Sunday, 23 February 2014

Initial Food ideas for the John Muir Trail

Food on the trail can be an issue on any long distance hike, you need a certain amount of calories at the lightest weight you can.  On the John Muir Trail (JMT) there is an added issue of the lack of resupply in the second half of the trail, meaning I will have to carry all the food I need for around 8-9 days.  

On most English trails I doubt you would go for more than a couple of days without finding a pub or shop to buy food from.  On the JMT there will be nothing for 110 miles between the Muir Trail Ranch and Mount Whitney.

This means I have to actually think about the food in detail.  It needs to have enough calories to keep me going and be light enough to actually carry.  There are different approaches, from carrying numerous energy and chocolate bars (and that’s it) to carrying the kitchen sink.  Neither of those ideas appeals to me.

Added complications include –

- I have to carry a Bear Barrel (to stop the bears ‘Yogying’  your food).  This weighs 1.16Kgs empty.
- I have to buy most of my food in the USA due to border controls.
- American chocolate is horrible (apart from M&M’s!).

Buying food in the USA is not a problem for most food, but causes problems for buying freeze dried food (my planned evening meal).  Mountain House USA is different to Mountain House Europe, in taste and flavours.  I can’t take flavours/brands I like (Mountain House or Fuizion) with me as they contain meat.  The good news is that I can take chocolate! Mmmm Cadburys!

On my visit to the USA last year, I bought a number of meals from Mountain House and Packit Gourmet, these are to try out to see what flavours I like.  There is no Chicken Tikka Massala on the menu which will leave me curryless, a disaster I’m sure you will agree!

The rule of thumb seems to be approx. 1Kg of food per day, and I’d like to be at 3000+ calories a day.  I would also like a little variety in the meals, or the danger is you carry food and can’t face eating it!  Not something I have ever suffered from mind you!


  1. Hi Andy, we used a lot of Enertia Trail Foods which were brilliant. Most are just add boiling water and wrap in a cosy, some you actually have to cook but very tasty, lightweight, small size, and a good price. You can only get them in the USA and since we used them the original company has been taken over by Coleman but the items seem to have the same names so hopefully the quality has been maintained. Just Google 'Enertia Trail Foods' and take a look.

  2. Thanks Janet, I'll have a look for those. My main food concern is buying something in bulk without trying it first, I might not like some of the flavours, or worse the food might not like me! Last place I want a dodgy belly is 20 miles away from a real toilet!

  3. When we had them they were free from artificial rubbish and we added pouches of tuna to things like mac and cheese to add calories and flavour. They had texture and were at least appetising. Like you I would eat Fuzion foods if possible but that's not going to be an option in the US. I'm away at the minute but when I get home I'll find the cards that came with the Enertia Trail Foods with the ingredients and calorie breakdown and let you look at them. Hopefully they'll whet your appetite.x

  4. If only someone did a Chicken Tikka Massala in the USA! Real British food! :-)