My Food for the Loyalsock-Link Loop

If you read my last post, you already know that I’m going out this weekend for a 25-mile, 1-night jaunt on the Loyalsock-Link Loop in northeastern Pennsylvania. I’m starting to organize and pack my food, so I thought I would share that with you. Normally, I’m very lazy when it comes to my food selections. I usually just grab a few entrees from PackIt Gourmet or Mountain House, some Clif Bars, some trail mix, jerky, and some candy before heading on my way. This time, I chose to use everyday items from the grocery store. With a little prep at home, these meals can still be very simple to prepare with the freezer bag method in the field. I’m going to be packing about 2100 calories per day, which is actually pretty low for a hiking trip in cold weather. Since this is only a 2-day trip, I will be able to make up the extra calories before hitting the trail on the first day and after getting off the trail on the second day.

Loaded Mashed Potatoes with Sausage


All my ingredients


  • 1 pouch of Idahoan “Loaded Baked” Instant Mashed Potatoes
  • 4oz shelf stable sausage (I’m using Summer Sausage)
  • 2oz Parmesan Cheese
  • 2oz Asiago Cheese

Prep at Home

Empty the pouch of instant mashed potatoes into a quart-sized freezer bag. Doing this will help limit the amount of garbage you will end up carrying out at the end of your hike. Cut the sausage into small pieces and vacuum seal (or simply place into a lightweight zipper bag). Place the packaged meat and cheese into the bag with the mashed potatoes.


Remove meat and cheese from freezer bag. Boil 2 cups of water and stir it into the instant potato flakes. Add meat and cheese. Enjoy.

Cinnamon Sugar Oatmeal



  • 1 cup Instant or Quick Oats
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar
  • Dried Fruit (optional)

Prep at Home

Place all ingredients into a quart sized freezer bag. Voila!



Boil 2 cups of water. Add to freezer bag and stir. Enjoy.

Besides those 2 meals, I will also be carrying some Brookside Dark Chocolate Goji and some Kind bars. For my caffeine fix, I’ll be carrying Nescafe Memento Mocha instant coffee, but any instant coffee will do.

My total food weight for this trip will be 28.2oz, and I will be averaging 114.5 calories per ounce of food. Calories per ounce is a very important number for me. To me, ultralight backpacking doesn’t just mean getting the coolest, lightest gear. It means doing my best to be efficient in every way. The higher my average calories/oz is, the more energy I’m getting out of each ounce of food. That means my food weight will be lighter, but still have all the calories I need. Try making a simple spreadsheet to figure out how efficiently your food bag is!

What does everyone else like to eat on the trail?


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