Performance Nutrition for Backpacking, Part 1: Optimal Trail Fuel

This video uses published, scientific studies to discuss the detailed characteristics of macronutrition for hikers and backpackers. It allows you to make meal plans that optimize not just the carry-efficiency of your Calories, but the performance aspects as well. Get specific data on over 1000 real-world, hiker-favorite foods in the downloadable chart! (linked below)

Topics covered include carb/protein ratios and the relative importance of fats vs carbs in the Calorie budget of various intensities of exercise. Part 1 covers Breakfast and Trail Snacks, while Part 2 will include the important Recovery Snack, and Dinner. Part 3 is on Hydration Strategies and Part 4 discusses Electrolyte Balance.

PLEASE NOTE: food labels sometimes change. Some of the specific items referenced in the video may have had their calories adjusted. The chart has been updated to version 2.0! Over 320 freeze-dried meals are now included, new tools for menu planning and nutrition calculation have been added, and key existing items have been corrected for accuracy.

Watch the video about the chart update:

Watch the video series on Performance Nutrition for Backpackers:

Download the Hiker Food Chart 2.0:

PDF Version:

Excel Version:

0:00 Opening
0:16 Introduction
1:15 Metabolism basics (sources of muscle energy)
1:58 Beyond just carbs (Introducing Protein for endurance)
4:45 Introducing Fat as endurance energy
5:07 Thermic Effect of Food (digestive efficiency)
6:08 Fat as Fuel
10:32 Backpacking energy breakdown picture
11:01 Summing up: energy use during endurance exercise
12:30 Briefly addressing fat concerns
13:13 Hiking is calorie deprivation
14:24 Developing dietary recommendations
15:43 The 4 Eating Events during hiking
15:58 Breakfast
18:06 Glycemic Index and the Food Energy Relay
21:03 The Optimal Trail Fuel Formula
23:42 From Theory to actual food (the Food Chart)

A Google Sheets version of the Food Chart posted by Buck Crockett (Thanks!):