preparing her own:


Made at home Spaghetti (16 ounce serving):

600 calories
700 mg Sodium
13 g Fiber
29 g Protein

As you can easily see, you can save a lot in cost, sodium and you will get a LOT more fiber if you make your own. You will also know exactly what is in your meal. At a savings of about $4 per serving and half the sodium, that alone makes it worthwhile to make your own. You are also avoiding potential hidden MSG, and fillers.

Freezer Bag Cookingâ„¢ | Outdoor Food Simplified

review – Jetboil coffee maker

Some were underwhelmed with my “preferred coffee system”.

jet-boil.jpgPerhaps I need to step up.

Since I’m already using the JetBoil stove / pot combo, I’ll pick up a JetBoil coffee press based on this good review:

Here’s the basics of how the Jetboil French Press works.

1. Get some water and fill up the cup
2. Light up the micro burner
3. Boil the water
4. Scoop in the coffee
5. Stir the coffee into the boiling water
6. Press it on down
7. Drink some amazing coffee on the side of the mountain you’re currently on.

Review: Jetboil French Press Hiking and Camping Personal Coffee Maker | Single Serve Coffee –


lost overnight – Syncline Loop, Utah

Things can go wrong, fast.

A series of decisions, all which seemed reasonable at the time. Even experienced hikers can get lost in canyon country.

Three friends, planning on a challenging day hike on the standard Syncline Loop in Canyonlands National Park, Utah, got stuck overnight without provisions. One suffered some hypothermia.

Rich posted a detailed account of how it happened:

Now, we didn’t really have much in the way of food. I had brought a few slices of bread, some saltines, a jar of peanut butter and, of course, plenty of water. We each had a similiar supply.

We planned on stopping at the grocery store on our way to Moab but, somehow that slipped our minds. …

So, we figure … we’d probably find a bit of trail food at the visitor center.

Well, we soon found out there was nothing at all in the way of trail food at the visitor center. The Island of the Sky Visitor Center is a little more than a Ranger Station. In fact, I really like Canyonlands because it doesnt have any amenities.

The desert is one place your really do need the 10 essentials. And extra water. Even if setting out only for an hour or two.

They made one last urgent scramble to get up and out.

… we saw … a potential exit. It was crazy and we were all really uncertain but, we pushed on. Every second getting closer to darkness.

Of course, as they do in the desert, temperatures plunged with the setting sun. Thankfully, we still had clear skies and little to no wind. We climbed higher and higher.

… It is endless!!!

For certain, that mile or so was the most intense and rugged hiking I have ever done in my life. Naturally, I loved every minute of it but, my lungs would argue otherwise. We had been on the trail for nearly 10 hours.

Return To The Great Salt Lake: Syncline Loop

No pretty pictures on this post. Just three wiser hikers the following morning when the sun finally came up. Cold, but never in any real danger.


We’ve posted our latest information page which, we hope, will help hikers in future avoid this kind of adventure.

Syncline Loop –

coffee on the trail

Like Russ at Trailcraft, I need coffee in the morning when I’m hiking.

He’s recommending a new one on me:

The Press-Bot Coffee Press by ventureDESIGNworks made great coffee. In fact, everyone in the group enjoyed it. The only complaint was that it was occasionally difficult to remove from the Nalgene bottle. …

As an added bonus, the PRESS-BOT only weighs 2.8 ounces!

Coffee Nalgene Style


nestlelaitconcentratetubepa.jpgNo doubt Russ will be mortified with my preferred hiking coffee “system”. I buy tubes of Nestle sweetened condensed milk and mix it with instant coffee. Fast, easy and … surprisingly delicious.

In fact, I’ve even tried the coffee flavoured sweetened condensed milk. (Not nearly as good.)

This product is available throughout South America, in Australia and Europe. But I’ve not yet found it in Canada or the USA.

Leave a comment if you know where I can get it in North America.

(via Two-Heel Drive)

“Seeking lightweight food”

Tom Mangan’s Two-Heel Drive blog is the hub of the hiking blogisphere. I count on Tom to alert me what’s new and cool on the net.

I read Two-Heel Drive more often (88% of the time) than any other in my RSS reader. And I’m not the only one. Search for “hiking blog” on Google, Two-Heel Drive comes up #1.

When Tom said he was tempted to “to link to everything” posted by “Trailcraft Russ”, I got intrigued.

Russ is the editor of Wilderness Trailcraft. I’ve linked to it on the right hand navigation under BLOGS.

Please, just shoot me in the head. I’ve gone over the top this time. I have created an Excel spreadsheet with a whole bunch of different types of foods in the hope of finding the best lightweight food. Please don’t laugh; bear with me, this actually is interesting.

In the quest for lightening my load I finally made it to the food in my backpack. I have already created spreadsheets with the calorie intake for each meal so I know I’m not carrying too little or too much food. But one analysis remained, how can I lighten the per day weight of the food that I carry? I have read in multiple places that long-distance hikers use “1 1/2 lbs per day” as a rule of thumb. But when I weigh my food I am always over 2 lbs per day. What are they doing different than me?

I now understand the errors in my ways. Check out the table below. This table is sorted by Cal per Oz. The topmost items are the lightest foods for the number of calories they contain. If you carried only Mountain House Mac & Cheese then you would only have to carry 19oz to achieve 2500 calories (a typical daily intake). Here’s another way to look at it… If you want to carry 1 1/2 lbs per day and you need 2500 calories then you have to average 104 calories per ounce. So in the table below you need foods like Cheese Nips Crackers or Instant Oatmeal. Flour tortillas won’t get you there and neither will Tuna Creations (both are my personal favorites). You can eat these less efficient foods but you have to compensate with foods like Swiss Mix or Mac & Cheese to up your daily cal to weight average.

Seeking lightweight food


“Night Hiking” and “Mornings on the trail”

Tom Mangan pointed me to a post extolling the pleasures of Night Hiking on an outdoors blog called As The Crow Flies.


Here’s another fascinating, original post on As The Crow Flies:

I love mornings. I’m usually awake by 5am, and love getting an early start but I also enjoy drinking hot beverages and appreciating the morning. This is my usual morning routine, on the trail.

From the comfort of my sleeping bag, I reach out of my tent, start my stove and heat up water to make a 16 oz nalgene bottle full of instant coffee. I put the bottle in my bag to warm me up while I eat my breakfast.

Breakfast is usually cereal, nuts and powder milk mixed with water. After I eat, I drink my coffee and enjoy the morning. Then I heat more water and make green tea in my nalgene bottle. While I drink that I look over the guide book pages for the day. Then using the same tea bag I make another nalgene bottle full of tea. When I finish that, I wash my face with the warm tea bag, and stow it in an outside mesh pocket of my pack until it is dry and can go in my ziplock garbage sack.

Then I leave the comfort of my bag, pack up (I can pack up in 2-4 minutes), and go. This way I start the day hydrated and with little or no water that I have to carry.

As The Crow Flies – Mornings on the trail


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