PCT food planning: resupply, calories, and spreadsheets

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11 Responses

  1. Beth says:

    I’m glad you made the decision and got the food! As you say, you can always adjust as you go along.

    • Alice says:

      It feels good to have pulled the trigger. I’ve been bagging the first week’s food, and all the weighing is super satisfying…

  2. Jene-Paul says:

    Whoo-hoo! You go, girl!! I get excited just *looking* at that pile!

    • Alice says:

      So do I! And then I have to talk myself down from starting to eat it NOW. I already dug into some of the jerky. *Shrugs*

  3. Nic says:

    Where’s the honey roast peanut butter?

  4. Noelle says:

    I honestly think figuring out food would be the most difficult part of a thru-hike. I’m not even good at doing food in daily life at home. Thanks for this helpful post :-)

    • Alice says:

      Food can be tricky, but with something as long as a thru-hike, you have a lot of time to figure it out. Look for a post in the next few weeks about the food I actually ended up eating for most of the hike.

  5. Teatime says:

    My experience of the PCT in 2015 taught me that its all too easy to over-plan food and resupply because of the missing button in excel – the PCT practicality and thruhiker laziness button.

    This button would automatically account for (i) getting really sick of Ramen noodles really fast (ii) discovering Amazon as a resupply strategy, if you have enough dough (iii) gorging yourself stupid all of the day you arrive at a resupply town (iv) gorging yourself stupid all the morning of the day you leave (basically you eat four or five days worth of calories in two days every time you stop) (v) discovering that many of the high calorie foodstuffs we rely on do your digestive transit no good in the long term. Snickers are the thruhiker’s friends, but the colon’s enemy.

    Its also true that, accepting we will have some serious weight loss – perhaps more for men than women, the hunger we struggle with can be as much a symptom of under-hydration as calorie deficit. I lost close to 80lbs on my hike (but I started big to begin with and anyway its fine – I FOUND it again. It was in the fridge). One definitely builds up calorie debt between resupply stops, but we also drink far too little – especially in the early part of the hike when the desert section makes us try to conserve water. I ALWAYS got to evening camp with more water than I needed to make the next water source, and so I was exerting energy carrying water I’d be better off drinking. I noticed that in the desert I was never more than a short distance from a way to get water if it was a life or death situation; be that a road to hitch out on, or a smallholding I could beg from – but honestly, who can say they never misjudged it and had to walk 6 miles before breakfast to find some water? Our water planning seems to imply that once we run out of water we will die if we take two more steps! The reality of the hike is very different to the theory. Oddly, there’s a button in excel that causes this – its the “I know better than the people who have already done the PCT, even though I haven’t” button. I used to click that one a lot.

    I’m now doing it all over again this year – so we’ll see if I learned anything from myself.

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