Foodless Trips?

Have a favorite trail recipe or technique you'd like to share? Please do! We also like reviews of various trail food products out there. The Backcountry Food Topix forum is the place to discuss all things related to food and nourishment while in the Sierra wilderness (as well as favorite trail head eateries).
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freestone
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Re: Foodless Trips?

Post by freestone » Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:52 am

Not so sure that fasting will clean out the arteries and organs but it will lighten the pack for sure and there could even be a spiritual benefit especially with a little whiskey and coffee to highten your awareness. It would never work for me though, I enjoy cooking and eating and can no longer do booze on the trail when solo, just too risky for an old man like myself. Did you say your base weight is 21 pounds? Maybe you need to revisit that too, regardless good luck on your next trip!


Fram...






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Jimr
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Re: Foodless Trips?

Post by Jimr » Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:32 pm

4 Earl Grey teabags, with the sugar, milk and cocoa
Bears have a sweet tooth, but I digress. I've eaten only one meal per day for a decade. Before that, it was only a ramen and a dinner, daily. The big thing for me is that I've had a desk job for the past two decades. When I dug holes for a living, I ate like a horse. That said, I tend to take more food on my backpacking trips than I eat. I often bring half of my lunches back with me. I'm working on that.

What are long, hard days for you during water fasts, Harlen? Are they mental of physical? For me, 4 days of hiking without food would be doable, but not enjoyable and I don't have enough fat on my bones to feed off of.

One alternative would be to live off of Hard Tack and Pemmican. I like hard tack, especially when I make it with rye flour.
“Posterity! You will never know, how much it cost the present generation, to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”

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Re: Foodless Trips?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:13 pm

If your non-food "base weight", without a bear can is 21 pounds, you are barking up the wrong tree for weight reduction. Definitely, do the no-cook to save fuel and pot weight, but you could easily get rid of another 2-3 pounds of gear. On my last trip (5 days food), my total pack weight, including bear can and cook gear and fuel was 25 pounds. Take away 1.5 pounds food per day, cook gear, bear can and fuel (10 pounds), my pack weight was 15 pounds. And I do not have a lot of UL gear- I just take minimal stuff.

We did 4-day/45-mile survival treks when I taught at NOLS. It was the "final exam" of the course. It is true that after the first few days you adapt and feel little hunger, but every day without food you become weaker. Your brain cannot focus, I even did a bit of hallucination. Almost as good as mushrooms. It becomes more difficult to make good decisions. Everyone reacts differently, but I think you need to do your first no-food trip at safe locations where you will be on a fairly busy trail for help if needed (where begging can be a food source). Some people may do well with this; others not at all. And what happens if the weather goes bad? It is really hard to stay warm when deprived of food.

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Re: Foodless Trips?

Post by c9h13no3 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:14 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:13 pm
Almost as good as mushrooms.
I feel like there's a story there :)
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Also, I have a blog no one reads. Please do not click here.

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Harlen
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Re: Foodless Trips?

Post by Harlen » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:04 am

Returned just this evening. I had to adapt the route due to the uncrossable (for Bear and me) Woodchuck Creek, and not for lack of energy.
wildhiker said it would be a good experiment, and I think was-and still is. I am sticking to water until tomorrow, when I will run to town and back, to see how impaired I really am. It'll be easier to compare with my recent run to town- which, I regret to say was hard, though only 6 miles. You see, I am not in good shape now, and so this makes judging my performance in the mountains difficult. I also felt very tired on the recent South Lake to North Lake ski trip.
Other interesting points for me were the total absence of any hunger pangs; the amount of weight I lost- 11 lbs. in 4 days; and the how wide awake I was on the drive home? I am used to suffering some pangs on at least the first day of a fast. And counter to WD's experience, I feel very alert during fasts, and not weird at all- or not any weirder. I've been up since 5:00 AM, and hiked one of the harder days- certainly the longest, yet I drove home straight with no need for caffeine to keep awake (6 hr. drive). Usually driving tires me right out, and coffee stops are a part of every long drive.

My main interest in this crazy "Foodless trip" thing is to know whether I would be able to develop the ability to really stretch out long backpacking trips if necessary or desirable. E.g., I would love to do the ~200 mile Roper High Route, or the JMT in one go. Of course, it wouldn't have to be done with zero food, it makes more sense to just ration down to small amounts the whole way, or begin with a giant pack. But what if you are just 50 miles from the finish and down to almost nothing? It would be nice to know how one can hike on nada. Fasting also saves money- for those lean times when no roadkill can be found. ;)
Last edited by Harlen on Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:27 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Foodless Trips?

Post by happycamper0313 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:07 am

I discovered that while on trail, I can fast for days at a time.

At first, I brought a lot of food that was heavy and filled my bear cannister, and I'd eat only because I wanted to lighten the load. So each subsequent trip, I brought less and less food, until I realized that I'd be just fine for 2-4 days with just a couple of protein bars and coffee. Altitude kills my appetite and I'm an athletically built, muscular woman - my body was ok running on the healthy fat stores I carried. I probably depleted glycogen pretty quickly carrying a pack while hiking uphill and went into fat burning mode as soon as I burned through that storage, further killing my appetite.

Usually the hunger kicks in on the drive home though, and I've been known to slam a large Flamebroiler bowl, 6 inch sub and pint of ice-cream in one sitting post trip.

I'm always in the best shape during backpacking season - I'm at my lowest body fat and best body composition probably because calories stay the same, but I spend 8-10 days of the month not eating much while doing some calorie busting full body workouts. I'm in even better shape than during training season for my weightlifting comps and I know it's because of the foodless trips! No way can I fast off-trail though. It's something about the magic of being outside that gets my mind off food.

Intermittent fasting is great for my body, but it's not feasible on my normally hectic work-parenting-life schedule. I take advantage during the summer months while I'm solo in the mountains and most definitely see the benefits.

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Re: Foodless Trips?

Post by Harlen » Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:10 pm

... I will run to town and back, to see how impaired I really am. It'll be easier to compare with my recent run to town- which, I regret to say was hard, though only 6 miles.
Well damn, I ran the very same run to town and back run after fasting for 4 and a half days, and made it. I am surprised by this; I assumed that I would crap out half way, and have to walk back up the road. I thought it would be easy to compare, especially if I couldn't make it, but each time the run was hard, and I felt awful at the end. I may have felt more awful after the fasting run, but how do you quantify it? [On a scale of 1 to 10, how awful do you feel?]
When happycamper0313 wrote that "my body was okay running on the healthy fat stores I carried," it makes me wonder if I was kept fit on the trip by also having at least 11 pounds of healthy fat stores to burn? And is it possible that in the 4 days of hiking, I could gain fitness with calories coming mainly from Jameson's? I really have been pretty indolent lately; what about "muscle memory" perhaps being kicked in?

Wd wrote:
If your non-food "base weight", without a bear can is 21 pounds, you are barking up the wrong tree for weight reduction.
And WD, re. my base weight, I have made great strides this year, barking up the tent, backpack, and z-bag trees, shaving at least 10 pounds off base weight- even more when I take the beta-light tarp tent. My 21 lb., foodless pack included crampons, 2 books, and 10 ounces whiskey. Could've done without the first two, but the latter was of course, an essential component of the standard whiskey-coffee fast.
Last edited by Harlen on Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rlown
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Re: Foodless Trips?

Post by rlown » Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:20 pm

One requires less calories as they age. At some point on the trail though, Bear's kibble might be looking better. :)

One reference: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/20 ... ppendix-2/

there are more..

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Re: Foodless Trips?

Post by Jimr » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:35 pm

As we age, kibble starts to look like gorp.
“Posterity! You will never know, how much it cost the present generation, to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”

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Re: Foodless Trips?

Post by robow8 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:37 am

Jimr wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:35 pm
As we age, kibble starts to look like gorp.
It's not????

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