Try This Free Long-Distance Hiking Resupply Tool

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The Long Distance Hiking Food Resupply Tool is a free, public Google Sheets spreadsheet. I created it to help long-distance hikers more easily plan resupplies. It currently includes almost 1300 common backpacker food options (including popular freeze-dried meals) with associated nutrition information.

The tool has several useful features, including:

  • You can mark food items as favorites for easier sorting and select specific items for the next resupply run.
  • You can specify the number of days and nights and amount of daily calories you want. The tool will show you how your planned resupply compares.
  • You can specify nutritional goals (percentages of fat, carbs, and protein) and see how your planned resupply compares.
  • You can choose unit quantities so even if you buy a multi-unit food (e.g., a bag of bagels) and only plan to take part of the package you can accurately calculate calorie and nutritional information.
  • Food options include useful nutrition percentages and ratios and utilize color coding so you can more easily spot foods by weight or nutrition content ratings. The Keys sheet provides a guide to these color codes.
  • Because it is a Google Sheets tool, you can use it in offline mode. This should be helpful when on the trail with spotty or no wireless coverage.
  • There is a Version sheet to let you check if your local saved copy is up-to-date or if you should make a new local copy from the public master version.
This spreadsheet incorporates the wonderful nutrition tracking work of GearSkeptic so I recommend you check out those videos if you haven’t already.

How to Use the Resupply Tool

On the Food Options sheet, select the food items you want to buy for this resupply. A useful tip is to mark foods you plan to eat regularly as a favorite and then sort the sheet by the favorite column.

On the Goals sheet fill in the Resupply Goals.

On the Shopping List sheet enter the quantities you plan to buy. Enter quantities as “units.” A unit can mean different things for different food items, but generally it is the smallest package size. So, a box of six Clif Bars is 6 units and a package of 6 Thomas’ bagels is 6 units. For something like an economy bag of trail mix, the unit is usually the serving size (grams/ounces) listed on the label (or on the Food Options sheet). For something like a Mountain House meal the unit is the package even though most packages list two servings. When in doubt, check the Servings per Unit column. Calculations will be made as:

(# Units) x (Servings per Unit) x (Calories per Serving)

Note that this tool is still under development. If you notice any mistakes or ways it could be improved, please let me know. Likewise, if you want to help maintain the master food list, please contact me about that.

NOTE: This tool used to be part of my Appalachian Trail Planning, Resupply & POI Google spreadsheet but I made it separate it to better serve all long-distance hikers.

I hope you find this tool useful. Also check out my extensive list of Appalachian Trail thru-hiking resources. Even if you’re not specifically interested in hiking the A.T., you’ll find lots of other good stuff for long-distance hikers. You may also enjoy my big collection of nature and hiking quotations.

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4 Comments

  1. I love this list and appreciate your and GearSkeptic’s efforts. Have you thought about using cell validation with list selection for populating the foods from the food options list for the calculator?

    Thanks!

  2. Thanks for pulling this together JB!

    I suspect Eric thought you had to copy over foods from the ‘food list’ to your ‘shopping list’ (as that seems to be the setup for the GearCritic sheet).

    Following your instructions though, I realize the shopping list is auto-populated bsased on the items marked as “buy” in the food list.

    One other option, that could allow you to pull together different shopping lists from a single food list would be to assign an “ID” to each item, and to have a template where you insert the IDs of the foods for your shopping list. That would make it a little easier to compare different shopping list compilations I guess?

    Finally, it seems the script clears B3:200? Should it not be H2:200? Column B contains the general info labels rather than units.

    Thanks for all the work!

    1. Thanks for your comment. I am actually thru-hiking the PCT now so I don’t have time to investigate but I will look into it after I finish.

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