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Wild camping the WHW - What food to take?

Wild camping the WHW - What food to take?


Postby Steven001 » Fri Feb 03, 2017 2:17 pm

Hi folks,

I'm planning on walking the West Highland Way very soon and I'm trying to decide the best option for my main means. I will be wild camping the whole route and plan on carrying all my food for 5 days. My rough meal plan is:

Breakfast: Porridge + breakfast bar + coffee
Snack: Nuts
Lunch: Quick bite when passing through Balloch and Tyndrum (fish+chips etc) or dehydrated meals after Tyndrum.
Dinner: Dehydrated meal + nuts
Night snack: Snickers or similar + hot chocolate

The trouble is that dehydrated meals only provide between 400-calories max, which isn't a lot. The total calories eat per day with the above diet is about 2305. When you factor in walking 17-20 miles per day, that's going to be quite a deficit!

What would you guys recommend for eating and is there any particular brand of dehydrated/boil in the bag meals you prefer? I'd love to make my own but I don't have the equipment. Thanks.
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Re: Wild camping the WHW - What food to take?

Postby whiteburn » Fri Feb 03, 2017 4:14 pm

1/ Add 25g of butter & raisins (&/or nuts) to the porridge, should add 200cals.
2/ Shop your local supermarket, they have a selection of products that’ll equal outdoor shop bought dehydrated meals & provided you have a bit of imagination they can pack more calories:
Super noodles & pasta cooked up in a dehydrated soup provide a decent base to add to e.g. chorizo cheese, tuna, precooked meat or bacon bits; probably ~800cals
Most supermarket chains have dehydrated pasta meals cheap (carbonara, tomato, etc) again a good base to add things to OR just eat 2. Where to instruction state add milk I just add 25g of butter.
If you can get hold of them ‘Butteries’ are good lunch fodder; a lot higher calories than bread or oatcakes.
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Re: Wild camping the WHW - What food to take?

Postby walkingpoles » Fri Feb 03, 2017 4:59 pm

It depends how much you want to bother with food and whether your stove allows cooking or can only boil water.

Make sure to know where the food places / shops are. It helps planning and it helps improvising when your actual mileage turns out to be different. I haven't done the WHW, so I don't know where all the good spots are.

Tiso in Glasgow sells 800 kcal dry food bags. Still not enough but the highest I've seen available. I topped it up with egg powder. But I don't know where to get that in Scotland.

I wouldn't cook for lunch. It's raining anyway. I brought pitta/wrap-bread (more kcal per gram than usual bread) and wrapped some marzipan with it. Salami wouldn't have been wrong. I usually allow for 200 grams of chocolate a day (partly replaceable with Kendal mint cake). You'll be able to buy lunch stuff in Balloch, Kinlochleven and probably also Tyndrum (somebody else should confirm. I wouldn't rely on it).

If you go for fish'nchips in every pub you see, chances are you bring too much food with you. (I like the organic chippie at Tyndrum). Some places might also sell you a cooked breakfast that is enough calories for 2 days. In the morning I preferred a quick start, so no cooking. I had a peronin laced muesli which worked with cold water. There are places that sell tea/coffee (and a slice of cake for a bonus).
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Re: Wild camping the WHW - What food to take?

Postby Caberfeidh » Fri Feb 03, 2017 6:37 pm

You could copy Hamish MacInnes ; when he and a mate were climbing in the Himalayas they bought a live sheep from a monastery and dragged it up the hill with them. Butchering it above the snowline will help keep the meat fresh.
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Re: Wild camping the WHW - What food to take?

Postby Guinessman » Fri Feb 03, 2017 10:00 pm

I never get hung up on the calorie intake. My normal day for backpacking would be,
Breakfast, cup a porridge and a cup of black tea.
Lunch, either a tin of mackerel fillets or a lunch time salad from tescos and a flapjack ( from Home Bargains 29p best around), stream water,
Night time, 2x cup a soups and a packet of dehydrated pasta- Bolognese beanfeast is my favourite at the minute.

Does me and its probably why I lose weight every time I go away!

Incidentally I,m doing the WHW in April this year as part of my version of the SNT and aim to take 5 1/2 days for the WHW. I will be getting 3 days food in Milngavie and with stops at Easter Drumquassle ( I will have walked from Kilsyth), Rowardennan and Beinglas (pub nearby and on site) I'll be doing a shop at Tyndrum (2 days) and at Kinlochleven (1 day) if required
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Re: Wild camping the WHW - What food to take?

Postby Wok de dog » Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:12 pm

Jaffa cakes. You can survive 3 weeks without food.
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Re: Wild camping the WHW - What food to take?

Postby Fiona Reid » Sat Feb 04, 2017 10:01 pm

In 5 days you are not going to starve to death! You might finish a wee bit hungry but so what. Just enjoy the walk and don't worry about calories etc you consume you are not going to waste away!
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Re: Wild camping the WHW - What food to take?

Postby cjonesfz » Sun Feb 05, 2017 12:19 am

I did it a few years back and bought some 800cal packs from expedition foods. If I'm honest - they were overkill. We were having a light breakfast each morning wherever we'd been staying and typically we'd be having a pub lunch somewhere so I ended up with plenty leftover! Prior to that I walked Hadrians wall and we get on fine by cooking up all sorts of supermarket stuff - pastas/smash/chilli etc.

As others have said, there are plenty of places to buy food on the way so I wouldn't worry about it too much.
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Re: Wild camping the WHW - What food to take?

Postby Essan » Mon Feb 06, 2017 5:23 pm

Caberfeidh wrote:You could copy Hamish MacInnes ; when he and a mate were climbing in the Himalayas they bought a live sheep from a monastery and dragged it up the hill with them. Butchering it above the snowline will help keep the meat fresh.


That's silly!

The snowline could well be 3,000ft when Steven does his walk. He'd have to climb nearly to the summit of Ben Lomond or Ben Dorain every day for his breakfast, again for lunch and then for tea, greatly increasing his calorofic burn!
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Re: Wild camping the WHW - What food to take?

Postby Caberfeidh » Mon Feb 06, 2017 6:25 pm

Essan wrote:
Caberfeidh wrote:You could copy Hamish MacInnes ; when he and a mate were climbing in the Himalayas they bought a live sheep from a monastery and dragged it up the hill with them. Butchering it above the snowline will help keep the meat fresh.


That's silly! The snowline could well be 3,000ft when Steven does his walk. He'd have to climb nearly to the summit of Ben Lomond or Ben Dorain every day for his breakfast, again for lunch and then for tea, greatly increasing his calorofic burn!


Then obviously it should only be attempted in full winter conditions. Minus twenty degrees centigrade for best meat preservation results. Better make that a yak or muskox rather than a sheep. Mind you, muskoxen are a bit more difficult to subdue...

Muskox#2.jpg
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Re: Wild camping the WHW - What food to take?

Postby brother52 » Mon Feb 06, 2017 6:55 pm

I will be doing the WHW around april or may( not decided on a date yet). Since I have been driving up and down the route to get to the munros I have been climbing over the months, I kind of decided that taking 2 days rations with me will do. The rest I can pick up or eat at cafes en route. There are plenty of places and if I dont find something I will break into the rations. I am working on a principle of every gramme counts, so water will be at a minimum too, with water filtration as I go too. If I dont absolutely need it, it aint coming with me
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Re: Wild camping the WHW - What food to take?

Postby GoodOldNorm » Wed Feb 08, 2017 4:54 pm

Ey up Steven, you may find this article useful https://andy-kirkpatrick.com/articles/v ... _baby_food

People often make the mistake of not taking any fat. They rely on energy bars and sugar drinks. When its cold your coat or sleeping bag does not create heat, you do. For you to create heat you have to burn fuel, food keeps you warm. Fat is very good at keeping you warm, I like to take, chorizo or any other cold sausage that has protein and fat in it, or Baby Bell mini cheeses. The famous 1980s mountain climber Jerzy Kukuczka used to have a piece of string around his neck with a link of polish sausage dangling inside his coat under each armpit. When he got hungry he would pull out his sausage and cut a bit off. He managed to climb all 14 peaks above 14000m with cutting off the wrong sausage :D
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Re: Wild camping the WHW - What food to take?

Postby Caberfeidh » Thu Feb 09, 2017 11:27 am

GoodOldNorm wrote:The famous 1980s mountain climber Jerzy Kukuczka used to have a piece of string around his neck with a link of polish sausage dangling inside his coat under each armpit. When he got hungry he would pull out his sausage and cut a bit off. He managed to climb all 14 peaks above 14000m without cutting off the wrong sausage


A bit of deprivation and starvation is all part of the deal. Many mountaineering epics include a bit of hunger. Hamish MacInnes tells of guys gnawing on congealed stuff trampled on the tent groundsheet in the Caucasus, Doug Haston and his mate in the Pamirs had to eat whatever slush they could scrape from the bottom of their rucksacks after a bit of an accident hauling supplies, in the Yukon Charlie Chaplin ate his boots, Polar explorers ate their sled-dogs, the Donor Party ate each other (as did the survivors from the whaleship "Essex"). Yvonne Chouinard told a funny story of the Craig Dubh in the Jacksonville hut, Glen Coe. A group of them were festering in the squalid hut; a dead rat lay unregarded in a trap. When someone arrived at the door, one of the guys, quick as a flash, grabbed two slices of bread and put the dead rat between them, sandwich-style. He held it in his hand as if eating it, and answered the door... :D

charlie-chaplin-eats-his-boots-TheGoldRush.jpg
The Gold Rush ~ Charlie Chaplin eats his boots.
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Re: Wild camping the WHW - What food to take?

Postby Fairweather Softie » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:48 pm

Did WHW twice now and I've never took more than water and a bar of chocolate or packet of nuts in my bag and trust me I've never went hungry.

Suppose it depends how self sufficient you want to be and the stages your planning but apart from last day between kinlochleven and FW we had somewhere to eat lunch everyday and a pub every night. Both times we did it over 6 days.

1st day, lunch and a few beers at beech tree in, dinner and a lots more beers in oak tree inn at Balmaha.
2nd day, long lie, lunch and few beersin Rowerdenan hotel, dinner and lots more beers in drovers.
3rd day, lunch in pub at Tyndrum, dinner and beers in Bridge of Orchy.
4th day, blitzed over to Kinghouse, had lunch beer, dinner and more beers.
5th day, easy day to Kinlochleven, lunch, a wee kip the dinner and beers in tail race inn.
6th day, stroll across to FW, was there for about 1300 the train down the road.

2nd time a bit of variation on places we stopped but I'm sure you get the picture, you won't starve or have any trouble getting something to eat.

I know it sounds like a nightmare to some but a enjoyable walk with a couple of mates and I put ON a few pounds over the 6 days!!! Perhaps the dried rations should have been the way to go.

Enjoy yourself.
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Re: Wild camping the WHW - What food to take?

Postby ClarenceBoddicker » Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:23 pm

If you go to a Chinese supermarket, they often have coconutty noodle soup packs, which tend to be a bit richer and have a fair bit more in the way of calories than the usual ones. The Prima Taste Curry Laksa is really good and over 700 calories.
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