I have a big 5-day hunt coming up and since I'm leaving in a few days I am getting all of my food prep done, including laying out each day's rations individually.
I’m going to be going over every day’s food system and some of the different things I bring into the backcountry.
Since it’s a 5-day hunt, not a 10-day hunt, I’m not trying to keep the weight down as much which means I’m going to be bringing a bit more food. It’s probably going to end up around 4,000 calories per day at 2 lbs per day. A longer hunt might end up being more like 3,500-3,700 calories per day, which I try to keep to under 1.5 lbs per day.
I start every day with coffee, in particular on this trip, I have a couple of packs of Mount Hagen instant freeze-dried coffee with little stevia every morning. For breakfast, I sometimes have an Off-Grid Predator Fuel, which is oatmeal that’s really good stuff. Other times, I pick up some Heather’s Choice breakfasts, like her banana nutmeg or strawberry vanilla hot cereal breakfast.
I also make my own hot cereal mixes, so I alternate between ones that are made by companies like Off Grid and Heather’s Choice and my own. It just helps keep down cost a little bit.
A CBD supplement is also a part of my morning routine. I start with a couple of capsules of our Bent Herbalist CBD to help combat inflammation at altitude and from beating your body up over multiple days of hiking.
As far as snacks go, I usually have a couple of packs of Heather’s Choice Packaroons. There are 120 calories per cookie. I also make my own macaroon type cookies. They aren’t really light, but they are packed with a lot of calories. The ones I’m bringing on this trip are mostly a coconut and peanut butter powder mix with chia seeds and oat or almond flour. Those normally run around 250 calories per cookie, so they’re really calorie-dense.
I often bring my own jerky as another, snack, as well. Boikey’s Biltong, an air-dried version of jerky is a new addition to my pack since it’s got a little more protein than normal jerky and tastes really good. I also like Off Grid’s jerky. Spencer does a great job with that stuff, too.
Another snack I do myself is my mountain candy, a fruit and sweet potato leather that has been a staple for me for quite a while now. I’ll mix and mash sweet potato leather or yam leather and I really like to go heavy on those. I’m not positive, but you might get 120-150 calories per leather out of those. I usually make it with apples but sometimes I use bananas, too. They are loaded with good clean carbs, which are super important in the backcountry, so they are super important in my pack.
I also always toss some peanut butter packets in my pack, usually a Justin’s, so give me some additional calories every day, as well.
Last but not least for snacks, I bring a lot of trail mix. Off Grid’s Blueberry Cashew trail mix has 740 calories per 4 oz bag, which is pretty incredible. I also make some of my own just from the bulk section at the grocery store.
Throughout the day, I’m trying to stay hydrated, but I’m not a big fan of straight water, so I always have a little mixture to put into my water bottles. I like Liquid I.V.’s for their great flavor and for the fact they are a really good electrolyte replacement as you’re sweating it out.
I also toss in a couple of salt tablets to help retain water and stay hydrated throughout my trip since it’s hard to make sure you are getting enough sodium when you’re sweating so much out each day.
When I get groggy, I’ve always got MTN Ops Ignite packets. They have caffeine, taste good, and are just a good little pick-me-up to have in my water throughout the day.
I usually always add a coconut oil packet to food throughout the day, but most of the time they go in my dinners. It’s a quick and easy way to get an additional 240 calories with only 1 ounce of weight.
This year, I also added a little seasoning packet into my system for dinners. It’s called Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning. It weighs next to nothing and I just love the flavor of it in addition to any meal.
My favorite meal of the day is always going to be dinner. I like to have a lot of variety, so I do a lot of my own dinners. Those usually consist of homemade spaghetti and various rice dishes.
I also bring a lot of Heather’s Choice since I love her Smoked Sockeye Salmon Chowder and Dark Chocolate Chili meals. Off Grid makes a great dinner, too. One I have been having a lot of is their 3 Cheese Mac with shredded Bison Barbacoa. This meal alone has 1175 calories per pack. That’s incredible for a meal and super efficient when you’re maximizing calories per ounce.
I always store each day’s rations in their own gallon bag. The reason I do that is so I know exactly how much I need to eat each day in the least. Sometimes I’ll steal a snack from a future day’s bag, but having everything in their own bag really helps make sure I’m eating enough, first and foremost.
To follow along with more of Ryan's adventures, follow him on Instagram @Sthealthyhunter and be sure to check out his and his wife's podcast, Hunt, Harvest, Health, as well as additional content on their website for more information on gardening, nutrition, and overall healthy living.