Last year I with my friend decided to go to two day hiking trip to one of the forests around two hours from home. We basically don’t planed anything just met up went to the shop and took the train to our destination.
Basically, I went to this trip straight from the work, I just came home for about 5 minutes to change my clothes and to take my backpack.
When we get to the train station we went to the shop to buy some food, because of we their planning easy one nighter we only bought the little amount of food. We thought that we are going to find some mushrooms in the forest and going to have some decent meal.
When we came to the forest and went to the place where we planned to stay over we saw that it is crowded with people so we decided to go few more kilometers to a different place.
Long story, short that evening we covered more than 30 km by foot. We found the place to stay over at only around 4.00 am. And didn’t have any food left. 🙂
I still remember that trip as the most challenging two day backpacking trip from eating standpoint.
In this article, I will talk what to eat and when to eat it, that next time when you decide to go backpacking or hiking you would know what to take with yourself.
Carbohydrates – for energy
Backpacking, hiking is like a sport you are using a lot of energy. If you are hiking through rough terrain the energy need even rises that’s why you need carbohydrates to fill your tank.
Your body uses carbohydrates as a primary source of energy and if you rise your tempo or going through rough sections in the mountains your body could switch to almost taking 100 percent of your energy need from carbohydrates.
The problem is that your body doesn’t store that many carbohydrate calories that you so much need. In fact, human body usually stores about 2000 – 3000 kcal from carbohydrates and that is not so much for a long hiking trip.
So you have to know what to eat to restore that level.
There are two types of carbohydrates of there. First one is simple carbohydrates, mainly sugar. Simple carbohydrate gives you a fast spike of energy but they do not last long. Also, they raise your insulin level so if you eat something you would probably want more. You probably know that feeling when you eat the candy and you want the second one. 🙂
The second type of carbohydrates are the completed ones, these carbs you want in your food. They are slowly digested and gives you a slow and constant release of energy to your body.
You can find complex carbohydrates in whole grains and foods such as oatmeal, pasta, and whole-grain bread also vegetable potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, beans, lentils, peas and etc. Look at food labels if the food has a lot of carbohydrates from sugar I would not recommend it.
BUT – food with a lot of sugar can be in handy on your hiking trip. When you hiking and you want some type of snack on the go you could eat something with high sugar level, it will bring your sugar level back up relatively fast and will let you go longer. These snacks are good when your glycogen level is depleted and you need to restore it fast.
Protein – for recovery
You came to your camp and you are ready to relax because tomorrow going to be a hard day on the trail and you don’t know how you are going to manage it because you are super tired after today’s hike. The answer is amino acids.
Protein is responsible for your recovery it is the nutrient that body uses to recover your damaged cells that you could be fresh tomorrow. But if you do not eat enough of protein, your body can’t recover properly and you are going to struggle. Protein is a chain of amino acids that body uses for recovering, building mussels and etc. So you need the high protein food for fast recovery.
You have to take some food that is high in protein into your backpacking trip. I personally usually take some nuts and can of tuna but you can take whatever your preferences are. These are the food sources where you can find a lot of protein in meat, fish, beans, nuts, cheese, lentils and etc.
Fat – for energy
Remember, carbohydrates are for energy, but surprise – the fat is
also responsible for your energy. Fat, in my opinion, is the most completed and most needed nutrient, because it is responsible for your energy, for your recovery, for hormones in your body, for your health and etc.
Don’t be afraid I am not talking about that bad fat, I am talking about good fat from nuts, fish, vegetables and etc.
When I was talking about protein I said that I like to take nuts and tuna with myself to my backpacking trips it is because these foods are not only rich in protein but also rich in good fat that can help you recover faster and give you that slow stream of energy when you need it.
So please do not underestimate fat as a nutrient. Foods that are rich in good fats olives, olive oil, peanuts, avocados, fish, nuts, peanut butter. I personally really love peanut butter, when choosing one just look for natural without sugar.
This is really small article relating the food but it could give you the big picture what is important and what can help you planning your backpacking, hiking or other traveling trips.
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