Bella Online, "The Voice of Women," has a hiking and backpacking
editor named Jill Florio, who recommends
tossing a few emergency rations in her pack.
My day hiking X-Rations are usually extra Luna Bars, a few packets of instant
oatmeal (you can add cold water right into the package if you tear off the
top…it’s not hot food, but it WILL give you energy), a few packets of sugar
and a bunch of salt packets. On long day hikes or backpack trips I will also
carry a few packets of Top Ramen noodles and some dehydrated mashed potatoes.
My emergency kit gets its own little drawstring ditty bag that I keep apart
from the regular travel food stuff stack.
Jill has a bunch more swell tips in
her archive of previous posts.
On day hikes, I just throw a buch of food in — usually twice as much as I expect to need. Maybe thrice as much as I’d need on single-day ski tours.
But on backpacking trips, I use a different strategy: I pack just the right amount of dinners, for which cooking is required, for the number of nights I’ll be out. I pack an extra no-cook breakfast, and then I throw-in my “lunch” stuff. I put lunch in quotes because for me, on the trail, lunch starts after breakfast and ends at dinner. Every break is a lunch break, so I just carry a wide assortment of no-cook foods and snacks for this, ranging fron nut mix, to dried fruit, crackers, tortillas, Vollkornbrot, peanut butter and hummus, various bars, and so on. I put in at least one extra day’s worth of this stuff, probably more. I always have plenty of extra of this no-cook stuff.
This strategy has served me especially well on three occasions: 1) I met a lost day-hiking backpacker who need some extra calories to get back to his camp after a night out without gear, 2) I had to wait an extra day for a boat to pick me up from a remote dock on Isle Royale, and 3) when a raccoon made off with a day’s worth of a hiking companion’s food two days before the end of an week-long trip in the Boundary Waters.