hiking · Other · Trail Cooking

Emergency Food? Ay or Nay?

I would love to hear back from our readers what your thoughts are on emergency food. Do you carry any? Is it only on dayhiking you do? On backpacking trips do you carry an extra meal or two?

If you do carry extra food, what do you carry? Everyday food? Or items only sheer starvation would get you to eat?


PS: Yes, I carry extra food. In most cases it is on dayhikes where I overload the pack. I split my food into two silnylon stuff sacks – snack foods and meals. I carry a one person FBC meal with an oil packet as backup. So does Ford in his pack. As well we would have the lunch of the day with us (we carry our own meals). The snack bags we carry often have 3 or 4 hikes worth of munchies – this is so we can have whatever we crave. I buy the snack size bags of items so they stay fresh. And with Ford, he actually carries two extra meals and twice as many snacks as me. If something ever happens and we spend the night, well, with his appetite I want to make sure he has food.

Now though, for backpacking I tend to be more controlled with what I carry. I plan out my meals and chart what I need, then I tuck in a little extra for increased appetite. It works out well most of the time 😉

On long dayhikes where miles are the goal I leave the stove/pot at home along with the meals and carry more eat-on-the-go items. I do though add in items to cover the calories I will burn – and some extra.

Last but not least…I do always have a couple bars tucked in the pack that is no way I would eat unless it was my only choice. I am willing to carry a little extra insurance. Just in case!

7 thoughts on “Emergency Food? Ay or Nay?

  1. I like to always have one snack-type food tucked away. Generally, it’s between 250 calories (single granola bar) to 1,000 (bag o’ gorp). On other trips, where a serious delay is all-but expected, I’ll take an extra day. These trips include multi-day winter trips and river canoe excursions.

  2. I almost always have a quart-sized ziploc bag of trail mix or gorp in my truck, so that’s a given. But I also found a local business which makes premium quality jerky, so I have a few pouches of that as a backup too. They have a shelf life of about a month but they never make it that far…

  3. It all depends on the trip length and goal. I generally add an extra bar or 2 or bring way too many almonds to just eat, added to what I normally eat along the trail for the way out or an emergency. On trips where the weather might cause a problem or I’m out for a night or 2 by myself I usually at least bring one more freezer bag dinner and a couple extra bars. If I’m with a group of people I tend to wind up with less food left over. This last weekend I was left with 1 nature valley bar and 1 cliff bar when I hit the trailhead.

  4. Yep, I always overpack on the food. I’m really getting into FBC so I’ve always got some extra couscous and fixings, a couple of packets of 3oz tuna and some mayonaise packets. And of course those adorable little peanut butter cups. I recently found some salsa and some queso dip in the mexican food section of the grocery store, also in the little foil lidded cups. And the last new tuckaway snack I found is single serve hummus and pretzel crackers. They’re just the right size for a trail snack and will pretty much last for a day or so without refrigeration.

  5. On day trips I carry about 2 oz of cashews in a ziplock bag. That will give me about 300 calories to go with the leftover gorp I never seem to eat all of from lunch, in case I have to bivy.

    On backpack trips, again I usually don’t eat all the gorp I pack for the lunches, so I count that as backup food. I actually like my gorp – 1/4 C each of dried pineapple, walnuts, and M&M’s, but I rarely eat it all.

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