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Re: [John Muir Trail] Volume of food?

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  • John Ladd
    On Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 10:31 PM, sanfran_rwood wrote: I m packaging up my resupply food, and put seven days worth into a bucket to
    Message 1 of 5 , Aug 31, 2011
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      On Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 10:31 PM, sanfran_rwood <MrRedwood@...> wrote:
        I'm packaging up my resupply food, and put seven days worth into a bucket to determine what size shipping container to get.

      ... I've repackaged freeze-dried food into ziploc bags for dinners, and conjured up my own caffeinated oatmeal for most of my breakfasts. Adding in two clif bars and a cheese stick ("keep refrigerated" -- right!) for lunch/snack. Seven of those, plus two or three powdered protein shakes, and the whole thing adds up to barely *five* quarts.

      Considering that the Bearikade Weekender holds *eleven* quarts and they claim it is reasonable for six days for single person...

      What's the deal? It might seem like I'm under-feeding myself, but my last eight-day trip I came home healthy but with food uneaten.

      What is your expectation for the number of days' food that can fit into a bear canister?

      I'm probably to late to contribute much to the original poster's planning, but in case others are interested in the same issue:

      Calories per quart (or other volume measure) are even more variable than calories per ounce. 

      Pretending for theoretical purposes that I needed only one food choice, a quart of ghee or olive oil would be 7200 calories so in theory I could get 80,000 calories in an 11-qt bearcan (26 days for me).  A quart of oatmeal would be 1200 calories (11 qts = only 4 days).  A quart of cream of wheat or grits is 2000 calories (11 qts = 7 days). 

      A lot of the freeze dried foods, however, and things like jerky take up a lot of space even though they might be fairly efficient on a calories per weight basis.

      Personally, thinking calories first, I usually find that I can get by on a mixture of fats, proteins and carbs averaging about 150 cal per oz and I prefer to carry about 3000 calories (20 ounces) per day, though I can get by on 2400 calories (16 oz) at least in the summer months.  Averaging 150 calories per oz. requires a willingness to get about 50% of my calories from fats and oils, which some people's systems can't tolerate.  (Fully dehydrated carbs and proteins top out at under 110 calories per ounce while fats and oils get you to about 220.)

      Volume wise, I find I need at least one quart of capacity for 3300 calories in a bearcan -- even with quite physically compact food choices.  And packing that tight is pretty limiting on food choices (i.e., no oatmeal or energy bars because they take up too much room), so I'd prefer to plan on at least one quart of bearcan capacity per 2500 calories when the plan permits it. I mostly use a Bearvault 450 (about 7.5 quarts) supplemented with a Ursack in areas where it is legal to hang food.

      BTW, 1 qt is about 58 cubic inches.

      I used to do an Excel spreadsheet for each trip with calories and volume (fluid oz) for everything I carried. But after some years of working with the spreadsheets, I now find that I have a good rough idea in my head -- essentially rules of thumb that work for me.  With the high-fat food mixture I tolerate (50% of calories from fats), I need about 20 oz. of food per day and I prefer to have a little over a qt. of capacity per day.  Shorter trips sometimes allow me to be a little less fat/oils-intensive (I've been known to carry heirloom tomatoes, eggs, bread, etc) and long ones sometimes motivate a decision to get along on fewer calories or push me even further in the high-calorie-density direction either due to weight or volume constraints.  It's helpful to get all precise for a while, but you can end up with a pretty good sense of what works for you.

      On the "food uneaten" issue I find that I sometimes have to force myself to eat everything when I carry the 3000 calories per day.  (Conversely, at 2000 calories per day, I start to get the hungries after about a week.) I think it's a good idea, however, to keep my calories high in order to have good energy levels (and keep warm on winter trips) so I just make myself eat it.  I actually gain a little weight on some trips, which I consider a good thing.  At 2400 calories per day, I don't get hungry but I lose 1-2 lbs per week and sometimes sleep a little cold at night.

      John Curran Ladd
      1616 Castro Street
      San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
      415-648-9279



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