Friday, May 25, 2007

Loss of appetite

There's an ongoing discussion on backpacking.net about appetite loss when on the trail. I've found this to be true on higher altitude and/or hot, dry weather hikes. You hike all day, but when you get to camp you find, in the words of the original poster, that you "just can't choke down dinner."

I've never had to address this on sea-level hikes, or in cooler climes, but was honestly amazed that my usual insatiable appetite was gone for the first few days in the Sierras. Not only does not eating affect your energy levels, ability to stay warm, and sleeping patterns, but you have to carry that extra food for the rest of your hike!

Some of my own tips, and some suggestions from other backpacker.net forum posters:
  • Pack accordingly: lighter dinners for the first few nights, progressing to more satisfying meals once you aclimatize.
  • Meals that work as leftovers: I usually make burritos my first night, then if I don't eat them, they make a great cold breakfast snack.
  • Pack tasty food: If you don't truely crave the meal at home while packing it, you probably won't crave it on the trail: only pack your favorite meals, especially for the first few nights.
  • Stay hydrated: bring juice crystals, koolaid, iced tea, whatever will encourage you to drink more water.
  • Get to camp early: Spend some time relaxing in the shade, swimming, slowly drinking, and your appetite may return. Nibble on some trail mix or other easy to eat snacks.
Some other tips from the forum include packing a favorite treat (pudding!), having a heavier lunch and lighter dinner, or having a cold meal instead of cooked, rehydrated food.

1 comment:

a.k.a. Zooomabooma said...

for Staying Hydrated here's my fave: Halls Defense Vitamin C drops. no, i don't work for them but i use these all the time, they come in Cherry, Watermelon, Strawberry, Lemon, Orange and I think Grapefruit is in the mixed Citrus pack... 1 drop per Liter and that does well in masking any bad taste in water and hittin' you up with some good Vitamin C!