Food Selection For GSMNP Hike

My wife and I, along with a buddy of mine, will head to the Smokies this weekend for a nice little (overdue) get-a-way. Typically I will do a video, or at least write about the gear that I take on these trips, however, I feel like I have done a few of those recently and figured I would go a different route this time. Something more…difficult (at least for me). So, I thought to myself, “I will do a video on the food that I will be carrying.” So, this is what I did.

For some reason, figuring out what food I want to bring is a little difficult for me. Mostly because I just cannot think of what I want. But, I do know that I want to keep it very simple, both to prepare as well as to eat, and let’s not forget to clean up after as well! So, saying that you can probably figure out that I like to simply add hot water.

This is fine. I am good with eating Oatmeal each morning (for a while anyway). There are quite a few different flavors in those instant oatmeal boxes and they even come in their own little prep/serving pouches. And until I figure out how to dehydrate food (correctly), there are tons of other choices (ok, maybe not tons, but there is quite a bit to choose from). But what really gets me is lunches. I do not want to cook for lunch, and I want it super-simple. So, I have been stuck on tuna wraps…I figure if anything gets old quickly, it will be these… I must say though that my favorite lunches so far have been the ones in which we stop at a Subway on the way in and get a cold cut with those little packets of oil and such… yum… But we will be leaving to early this time to accomplish this…

Also, since our (my wife’s and I) overall pack weights are pretty low (finally) we have decided to split the food up this time (ok, it was mostly my idea). She will be carrying her food and I will be carrying mine. So, before packing our food up, but after laying it out, I decided to do a little video to show what we will be carrying, and here it is:

We will not be leaving for a few more days, but due to our itineraries we will be busy the next few days so we went ahead and loaded our packs up tonight. So, getting away from food (and back to the fun part!) I can talk about total weight. Her total pack weight, counting food and 1L of water comes to exactly 20 pounds. And happily, my total pack weight after food, 1L water and ~ 14 oz of HEET comes to a grand total of 22.4 pounds! This is awesome. There are a few things that I could cut out still, but at this weight I am not worried about it!

But anyway, I do have a detailed gear list for each of us, which I will link to here:

Of course while on the trip I will also do some more videos of the trip in general, as well as some gear reviews on a few items which I will post sometime after I get back. So, until then, if you have any comments please leave them below and as always, thanks for reading!


About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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11 Responses to Food Selection For GSMNP Hike

  1. Lynn in Ga says:

    I like peanut butter and honey sandwiches myself. It’s quick and easy and I bring the honey for my tea anyway so it’s not a lot more for me to take. Love the tuna packets though, I hadn’t thought about doing that before.


    • Stick says:


      I agree, those are pretty good. I also like peanut butter and banana sandwiches. For one hike we brought some peanut butter sandwiches already made and a few bananas. Then we simply sliced the banana’s over the sandwich when it was time to eat. It was good, but those banana’s don’t last long! Gotta be quick!



  2. GTS says:

    Hey Stick,
    I’m glad I found your blog. I’ll be looking forward to reading your posts. I’ve recently just started hiking again after too many years. My wife and I have four children and I had hoped to make this a family affair but have only had a small amount of success. That being said, to my joy, my son (age 11) seems to be into it. I started gearing up again and am planning an over-nighter in the Spring or early Summer in Harriman State Park (NY) with a goal of working up to eventually hitting the High Peaks in the Adirondacks sometime in the future (Lord willing.) Since I’ve just begun to blog ( I’m thinking I might post a few on my trip plans. Anyway enough pontificating. Thank’s for posting.


    • Stick says:


      I am glad you found my blog too! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to check it out and leaving a comment though. (I like comments.)

      Yes, getting the family out can be a chore. My son does enjoy going though so that is a big plus. (He even talks of thru hiking the AT one day! I hope that we can do it together.) Also, he has his own gear which he carry’s so he is really doing it himself. My wife does not mind going either, but she isn’t up for hikes much over a week at a time, so unfortunately I will not get to thru with her… But that is ok cause I know I will be able to count on her while I am gone. However, missing them will be the hard part. And then there is my daughter… Haha… she wanted to be carried on a trip to Grotto Falls in the Smokies (1 mile each way) but everytime she sees me packing she states that she wants to go… So, one day this summer I am going to take her to Sipsey and see how she does there…

      So, saying all of this, I wish you the very best of luck with both getting back into it as well as getting the family out together. It can be a very amazing time with the family, that is when things go well… 🙂

      Happy hiking,



    • GTS says:

      Hey Stick,

      I just realized that I posted my blog incorrectly. It should have been:
      BTW, I plan on showing your videos to the gang I’m going to be hiking with. I’m with you when it comes to easy, quick food. I’d rather be spending my time with other things… although I love to eat.


      Thanks for the invite but I’ve got to be about other things that date… I’ll take a rain check though.



    • Stick says:


      Thanks for spreading the word!


    • Raul Perez says:


      I’ll be hitting Harriman April 9th for an overnighter if you want to tag along for part or all of the way. I’ll be doing an overnighter from Bear Mountain Inn to William Brien Shelter (8 miles one way, 16 miles round trip).

      Trail Name “Water Monkey”


  3. Raul says:

    Nice spread you got there.

    I hate cliff bars…. like really hate cliff bars. I’m still looking around for that perfect energy bar besides snickers…hmmmm snickers!

    I tend to bring a bit more snacks than you during the day but I’m an eating machine I eat 5-6 times a day when I’m not hiking. That was my main motivation to achieving a base weight at 10lbs and below… more food baby

    Lunch I tend to mix it up every other day to stop appetite fatigue which I get really easily on the trail. I’ll bring spreads, jerkey, and granola gorp and switch out what I want each day.

    I’m wondering if that mountain house food is enough for both of you for dinner time. MH tends to run small on the meals even if it says 2 servings I could eat it all up and ask for more.

    Check out I like the food better than mountain house.

    How much fuel do you burn each meal? 14oz seems like a lot of fuel for 2 1/2 days even for 2 people.

    Congrats on the pack weight. It’s only going to get lower each trip you take.


    • Stick says:


      I have been happy with the Clif bars that I have tried. I especially liked on the the spiced pumpkin or something another that I tried around the holidays (so it was a seasonal flavor). And while I am not a huge Snickers fan they are quite good on the trail.

      I do believe that I am happy with the amount of food that we have. If anything, the dinner the first night may be a little slim (Ramen) but I find that I don’t usually get too hungry on the trail till after a few days, so with all the snacks we have I am anticipating that this will be sufficient. As far as the MH meal, they are usually fine between the 2 of us since we have other stuff to go with it. Now don’t get me wrong though, I have ate the whole bag before on my own… 🙂

      I do like honey and peanut butter and I thought about carrying some on this trip but I ended up going with the tuna again.

      I have heard of Hawkvittles but never tried any of their stuff. Typically if I order food off the net I will do so when placing another order so that I don’t have to pay s&h. But if I ever decide to place just a food order I will try them out. Which meals do you suggest? And how are their breakfast? I have sworn off those eggs in a pouch. If I am going to do eggs, I will crack some into a container and bring them that way, but I like simple and that is not as simple as boiling water…

      For fuel, I am considering 1.25 oz per meal and for sure 2 meals a day and probably boiling water a 3rd time for something hot right before bed. So, to err on the safe side I want at least 10 oz. The reason I have 14 oz listed is cause that is what is left in the bottle I am taking. I am taking 2 bottles. A 4 oz squirt bottle that came with my stoves, and then I have a 12 oz soda bottle that I bring to refill the squirt bottle. I do not fill either bottle completely because I like to leave a little room just in case they get warm and expand. Saying this I have about 3.5 oz in the small bottle and probably about 10 oz in the other. I could pour out a little but it is not a problem just to carry it. I do not like to have a bunch of HEET poured into different bottles in the house, even if it is all in one place. And the bottles are marked with the ole’ skull n crossbones.

      I am impressed with the weight. I really was expecting it to be around 26 so when I saw the 22.4 I was thrilled. However, I will probably end up carrying all the food since my pack is so light and it will lighten her pack.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Raul.



    • Raul Perez says:


      I’ve tried:

      Packers Potatoes (Breakfast)… not a fan

      Shrimp Jambalaya… not bad but I’m not a huge couscous fan

      Buffalo Pasta… AWESOME

      Cowboy Pasta….AWESOME

      Going to try on my 4/9/11 trip:

      Breakfast Grits
      Spicy Chicken
      Creamy Tuna Spread
      Hot Bean Spread

      Going to try on my big 60 mile hike 4/30:

      Clam Vermicelli
      Buffalo Stew
      Plus the others that I liked

      If you want I’ll keep you posted on the meals. I find I’m not as hungry after I eat these meals than when I eat mountain house plus less salt.


    • Stick says:

      Thanks Raul for the run down. I will have to look into the Buffalo Pasta as well as the Cowboy pasta. And less salt is always a good thing!


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