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KUIU’s Jason Hairston goes over his tips for packing his food for long backpack hunts with food weight and caloric intake in mind.
At KUIU we focus on building ultralight products and we work to shave grams off of our products and gear. Our customers forget to look at the biggest weight contributor in your pack: food.
When going on these trips up north, instead of relying on guides, I pack my own food. I know exactly how much I need, I figure out calories per ounce, I weigh it and I pack it and I make sure I have just enough to get me through the trip. I’m not overpacked which is typically the problem. Guides overload you with food, and you carry excess weight, which as we know can impact your performance on mountains and how your legs feel as the trip goes on.
Here’s how I pack, what I bring and what I expect as far as a daily weight of food.
I tried all the different dehydrated food and Mountain House is consistently my favorite. My day starts with a Mountain House breakfast. A skillet breakfast: eggs, potatoes, and it tastes surprisingly good for a dehydrated breakfast and seems to hold me over longer than an oatmeal would in the morning.
I prepack every day’s food into a one gallon ziplock. This makes it easy to pack and you can burn all your garbage and you have a concise set-up for the day in a grab bag.
What I’m taking: is a basic setup, it’s what I’ve found over the years to work best. I’ve gone away from power bars and Cliff bars and more into normal food that sits with my stomach better because it’s not just pure sugar and carbohydrates.
What I have here is two bagels, beef jerky, and fritos. Fritos are a great backpacking food because they’re extremely high calories per ounce and have some salt and they taste great. I have a couple slices of cheese, precooked bacon, and salami and that stays without having to be chilled. Prepacked jack and colby cheese, two for each day, a Snickers bar, and a Reese’s PB cup, both high calories per ounce and as much nutrition as a Cliff Bar.
At night another Mountain House dinner: beef stroganoff, and I’ll intermix diff flavors throughout the week. This weighs one pound and 14 oz.. I try to get between 1.5 – 2 lbs. 2 lbs on the heavy side for me. I try to avg 120-140 calories per ounce, about three and four thousand calories per day. You’re not going to be able to keep up with how many calories you burn on a hike. You’ll burn about 1000/hr when you’re climbing with a backpack on, sometimes more than that, so you want to try and bring food your stomach is going to like, and tastes good. I’ve tried just bringing power bars and Cliff bars and by day four you’re tired of eating them and your body doesn’t perform as well.
This is the food system that works for me on a big backpack hunt, like the 12 day backpack sheep hunt I’m going on tomorrow.