Planning to go on a 3-day trail hike? While fun is on top of your expectation totem pole, planning out a wilderness nutrition menu is also as important– or perhaps, more important than everything else.
You will need food that doesn’t only consist of a pack of energy or chocolate bars but rather the ones which offers needed nourishment to strengthen, energize and allow recovery for your muscles. Of course, you’d also want it to taste good and fulfilling as the long haul can prove to test your resolve on how to deal with hunger pangs from all that excessive walking.
Follow these 3 day trip food strategy for hikers on your next outdoor escapade.
- Plan, Plan, Plan. Always remember to map out your nutrition and hydration allocation when doing outdoor excursions. For hot weather escapades, it is essential to pay extra attention to hydration. Other important aspects to consider is your method of drinking and eating. From there, you can gather what types of foods and beverages as well as tools to bring for the 3-day hike.
- Quality Over Quantity. Some hikers pack for quantity making their bags tough to carry. Instead, stick to nutrient-dense foods that carry around 3000 calories per person per day. You can stash perishable foods on the first day but succeeding days can be tough. Lightweight non-perishable foods yet nutrient-dense ones such as Trader Joe’s Omega Trek Mix with fortified cranberries below, energy gels or chews, granola bars, meat or fish jerky, and other freeze-dried yet lightweight foods can truly help tame those hunger pangs and aid in muscle recovery at rest.
Other options to include in your meal plan are shelf-stable yet easy-to-pack sustenance like ready to eat or instant cereals, veggie or fruit puree packed in squeezable pouches, fish or meat pouches, individualized packets of condiments or spices, pasta and rice mix which can be dipped in boiled water, crackers and biscuits, and bottled water (or hydration bladder). You may also want to bring a LifeStraw Personal Water Filter with you for emergency situations.
- Meal Planning. Moving onwards to the specifics, this 3 day trip food strategy for hikers also puts the impact of taste, calories, nurition, weight and bulk, ease of preparation, cooking or tools, and cost-budget analysis to the equation. You would want to bring foods you like to eat. These foods, however, must contain enough calories to fuel your multi-day hike and nutritious enough to aid in your recovery BUT must not only be low in bulk and weight but also easy to prepare.
Fancy meals are completely taboo in hiking trips. As much as possible go for practical stuffs which you can easily eat out of a can and pouch or dipped in boiling water without any hitch. This Freeze Dried Camping Meals, for instance, is lightweight, affordable, and easiest to prepare.
- Menu Ideas. Have a meal plan ready with tasty and flavorful menus built around healthier yet nutritionally-dense ingredients. Breakfast must be fast, basic and filling to give extra boost to your whole day. Try hot cereals, rice mix, complete breakfast bars, instant cereal, rice mix, freeze dried mix, powdered coffee, milk or juice, and dried fruits.
Your midday lunch must also be quick and convenient usually consisting only of fish or meat jerky, bagels, energy bars, seeds and nuts, fig bars, and dried fruits. A no-cook lunch variety would definitely be welcoming.
Dinner, on the other hand, can be stretched. Some avid hikers go the “outdoor gourmet” route while others may go for the usual add-boiled-water freeze dried meals like the one above from Bannock to give them plenty of time to rest and socialize.
Creating your own 3 day trip food strategy for hikers is often based on personal preference. For newbies, it is mostly hit or miss on the first foray. One can learn as you move along. A rule of thumb in multi-day hiking though is to always keep yourself munching on something and drinking water every two hours as you move along to give those muscles needed energy and hydration. Resting aplenty during nighttime is also a must for muscle recovery. So, keep your meals simple, nutritious, balanced and lightweight– and don’t forget hydration, too!