One of the most obvious challenges to winter backpacking is keeping warm. But when it comes to staying toasty in the backcountry, top-dollar down jackets and wool socks can only do so much. The key to resisting the cold while trekking through snowy backcountry this winter depends just as much on the food you eat as the gear you wear. Here are our tips for planning, packing, and preparing meals that will fuel your body's furnace, all while keeping your pack light.
You may need a scale for this step. For every day of trekking, be sure to pack two pounds of food. Keep in mind this ratio for daily meals: 50% carbohydrates, 25% proteins and 25% fats. Fats, which carry twice as many calories per gram than protein and carbs, warm the body particularly well in snow conditions since fats take longer to be digested.
Cold and Ready
On day hikes, feel free to pack sandwiches, fruits, and veggies. However, on treks lasting more than a day or two, an Italian sub from the grocery store deli can only get you so far. Pack foods that are durable and require little to no cooking: hard breads like baguettes, extra-sharp cheddar (stays fresh in winter temps), jerky, almonds, Granny Smith apples, muesli, ready-to-eat fish, dehydrated mashed potatoes, and a squeeze bottle of olive oil -- to name a few. For more packable food ideas, check out our list of foods for active lifestyles.