Scoutmaster Musings - Trek Food

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Scoutmaster Musings

Trek Food
As part of the planning for our backpacking trek this summer, the scouts needed to figure out how much food to bring. I let them know that I was a lazy old man and didn't want to carry any more than necessary, but didn't want to go hungry either.

This was actually a great learning experience in many ways, most important is that they will hopefully be prepared to pass on their experience to the 2008 trek crews we send out.

We spent some time discussing how many calories are needed in the average day, and how trekking days are not quite 'average'. We also defined calories as being units of energy and found out that 'calories' in food are actually kilo-calories with 3500 kilo-calories in one pound of fat. We discovered that larger people required more calories and carrying a pack requires still more calories.

Then, being some analytical types, the scouts figured a 150 pound person takes about 100 calories to walk 1 mile. They figured all our weights together (plus estimated pack weights), how far we'd be hiking, how many days we'd be on the trail, the elevation we'd gain, and came up with a huge total number of calories required.

Once they had an idea of how many calories we'd need, they set to work dividing that into carbohydrate, protein, and fat calories. Then, they looked for food that would fulfill the calorie needs, pack well, prepare easily, taste good, be relatively inexpensive, and somewhat healthy.

When the dust had settled, we found that you can get a darn good menu off the shelves at normal grocery stores. The menu was carbohydrate heavy with more empty sugar and fat calories than normal, but was pretty good. We had dinners of noodles & beef, spaghetti & dehydrated hamburger, mac/cheese & tuna, teriyaki rice & salmon, noodles & chicken.

When the trek was over, we found that we had packed too much breakfast food and trail food, but pretty much right on for lunches and dinners. We had just about 10 pounds of food for each person for a 5.5 day trek, so we could have trimmed 1 or 1.5 pounds off that.

There is a fairly accurate Calorie Calculator at along with some other good food ideas.

Scout On

Posted: 15:28 08-29-2007 177
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