When you hike the AT you will discover that your eating style changes, habits change and you are going to be consuming fewer calories and burning more calories at the same time. Another thing to know about eating on the trail is that you will need to carry enough food for up to five days and at the same time carry as little weight as possible. On the trail, the two heaviest items will be your water and your food and consequently, these are the two areas that you cannot cut down too much. But there are ways to cut down the weight and I will share them with you here now.

First thing is, do not plan on carrying large cans of anything, cans are heavy, bulky and you have no way of disposing of them while hiking the trail. Cans will have to be carried out with you just like they were carried in and then you get into the messy residual left after eating the canned food too, so cans are definitely out of the question. You will want to focus on packing food that comes in paperboard as much as possible or some packaging that can either be burned or packed out clean and without to much trouble. Weight is a big factor and some ways you can cut down on the weight of food is to do away with the food's packaging as much as possible.

This will also reduce waste on the trail and give you less to have to pack back out. On the trail, there is a saying that every hiker needs to understand, “what you pack in you pack out”. Reducing weight with food is easy and zip-lock bags will make packing and organizing your food easier too, plus these bags will waterproof your food better than most of their packaging. Waterproofing your food does more than just keep it dry, it also seals in the food's scent and this will be beneficial to you since you will be hiking in the wild and where there are bears and other wild animals just waiting to smell food.

An example of cutting down on foods packaging: Buy the “Easy Mac” and take all the small packs out of the large paperboard box and simple pack these in a large zip-lock style bag. This allows the food to be able to lay flat instead of stacking boxes in your pack. Another example: But the granola bar variety pack and dispose of the paperboard box take the granola bars and put them into a zip-lock style bag and they will also lay flat. You can continue this and put a surprisingly large amount of food in your pack.

Here is a recommended list of some great “trail foods”, these foods adhere to the rules above and can be cooked over an open fire if you desire. But can also be eaten uncooked which comes in handy sometimes. This is actually what the author carried during his AT hikes.

Easy-Mac and cheese, pita bread, peanut butter packets, jelly packets, oatmeal, sardines (flat pop top cans), pop tarts, coffee singles, hamburger helper (you don’t NEED any meat), White rice (the boil packs), block cheese, precooked/prepackaged hamburger (this is hard to find), potted meat, ravioli mini cans, spaghetti & meat ball mini cans, chicken N Dumpling mini cans, nutty bars, oatmeal cream pies, spam (flat individual packets), Tuna (flat individual packets), sunflower seeds, dried fruits, raisins, mini candy bars, hot chocolate packs, beanie weenie mini cans, small tortilla wraps, small coffee creamer canister, sugar packets, herbal teas (put into zip lock bags), ramen noodles, snack pack puddings, pistachio nuts, deviled ham (like potted meat), salt & pepper packets, trail mixes, salmon flat packs, mashed potatoes- Idahoan individual packs, red beans and rice packs, chicken flat packs, granola bars, flavored drink mixes, Gatorade mix (individual packets), variety of crackers all in baggies, hard candies.

Author's Bio: 

I am a published author and freelance writer with over 30 years experience. I have written for many high profile companies online including Yahoo! Inc., Examiner.com, ABCnews.com, Fiverr.com and have done 1000’s of gigs for freelance writing for folks all over the planet. I’ve had pieces published in many high profile magazines such as The New Pioneer, American Frontiersman, Backwoodsman, American Survival Guide, and Self Reliance digital magazine. I currently am a feature writer for Athlon Outdoors Inc. where I write pieces for The New Pioneer, American Frontiersman, and Survivor’s Edge magazines. I write about things that benefit others, because, to me, this is the reason I exist, to help others and to be a truth bringer. Writing is poetry, it is powerful and has a way of uncovering darkness even in the darkest times. I specialize in all things, natural living. But I also write about Zen, Spirituality, homesteading, green and organic living, off-grid living, hiking the Appalachian Trail, prepping, survival and other subjects associated with these. If you are into these or subjects like these, follow me, you won’t be sorry. Find all my books here: https://www.amazon.com/Merlyn-Seeley/e/B008EEZ9QO