The nutrition behind backpacking


I recently went on my first backpacking trip along the Manistee River Trail, and it was beautiful! It was a traditional trip, everything Marshall and I needed was fit into our packs, food included. Most of our food for the trip was freeze-dried from the brand Mountain House. We also took some Cliff Bars, Yogurt chocolate covered raisins, dried mango slices, a water filtering system and a little Nalgene of Savion Blanc wine.

I was curious about the nutritional content and value of Mountain House and the freeze drying process, so I started to do some research. When freeze–drying food you remove the water but the nutritional content and flavor remain in tact. To eat the food you add the recommended water to the bag and follow the cooking directions then enjoy. From the chicken fajitas to dark chocolate cheesecake, the taste was accurate to the dish. For our fajitas we carried in some bread and avocado to make it more fresh and delicious.

fajita dinner
fajita dinner

The route we took on the trail was quite interesting, for the first day we only had the water in our packs since we were not hiking along the river. It was kind of crucial to make it to water by the end of the day so we had enough water to cook breakfast, dinner and to enough to drink, before being able to filter more.

Water filtration system
Water filtration system

There’s a lot of estimation on how many calories you burn backpacking that include height, weight, amount of weight in pack, hours hiked and terrain. Based on a chart I found, I burned about 413 calories per hour while hiking, which would be estimated to about 1,652 calories on the first afternoon. This number was particularly important when considering the calories and sodium among other things in the Mountain House food.

You can see that in the nutrition label that the sodium per serving is 630mg (there are 2 servings in the bag). The recommendation for sodium intake from the American Heart Association is 1,500 a day, meaning the entire bag has almost the daily recommended sodium intake. My research also lead me to believe that was acceptable due to the output of electrolytes and intake of water while on this adventure. Also, looking at the calories per serving, taking into consideration the calories burned in one day, our calories burned surpassed our intake.

chicken fajita nutrition label

I enjoyed my first camping experience from hiking, setting up camp and learning to filter the water. I can’t wait to go out again and try more of the Mountain House foods!


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