Your Appetite while Backpacking?

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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Harlen
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Re: Your Appetite while Backpacking?

Post by Harlen » Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:10 pm

I seem to be in the minority here. On mountain trips I have long been baffled by my lack of appetite for anything other than morning coffee and dinner, which for over 30 years has consisted of ramen noodles or couscous, with a bit of salami or cheese mixed in. Breakfast and lunch I mainly eat to lighten my pack, and under the old assumption that I am burning a lot of calories. I must be, because I always come out lighter. I've learned to take less and less food over the years.

Interestingly, I eat too well at home, but consume little alcohol. This is reversed in the mountains- especially on ski trips, when I really enjoy a few ounces of spirits mixed with snow.
Last edited by Harlen on Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.








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bobby49
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Re: Your Appetite while Backpacking?

Post by bobby49 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:57 pm

On a short backpacking trip, I tend to get too tired to eat a lot. However, once the trip duration exceeds 5-6 days, I will have lost a little weight. Then my appetite turns around and I begin to gain it back.

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Re: Your Appetite while Backpacking?

Post by BayHiker » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:21 am

I'm not a very good eater on trips (in stark contrast with when I'm at home). It's better than it was - my first backpacking trip, eating primarily trail mix, Clif bars, and commercial dehydrated meals, I think I managed only 1200 cal/day over two weeks. These days I still struggle but can put away ~2000 cal/day.

Some of the improvement is probably just experimentation and figuring out what foods can break through my lack of hunger and appetite, but I think it also helps that I've mostly moved away from prepackaged dehydrated meals. I cook a lot at home, so I wonder if the process of preparing food (rather than just adding water to a pouch) more effectively cues my brain that it's time to eat: the physical acts of cutting up ingredients and stirring a pot, the sounds and smells of food cooking, etc. It involves some sacrifices in the pack weight department, fresh broccoli being notoriously heavier than the freeze-dried variety, but so far the increased energy (and mental boost!) I get from running a smaller calorie deficit makes up for it.

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Re: Your Appetite while Backpacking?

Post by bobby49 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:08 am

Additionally, I make sure that I carry some food that is my favorite, and I like it so much that I can eat it under any conditions, even low appetite, bad weather, too tired, etc. Often it takes that first snack to get my system running so that I can eat more.

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Harlen
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Re: Your Appetite while Backpacking?

Post by Harlen » Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:39 am

bobby49 wrote:
I make sure that I carry some food that is my favorite, and I like it so much that I can eat it under any conditions, even low appetite, bad weather, too tired, etc...
And this secret food is ...... ???? Don't tell us for a few days so we can all make our best guesses as to bobby's favorite trail food. I will start with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, with lime flavored chips and salsa. Cheers, Ian

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Re: Your Appetite while Backpacking?

Post by bobby49 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:07 pm

No offense intended, but beer is not weight-effective. I'll drink a cold beer after I finish the trail. While out on the trail, sometimes I will have a tiny plastic bottle of high-proof rum, and some flavored drink packets.

Over the past week, I had Quinoa Cookies. They were full of protein, fat, and carbohydrate, so they kind of covered the bases. String cheese is another good one.

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Re: Your Appetite while Backpacking?

Post by Rockyroad » Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:57 pm

I also fall into the camp of people with less appetite but am eating more now as I continue to learn which foods work and which don't. Sometimes it changes from trip to trip. Like Bobby, I also have favorites that I can snack on just before a meal to get my appetite going. For me, they are Fritos and peanut M&Ms. In fact, after reading about Harlen's fasting experiment, I considered going out with only Fritos and peanut M&Ms. However, I decided against it because if I got tired of them, I wouldn't have anything else to fall back on.

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Re: Your Appetite while Backpacking?

Post by bobby49 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 4:39 pm

An old standby has to be Logan Bread. I've used a recipe for about forty years now. If you like the basic recipe, you can also alter it to make it suit your own tastes better. I've done multi-day trips where Logan Bread made up over 50% of all of my calories. Of course, the pluses are that it is DIY, so cheap. It doesn't spoil. I've eaten Logan Bread that was six months old, and did not have a hint of mold or staleness. You can smear a bit of jam on it and call it breakfast, or you can smear a bit of mustard on it and call it dinner. You can bake it to be moist, or you can bake it to be drier so that it lasts longer.

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Re: Your Appetite while Backpacking?

Post by Dave_Ayers » Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:27 am

In my youth before I learned how to control my AMS (Acute Mtn Sickness), I would have little appetite the first couple of days until enough elevation adaptation had occurred and my appetite would return. Further selective loss of appetite was fully correlated to certain lousy tasting foods my Dad would bring.

Since then I only bring food I dig and I know how to avoid AMS, so my appetite is just as strong in the High Sierra as at home.

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Re: Your Appetite while Backpacking?

Post by Harlen » Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:24 pm

Rockyroad writes:
after reading about Harlen's fasting experiment, I considered going out with only Fritos and peanut M&Ms. However, I decided against it because if I got tired of them, I wouldn't have anything else to fall back on.
Regarding "nothing else to fall back on"- why not very small pieces of one's own flesh? I read somewhere that cannibalizing oneself when starving doesn't really work well because one burns as many calories healing the wound as you gain from the piece of yourself. I wonder how well studied this technique really is though? The lack of of data leaves the question open, at least it does to me ..... perhaps the NOLS could do further experiments- WD? For instance, what if after taking a bite out of your shoulder or biceps you immediately cauterize the wound, pop a pain pill, and just keep on truckin' down the Rockyroad? An extreme version of the "self-sufficient" trip.

Rocky, do you hike with a partner, if so, another option presents itself.... Alexander Pearce anyone???

Well I have heard, and then read a lot about obscure Alexander Pearce, and his grisly backcountry traveling methods. Mainly because my friend Shaun Pearce- the mild looking Tasmanian school teacher pictured below, likes to think he's related, and calls him "Uncle Alex." If nothing else, Alexander Pearce was a survivor.
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Last edited by Harlen on Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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