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Backpacking vs Hiking

Recently I read an article which tried to compare backpacking to hiking based in the length of time on the trail. I take issue with that comparison because AT, CDT, PCT and other thru-hikers travel at least 2100 miles. Similarly another writer suggested that a section hiker traveled a minimum of 500 miles. Furthermore the first author also addressed food, food quality, and cost. Apparently one or the other thinks that freeze dried meals are too expensive and another talked about how his 8 oz isopro only lasted 4 days. And yet another addressed the shelf life of various foods.

On the one hand I'm frustrated because I'm new to the concepts and execution but my intuition is screaming from every vantage.  For example, freeze dried Mac-n-Cheese only requires boiling water. Getting to a boil takes about 4-6 minutes and about 1oz of alcohol. On the other hand Craft with regular noodles requires a 9 minute boil which will take at least 3oz more fuel. This is going to translate additional weight for fuel.

In their packaging....
  • Mountain House - 8oz, 3 servings, 320 calories per serving, 
  • Annies's - just under 8oz, 2.5 servings, 260 calories per serving
  • Cliff Bar 250 calories
  • Nutella 200 per serving (2 tbl spoon)
  • Mixed nuts 200 calories per serving
  • harvarti 100 per serving
Annie's calorie measurement likely includes the butter and milk you have to add and the Mountain House does not have to be adjusted. 

Looking at this page I have determined that I will burn a minimum of 279 calories per hour. I'm setting a goal of 12 miles per day @ 2mph. That means I need a minimum of 1700 calories a day for the activity. My maintenance calorie level is about 1800 per day accounting for sleep cycles and recovery I probably need between 1200 and 1800.

So let's error on the side of caution and say I need 3000 calories a day. The Mountain House MNC provides nearly 1000 calories in one meal. The bigger challenge is getting the balance without cooking.


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