HST Community      How much food can you pack?

How much food can you pack? | High Sierra Topix  

How much food can you pack?

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!

Postby Snow Nymph » Fri Dec 09, 2005 1:45 pm

I could save a little weight if I didn't bring candy along. Gotta have it! :)
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


User avatar
Snow Nymph
Founding Member
Posts: 2041
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:43 pm
Location: Santa Barbara & Mammoth Lakes, CA
Experience: N/A

Postby hikerduane » Fri Dec 09, 2005 10:13 pm

When I was in my 20's, I thought I had plenty of food, but after a week being out, I had lost 5 lbs. or more. As skinny as I was to begin with, my hip bones really stuck out. Now, I don't seem to get rid of that little extra I gain over the winter on trips. I don't know what I am doing wrong, but I don't see how I could get goodies for snacks into my canister or carry the extra weight to boot. I tend to make camp most of the time before lunch, usually after a 6 to 10 mile hike. If longer, I take a pit stop. With groups, I have to remember to take food out of my canister before packing in the morning because we seem to get a later start then if I was by myself and stop for lunch sooner. I used to fix pancakes and some sort of cereal, either cold or hot, before I got on this kick about having to leave real early in the morning after getting up as soon as there was enough light to see a little.
User avatar
Founding Member
Posts: 1225
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 9:58 am
Location: Meadow Valley, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Postby quentinc » Fri Dec 09, 2005 10:37 pm

I would starve if I followed some of the food regimens here. Guess that's why I can't fit more than 3 days worth in a cannister! That's never proved a problem; I've been everywhere in the Sierras. And it's a good incentive to stay in shape -- got to carry a pack that's close to 1/3 of my bodyweight.
User avatar
Topix Expert
Posts: 890
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 10:28 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Experience: N/A

Re: How much food can you pack?

Postby Cross Country » Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:23 pm

In 1976 my wife (Saint Diane) and I carried enough food for a 16 day trip. On the one hand we had a not lightweight tent, tube tent, full air mattresses and two rods and reels (she almost never fished) meaning we could have gone lighter on the equip and stayed out 20+ days. On the other hand we hired packers to Anvil camp to get us within 2000 feet of Shepard Pass. Also we took 2 days to Milestone Basin and a LO day. We then hiked only to Junction Meadow the next day. We did a 5 day side trip to Kaweah Basin with very little weight. We actually hiked very little with heavy packs. The bulk of our hiking was done the last 4.5 days to a trailhead south of Trout Meadow. The last days are of course hiked with not so much food. On the other hand if my wife ate fish like I do we could have taken less food. I would imagine that two people hiking this route (roughly) eating lots of fish, and spending lots of time fishing could easily hike in 30+ days of food, but of course this is almost cheating.
Last edited by Cross Country on Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Cross Country
Topix Fanatic
Posts: 1309
Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2009 11:16 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Stupid BP'er tricks Re: How much food can you pack?

Postby jimqpublic » Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:03 pm

16 days was my longest. I was 17, weighed 130, and my pack was 65. It was so heavy I could hardly lift it. I was so skinny that the only way to transfer any weight to my hips was with the belt so tight it cut into my bony flesh.

Leaving Onion Valley I didn't make it past Gilbert Lake the first night. I think it took 4 days to Lk. South America. It took about 6 days before I could start enjoying the trip as I got stronger and the pack got to a reasonable weight. The crazy thing was that we looped back down Bubbs Creek and then up Woods Creek- passing within 4 miles of Road's end at about midway through the trip. A resupply would have been EASY.

User avatar
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2005 3:16 pm
Location: Long Beach
Experience: N/A

Re: How much food can you pack?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:56 pm

In my "old school" days, my daughter and I did an 18-day trip. My pack weighed 65 pounds, hers 55 pounds. We really took too much food -caught so many fish that we could have done with half. These were the before-bear cannister days. My goodness, we used to put food in a big duffle bag and use it for a pillow! This was in the mid-90's. We did not have light gear.

Now I can fit 10 days in a Bear-i-Kade weekender, 2,400 calories per day, 1.4 pounds per day. I have to be really careful about low volumne choices and re-pack everything. Where bear cannisters are not requird I regularly go for 12-14 days. I did an 8-day trip about 5 years ago from South Lake to Taboose trailhead (basically a section of Roper's High Sierra Route) with my 2,400 cu in ArcTerex Khamsin pack. I had to tie one food bag on the top for the first few days. This was my most "compact" pack for an 8-day trip. I ran out of food and walked out from Bench Lake with no food.

For me the thing with amount of food has to do with finding a good "balance point". At some point the extra weight slows you down so much that you go few miles at first. If you simply were to speed up the rate with a lighter pack, you could cover the same miles in less time. For me my "break over" point is a 12-days trip. Two years ago I had 12-day ration and went from Zumwaldt Meadow to Roaring Fork Ranger hut over Avalanche Pass in 8 hours. Cannot say it was much fun but it did not slow me down too much. I do find that I cannot do much difficult off-trail work until my pack lightens up with about 8-days of food. I usually plan trips so that I take trails to my end point and then come back via off-trail travel.
User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Junkie
Posts: 3637
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

Re: How much food can you pack?

Postby JWreno » Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:54 pm

My wife and I carried 12 days of food in two large Bearikade canisters. We did a
Cottonwood Pass to North Lake (+Whitney day hike) stretch. We actually did the
trip in 10 days and had a few extra days of food. We had no problem with hunger.
We removed all the packaging from bars and put them 6 bars to a zip lock bag.
This eliminated a lot of trash and gave us trash bags for tissue. The rest of the
canister space was taking up with home dried fruits and jerky, plus almonds,
cashews, peanuts and corn nuts. The small stuff form fits easily to the can and
make for a heavy canister. We also only pack about 1.25 pounds per day.
After several previous trips we figured 1.5 pounds lead to too much left over.
We dealt with the heavy bear cans by leaving home the stove, fuel, bowl and
User avatar
Topix Regular
Posts: 191
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:55 am
Location: Reno
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

Re: How much food can you pack?

Postby fishmonger » Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:55 am

I can pack 25+ days using my Expedition and the two Weekenders, but if I really need a lot, I can also add the BV500... not going to be pretty with 4 canisters strapped to the pack, but it'll be enough grub for a month or more in the middle of nowhere :D
User avatar
Topix Fanatic
Posts: 1045
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Madison, WI
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: How much food can you pack?

Postby mokelumnekid » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:20 am

Man, I am just too lazy to try and pay enough attention to go "lite." I have to hand it to you folks who have made a science of this. We always take more food than we need, and a lot more gear too. I just feel naked without it. I guess since I also go to places like the North Cascades, Wind River, Alaska, Andes, etc., where the weather etc. is much more of a factor and lay-over days are expected, we always just haul all our s-t with us including extra food. But having said that I should cut back for these Sierra trips. But since I no longer carry climbing gear, my pack weight has not been a deal-breaker yet, and we still crank up say, Taboose, in good form and pass most everyone on the trail (whatever the hell that means) and don't feel too wasted. And lordy, if I didn't take the Cuervo "mood adjustment" kit, the wife might not even go with me :partyman:
You must register an account and login to view the files/photos attached to this post.
User avatar
Topix Expert
Posts: 459
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:45 pm
Location: Seattle
Experience: N/A

Re: How much food can you pack?

Postby BrianF » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:58 pm

OK, back in the 70s when I was twenty something, I headed out for a month solo heading south on the PCT from Rainy pass in Washington. Since I didn't own a car and had hitch-hiked there from California I couldn't easily set up resupply caches so I just carried it all in my Jansport D-3 frame pack -75lbs without water (it was worse to hitchhike with than carry). I had what I hoped would be a month's worth of food plus 2 liters of fuel for my little Svea stove, a tent, cooking gear etc all on or in my pack since I was solo, but no bear canister. My diet was brown rice and lentils for dinner, nut mix for lunch and granola for breakfast augmented by berries along the trail. I ended up bailing in two weeks after developing tendonitis in my achilles tendon. Lesson learned...don't carry over half your body weight, unless you are Norman Clyde.
Nowadays I still carry what may be considered old school loads, but I can fit up to 9 or 10 days (solo) food in my Garcia canister
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher
User avatar
Topix Regular
Posts: 285
Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2006 1:29 pm
Location: Santa Barbara,Ca
Experience: Level 4 Explorer


Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: jefffish, scap, Scouter9 and 3 guests