Backpacking Menu: PCT Thru-Hike Edition

Food is a common topic among PCT thru hikers and backpackers. How does a backpacking menu look and how many calories do I need? When should I eat?

CD’s trail journal is full of words of wisdom. Job #1: Eating and Job # 2: Hiking.

Backpacking Menu:

Breakfast

1/3 lb of granola with re-hydrated soy milk

Second Breakfast

Pop-tarts (may be substituted by something else with 500 calories)

Eleven-sies

gorp or other trail mix

Luncheon

bagel and cheese or Nutella or peanut butter – whatever gets it up to 750+ calories, frequently snack a bit, too

Afternoon Tea

Clif Bar, gorp, granola, recently Twix or Snickers bar

Dinner

1/2 a bag of Bear Creek Cheese and Broccoli Soup mix (4 servings), 6-8 oz of pasta, and 7 oz of tuna (the tuna is every other day recently) – which usually fills about to the 1 liter mark on the pot and totals 1000+ calories.

Snack

Twix bars or Sourpatch kids

Just in case you wonder how big CD is and why he needs all of this food. His self stated goal was to walk to Canada and not lose any weight. Surprising, he found a set of skis in the desert and took them for a spin.

With this backpacking menu, CD eats 3 lbs of food per day and it sounds like most other hikers were averaging 2 lbs per day. Since I don’t weigh my food, I have no idea what that means, however.

Food Inspired Quotes From CD’s Trail Journal:

  • I heard about a Mexican restaurant near the highway up ahead, I hadn’t intended to walk that far but I was hungry for margaritas and good food, so I pushed on. It was Del Taco.
  • For breakfast I had four eggs, toast, an orange. Lunch was most of a large pizza and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Mint Cookie.
  • “After breakfast, snack, ice cream, errands, and fixing the rub spots, we hung around at the grocery store”
  • “I had a veggie burger, a 22 oz. Arrogant Bastard Ale, a fudge ice cream dessert thing, and a small pizza”
  • Buying the whole apple pie with ice cream was cheaper than piece by piece, so I did that
  • I carried the Five Iron of Love for two consecutive days so they owe me a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.
  • “Another town, another pint of Ben and Jerry’s”
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Stay tuned for the Pink Palace, The Saufley’s house, all kinds of trail magic, and Kennedy Meadows!

A view of the PCT through the dessert and headed northbound.

CD also has a hidden talent that he apparently picked up on the trail. He can open the ice cream freezer at any gas station and know exactly how many calories are in each option. I thought it was kind of bizarre until I read this record of his daily diet, however.

To learn more about CD’s 2004 PCT Thru Hike please follow our blog and check out these links.

Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off: Thru Hike Throwback
PCT Thru Hike Throw Back: Hot springs, Fresh Fruit, and Friendships
PCT – Southern California, Thru Hike Throwback
Hiking Pack List: PCT Northern California.

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