OK, maybe not so secret, and maybe not so original, but here’s the breakdown.
For 800g of mix (4 days at 200g per day)
- Dried banana: 100g > 300 cal
- Raisin: 200g > 600 cal
- Pumpkin seeds: 50g > 310 cal
- Cajou nut: 100g > 630 cal
- Dates: 150g > 525 cal
- Almonds: 80g > 530 cal
- Peanuts (unsalted): 120g > 770 cal
Total calories: 3,665 calories (approx. 460 cal/100g)
- Peanuts have the best calories/weight ratio but I get bored of them pretty quickly so I don’t put that much in this mix.
- Fruits are great but they roughly have half the calories per weight as nuts.
- On multi-day hikes, I take 200g per day of this mix, plus 2 snack bars for each day (small Snickers bars, Cliff, Kind or Kind Fruit bars).
While we’re talking about trail food, here is what I take for the other meals:
- For breakfast, I mix 50g of oatmeal with 35g of hot chocolate powder and 60g of muesli. I soak it in water for 1/2hr and that gives me 540 calories for a weight of 145g.
- For lunch and diner, I used to have couscous (cold soaked) and 2 small dry sausages for 520 calories and 140g or cold soaked mashed potatoes and 2 slices of dried bacon for 620 cal and 185g. Now that I’m vegetarian, I’m going to have to find something to replace the sausages and bacon.
In total, it is around 2,500 cal and 700g per day of food (not counting the few snack bars).
As I quickly get bored with eating the same thing every day, I tend to eat less each day on the trail, so I think from now on, I’ll go with 600g per day. I have reserves if you see what I mean and it’s not over 4 to 8 days of hiking that I’m going to develop health problems if I don’t eat enough calories per day. On a long thru-hike I would do differently of course.
cold-soak vs warm food
When I have to carry food on my back, I prefer to take less weight so I don’t take a stove or cooking utensils. I only take food that I can cold-soak in water (dry mashed potatoes, couscous or ramen). To prepare it, I have a used ice-cream container with a screwed lid. Just put the food, add water, shake well and let it soak for half an hour.
If I’m on a canoe or a motorcycle, then things are different, I take my little gas stove and I enjoy warm food (mostly pasta and ramen).