We've expanded our food horizons in the last couple of years, therefore, it's time to change the page to reflect these changes...and to give all y'all a few more ideas.


Our Food List for a 3 Day Trip up the Main Trail

Breakfast...A not so fast start on the day, most of the time


We keep it fairly simple for breakfast. Coffee and Oatmeal. I utilized various flavors of Quaker Oats Instant Oatmeal whereas my primary backpacking partner makes his own out of instant oatmeal, nuts, dried fruit, dried milk and sugar. We both generally have a couple of cups of coffee with breakfast and are not anal about how we pack this "necessity" of life. Bring sugar and creamer, if you so desire.

Trail Foods...Between breakfast, lunch and the end of the hiking day the engine has to be stoked


Generally, these foods are to keep you energized going up the trail. This is where we build our extra food in case we get stuck out an extra day. Again, my partner and differ a great deal in this area. He brings a lot more food. In my cargo pocket is a raisin/peanut mix, Clif Bar and a roll of cinnamon Mentos; in the top pocket of the pack is Slim Jim Beef/Cheese or some Jerky and maybe a Milky Way bar kept reasonably cool in the hydration sleeve of my pack. This food is used to maintain an even energy level while going up the trail. Usually, there is a bunch of this stuff left over at the end of hiking unless it's a really long day, we have done a many as 18 miles/day backpacking in the Sierra...then there ain't much of this stuff leftover.

Lunch...The pause which refreshes

We look at the first day's lunch as the best lunch of the trip. Usually, on a sandwich consisting of non cured meats on a fresh bagel, something you can't get on day two and a piece of fresh fruit. In the cooler months we will throw in a Snickers or Milky Way bar in the warmer summer months some Mother's Sandwich cookies. This meal ends up being around 1,000 calories...give or take. My partner is big on soups and will do some Top Ramen on cool days.


The last few years I have been taking dried fruit, Black wax very hard Gouda and Trader Joe's Pretzel crackers for lunch but this is getting pretty old. So, I'm looking for something different for 2010.


The last few years, I have gone back to using Cytomax religiously. What I have found is cramping is no longer a problem at the end of the day.


We utilize various and sundry prepackaged condiments appropriated from various fast food restaurants...pick your poison.

Afternoon Snack...When there is time


When we get into camp early generally we'll snack on some left over trail food alone with a hot drink to re-hydrate. I'll utilize coffee or hot chocolate with a bit of Kahlua and my partner has some tea and a bit of Jack...the days of a Spartan existence on the trail are in the past. This will tide us over until dinner.

Dinner...A new paradigm

This has become the fun meal of the day. The only freeze dried meal I would consider any more is lasagna. Now, its Tortellini with olive oil and parmesan cheese, Thai noodles in spicy peanut butter sauce or something else very tasty, a couple of glasses of good red wine, hot chocolate or a Milky Way bar for dessert. My partner is a bit more adventurous he utilizes freeze dried meats, dehydrate pastas and sauces alone with soups for the day ending meal, his appetite is much bigger than mine. Again, my partner and I are looking for some new things for 2010.


Then it is, some good conversation before the cold chases us into the tent to listen to some tunes on the MP3 player in a very warm sleeping bag.

End of Trip...Another change in our plan

Before we head up to a trailhead we will load the cooler up with ice so, that when we come out a couple days later the 4 beers at the bottom of the damn thing are ice cold, it works most of the time. We put the cooler in the bear box marked "Will return x/ touch my beer I break your face"...forget the last part or your beer will be missing. There is nothing like an Anchor Steam, Alaskan Amber and some "evil chips".

Food Tips


The best tip we can give you on food is...if you don't like it at sea level you are going like it even less at 12,000'. There hasn't been a trip to 14,000' where one of my hiking buddies or myself have not had a problem with food, either loss of appetite, nothing tasting good or nausea. Some of the stories are really pretty a friend who left his food along the trail at the 14,246' White Mountain because he could not stand the thought of it being in his pack, to my getting a big case of AMS on  that peak and not regaining my appetite until we made it to Big Pine 6 or 7 hours later.  These are extreme but they do happen. Remember, it's impossible to fuel an engine without the key to gas cap...this can ruin a trip.


These are the extremes but you should be aware of this problem especially if you haven't crossed over the 12,000' barrier before.


Some of us are more than a bit forgetful so, make sure you have every zipper on you pack open because if you don't the elfin bears will tear it apart to get that Milky Way you left behind the hydration bladder in the hydration sleeve. Along the same lines, do not leave any food in your tent. The local marmot population will bring their drilling equipment to gain access to the food in your tent...if any of this happens to you should go see Penny.


We do not plan on lunch on the way out from a trip the length of Trail Camp to Whitney Portal. We utilize the extra food build into the trip. You will want to build up an appetite for the Cheeseburger and Garlic Fries at the Whitney Portal Store...and the beers from your cooler.

 The Mt. Whitney Backpacking Page
  Home | The Main Mt. Whitney Trail | Spring on Mt. Whitney | New Army Pass to Whitney Portal
  Cottonwood Pass to Whitney Portal | Onion Valley to Whitney Portal | Main Trail Alternative | The Mountaineering Route | Mt. Langley | Gear
  The Light Way | Backpacking FAQ | SoCal Training Trips | Planning | Permit Strategies
  Gear & Trail Tips

The Mt. Whitney Day Hike Page
   Home | The Whitney Experience | Mt. Langley | White Mountain | Planning | Gear, Food and Clothing | The Light Way | Day Hiking FAQ | SoCal Training Ideas

Shared Pages

Photo Gallery | Trail Map | Directions | Message Board | Area Guide | Guide Books | Basic Information | Links
Travel on Snow and Ice | Trail Dangers | Finding A Wilderness Experience |  Permit 2008 | The Blog

E-Mail any questions or comments

Date of Last Change: 12/22/09