[pct-l] Dehydrated food on arid stretches of trail?

Jim Marco jdm27 at cornell.edu
Wed Oct 17 10:37:50 CDT 2012

Well, that depends on where and when you have water available, as Scott, said. But, fresh food can also spoil easily in any type of heat. Meats, fresh vegetables, fruits can all go bad in 24 hours in dark, warm and humid conditions. Fruits can ferment producing alcohol, making your body requirement for water higher. Wastage is another concern. Often fresh foods, especially things like watermelon (as an example,) can have large amounts of waste; the rind and seeds often account for nearly half the weight.  

Generally, you need two cups of water per day to keep your body fairly flushed of metabolic byproducts. Less, and your kidneys work overtime, potentially damaging them, and your whole body can be damaged from the increased metabolic byproducts. More water, within limits, is usually just eliminated. (Breathing, insensible sweating and heat regulation accounts for other portions.) Assuming weight gain/loss is balanced, metabolizing food will produce small amounts of water, not enough to keep you alive, though. Generally, you need the have water, so, don't scrimp on it, unless you are forced to. 

Carrying dehydrated food and water separately is generally better for trips longer than a single day. Eat up in town, but avoid fresh foods on the trail. An apple will not hurt, it keeps fairly well and wastage is minimal. Fresh meats may spoil in less than 12 hours. Dehydrated food is often fairly calorie dense with most waste already eliminated. Would I carry a piece of watermelon at 12oz or a couple 1oz pieces of candy? Use your own judgment. 
James D. Marco

> -----Original Message-----
> From: pct-l-bounces at backcountry.net [mailto:pct-l-
> bounces at backcountry.net] On Behalf Of Scott Bryce
> Sent: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 11:41 PM
> Cc: pct-l at backcountry.net
> Subject: Re: [pct-l] Dehydrated food on arid stretches
> of trail?
> On 10/16/2012 6:11 PM, Ron Graybill wrote:
> > This may be be a niave question, my being a
> relatively inexperienced
> > hiker planning my PCT adventure.  But is there any
> advantage to
> > carrying dehydrated food on stretches of the trail
> where water is
> > scarce?  I mean, what's the difference between having
> to carry extra
> > water to hydrate your food, or carrying food from the
> grocery store
> > that already has the moisture in it?
> Water used to rehydrate meals only has to be carried
> from the last water source. his is true, even in the
> desert. If you plan your meals and snacks carefully,
> you should be able to eat dry food until you pass a
> water source. Even if you have to carry water a
> significant distance to rehydrate a meal, you did not
> have to carry that water all the way from your last
> resupply.
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