Packing Food for the Pacific Crest Trail
Imagine having to organize and pack everything you need to survive living out of your backpack for the next few months. Sounds a little daunting, right?
I hit the Pacific Crest Trail last week to begin my thru-hike from Mount Whitney to the Canadian border, as I revised the Wilderness Press Pacific Crest Trail Northern California and Washington & Oregon guidebooks. Here’s a peek at what my resupply boxes looked like.
If you are organized, packing resupply boxes should feel more like a fun game and less like a chore. Here are five tips to help your preparations go more smoothly.
Plan your menu
Visualize how you want your days on the trail to look. Do you want to enjoy a hot, leisurely breakfast before hitting the dirt, or do you prefer to eat on the go? Determine which meals are most important to you, and pack food accordingly.
Think about your favorite snack. Will it still be your favorite if you eat it every day for weeks on end? Will it make you sick? Testing your palate and discovering what you like and dislike before your backpacking trip will save you from experiencing stomach woes on the trail.
Sure, that can of tuna fish would taste delightful after a long day of walking. But do you really want to lug around cans of food? Your shoulders and back will hate you. Lighter foods, such as freeze-dried meals and instant mashed potatoes (my favorite), give you the most caloric bang-for-your-buck without extra weight.
Vary your flavors
Backpacking doesn’t mean you have to steel yourself for bland food. Pack a mix of salt, sweet, and savory snacks to keep your taste buds happy. Consider including small packets of salt and seasoning mixes to spice up your meals.
I can assure you that there is almost nothing sadder than a chocolate bar melted beyond recognition. When packing your resupply boxes, think about if your food will withstand extreme heat or cold or if anything will spoil or get moldy.