It is bitter outside and a bit of snow not the day for a drive to Aberdeen but needs must. In winter it is important you eat well and on the hill recently I was asked about food for the hill. In winter with the effect of the weather, the wind and a bit bigger bag, maybe deep snow the old saying ” I mile in winter = 2″ so lots more energy is expended. Add deep snow and a head wind and few places to stop, at times you eat on the move. To those who have never experienced the winter proper here is a few tips.
A great part of a hill day is stopping for a break and having a drink and some food! This is especially true in winter when often it is difficult to have a break and replenish the energy reserves. A little and often is the answer and in winter I on a wild winters day I carry some food handy in the pockets, like jelly babies or a cereal bar. I find that the modern gels and power bars are costly and awful but understand they work for some.
If I can the day before I go out I try to eat a pasta based meal the night before.Many forget that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I enjoy my porridge what a great starter slow burning food with a banana and honey. I always carry a hot flask in winter this year its Mint tea and honey, superb and well worth the weight. It is also hard to get the liquid in winter and many carry various high tech drinks and gels but I am old school and drink water or a bottle of hot juice. I also ensure I replenish my fluid loss in the car on the way home and before I go out drink like a camel?
On the hill I will have a few sandwiches, jam or honey, oatcakes and cheese, sweets like jelly babies, cereal bars and fruit. The other day we had home made cake and it was crazy that on our Big Walks in the 70’s one man “Big Jim” could eat so much chocolate on a big hill day of 11 Munros it makes me ill to think how many bars he could eat? See if you can guess?
The famous Eric Langmuir book Mountain Leadership had a piece on calories used on the hill. Someone has my copy do you have an idea how many calories a hill day can use?
“The number of calories burned hiking depends in part on your body weight. In general, a 160-lb person burns between 430 and 440 calories per hour of hiking. A 200-lb person burns approximately 550 calories per hour of hiking. The more you weigh, the more calories you burn in an hour of hiking.
Backpacker Magazine suggests a calorie estimate based on body weight and the general intensity of the day’s activity. For a strenuous day of backpacking with a “heavy” pack (no weight range specified), they suggest 25 to 30 calories per pound of body weight. Using my 185-pound self as a proxy, that’s 4,625 to 5,550 calories.
As you’ll notice, estimates vary pretty markedly. For the criteria I used (185-pound person backpacking for eight hours with a moderate to heavy load), estimates range from roughly 4,600 calories to more than 6,300 calories.”
Anyway over the years I have got far more interested in hill food and most of the expeditions I was lucky to be on I planned the food like on Everest in 2001 in Tibet. A three month trip where the food was vital part of a successful expedition. After all few know that was in the RAF as a Caterer for 37 years!
I wrote a longer piece on my Blog on 2 Feb 2017 it may be worth a read?
Food for thought?