The energy consumption on the route in a hiking trip, the number of calories consumed on the day of the trip and their replenishment.

In order to go along the route, carry a backpack, chop wood, think and admire nature, a person constantly has to go to energy costs and expend energy. Our body gets it from food. This is common knowledge. At home, while we are young and relatively healthy, there is almost no need to think about proper nutrition, if only the refrigerator is not empty. 

The energy consumption on the route in a hiking trip, the number of calories consumed on the day of the trip and their replenishment.

Another thing is a campaign where there are no shops, no refrigerators, no dining rooms, and physical activity is quite large. This inevitably raises the question. How many and what products to take on the route. Immediately make a reservation that, although prominent scientists and famous tourists have been engaged in food for many decades, they failed to come to a consensus. There are many different theories in the literature..

weighing 10-15 kg increases costs up to 400 kcal / h. Climbing a 20-pound backpack along a slope of steepness of 20 degrees, tourists spend 500-600 kcal per hour. Of course, these are average numbers. Energy consumption depends on body weight, age, and in addition – on fitness: the better the body is prepared for the loads, the less energy is spent. A trained person, like a well-established machine, has higher efficiency and less energy consumption.

In everyday life, men who are mainly engaged in mental activity, but paying attention to sports, spend up to 3,500 kcal per day, women up to 2,500. Participants in weekend trips and simple hiking in the middle lane spend 2.5-3 thousand .kcal per day. In category trips for adult athletes, the weight of a backpack ranges from 25 to 30 kg, you have to go on impassability, steep slopes, climb through thickets, overcome obstacles, lose heat in the cold and wind, put a bivouac on uncomfortable areas, spend energy on personal hygiene and work on bivouac.

As a result, the energy consumption for hiking I-III complexity categories for adults and schoolchildren is 3–3.5 thousand kcal per day. In skiing and mountain hikes, energy costs reach 3.5-5 thousand kcal, and in water they correspond to 3000 kcal. In more difficult mountain and skiing trips, accessible only to adults, energy consumption is much higher – up to 5-6 thousand kcal per day, and on especially difficult, storm days – up to 8000 kcal.

In the literature, you can find more detailed estimates of energy costs, but given that they are focused on reference routes and that the actual conditions are very diverse, the estimates given above are quite sufficient for practical use. Note that high loads of about 8000 kcal per day are not available to everyone. A person in a condition without harm to health for a long time to perform a certain job. If the load is excessive – the health condition worsens, diseases begin. With very large loads, a person can die. An example of this is the first marathon runner who died at the end of the race..

However, the higher the physical fitness, the more experience gained during the hikes, the better organized the food, the greater the load the tourists can endure for a longer time. Well, it seems that there is very little left. Knowing the energy value of the products and the upcoming energy costs, you can calculate the number of products needed for the trip. But not everything is as simple as it seems.

Food and calorie daily diet for a hike.

Firstly, not all products are suitable for trips, and secondly, for many days of difficult trips, they will require so many that the group will not be able to move. And in not very difficult trips, tourists, especially schoolchildren, exhausted under the weight of a backpack, will not receive any pleasure. So, you have to reduce the number of products to reasonable limits. Of course, in this case it will not be possible to cover all energy costs, but long-term tourist practice has shown that this is not necessary.

In simple trips, one kilogram of food per person per day is enough, and in complex trips where the use of expensive concentrates of freeze-dried products is justified, 700-850 g will be enough. The caloric content of such a diet cannot exceed 3–3.5 thousand kcal. Below we will explain why. For campaigns of I-III categories of complexity this is quite enough. In more difficult trips, the body will make up for the calorie deficiency due to body fat.

Replenishment of energy in the campaign due to fat deposits in the human body.

Fat deposits on average account for 15-20% of body weight. Of these stocks, without harm to health, an adult can borrow up to 70 thousand kcal. Slight weight loss for an 8-10-day hike, for example, in the off-season or on vacation, is practically not felt. But on long routes, the body’s own resources may not be enough. Then a gradual decrease in working capacity will begin, and in the end, exhausted tourists simply can not cope with the difficult terrain or can not ensure their safety. Therefore, the duration of difficult trips has to be limited.

The period of time during which tourists are able to endure hiking loads without significantly reducing their working capacity and health damage is called SAFE HIKING DURATION (BDP). BJP depends on the complexity of the trip, the intensity of the loads (movement schedule), age, fitness and experience of the group and, of course, nutrition. In a well-prepared group, after adapting to camp conditions, working capacity is quickly restored, the period of maximum working capacity is long, the decline is slow.

In a poorly prepared group, adaptation is delayed, the period of maximum performance is short, the decline is faster. Accordingly, the safe duration of the trip in the former is about 30 days, in the latter – no more than 18. If you choose the right products and skillfully organize nutrition along the way, the food will be absorbed by the body more efficiently. Then the calorie deficit will decrease and the BJP will increase accordingly. In other words, the possibilities of tourists in a difficult trip depend on food no less than on the right decisions of the head.

Energy and nutrition in difficult mountain hikes.

A special role is played by food in the mountains, at altitudes of more than 3,000 meters in the Caucasus and more than 3,500 meters in the Pamirs or Tien Shan. Here, the lack of oxygen in the air leads to various changes in the body that occur during acclimatization. At the same time, an aversion to certain types of food appears, fat digestibility decreases, and many biochemical processes are impeded. Even the energy consumption for basic metabolism in the mountains is much higher than under normal conditions.

Hiking weight loss.

And now a small retreat for those who want to lose weight on a hike. It is believed that with therapeutic fasting, the loss of 20% of the weight does not lead to irreversible consequences. However, on hikes, rapid weight loss due to malnutrition and physical overload can be far from safe. Therefore, difficult sports trips, like any sport in general, unlike physical education, bring not only benefits, but also harm.

Top-class athletes take risks in the name of sports goals, realizing what they risk. It is not out of place to realize this and the asam of sports tourism. Therefore, I would like to warn against extremist 300-500 gram layouts. In simple trips, they bring a constant feeling of hunger, and in complex trips lasting more than 8-10 days, they can lead to rapid exhaustion of the body.

Attempts to make up for the deficit by replenishing with subtle energies are far from successful for everyone, and if they give effect, then only in simple trips in the summer. As experimental trips showed, complete starvation for 10-15 days, in contrast to significant malnutrition, is harmless. Therefore, if the group was without food, it is better to eat leftovers and go out to people with complete starvation, using only water.

Based on materials from the book Camping Food.
Alekseev A.A.

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