Food for my Appalachian Trail Thru Hike


Having received a few questions regarding food on the trail i thought id write briefly about it. First of all let me just say that in no way is the food I will be eating on the trail healthy, its not, far from it. Im going to highlight the main considerations and elaborate on each briefly, they are:

How many calories does the item provide?

Hikers burn up to 6000 calories during a day of hiking, multiply that by potentially 180 days on the trail, that’s A LOT of calories. I’m not going to calculate exactly what i need to eat each day to get the calories in, i’m just going to prioritize high calorie foods and make sure I’m eating plenty of them. If i’m losing weight and feeling low on energy I’ll take that as a sign to eat more.

How much does It weigh?

Weight in general is a huge consideration on the trail and food is heavy, fresh fruit and vegetables are full of water and thus heavy, they also provide very little calories relative to their weight, they wont have much of a place in my pack but I will try to eat my fill whilst in a town.

When selecting my food ill aim to get the highest calories for the least amount of weight, think peanut butter, olive oil and nuts and seeds.

How easy is it prepare?

Fresh fish over the fire, scrambled eggs for breakfast and sauteed vegetables sounds great but in reality that kind of cooking is time consuming, messy and labor intensive. Great for a weekend hike, not so much for a thru hike.

Quick and easy is the idea.

Boil water and dump in the food to rehydrate.

Unscrew the Nutella and grab your spoon.

Rip open the wrapper and chow down.

You get the idea.

Will it still be edible after being in a backpack for four days in hot summer temperatures?

I’ll be entering a town or visiting a gas station to resupply every four to five days. Therefore some of the food I’m carrying will need to be able to last that long without refrigeration and with high temperature variations. When leaving a town ill bring some fresh fruit and possibly some restaurant leftovers and eat them within the first 24 hours, minimizing the chance of spoilage and also the amount of time that heavier food is carried.

Other things to note

I’ll be taking a daily multivitamin as well as cod liver oil and glucosamine sulphate to help with the ol’ knees!

I’ll be using protein shakes to help with recovery

When in towns I’ll be eating as much real, healthy food as possible.

An average days food on the trail:

Breakfast – Porridge with powdered milk, fruits and nuts added and an instant coffee.

Snack 1 – Two “bars” ie Granola bars, Snickers, Energy bars etc

Snack 2 – Two large tortillas spread with Peanut butter and/or Nutella

Snack 3 – Large handful of trail mix (nuts, seeds, dried fruit. chocolate chips)

Snack 4 – Protein shake made in water bottle when arriving into camp

Dinner – Two packages of dehydrated noodles, one pouch of tuna and a dash of olive oil for extra calories

Please remember this is just an example of one days food, i’ll add in as much variety as possible.

If you have any questions or suggestions please leave a comment.

Thanks for reading

Check out my Youtube page HERE to see the gear I’ll be using on the trail.

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2 thoughts on “Food for my Appalachian Trail Thru Hike

  1. corajem Reply

    I came here through your post on Reddit. This is just a general question. not pertaining to your Hike as such.
    Have you ever tried a vegan or a vegetarian diet?
    What is your main argument against such a diet?
    Thanks, and its awesome reading up about your Hike!

  2. PIE Reply

    I’ve never tried a Vegan or Vegetarian diet for a number of reasons.

    – I believe that we as humans are designed to be omnivores
    – I feel that all the key areas of nutrition we need to be fit and healthy can come from a Paleo/Primal diet but not from a purely plant based diet.
    – Because of the last point often vegetarians and vegans have to supplement with heavily processed foods such as Soy which I believe are actually harmful to our health.

    I essentially eat a vegetarian diet with plenty of fresh meat, eggs and poultry. Very little dairy or grains and just a little carbohydrates from starchy vegetables. I’ve had great results with it.

    Do you eat a plant based diet? What are your experiences?

    Thanks for the question and kind words

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