I actually repack virtually all my food into zip locks of that helps to condense the load. I dehydrate most of my own meals, the rest is energy bars, tortillas, bread, nuts, powders like gatorade, sausage etc, mostly really dense food. Still, there always remains a lot of air in the can and even if you can pack it really nicely, the day you start getting into it, it will not fit any longer unless you spill half of it on the ground and spend an hour putting the puzzle back together. And at night, even after eating some, you need to squeeze in those other items that have a smell. I don't want to spend Now, if you really eat just out of zip locks and chew on nuts and dried fruit all day, yeah, it'll all work out, but I don't. I have air in the can, even on day one. Most of the time I actually only have 4-5 days of food in there and fill the rest with cooking gear and other stuff I have on top of the pack. Even when full, I have a lot of air in there.
I am sure those 10+ day trips exist, but I haven't come up with anything quite like it. In fact, I don't even look for those routes. I think this goes back to the logic of "the more you pack, the slower you get, the more meals you need to eat and then you need to pack even more" - there's always a happy medium.
I started hiking long distance trails and in the Sierra my first trip was the JMT. Since then, my whole view of routes has always revolved around that balance of pack weight, possible distance with some reserve built into each segment, and 8 to 10 days seems to be the maximum I ever tried. The Sierra region between Yosemite and Whitney, unless you adding a bunch of peak bagging and zero mile days between resupplies, works for my 10 day max range. Maybe one of these days I see a route that's just amazing and takes 14 days. Maybe I'll slap an Ursack or whatever it's called these days on top for the early days. We hiked these mountains long before bear canisters were invented and it worked. Never lost any food, but it was a hassle to find proper trees. Today, it actually is still legal to hang food in parts of Kings Canyon NP, or at least the last time I checked it was legal north of Pinchot, I think.
Wandering Daisy wrote: ↑
Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:51 am
Bearikade Weekender has 650 cu in. A bear can basically full of GORP, is not my idea of a backpacking diet! But whatever works, if that is your style. I think that post was trying to point out that you COULD get that much in a bear can, not that it is a diet choice for every trip. It also points out that bear can capacity is better utilized if you re-pack all food in zip locks, loosely. If you cram the food full in the bag, it becomes rigid and does not pack as well.
There are other "bear can" strategies; such as planning the first few nights at locations that have bear boxes, or the first few nights at locations where a supplemental Ursack is legal. Another well known tactic, used by PCT hikers, is to utilize "hiker boxes" and left over food in bear boxes, or even ask for food from JMT hikers, who always carry too much! Perfecting the "sad adorable puppy" look helps in this endeavor. And remember, your first day's food does not have to fit in the can, as long as you consume it all before nightfall. The last day's food does not contain dinner; I usually eliminate trail food the last day and simply do a good breakfast.
I have done 14-day trips before (longest actually was 18 days) where intermediate resupply was awkward or impossible. Frankly, those first few days are downright painful. At some point, however, the extra weight simply slows you down too much, but I would not go as far as to say you never need to do a 14-day trip in the Sierra without resupplying along the way. If thru-hiking a 14-day ration will slow you too much; if stopping to fish or climb or day-hike along the way, then a 14-day trip is quite reasonable.