Backpacker sites and videos tell you to pack 2 pounds of food per day for the AT. I brought all my food with me and brought my bulky Kelly Kettle because I wanted to test it. Here’s what I brought for 36 hours:
- 2 one cup servings of homemade trail mix (almonds, raisins, and chocolate chips.) eaten as intended
- one peach and one orange, eaten for breakfast en route
- 4 tea bags (just in case!), Yorkshire brand, strong drank one Sunday AM
- 4 peanut butter and homemade strawberry jam sandwiches divided into two bags so I wouldn’t eat them all the first day. ate all as intended
- 2 packets Egyptian “chicken” ramen noodles. ate one packet Sunday AM
- 1 packets dried pasta “alfredo” with broccoli ate for dinner Saturday
- 1 cup oats (for healthy breakfast) didn’t eat
This is a lot of food, although I didn’t weigh it. And it turns out the Mohican Outdoor Center serves sandwiches to all and you can book dinner and cooked breakfast on summer weekends if you call ahead. However, I spent zero dollars on the road (lodging and travel were prepaid), and I didn’t eat anything I hadn’t carried with me, so that was a useful experiment.
Those dried noodles tasted so good eaten out of my travel mug for dinner that I skipped the oats and went for ramen noodles for breakfast. Delicious.
If you go bring small change- there is a full range of vending machines in the Martz bus station at Delaware Water Gap and I have a lifelong fascination with “coffee” from a vending machine and always buy it if it’s under 90 degrees and I see it anywhere. If you go with a group or family consider booking meals, the mess hall at the camp was very cozy.
Kelly Kettle fail- I was interrupted in my test run by a helpful family “Let me get you a lighter!” and so got self-conscious and just used the hob in the bunkhouse to boil water for my noodles. Next time.
footnote: Bathrooms (for those who like reading about bathroom habits)
My hike worked out that I did not have to use the woods as a bathroom once on the whole trip. I was very pleased. There were clean facilities available at the station, the visitor’s center at the Gap and at the lodgings. On my return hike there was a well-used portapotty available at a parking area on Old Mine Road just when I needed it. Probably I was dehydrated too as it was very hot. But, worked out great for me.
What do you eat on the trail? Do you like bringing your own food or do you pick it up on the way? How many meals in a row can you eat ramen? Related: Do you bring a special trowel for burying excrement in the woods?