Backcountry Hunting Food Plan

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Backcountry Hunting Food Plan

Front or Backcountry Nutrition

I am constantly making tweaks to my training, shooting (tinkering) and food intake.  The style of elk hunting that I do requires me to be properly fueled for the high energy demands.  I will hunt out of my backpack.  I will hunt from a spike camp.  I will hunt from my truck.  Some nights I'll get 8 hours of sleep from my tent.  Other nights I'll get about 5 or 6 hours from my truck.  Then there are those nights where I don't get much sleep because I wake up at 2 or 3 am to night bugle and locate elk.

The energy expenditure of elk hunting with a day pack or bivy setup is high.  We don't want to go on a diet or ration our food in a way that will impede our energy levels or recovery.  We also don't want to lug around extra weight if we don't have to.  So, here's an overview of the type of food I take with me while elk hunting for the entire month of September.  I will note that I personally do better with more carbohydrates than fat.  A keto diet where majority of calories come from fat has never allowed me to feel my best.  You could be different, so find what works for you.

Confession

Admittedly, I used to buy Mountain House in bulk and backfill my mountain food intake with random Clif bars, bagels and trail-mix.  I didn't have a calorie goal, I just sort of charged the mountains with little thought to the quality/quantity of food ...or the actually weight of it.  I wanted to create a post that could save folks time and get them thinking of how many calories to take with them in the backcountry.  Here's a few things to while elk hunting in the backcountry.

[Mountain House is a huge player in the freeze dried food industry and I think they're a great company - but I also think there are way healthier options out there that taste even better].

Consider

    • Strive for a calories/ounce ratio of at least 125 calories to 1 ounce.
    • Evaluate your urine. Dark and concentrated urine is indicative of insufficient fluid intake. Urine should be clear, pale yellow and copious.
    • Always treat your water.
    • Add electrolytes to your water often
    • Invest in a food dehydrator, here's what I recommend
    • Buy your own mylar bags, then test your food before leaving
    • You can add oxygen absorbers, here's a link

Calculate Calorie Need

  • There's no real accurate way to prescribe a calorie goal 
  • 3,000 Calories - generally speaking you'll be plus or minus 500 calories.  Could be over 4,000 in some cases, but it will depend on if you pack a stove, how much weight you want to carry and of course your energy expenditure
  • Keep in mind your body weight, terrain or topography, distances hiked or trekked daily
  • Hiking with a heavy pack (relative) can burn 500-1,000 calories per hour
  • I burn 2500+ calories a day while not hunting, that's a very active lifestyle with training bouts 5-7 days a week.  In the backcountry, my goal is to replenish with a minimum of 3,000 calories a day and I try to keep my daily food bag at or under 2 pounds.

 Here's my two different food bags I'll be utilizing in the backcountry:

PEAK REFUEL DAILY FOOD BAG FACTS:

CALORIES - 3155

MACROS - 18% Protein | 50% Carbohydrate | 32% Fat

WEIGHT - 2lb 1oz

 

Item Specifics Calories Cal Per Ounce Weight oz Protein g Carb g Sugar g Fat g Sodium mg
PEAK REFUEL FOOD BAG
PRO Bar S'mores 400 133 3 oz 9 46 19 21
Organic Apple Sauce Pouch 45 90 0.5 oz 1 12 8 0
Rx Bar Mini Coconut Choc. 110 119 0.92 oz 6 11 8 5
That's It Mini Fruit Bars Strawberry 60 85 0.7 oz 0 12 10 0
Pure Organic Layered Fruit Bar Pineapple 60 100 0.63 oz 0 15 12 0
Fit Crunch Bar Robert Irvine 190 117 1.62 oz 16 14 3 8
Kirkland Protein Bars Choc. Peanut Butter 190 90 2.1 oz 22 24 2 5
Honey Stinger Waffle Honey 150 141 1.06 oz 1 21 11 7
Honey Stinger Performance Chews Stingerita Lime 155 86 1.8 oz 0 37 26 0
Stretch Island Fruit Leather 50 100 0.5 oz 0 12 9 0
Wilderness Athlete Hydrate & Recover 40 0.49 oz 0 10 5 0
Wilderness Athlete Energy & Focus 25 0.49 oz 6 0 0
Starbucks Via Instant 0.11 oz
Dan's Trail Mix 0.5 cup M&M's Peanut + 0.5 cup Kirkland unsalted nuts 760 152 5 oz 19 61 49 51
Wilderness Athlete Pack Out Bar 240 113 2.12 oz 20 22 4 11
Wilderness Athlete Pack Out Bite 100 100 0.95 oz 7 12 4 5
Peak Refuel Chicken Teriyaki Rice 580 120 4.83 oz 40 78 24 8 1390
TOTALS 3155 141 393 194 121
MACROS 18% 50% 32%

 

STOWAWAY DAILY FOOD BAG FACTS:

CALORIES - 3069

MACROS - 20% Protein | 49% Carbohydrate | 31% Fat

WEIGHT - 1lb 12oz

Item Specifics Calories Cal Per Ounce Weight oz Protein g Carb g Sugar g Fat g
STOWAWAY GOURMET FOOD BAG
PRO Bar S'mores 400 133 3 oz 9 46 19 21
Organic Apple Sauce Pouch 45 90 0.5 oz 1 12 8 0
Rx Bar Mini Coconut Choc. 110 119 0.92 oz 6 11 8 5
Rx Bar Mini Blueberry 110 119 0.92 oz 6 12 9 4
That's It Mini Fruit Bars Strawberry 60 85 0.7 oz 0 12 10 0
Pure Organic Layered Fruit Bar Pineapple 60 100 0.63 oz 0 15 12 0
Love Good Fats Choc. Almond 190 137 1.38 oz 8 13 2 14
Ratio Toasted Almond 220 157 1.4 oz 12 9 1 17
Kirkland Protein Bars Choc. Peanut Butter 190 90 2.1 oz 22 24 2 5
Rise Mint Chip 270 128 2.1 oz 15 24 17 15
Honey Stinger Waffle Honey 150 141 1.06 oz 1 21 11 7
Honey Stinger Protein Bars Peanut Butter 200 133 1.5 oz 10 18 16 10
Jimmy Wake & Focus Bars Cookies 'N Cream 250 121 2.05 oz 19 24 7 10
Honey Stinger Performance Chews Stingerita Lime 155 86 1.8 oz 0 37 26 0
Stretch Island Fruit Leather 50 100 0.5 oz 0 12 9 0
Wilderness Athlete Hydrate & Recover 40 0.49 oz 0 10 5 0
Wilderness Athlete Energy & Focus 25 0.49 oz 6 0 0
Starbucks Via Instant 0.11 oz
Stowaway Gourmet Wild Boar Bacon Bean Stew 544 123 4.41 oz 42 68 8 14
TOTALS 3069 151 374 170 122
MACROS 20% 49% 31%

 


2 comments

  • Zack Holycross

    Great content! I appreciate you sharing the portions you mix into your mush it really helps with the learning curve and sets a baseline to get creative with other recipes.
    Thanks!

  • Clint Roussel

    I’ve been looking for someone to do a break down of food like this for a while. My only question is are you concerned about carb and sugar in take? I currently eat carbs/sugar only found in the fruits and vegetables. No rice
    pasta or bread and I only use
    stevia or monk fruit as a sweetener.
    Thanks for the content and the inspiration keep up the great work.

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