Calories per Day

armstrml

New Member
Feb 24, 2015
8
0
Indiana
I'll be going on an early season high country mule deer hunt this year and I'm wondering how many calories per day I should plan for in putting together my food list. I see Brandon Mason recommends 3500 on the you tube channel. This seems a like a lot. Obviously it will vary person to person but I'm just trying to get a general idea. Thanks.


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25contender

Veteran member
Mar 20, 2013
1,633
59
I have always pack between 2500-3000 and haven't had any issues during my 14 day hunts. A lot of times early in the hunt I will have some things left over and throw them in a ziplock. Then about the 10th day I require a few more calories and rob from the leftovers.
 

Dos Perros

Member
Jul 1, 2015
128
0
I saw on Greg Ritz's Hunt Masters that for his goat hunt they went down to 1500 kCal/day (to save weight I'm assuming). I think it was for 5 to 7 days. Just some perspective.
 

ScottR

Eastmans' Staff / Moderator
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Feb 3, 2014
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Ok, so to put that video into perspective, and give an explanation on where we got that number.

At my body weight and age according to the Mayo clinic calculator at my height, weight, and age I will need 3300 calories to MAINTAIN my body weight. I am 6'5", 235lbs and I wouldn't be called obese by any stretch.

This past year Brandon and I did 5.5 miles and 3000 feet of elevation to get to where I killed by bull. It took two trips to get him out which means we did 16.5 miles and 9000 total feet of elevation gain. As you can guess this would mean that I had a higher calorie output than the usual 3300 to maintain my weight. Adding 200 calories is not a bad thing and will as a rule help performance in the backcountry.

Is this something that we should cover? The why and how of calorie needs in the backcountry?
 

Apparition

Active Member
Jan 26, 2014
211
0
54
Pine Grove, PA
Im 5'9" 190lbs and according to the calorie counter on the fit app Im using, Im burning roughly 900 calories per hour humping a 55lb pack up and down the hills in central PA. I know when Im elk hunting all day, I pretty much have to force myself to eat, just getting down 2,000 calories seems to be a chore, especially if youre talking mountain house.
 

armstrml

New Member
Feb 24, 2015
8
0
Indiana
Ok, so to put that video into perspective, and give an explanation on where we got that number.

At my body weight and age according to the Mayo clinic calculator at my height, weight, and age I will need 3300 calories to MAINTAIN my body weight. I am 6'5", 235lbs and I wouldn't be called obese by any stretch.

This past year Brandon and I did 5.5 miles and 3000 feet of elevation to get to where I killed by bull. It took two trips to get him out which means we did 16.5 miles and 9000 total feet of elevation gain. As you can guess this would mean that I had a higher calorie output than the usual 3300 to maintain my weight. Adding 200 calories is not a bad thing and will as a rule help performance in the backcountry.

Is this something that we should cover? The why and how of calorie needs in the backcountry?
It definitely helps to see how you got to that number and the reasoning behind it. I ran the calculator as well and it spit out 3150 to maintain 175 lbs at 5'11". Obviously it varies person to person. I agree the extra few hundred calories definitely do not hurt when you are expending yourself that much. I just want to try and balance them with the weight. What was your weight per day of food at that 3500 calories? Thanks.
 

Aron@kifaru

New Member
Mar 9, 2014
30
0
Colorado
A few things/rules to think about:

1) All the food you put inside your pack should weigh at least 100 calories per ounce (or more)

2) Just because you don't feel hungry on a mountain hunt, doesn't mean you shouldn't be eating anyway! You're body needs to replenish and rebuild and food/water/sleep is what makes that happen. Water is the same way; just because you're not thirsty, doesn't mean you stop drinking....that usually results in death.

3) You CAN get away with a very low caloric intake on a backpack hunt, but you'll be running on barrowed time and most don't know when that time will run out. So if you crap out on day 5 of a 10 day hunt, was saving a few ounces a day worth it?

4) Even a 3,500 calorie per day meal plan won't get you half enough caloric intake on a tough backpack hunt and you can expect to burn over 4,500+ per day and double that if you're really getting after it. So the guys that are bringing 1,500 per day are probably also loosing 1-3 on their own body weight each day too....not healthy

NOTE: A backpack hunt is not the place to go on a diet or test the waters of food depravation. You've spent a lot of money on gear and tags, so WHY risk starving yourself to save a little weight?

Good luck this season!
 
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Murdy

Active Member
Dec 13, 2011
359
0
North-Central Illinois
Old rule of thumb was under normal conditions you need 15 calories to maintain 1 pound for one day. This lines up with approximately what Scott posted, so multiply body weight times 15 if you don't have a computer handy.
 

hoshour

Veteran member
You can take a breath test to see how many calories your body burns at rest. I don't know how accurate it is but I had it done at my gym and I think it was very close for me - about 2200 calories for a 6 ft., 61 year old guy. I would guess on a hard day of hunting I burn double that, if not more.

When I was on my sheep and goat hunt last fall, I probably ate 3,000 calories/day and lost 8 lbs in 14 days. But since only 6 or 7 of those days were extreme hiking days where I wore myself flat out, I think I lost over 1 lb a day on those days. Since 1 lb of fat is lost for every 3,500 calories worth of exercise above maintenance, I probably burned 7,000 calories a day on those really tough days.
 
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Micah S

Active Member
Jan 11, 2016
189
99
Sandy Oregon
I've always tried to eat as much food as possible. I normally eat 3000 to 3500 calories a day during the off season and during season I try to up my calorie intake to 4000 to 4500. Even with adding 1000 calories to my diet I drop about 10-15 lbs during archery season.
 

ivorytip

Veteran member
Mar 24, 2012
3,759
29
I never count calories while in the mountains. I pack more food than I think ill need, plus extra candy bars and what not, if I get hungry I eat. if im starving, I eat. if I plan on being away from base camp for 5 days ill have 2 oatmeal packs for each morn, just snack on trail mix or cliff bars through out the day when needed. then a nice mountain house meal at night. to me, counting calories just makes things to complicated. bring some extra and eat when ur hungry. when im hanging around base camp........ id die if I knew the amount of calories I was consuming in greasy fat cheeseburgers smothered in bacon and cheese:)
 

mntnguide

Very Active Member
I never count calories while in the mountains. I pack more food than I think ill need, plus extra candy bars and what not, if I get hungry I eat. if im starving, I eat. if I plan on being away from base camp for 5 days ill have 2 oatmeal packs for each morn, just snack on trail mix or cliff bars through out the day when needed. then a nice mountain house meal at night. to me, counting calories just makes things to complicated. bring some extra and eat when ur hungry. when im hanging around base camp........ id die if I knew the amount of calories I was consuming in greasy fat cheeseburgers smothered in bacon and cheese:)
+1...Im right with you. I dont count calories when it comes to preparing for a multi-day hunt. I just pack food to where i feel its adequate and I eat when hungry. I know how my body is effected through strenuous days of hunting and hiking and plan accordingly as to how nasty and steep the country is and how much I will be going up and down...Which for my honey hole in Idaho...is all up and i swear no down sometimes!! but the bulls...o the bulls make it so worth it haha. Im more than happy to pack a little more in on my back to make sure I have enough food to last an extra day or so if neeeded.
 

Matthoek21

Veteran member
Mar 18, 2011
1,904
0
Peachtree City, GA.
I tried packing 3500 + calories a day one time up a hill. When I got up there I didn't have time to hunt. I had to start eating and keep eating so I didn't have to pack it out. :D I'm like Ivory an mtnguide I just pack what I know I will eat and some extra just in case. I eat when I'm hungry and I have snacks. I do try and eat stuff with high calorie to weight ratios. I usually do a bar or Mtn House for breakfast then snacks for lunch(like tuna fish) and Mtn House for supper. This works for me for 5-7 days.
 

ScottR

Eastmans' Staff / Moderator
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Feb 3, 2014
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One of the things to bear in mind with this guys is energy level. If your energy level stinks it is likely due to not having enough food to fuel your activity level. As weird as this may sound, I have made it a habit to force feed myself a bunch of calories on the first couple days of the hunt because altitude change, mild dehydration, etc. can actually cut appetite even though you are burning more.
 

jmwyoming

Active Member
Feb 28, 2013
190
13
One of the things to bear in mind with this guys is energy level. If your energy level stinks it is likely due to not having enough food to fuel your activity level. As weird as this may sound, I have made it a habit to force feed myself a bunch of calories on the first couple days of the hunt because altitude change, mild dehydration, etc. can actually cut appetite even though you are burning more.
Plus 1 on this response. Your appetite is suppressed when you have been hiking a lot at higher elevations, so hunger is no longer a sign of when you need to eat. Try eating a little something every 2 hours. Staying hydrated is very important. Calorie intake 2500 to 3500 a day.300 to 400 carbohydrates a day as well.