Food always takes a bit of planning, particularly for the long stretches, and particularly for long distance hiking.
There is plenty of strategies, and as many personal preferences for what people take with them.
I think for most its getting the best amount of fuel (calories), macro nutrients (fats, carbs, protein etc), and vitamins and minerals for your weight (and hard earned cash). Also food for happiness is also important.
Carbohydrates are an obvious important fuel source, particularly for short term energy. Fats are equally important and they come into play as more important for longer term energy. As we all know we also need our vitamins and minerals for an array of healthy body functions and optimum energy (important to us hikers).
Loading up on fresh foods and copious amounts of calories while passing through townships is also a good strategy used by many.
For me, I’ve played around with a lot of different food lists for the long stretches on my section hikes to date, and have my list for this section hike at the end of this post.
My strategy is as light as possible, at a reasonable price, with a good coverage of macro and micro nutrients. I team this with the nutrient/calorie loading in township technique, and the added bonus of having a few kg’s to lose anyway. I’m also considering a multivitamin but am not sure at this point whether this is necessary.
I have my carbs and fats covered with pasta, couscous, seeds and nuts. Dried peas in my couscous make a vitamin C contribution, and cheese for a bit of calcium. There is an array of micro nutrients in the nuts and seeds. The mochas and chocolate are my happiness foods – which are equally important in moderation.
For a total weight of about 5kgs (and under $10 a day), I have about 2000 calories per day which is low, but coupled with some weight to lose, and overeating in townships and shorter stretches I’m quite happy with this list for a 10 day stretch (worse stretch encountered on the Te Araroa).
Check out my long stretch (10day) food list below, I hope it helps. If you have any questions or comments – fire away.
10 Day Stretch Food List:
760g Quick cook spaghetti
10 x Cheese sauce pkts
1000g Wholeweat couscous
640g Peas (reconstituted weight)
6 x Soup sachet (3serve pack)
10 x Mocha sachet
20 x Teabags
12 x Tortillas
10 x Vitasport electrolyte sachets
1 x Pkt barley sugars
3 x 250g chocolate
50g Brazil nuts
100g Pumpkin seeds
100g Sunflower seeds