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Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches

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Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 20, 2015 12:37PM
Hello all,
I am planing a week long vacation to Yosemite with my wife and other family, and am planning on doing a few long day hikes in and around Yosemite Valley (Cloud's Rest, Panorama Trail via 4-Mile trail, North Dome, Etc.) in June. Over the past many years of hiking, my lunches have consisted of Gallo salami and Ritz crackers almost exclusively. That has served me well, but I thought I would ask everyone else what they like to bring on long day hikes. I appreciate any input anyone else has. Looking forward to broadening my trail lunch horizons.
avatar Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 20, 2015 01:07PM
My go-to for short backpacking trips is sliced salami (saves time and hassle on the trail), sliced cheese, and the flat bread things they sell now in the bread department. Get a few fresh head lettuce leafs, some individual mayo or mustard packages and top it off with some Bruno ' s Mild Peppers and you have a great trail sandwich.

Bring some fresh fruit of your choice.

I hear leftover pizza is pretty good as, well.

If any birdbrains tell you that Chef BoyRDee cold ravioli out of the can is good...well...

But I will admit that some Hostess desserts do hit the spot after the sandwich.
Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 20, 2015 05:54PM

I hear leftover pizza is pretty good as, well.

It's AWESOME (for dinner for me - see my long post below)

If any birdbrains tell you that Chef BoyRDee cold ravioli out of the can is good...well...

Hm. I was reading about some ultra runner (sorry, can't remember who or where I was reading)... Does Chef Boyardee Spaghetti O's (I think it was Spaghetti O's) as refueling. Lots of carbs, little bit of protein and fat. You don't want to overdo the protein and fat DURING exercise, but you do still need it... So the birdbrain... Dang it. Gotta give him credit where credit is due.
Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 21, 2015 08:37PM
Great tips and suggestions out there. I would add bagels out there as my preferred choice of bread for day hikes or backpacking - works well for breakfast or lunch/snacks. It packs well and probably falls in the category of calorie dense food.
Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 20, 2015 03:48PM
Now I'm hungry.
avatar Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 20, 2015 03:50PM
Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 20, 2015 03:58PM
I usually take snackable items like unsalted nuts, dried fruit, and an energy bar. I sometimes take cheese and salami but stick to uncured salamis to reduce the chemical content. The sandwich thins tend to take the jostling better than other breads and tortillas IMO, so I go with those if I take a sandwich. I'll tote a gel or two if going with someone else who might need a pick-me-up.
Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 20, 2015 05:50PM
Okay, here we go... Be nice to me.

If I'm really going for a long day, my food doesn't vary too much. After years, (decades) of not quite feeling great all the time... I finally worked with a nutritionist a few years ago and we started nailing down a good endurance diet for me.

I am a female, 5' 5" and 130 pounds.

I like (really like) long days. 20 miles is great. Every so often push to 30. (trail miles). Doesn't matter elevation. Average JMT days, for instance, are 15-20 miles and we are talking back-to-back backpacking days. Through-hike with lots of elevation gain/loss/day.

So, even when I'm doing a fun "true" day hike... my food doesn't vary too much. More "goodies" thrown in. But here's the core:

1+ hour before walking: SportLegs
Breakfast: Clif bar, includes about 9 g protein. Lots of carbs to get going
Just at start of walking: Stinger waffle (carbs to get going).

After about 1/2 to 1 hour, depending on difficulty of terrain/weight being carried, the following routine begins and ends when the walking stops:

Every 15 minutes: 1 energy chew (My favorite chew brands: Gu Chomp, Pro Bar Energy Chew, Stinger Energy chew, Cytomax energy chew) (If very steep/difficult/heavy pack, 1 every 10 minutes)

Every 2-3 hours: Sportlegs

Every 3 hours: 20 g protein - either in form of shake or protein bar. Shakes: Jay Robb Isolated Whey Protein is favorite, Egg Protein second. Lots of amino acids either way. If bar, ThinkThin protein bars (whey-based) are working well for me right now.

Fun additions: Cheetos, Peanut Butter filled pretzels, Tom-Tom turkey sticks (find at Whole Foods, no nitrates/nitrites), low-fat string cheese. (I only eat these during the longer "protein stops" and the sodium is incredibly useful on hotter days.) Trail mix of various types, though I usually pass on the chocolate bits to others. Electrolyte adds to my water on seriously hot days, but the chews are usually good enough - as long as I have my snacks every three hours.

At end of walking: another dose of Sportlegs, another 20 g protein. THEN dinner at appropriate time. Dinner on trail is typically splitting Mountain House with hubby. But we've packed in pizza, deli sandwiches, Wendy's chicken nuggets (current favorite) and the like. Little cakes and a sampling of the day's snacks.

If I eat a lot of fat DURING exertion, especially at altitude, I feel pretty awful. Sometimes seriously awful. I've learned to have my fat at dinner. My body processes it much better when not under load.

If I eat this way, I can go ALL day long. And feel good when I stop. Also, I feel better as the day goes on. I actually seem to speed up some. I really no longer feel sore, and can move about camp and get in/out of tents/shelters without much effort.

I'm not fast, but I know I can keep going. My goal is to hit camp and stay perky and cheery.
avatar Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 20, 2015 06:00PM
5'5" ?

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 20, 2015 06:07PM
Yah yah...

"just put your foot here" you say...

I swing my legs and I'm still many inches away....

"boy, you really do have short legs" you say

Thanks...spinning smiley sticking its tongue out
avatar Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 21, 2015 10:57AM
Tom-Tom turkey sticks (find at Whole Foods, no nitrates/nitrites)

Ms. Walking,
Thank you for pointing these out, I'd never heard of them before. I've bought the Old Wisconsin turkey sticks in the past, but who knows what's in those things? I also prefer turkey to beef. Anywho, went in the Whole Foods down the street from work this morning, and bought a package to try (they were out of the regular, so had to try 'hot and spicy'). So I thank you, I like the 'no nitrate/nitrite' thing and all-natural ingredients (with no mystery-sounding chemical names). thumbs up
avatar Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 21, 2015 11:08AM
Bare in mind Mrs. Walking carries bout 20 lbs o food. I think the 130 included her feed bag.
tongue sticking out smiley

All kidding aside... it donut get any butter den dis:

oops... wrong faux toe...

it donut get any butter den DIS:

smiling smiley

Chick-on is looking at you!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/21/2015 11:10AM by chick-on.
Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 21, 2015 11:29AM
I try to find clean food when I can... But I'm not strict about it. Love my Cheetos, for instance..

Also, I can't handle the Hot n Spicy.. I stock up on the original flavor when they have them...Yumm....
avatar Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 21, 2015 01:01PM
Love my Cheetos, for instance..

Lady, you are singing to the choir with that comment! grinning smiley Fritos/Cheetos/and-whatever-else-itos are a major food group in my book.
I'm probably the other end of the spectrum from you, but now as I get older (...ish), I'm trying to pay more attention to what I eat.
I'm guessing the hot and spicy won't be my thing either, but wanted to try them.
It probably was you danged backpackers stocking up, who cleared out all the stock of the regular variety at my store! tongue sticking out smiley
Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 20, 2015 08:57PM
We're a little more traditional. Salami and cheese works, either with bread or crackers. So do peanut butter sandwiches, which stand up better to heat and spoilage concerns. But we've also picked up hamburgers on the drive to the trailhead, and then eaten them a couple of hours later along the trail. Among the other things we've experimented with are beef jerky (too dry--not enough fun) gator sticks (from our daughter in NOLA---they were actually pretty tasty) and an assortment of other cured meats and cheese products of different kinds.

all that really matters is that it taste good, stay more or less safe during the hike (tuna is not a great choice) and that it is more or less 100% edible. (Carrying the bones from fried chicken back to camp all afternoon? No thanks.)

Check our our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Or just read a good mystery novel set in the Sierra; https://www.amazon.com/Danger-Falling-Rocks-Paul-Wagner/dp/0984884963
avatar Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 20, 2015 10:05PM
Don't forget Starkist

Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 22, 2015 01:58PM
Thanks for all of the input. I can never seem to keep pizza around long enough for leftovers the next day. I'll try some of the other suggestions. The Chef Boyardee may take a leap of faith, but I'll try anything once.
avatar Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 23, 2015 03:59PM
The Chef Boyardee may take a leap of faith, but I'll try anything once.

High Fructose Corn Syrup?

avatar Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 22, 2015 10:54PM
I'm someone who doesn't need to eat constantly. In fact, day to day, I can easily get by eating just one meal a day, though usually I eat two (breakfast OR lunch, and then dinner). Nor do I usually snack between meals. That's how I feel the best, day to day where my main form of exercise is usually a two to three mile brisk walk before work in the morning, or after dinner in the evening. At work, I have a very sedentary desk job.

So on day hikes, including all-day 12-hour hikes, I keep it simple. The night before I have a large dinner with a lot of rice or pasta and a good piece of protein (steak, fish, chicken, etc.), usually a salad plus other veggies but no dessert of any kind. The morning of the hike I have a very light breakfast: toast (prefer sliced sourdough) with butter and jam, plus a banana and some coffee. I also drink quite a bit of water before my hike to be well hydrated.

And then on the hike I carry just one food item that I'll use as an energy boost if needed: Mike and Ike (or Jelly Belly) jelly beans contained in zip lock bags. That's it. Mike and Ike's (or Jelly Belly's) plus water is all I need to get through even the longest of day hikes as long as I had a good meal the night before.

Of course, I'll reward myself with a nice dinner at the end of a day-long day hike too.

Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 24, 2015 04:14PM
Totally different approach for us. When we're staying in or near a park and day-hiking, we hit a grocery store on the way in and stock up on

basic salad stuff (spinach or lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc.)
some fat-free/low sugar salad dressing
fresh fruit
Clif Bars
trail mix of some sort
Zero-cal powerade

We go to a local restaurant for dinner and order large portions and take half of it home (sometimes we actually divide it in half before we start eating...just to make sure!). Alternatively, if there are decent markets around, we'll pick up some fish or chicken and make food in our room (we always try to stay somewhere with a full kitchen), we'll just make sure we have leftovers.

The leftovers and salad fixin's go into a ziploc bag and we carry a bottle of salad dressing. We have collapsible bowls which we take with us, poor the salad into them, mix in some dressing and it's a very nice alternative to sandwiches (especially since I'm gluten intolerant and tasty gluten-free bread is hard to come by in most markets).

We supplement with the other items (fruit, trail mix, clif or some other type of power bar (found some fabulous quinoa power bars at a tiny market in Utah several years ago but have never been able to locate them again (and, of course, have forgotten the name))). My wife also likes to carry some kind of salty chips.

For drinks, our camelbacks get filled with a 50/50 mix of water and powerade

Almost none of that is practical for overnight trips and, depending on whether you have access to kitchen facilitiies and/or what the local restaurant selection is like, this approach might be a bit too pricey for some folks but if you can make it work, it gives you some really interesting trail lunches.
Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 30, 2015 05:58PM
On a lot of day hikes, I find myself on my feet all day and not taking the time to stop and eat my snacks that I bring. I usually munch something on my drive home. Last week I had cheese and peanut butter crackers driving east, then had a buttermilk shake (to die for) at the Mono Cone in Lee Vining for dinner.

But when I take other, maybe noob, hikers, I include oranges and something like Cheese Nips. If they're feeling puny, the oranges are like instant energy and the crackers are mild on a queasy tummy.

My hubby and my neighbor friend require the "reward" on our hikes. So we carry more things like raw almonds, a bar or two, jerky, fruit, powdered drinks, etc. We have taken leftover anchovy pizza a time or two, or three...
avatar Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
May 31, 2015 08:22PM
What I typically bring includes (packed in a hard plastic box):

-- a few ounces of low-fat Swiss cheese
-- a few ounces of other cheese, maybe dry Jack
-- 2 or 3 slices of whole grain bread
-- 8 or 10 cherry tomatoes
-- about 1/4 of a cut-up bell pepper or a handful of baby carrots
-- a handful of dandelion greens
-- the same vitamins and supplements that I take at other times.

On a long hike I may stop for a break at midday and eat most of the above but more often than not, I don't eat any of it till I'm done hiking for the day.

When Concord grapes are in season I may include a handful of those, too, but I have to be careful where I open the ziplock bag. They seem to attract every yellowjacket within a hundred-foot radius.

While I'm actually hiking I eat mostly energy bars and trail mix -- an energy bar when I start uphill (and maybe another one 1000 or 2000 feet up), and a handful of trail mix whenever I stop for a break. By now I've settled on my favorite kinds of energy bars and trail mix. I wouldn't expect anyone else to share the same preferences.

I make sure to drink plenty of water. Usually I drink my first pint plain, my second with a Nuun tablet in it, and then alternate. If I start getting leg cramps, whether on the trail or in the middle of the night, I go straight to the Nuun tablets and the cramps usually clear up in minutes.
Re: Day Hike Trail Lunches
June 03, 2015 06:15PM
Don't worry about it. This boils it down to basics:

Most expeditions have some story about their food and attitudes to it vary from the haute cuisine
of some French expeditions to the blunt assertion of Tilman, the famous eccentric and explorer, that he did not mind as long as there was some.

Joe Tasker, Everest the Cruel Way, page 158
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