Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Trail Food Syndrome (TFS)

Do you read the back of packages and get excited when you see a high fat content?

Have you ever tried to work out the percentage of calories per ounce? (Bonus points if you can then convert it into grams)
Whilst shopping do you look at a box and wonder how small you can compress it once you get the food out of the box?

If the cooking instructions is anything more complex than ‘add water’ do you think to yourself “useless”
Are you convinced that ‘Iced Frosting’ will make a good lunch as it’s over half the calorie RDI in one tub?

If you answered yes to 2 or more of those questions then you have ‘Trail food syndrome’. The RDI (regular daily intake) for an average adult is around 2000 calories, this they will burn off over the course of the day going about their business. Most people will fill the RDI easily with a couple of good meals, some snacks and a few drinks. On the trail however every extra kilo you carry makes your work harder. The more you carry, the slower you go, the greater your exertion conversely the more food you need.. A kind of catch 22.
The average hiker is burning a lot more than 2000 calories a day and as weight is at a premium shopping becomes an exercise in not “what will taste good?” rather a more prosaic mindset of “how am I going to get the calories?”
Some people don’t mind carrying heavy packs and going slow. I’ve met people walking who carry tubs of salt/sugar, fresh produce, meat etc.. They have big packs.. it looks kind of painful.
Me I sort of have a standard menu when I’m on the trail..

Breakfast – 2-3 little oat satchets with dried fruit, generally cold but sometimes hot if I brew up a cuppa as well
Smoko – muesli bar(s)
Lunch – Dry biscuits and vegemite (almost out.. it’s going to be a sad day when that happens), chocolate bar

Arvo snack – more muesli/chocolate bars.. sometimes jerky
Dinner – Pasta pack & tuna pack, or double pasta/rice packs. If it’s the first night out of town then maybe something a bit special (heavy).

It’s a pretty grim menu, it’s all processed which some of my friends back home will note with disdain but trust me it tastes really good when you’re hungry. MmmMmm.
The menu I’ve described still doesn’t cover your RDI so I’ve had to balance this by making a pig of myself whenever I go into town.. something I’m about to do right now… No tuna packs for dinner tonight…. yeeha


  1. Have a steak and fresh vegetables dinner tonight! Still interesting and varied reading subjects. Well done Velyan. Glad you're doing the participant-observation research, not me. Is it harder physically than the Cycling Solo?

  2. Hey Veyan the pool is cooling down, only 26 degrees - celsius that is. Today is a typical start of dry season day, overcast with a wind and no humidity. I am sitting here with no fans. We are really enjoying following your journey. Graham, whose trail name would have to be 'Hypothermia' (as he is the only person in the world who gets it in Darwin) does not dream of being in the Smokies!!

  3. You're attracting a few fans. 'Trev writes like a natural', (Peter, ex-Antarctic expeditioner) I guess he relates to the cold.

  4. I sat and yelled for Collingwood in your honor Trev! What a win - it was a nail biter to the bitter end, lol. Shame you didn't get to see it, but I'm pretty sure we will get to yell together at a few more games in the future ( even if Eastenders is on when you walk in the door).
    Another great chapter in your adventure, keep writing so I can keep enjoying!

  5. The perfect accompaniment for eating tuna and pasta with frozen fingers in a blizzard would be a swig of the moonshine you mentioned earlier.