View Full Version : Trail food and water

06-17-2007, 10:34 PM
Okay I would like to know what everyone eats on the trail or even the night before if it is something special.

What about water on the trail? How much? Special water? Gatorade?

Filter vs iodine tablet.

On my hikes I seem to run low on water despite having a 2litre camel with me. Energy also seems to run low so I wonder if I should eat something else. At 6ft1 and 250 lbs I am not small man and it takes energy to make this machine move. lol


Patrad Fischroy
06-18-2007, 08:41 AM
Well I like my Cliff Bars on the trail, then I also go for some other protein. I also tend to go way overboard on the water with a 4 liter bladder in my pack. It makes for a pretty heavy load, but I am doing this for exercise anyway :) I don't generally do anything special the night before unless it is going to be a multiday trek, then it is pretty heavy on the pasta. For the multiday treks I will carry a filter. I will also carry some dry Gator-ade mix to throw in some water when it is really hot. I run about 6'4 and 225# so I can appreciate your need for fuel, I also tend to hike these days in the more arid Western mountains so the extra water is needed.

06-18-2007, 08:43 AM
The night before a day out in the mountains I eat a big "steak-burger" & fries. Usually around 8 p.m.. The morning of the hike I eat a peanut butter sandwich on a large croissant for breakfast. For lunch I have another peanut butter sandwich on a croissant. I usually have one or two bananas available for a snack & one "powerbar" type thing. Depending on the route, mileage and or time of year I'll bring between two & three liters of water as well. I've experimented with "Kudos bars" but have not used them enough to form an opinion as of yet. This seems to work well for me but I'm always trying new things & combinations to keep things interesting.

I've even hiked using only "engineered nutrition". One of my strongest days in the mountains was fueled by supplements & meal replacement powder that I mixed with my water. It was weird to be that strong & have no food with me!

rockin rex
06-18-2007, 09:57 AM
Cliff Bars, never leave home without them. Carry a water filter and if there is water to be found you never have to worry. As far as backpack food I eat Pasta most of the time. The more carbs the better. You have to make sure what ever you eat is going to give you energy.

06-18-2007, 01:04 PM
I usually don't eat anything special before a hike or climb the night before - although I usually avoid alcohol as it tends to dehydrate you. Lots of water the night before and morning of and usually 2+ liters with me or more depending on the time of year and climate. My personal practice is following the adage that lunch begins when you start hiking and ends when you stop hiking - I munch a little at a time all day at each break. Once every hour or so take a mini break - drink a little and eat a little. Usually clif bars, a piece of fruit, bagel with pb, fig newtons, or trail mix which I make myself - assorted nuts, m&m's, dried fruit of all types, etc. I usually package the trail mix in either an old widemouth nalgene bottle or an old peanut butter container - that way you just twist off the top and take a gulp - makes it easy in the winter when wearing gloves or mittens.
p.s. - I second the rockin rex's preference for clif bars - they are soft enough so the don't crumble apart and don't freeze like a rock in cold weather either.

KD Talbot
06-18-2007, 04:24 PM
All good advice so far so mostly I'm just here to concur. Marathon runners eat a big pasta dinner the night before. Good idea. A nice steak or steak burger like Kaseri suggests is a good idea, too. Like Kaseri I go for peanut butter. I bring a couple of peanut butter sandwiches along and use a plastic ziploc container as opposed to a baggie to keep from crushing them. Now, what goes with peanut butter? Bananas are a good idea, thanks Elvis. Jelly has a lot of sugar which might give you energy at first, but burns up quick. I use fluff. Yes, a fluffernutter. This is pure sugar and burns up fast like jelly, so maybe not so useful. I was told a long time ago to put currants on my peanut butter sandwich. They're like raisins only bigger, and they have a lot of slow burning energy. They're good in trail mix, too.

GORP stands for granola, oatmeal, raisins and peanuts. Hannafords has a section where you can pick what you want for trail mix. Dried fruit, nuts, different flavors of oatmeal and granola. Awesome. I'll warn you though, it's pricey. I used to eat power bars, I seldom do now because I think they taste like crap. I haven't tried cliff bars, and most of the kudos I've tried are just a candy bar, so I've made my other stand-by a nice big snickers bar. I like the one with almonds, not crazy about the one they sell as a sports bar. The energy bars are usually priced well over a dollar, you can get a big snickers for a buck anywhere, and I bet it has just as much energy. The drawbacks are if the chocolate gives you reflux when you're exerting yourself, as it does to me. I try to take my stomach med first. They also freeze in winter and you can' eat them.

As Climbabout says, eat all day long, every break.

Also, no alcohol the night before as Climbabout says and to that I would add limit your morning tea or coffee, because that dehydrates you, too. I always drink a Gatorade or Powerade before starting, then usually about 64 ounces on the trail, then switch to water. You don't want too much sugar. 64 ounces may be too much depending on what you're eating. I'm not sure. I could go on forever about what I drink, too, but enoughs enough.


rockin rex
06-19-2007, 01:58 PM
I was heading into avalanche lake in the Dacks in the winter and it was 10 below 0. When I reached Marcy Dam I went for my Cliff Bar and low and behold I could not bite it. I couldn't believe it either but Cliff Bars do freeze.

06-19-2007, 02:18 PM
And I can tell you that a frozen Italian sandwich has no taste.

I also like Cliff bars. I always have a few in my backpack I use for camera lens and stuff.

06-22-2007, 11:33 PM
PB&J (immediate, mid-term, and long term energy all in one)
Diluted Gatorade

Saving your water for later - is likely a mistake
IMHO - Iodine pills are a whole lot lighter than filters

06-23-2007, 04:49 AM
PB&J (immediate, mid-term, and long term energy all in one)
Diluted Gatorade

Saving your water for later - is likely a mistake
IMHO - Iodine pills are a whole lot lighter than filters
And of course, the proper way of making the PB&J for the trail is

peanut butter
peanut butter

The PB hold the J in and the bread does not get soggy.

Steve M
06-23-2007, 01:03 PM
I like to make mine:

Peanut butter
peanut butter

I pack 2 of these suckers along with trail mix and water!;)

Bill O
06-23-2007, 02:30 PM
PB&J is a staple of mine for day hikes.

For water I usually find myself carrying too much. Two liters at a minimum or my 80oz camelbak. I need to break the habit of carrying extra water when there is a safe fill up location. Especially when its Hermit Lake or a similar safe source.

Out west though I find myself drinking much more water. Two liters is often way too little and reliable water sources can be hard to find.

If I'm carrying two bottles I'll do one with gatorade and one with water. I made the mistake a few years ago of carrying two bottles or strong gatorade. I was dying for pure water half way up Mount Washington. If I take my camelbak, which is anytime during the summer, I'll make a weak gatorade mix.

Steve M
06-23-2007, 05:22 PM
I have found that mixing water with a little gatorade or fruit juice helps me drink more than I normally would. The kids like it better than plain water too.

06-23-2007, 10:37 PM
This might sound ridiculous, but I'll try to explain...

For my whole hiking life I did the standard PB&J's, GORP (with ample M&M's) and a Clif Bar. Not exactly a culinary delight, but that menu always did the trick.

Then I hiked with a buddy of mine a few years ago, I thnk it was Mt. Jackson. At the top, I pull out my PB&J. He pulls out his Leatherman, slices fresh rolls, cuts off a big chunk of sharp cheddar, adds a slice of previously-cut tomato and reaches into his pack for a ziplock bag. He pulls out his secret weapon... bacon. Crispy, beautiful, succulent bacon. He puts this magnificent sandwich together and chows down. Me, I eat my soggy PB&J.

When he saw that I was dumbfounded by his creation (and drooling), he offered me one. I was a changed man.

I have two young kids (3 & 1), so my hiking time has been limited for the last few years. However, whenever I'm able to swing a big hike (STP, for instance), I put in the time beforehand to cook up the bacon.

Mmmmmm... bacon.
(If there are any nutritionists reading this, they are probably shaking their heads at me!)

MWO Staff