AT Meal Plan: Resupply Test Run

 

I have to admit, with this 2nd video done, I’m starting to feel comfortable with this on-camera approach to blogging. Not my usual style, but it is fun and relatively painless. In this video, I test out the anticipated resupply options after a shopping trip to a $0.99 Store in LA. The end result isn’t too bad, so take a peek to see how I did. Hello Neiman! Continue reading

AT Meal Plan: Week 7

3680 calories, 30.9 ounces, $16.85

The last organized dropbox of food is more of a half-and-half:  Half pre-boxed food, half purchased on the trail.  As much as I’d like to go 5 months eating dry foods, trail mix and ramen … sometimes you need some real protein!  So, although it won’t be shipped together, this Week 7 box adds some delicious bagels and a combination of hard and soft cheese.  Did you know some cheeses can last up to a week backpacking? Not everyone does, but stop and look for Laughing Cow products next time you go to Trader Joe’s.  You may be surprised to find it NOT in the cooler section.

Any hard cheese like parmesan or pecorino will also last in the open, as will some wax-encased cheeses like gouda or Mini Babybels.  Food can actually stay relatively cool when packed deep in a backpack or stored at night in a cool place. I’ve even been known to refrigerate cheese by burying them in a cold river at night.  Isn’t backpacking fun? Hello Neiman!

Week 7 Maildrop Menu:

520 calories, 6.3 ounces, $2.86

Breakfast 7: Bagel with Cheese. I read a story of a person that hiked the trail last year on only bagels. They are always a great choice, and probably one of the few things I could eat every day for 150 days myself as well. I’m sure I’ll be stocking up on these during the “non-maildrop” days, but I’ll also have a breakfast planned for them here. Paired with 2 spreadable laughing cow cheeses, you have a breakfast fit for a king.  Some Nescafe Clasico coffee (the only other flavor we haven’t packed yet) and an Emerald nut/berry package round it all out.

1130 calories, 7.6 ounces, $2.79

Elevensies 7: Almond Snickers, Fruit Bar, Trail Mix.  By the end of this trip, I imagine I’ll be extensively knowledgeable on every flavor M&Ms and Snickers available. This week we get the Almond Snickers, another bag of trail mix (this time Target’s Monster Mix), and a That’s It fruit bar.  Different day, same elevensies variety.

830 calories, 8.2 ounces, $5.48

Lunch 7: Babybel Snack.  I’m not sure if every place I stop at will have these, but I did coordinate this maildrop to be in what looks to be the largest cities I stop at (e.g. Damascus). So hopefully I find them, but if not, I’ll improvise with what’s available. Another tin (thank you MREdepot!) of Pilot Crackers pair up with the cheeses. In addition, let me introduce to you a new product at Trader Joes that I LOVE. These “Fruit & Nuts” treats are tiny discs of just that … fruit and nut. In this box, we’ll have 3 of the Apricot Almond flavor (easily the best) per lunch, but keep an eye out for the others. Lastly, a savory snack of Goldfish crackers.

140 calories, 1.2 ounces, $0.60

Snack 7: KIND Bar. I don’t really have much to say about these, I’m pretty sure everyone has had them.  But they taste good and pack well.  I noticed that KIND has come out with quite a few new flavors, shapes and sizes of these in the past year … so at least you have some variety to keep it interesting.

660 calories, 4.7 ounces, $4.77

Dinner 7: Meaty Mashed Potatoes.  Ahh, Idahoan. You aren’t truly a backpacker until you become intimately familiar with these potatoes flakes.  Are they tasty? Yes. Do they come in many flavors? Yes. Will you be sick of them after 3 days of eating them in a row? YES!  I don’t know what it is, but these instant mashed potatoes just never really excite me for more than 1 day. So, I’ve spiced them up here to try and help. For each dinner, we’ll add 1/4 cup of dehydrated Harmony House broccoli florets, 1/4 freeze dried cheese, and 1/4 cup freeze dried ground beef. Throw in an olive oil packet for some more calories, and here’s hoping for a stomachable resolution to boring spuds.

200, 2.9 $0.99

Treat 7: Complete Cookie.  I tried to avoid these as they are usually expensive and heavy, but it turns out they have a smaller version sold at Trader Joes.  The Complete Cookies I found there are half the calories, but also half the weight and cost. So I picked up a few for dessert here.

AT Meal Plan: Week 5

3690 calories, 29.1 ounces, $14.25

The meal plan for box 5 looks light, but it has some of my high-caloric favorites to hopefully make up it. The entire day’s eats still come in at nearly 3700 calories and at only 1.8 pounds it’s a good example of quality over quantity.  Looking at the picture, this feels like the stereotypical hiker grocery list, so I’ve included a few favorite gems to break the monotony of this typical “jerky and granola bar” meal plan. This maildrop box will be repeated 3 times throughout the hike.  Ok, let’s dig into the menu and break down the Meal Plan for Week 5.

390 calories, 3.6 ounces, $1.53

Breakfast 5: Breakfast Bars. Another cold breakfast, made to be flexible where it is eaten. Perhaps this is for an early morning start, or a cold morning where you just don’t want to get out of bed.  Either way, the only effort is to cook up the day’s cup of joe, namely Taster’s Choice Vanilla. I love vanilla flavored coffee, so saved it specifically for this dull breakfast of 2 Cereal Bars (Trader Joe’s, Nutri-Grain). The PB&J Cereal Bar is a nice treat to go with the typical berry flavor, both from Trader Joe’s in this pic.  Added is a packet of Emerald Nut and Berry mix. This used to be called Breakfast on the Go, but that may have been discontinued because this is all I can find now. Basically just fancy raw trail mix, but good.

1130 calories, 8.4 ounces, $2.48

Elevensies 5: Nut Roll, Fruit Bar, Trail Mix.  On my Meal Plan tracker, this technically has a Pearson’s Nut Roll, but I can’t find those at my Target, CVS or 7-11.  Maybe it’s a regional thing from Minnesota, but I always thought these were more mainstream.  So we’ve subbed in a Snickers Peanut Butter Bar to go with the fantastically delicious Archer Farms Cashew Caramel trail mix. I could eat this every day, it’s damn good.  Finished up with a couple Simply Balanced Fruit Strips for a refreshing treat.

970 calories, 7.8 ounces, $5.28

Lunch 5: Beef Jerky Snack. For the Week 1 menu, we had beef jerky sticks. Not to be outdone by its more shapely brother, this week we feature the more traditional bag of Beef Jerky scraps. Sure, it looks like dog food, but we break up the monotony of this meal with some fancy flavors.  Pink Peppercorn, for example.  Peanut Butter crackers are the savory treat, and this lunch’s fruit is … not pictured.  I planned for Trader Joe’s dried persimmons, but they are not in season right now. And if they still aren’t in season by March, the replacement shown here will become permanent.  Instead, we have 3 of “Fruit & Nuts” pucks that just came back in stock at TJs. Three of these little pucks make for a great treat, this flavor being Date-Hazelnut-Cacao.

220 calories, 1.0 ounces, $0.80

Snack 5: Fig Bar.  Hopefully the world has come to realize how great these Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars are by now, but if not, let me be the first to introduce you to the Fig Newton’s fancier and tastier big brother. These bars are deliciously dense, coming in many flavors like Raspberry, Apple Cinnamon, Mango, Blueberry, Apricot, and more. They also come in a nice bulk box purchase from Costco.

980 calories, 8.3 ounces, $4.16

Dinner 5 / Treat 5: Veggie Beef Rice.  I’m not going to sugar coat it, this is a boring dinner. But it packs all the necessary components for a bland yet calorie-rich dinner.  Boil 1.5 cups water, add mix in 1 cup instant brown rice, 1/4 cup freeze dried ground beef, and 1/4 cup dehydrated veggies.  For seasoning, add 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 bouillon cube and 1 packet of olive oil.

Mixed in with dinner in the photo is a pair of Grandma’s Cookies for dessert. They aren’t as popular as the “Lenny and Larry’s Complete Cookie”, but they are significantly cheaper and lighter for the same weight and calories.

AT Meal Plan: Week 4

Since last month’s epiphany, getting prepared with food is MUCH easier. I have even started packing up the mail-drops now with 4 days of food ready to be drop-shipped by my family once on the trail.  It’s both reassuring and frightening that most of this food has a shelf life of 6-12 months.  Yes, I can be confident the pre-packaged food won’t go bad … but one has to wonder what preservatives are in some of these things.  Better not to think about it I suppose…

That is the good news.  The bad news is that my spare bedroom/office has been overrun with boxes, baggies, and food stuffs.  I’m running out of space, but I feel good about having a head start on this to make the last few weeks as stress-free as possible.  I’d rather focus my last few weeks on body conditioning and field testing, and less time on food prep.  Fortunately, living in Southern California, our winters are perfect backpacking weather, so I have a few prep-hikes planned to get outside.  Hello Neiman!

But that’s weeks away, so today I share the meal plan for Week 4:

740 calories, 6.7 ounces, $2.68

Breakfast 4: Buns and Rings.  I only have one friend that ever did this hike, and in chatting with him early on he mentioned that breakfast was pretty much Honey Buns every day.  I don’t think I could eat them that often, but a week here or there paired with pears (pun intended) is doable.  This week’s coffee is 100% Columbian flavored, whatever that means.

840 calories, 6.7 ounces, $2.61

Elevensies 4: Pure Bar, Fruit Bar, Trail Mix. I found these at Target years ago and liked them as an alternative to Snickers bars after a workout.  If you’ve never tried one, I highly recommend the Chocolate Peanut Caramel Bar.  Another serving of Trader Joe’s trail mix and a Dried Fruit Bar.  Did you know these are gluten-free?  Me either.  Who cares?  Apparently, enough people for TJ to put it on the wrapper…

980 calories, 6.7 ounces, $3.42

Lunch 4: PB Banana Snack.  This is another lunch that would be better with tortillas if I can find them in town.  These sailor pilot crackers are fantastic for calorie/weight ratios, but they are very dry in certain combinations.  This is one of those times. Spread on a couple Justin’s Honey Peanut Butter and sprinkle with dried banana chips for a down-right delicious sandwich.  Genius even, if I dare say so myself.  Elvis Presley ain’t got nothing on me.

190 calories, 1.5 ounces, $0.67

Snack 4: Granola Bar.  Remember when you were a little kid and your dad would take you on camping trips?  Those are some of your best memories, right?  Right.  And why?  Besides those adventures at a young age set you up for a lifetime of passion for the outdoors.  (Thanks Dad).  And for me, I can attribute most of those memories back to the food we ate along the way – roasting Hot Dogs at a state park campsite, eating cheese and crackers overlooking a mountain glacier, picking thimbleberries along Lake Superior … and snacking on Nature Valley Granola Bars on every hike to get there.  These felt like a staple to my outdoor childhood, and for good reason.  Tasty, sweet, and packed with good energy. Dry as hell though, this will be a day of much water consumption. 

980 calories, 7.5 ounces, $6.77

Dinner 4: Pesto Chicken Pasta.  This was a meal I found at trailcooking.com that caught my eye in prepping this trip.  I wanted to find a “pasta” meal that wasn’t smothered in dehydrated tomato or cheese powder, and this looked intriguing.  I altered it slightly after a taste test – to be honest, it’s not the most flavorful, but the ease of cooking is nice. Cook one packet of ramen and 1/2 cup freeze-dried chicken, setting aside the water for tea or broth drink after done.  Mix with 2 tbsp dried basil, 1 tbsp garlic powder, 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, 1/4 cup pine nuts, olive oil and a couple parmesan cheese packets.  Voila, pesto chicken pasta!  Be careful not to overcook the ramen or you’ll get a mushy mess.

400 calories, 6.2 ounces, $1.45

Treat 4: Fig Newtons and Pretzels. This is a pretty heavy dessert, but the pesto chicken ramen isn’t a very filling dinner. Time to eat more dry things. Yum. Snyder’s flavored pretzels and Fig Newton bars it is.  *RANT MOMENT*  Remember those great Fig Newton ads from the 80s?  A Fig Newton is not a cookie, it’s fruit and cake!  Yeah, well why don’t you sell FRUIT flavored versions in individual packs??  You have Triple Berry and Strawberry, not to mention the old Raspberry and Apricot that never made it to the 21st century, in large packages … but want them individually? Fig. That’s it, just fig.  Who even LIKES fig, Nabisco?  WHO?!

AT Meal Plan: Week 3

There is nothing wrong with being a Type A thru-hiker, as the Sierra Club pointed out this week. But, it is important to keep yourself in check and recognize when your OCD trip planning may have gone too far … hopefully before you waste too much time and money in the process. Fortunately, I had that realization this week. Since I am just over 3 months from departure, I started buying many of the groceries with longer shelf-lives: dehydrated fruits and veggies, freeze-dried meats, non-perishables, etc. What I realized quickly though, is that there is no point in trying to be perfect.

According to my baseline Hike Plan, some resupply boxes need 3 breakfasts, some need 5.  Some need 4 dinners, some need 2.  And we all know that plans on the trail will change. This planning was meant to make things easier, not to make it perfect, so trying to count pennies and portions will really just end up wasted effort and added stress.

Light bulb moment!

Since the Hike Plan breaks down sections in 4-5 day increments, the best resupply box plan is to have ALL boxes portioned out to 4 days of food.  Some weeks I’ll have too much, some weeks too few.  If I have extra, I’ll save it for the next week (or drop in a hiker box).  If I need extra, I’ll pick up some supplemental items in town.  This prep change is going to make it significantly easier and allow for more flexibility on the trail. So with that, let’s look at the Week 3 meals. Hello Neiman!

480 calories, 4.4 ounces, $1.53

Breakfast 3: Instant Grits.  Mr. Tipton kept me from enjoying these Quaker Oats Instant Grits for far too long. Delicious, flavorful, and hearty when you add a couple condiments; in this case, 2 packets of bacon bits and honey. Supplemented with a Costco brand breakfast bar and 2 packs of Taster’s Choice Hazelnut Instant Coffee.

986 calories, 7.1 ounces, $2.92

Elevensies 3: PB Twix, Fruit Bar, Trail Mix.  This week’s elevensy snacks are a Twix Bar (I show no favoritism to left nor right Twix), 1 cup of Trader Joes Trail Mix (any variety), and a Pressed by Kind Fruit Bar.  Oddly, the PB Twix shelf-life (3 months) is significantly less than the standard Twix (9 months) … why are the PB ones so darn difficult for resupply packing in advance?? Oh well, I’ll buy in bulk the week before I depart.

538 calories, 14.0 ounces, $5.10

Lunch 3. BBQ Chicken Crackers.  I’ll be honest, not sure how I feel about this. I planned these as tortilla wraps, but those are too perishable for pack-ahead. If I can find tortillas in town, I’ll swap out the 3 Sailor Pilot CrackersDrain drink 1 can of Swanson Chunk Chicken, pour over 2 packets of BBQ or Buffalo Sauce, sprinkle some Parmesan cheese, and you have what could be a good mid-day chicken snack. Paired with TJ dried pineapple rings for fun.

230 calories, 2.1 ounces, $1.50

Snack 3. Protein Plus PowerBar. I wish they still made the old-fashioned PowerBars that hurt to chew. They had this great wild berry flavor I loved. Nostalgia will get you nowhere, but and Protein Plus bars have way more calories anyway, so it’s a good way to still enjoy the power bar brand that started the energy bar movement.

1337 calories, 9.5 ounces, $9.57

Dinner 3. Walking Tacos Supreme. You ready for this homemade wonder? This homemade Walking Tacos recipe is a lovingly twist on the original from your youth. Boil up 1.5 cups water, add to FBC of 1/2 cup Refried Bean Flakes, 1 cup Freeze Dried Beef (or sub chicken), 1/2 cup Freeze Dried Cheese, and 2 tbsp Dehydrated Onion.  After 10 minutes, mix in 2 tbsp taco seasoning and 1/2 ounce Olive Oil.  Lastly, mix in 2 snack size bags of crushed Nacho Cheese Doritos chips. Mmm, Mmm, good.

120 calories, 1.2 ounces, $0.76

Treat 3. Twisted Fruit Ropes.  Last but not least, a bit more fruit. Well, sort of fruit. Not sure ingredients include any actual fruit. Really, more sugar than fruit. It is fruit flavored at least. Regardless, these are fun to eat for a tasty treat. Target’s Simply Balanced Twisted Fruit Ropes round out the day’s meal.

AT Meal Plan: Week 2

Week 2’s meal plan is brought to you by JJ’s Bakery! The big differences this week are the simplicity of a store-bought freeze-dried dinner, the introduction of Pilot crackers for lunch (which have a hugely high calorie-to-weight ratio – I seriously don’t know why I never knew of these in the past, they are a great addition to any backcountry meal), and the aforementioned JJ’s Bakery in Erie, PA, which has graciously donated a dozen fruit pies for my high calorie Treat each day. Discovered on Prep Hike 1, these “gas station” pies are my new fav.  I am eager to enjoy – thanks JJ’s!

In total, this meal will provide 3946 calories a day, weighing 33.9 ounces and costing $18.77*.  Only 2 Tablespoons of alcohol (1 for breakfast, 1 for dinner) are needed for cooking again.  *Unless you are a Mountain House hoarder like me … Hello Neiman!

560 calories, 4.7 ounces, $2.06

Breakfast 2: Instant Oatmeal.  A couple of maple & brown sugar oatmeal packs from Quaker Oats or Trader Joes, spiced up with 1/4 cup of Harmony House-Freeze Dried Berries and 1/4 cup AF Raw Almonds.  For this week’s morning cup-a-joe, two Taster’s Choice House Blend Instant Coffee in 8 ounces of hot water.

916 calories, 6.7 ounces, $1.97

Elevensies 2: Snickers, Fruit Wrap, Trail Mix. Again, these are meant to be snacks on the go (unless a nice vista view opportunity presents itself for a long break). This time we get a tried-and-true Snickers bar, a leather fruit wrap from Trader Joes, and 1 cup of Trader Joes Trail Mix (any variety). For those who questioned candy bars as healthy trail food – there is nothing better for hike energy than peanuts, caramel, and chocolate … so, yeah, gimme a Snickers!

880 calories, 10.2 ounces, $5.64

Lunch 2: Tuna Crackers. Sailor Pilot Crackers are pure genius. GENIUS!  At 100 calories each, they are tasty, dense, and big enough for a meal.  I liken these to LOTR’s Lembas Bread, which “keep a traveler on his feet for a day of long labor”.  Ha, not quit, but damnit if I won’t be thinking about that on the trail. Pairing them with a couple Starkist Creation packs, some Cheddar Goldfish Crackers, and Trader Joes mangos will make for a tasty lunch.

380 calories, 2.5 ounces, $0.85

Snack 2: Cliff Bar. Sticking with the idea of bars I know I won’t get sick of quickly, this week introduces the Cliff Bar. You all know em, and I’ve been loving them since the 90’s when I packed a case of them for snacks at summer camp. Sticking with the fruit-is-best theme, there are some good ones like Blueberry Crisp, Berry Pomegranate Chia, and more to indulge.

810 calories, 5.8 ounces, $7.25

Dinner 2: Freeze-Dried Mountain House. I have some Mountain House Freeze-Dried meals in storage from past trips, as well as an emergency case we bought for a zombie apocolypse earthquake emergency kit after moving to the West Coast. The shelf-life is somewhere around 927 years, and although expensive on their own, are already sunk costs for me, making them free dinners to use. So I guess … winning?

400 calories, 4.0 ounces, $1.00

Treat 2: JJ’s Fruit Pie. As mentioned above, a HUGE shout out to JJ’s Bakery. This type of pie is very popular on the trail, as they pack 400+ calories for each $0.99 item.  I love the apple, chocolate, and lemon flavors (stay away Cherry, you suck) from Hostess or Little Debbie … but JJs introduces some much more FUN options: Blackberry and Peach! Only available in select stores, so I’m very grateful to the fine people of JJs for sending me a couple dozen for the trip. Hello Neiman!

AT Meal Plan: Week 1

As mentioned in the Meal Plan intro and page, the goal is to carry 3-5 days of food at max, with each day giving approximately 3800 calories in under 2 lbs and $20.  All meal plans follow the same rubric, but the Week 1 grocery list is the cheapest and lightest of all the plans.  And looks mighty tasty all the same. Here’s a closer look at what will be pre-packaged and sent to me as a mail-drop for pickup 3 times while on this trek.

In total, this meal will provide 3835 calories, with a combined weight of 30.1 ounces and total cost of $16.84.  I’ll need an additional 2 Tablespoons of alcohol (1 for breakfast, 1 for dinner) for cooking, and that’s it.  Bon Appetit and Hello Neiman!

755 calories, 5.7 ounces, $2.61

Breakfast 1:  Granola with Coffee. Well, a bit more than granola – as it’s more of a complete meal then just oats. Take 1 cup of AF French Vanilla Almond Granola, add 1/4 cup of Harmony House-Freeze Dried Berries and 1/4 cup AF Raw Almonds. This could be enough on its own, but for bonus calories, add 1/4 cup of Nestle Powdered Milk and 8 oz cold water.  And since every morning starts with a warm cup of coffee, 2 Taster’s Choice French Roast Instant Coffee in 8 oz hot water.

960 calories, 6.8 ounces, $3.05

Elevensies 1:  M&Ms, Fruit Bar, Trail Mix. Every Elevensie meal consists of a protein-packed candy bar, fruit bar, trail mix.  For the week 1 plan, we get to enjoy 1 package Peanut (or Peanut Butter) M&Ms, 1 Pressed by Kind Fruit Bar, and 1 cup of Trader Joes Trail Mix (any variety).  These are meant to be snack foods, as one is likely to be constantly snacking throughout the morning.  That is until hiker hunger takes full control and a full lunch break is required.

930 calories, 7.1 ounces, $4.62

Lunch 1:  Beef Stick Snack. Packaged meat, cheese, and carbs – everyone’s favorite lunchtime treat. For this meal plan, we go with three 1 oz packaged beef sticks (after sampling a few, I like Wyoming Gourmet). Add to this 1 package of Market Pantry Cheese Sandwich Crackers and 1/2 package of Trader Joes Soft and Juicy Mandarins.  When it comes to dried fruit, it doesn’t get better than TJ’s, though I prefer the fruits without added sugar.

360 calories, 3.5 ounces, $2.50

Snack 1:  Bobo’s Bar. There is no shortage of options nor opinions on “bars”.  I’ll likely try every style under the sun when resupplying in towns, but for the ones I package in advance, I’ll go with the kind I know are tried and true.  For me, nothing beats a peach flavored Bobo’s Bar.

750 calories, 6.1 ounces, $3.81

Dinner 1:  Fancy Chicken Ramen. Ramen can be a pretty decent meal if you mix it up a bit. Instead of just the basic powder and noodle, I like to spice up life with much needed calories. Boil 2 cups water for 1 Maruchan Ramen, add 1/4 cup freeze-dried chicken (Honeyville or Future Essentials), 1/4 cup Harmony House dehydrated veggies and 1/2 ounce Olive Oil.  Garnish with 4 saltine cracker packs and you have a soup for woodland kings!

80 calories, 0.9 ounces, $0.25

Treat 1:  Fruit Snacks. Nothing fancy here, just a small Welch’s Fruit Snack pack to finish off the day. But let’s be honest, I’ll probably eat this sometime around 9:30am when I’ve already eaten everything else for the day in a fit of starved Hiker Hunger rage. Grr…

AT Meal Plan: Introduction and Strategy

Planning for my backcountry meal plan is pretty fun, and probably the most important area to research in advance. Failing to prepare correctly for meals can cause some pretty frustrating issues on the trail, where your options are limited to only what you chose to bring – no Uber Eats here to bail you out my friends. Plan wrong and you’ll hate your food, run out of food, carry extra food, or worse.  So what should I eat, when should I eat, and how much should I eat? To know that, we need to know my 4 important rules to backcountry meal planning:

  1. Know which foods you like, and make sure you’ve eaten the meal before
  2. Know how many calories you burn hiking per hour, and how many hours you’ll hike
  3. Know which foods have the highest calorie-to-ounce-to-dollar ratio
  4. Leave No Trace, Carry No Waste

First, one of the learnings from my father years ago was to always try out a meal before taking it back-country. The worst thing you can do is bring an exciting new one-pot meal that you read about somewhere, only to find out you can’t stomach it in real life. Nothing will drop your moral faster than having that hot meal you anticipated all day be just too gross to eat.

Second, although not that big a concern on normal trip-planning, a thru-hike requires long-term planning for body mass gain/loss.  On average, I can assume I will burn 450-500 calories hiking per hour, hike an average of 2 miles per hour, and hike 17 miles per day. These averages put my estimated calory burn at 4000-4500 calories per day. That’s a lot.

Next, the beloved “calorie to ounce to dollar” ratio. I won’t bore you with the nutritional research on this, but certain foods simply provide more calories for their weight and cost: nut butters, oils, nuts, dried fruits, dried meats, etc. (check out this great list if interested in specifics). The bottom line is that I want to have each day’s meal-plan cover my necessary calories for approx 2 pounds and 15 dollars.

And lastly, a personal twist on the hiker mentality of Leave No Trace. I am passionate about LNT, and therefore don’t want to plan meals that could leave trace, such as excess starch water from cooking pasta, or introducing strong meaty odors to the area. In addition, I don’t want to carry excess trash (waste) – canned beans sound great, but carrying the can for 4 days after eating does not.  So, LNT and CNW.

With those rules in place, I produced a meal plan that I think will work well.  Each “week” is defined for a specific 4-6 day section of the trail, and each week will only be repeated once. This is on purpose so that I don’t get sick of the same foods and can be confident in my plan to pre-prepare meals and ship them to myself at key places along the trail. And for days where I will resupply in town (e.g. buy supplies for a couple days before getting another mail drop), there is a standard rubric I’ll follow as well – I may not know which rice/pasta dish I’ll find for dinner, but I know that is the goal.

Future Meal Plan posts will break down each week’s meals, talk about what I like about each and why I think this plan will work.