Best Backpacking Food is Lightweight and Nutritious
A multi-day hike is an enormous burden for the body. Depending on the length and the height of the day’s sections. The topic of food is therefore an important parameter in the preparation of a longer hiking tour. Experience plays a big role here. Usually the hiker learns through the method Try & Error.
The food should be nutritious and of good taste of course, but the challenge is usually the weight of the food. It makes a big difference if you have to carry 15 kg or 25 kg in your backpack at the start of the tour. Therefore, as experience expands, everything that is inappropriate in relation to nutritional value and weight disappears. From the spaghetti with bag sauce will later become instant products of the outdoor equipment. At the same time, catering is also a logistical challenge. Where can I get meals in between? Should my hiking trail be geared to it? Do I need depots? Will I heat my food myself? Where can I get the right fuel for my stove?
What your body needs!
For a demanding hike you need complex carbohydrates and fat for the endurance performance. A significant increase in performance is not obtained in the long run by large amounts of food but by a conversion and supplementation with fat. Fat is the lightest food – it contains more than twice as much energy as carbohydrates or protein. High-quality fat such as olive oil can be eaten in large quantities.
A special phenomenon are hiking tours lasting several months. It can be read that the body drastically changes during a very long tour. In the first 2 – 3 weeks you will be out with normal portions and the hunger is relatively normal. Obviously, the body does not take the hike quite seriously at this point in time and resorts to the body’s own fat depot. That probably also explains the drastic weight loss. After about 2 – 3 weeks, the body completely reverses and realizes that walking is not a temporary condition, but normal. He no longer resorts to fat deposits, but tries to teach you through hunger, to eat as much as possible to cover the energy needs completely by the food taken.
Female “escape mode”
This body change often has the consequence that menstruation is completely absent, because in the “escape mode” the female body has no reserves to carry children!
Before and during the hike
Before starting a tour you should never fast or diet. Prepare for this extreme situation. Fill up your carbohydrate storage with a balanced diet. Do not give up on a sufficient fat content. Exercise sports, preferably endurance training, so that your muscles, your joints and ligaments get the necessary stability.
During the hike and climbing, it is important to take breaks in terms of receiving the necessary food. On a demanding stage, up to 600 calories are sometimes consumed. To get these calories into the body, fatty foods are essential.
Drinking on hiking and mountain tours is elementary. It is important on every tour and especially in the mountains that you drink enough. Especially through the sweat the body loses a lot of fluid and minerals. At high altitudes, the dry and cold air needs to be moistened, and the body needs increased fluid intake for optimal acclimatization. For most hikers among us climbing at high altitude over 4000 m are the exception. Nevertheless, the 2-3 liters should be drunk during the day, especially on hot days. Then this value can be clearly exceeded.
Good for drinking, if the drink tastes good. We love normal water without flavors. For us it is the highest, if we can drink a coffee in between.
We always have oatmeal muesli with a very high nut content and dried fruit. Enriched with coconut fat and whole milk powder a super snack meal. Other muesli bars and dried meat complete the snacks. Usually cooked in the evenings, this is where the non-cheap freeze-dried meals products (e.g. from Trek’n Eat or Expedition Foods) get their rights. Pre-cooked rice products are a good alternative. Decisive is an energy-saving heating of the meal.
Test and try at home! Do not experiment on the tour.
500 g crushed grain, 100g oat flakes, 400g nuts, 300-400g dried fruits, 200g choped hazelnuts 4 tablespoon sugar syrup, pinch of salt. Set the timer of 18 min. and the oven 190 degrees celsius. Watch the video!