Basics of outdoor nutrition

Full of enthusiasm we set off on a new adventure. We want to climb the mountain, hike through the valley or experience nature on an extensive snowshoe tour. In order to enjoy this, it is important to take care of our body sufficiently. How should the provisions be composed in order to keep the body efficient during the whole tour?

If we’re on the move, we’ll need a steady stream of energy. Carbohydrates are very well suited for this. They are at the forefront of our metabolism and provide us with a fast supply. In addition to these, the other food components are also important for us. These are fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Above all, unsaturated fatty acids are good components of any diet. We need fats for the metabolic processes and to absorb some of the vitamins. Proteins are necessary for the muscle structures and their maintenance. They also promote the regeneration of the muscles. The small nutrients have a great importance. Minerals and trace elements help the body to maintain its functionality and prevent states of fatigue and general weakness.


For a good energy supply throughout the day, a certain ratio of food components is recommended. This should consist of 60 % carbohydrates, 20 % fat and 20 % protein and be distributed over 2600 to 3000 kcal. The proportion of carbohydrates is so high because our body can metabolise them more quickly. We should design our diet in such a way that a performance low is avoided. Before starting the tour it is advisable to replenish the glycogen stores in the body. In this way, reserves can also be drawn on in an emergency. This means that the evening before we start we should eat carbohydrate-rich food. The whole thing is well digested by the next morning and is available to us as energy. For breakfast it can also be a more sumptuous meal. But be careful: If the breakfast is too heavy in the stomach, we become sluggish. This means that all our reserves are well filled up and we are ready to start. Now the question arises, how do I take care of myself optimally during a tour?

Especially when you are on the road for several days, you want to keep the weight of your luggage as low as possible. We will therefore not take all kinds of food and luxury goods with us. The load should be kept to a minimum. Light food with good nutrient distribution ends up in the backpack.

Between 500 and 700 g of food per person per day are planned.

The day starts with breakfast. This should fill us up for a long time and not trigger an excessive feeling of fullness. Cereals and oatmeal are very suitable for this. They can be prepared quickly with milk powder and water. Especially in winter, the body is happy about a hot breakfast, which supports the internal heating. We can refine this with nuts, dried fruit, various seeds and cinnamon. This creates a good basis and we start walking full of energy. Depending on the length of the tour, we are active for several hours a day and make an effort. Of course we take breaks in between. Our muscles have a short time to relax and we can strengthen ourselves. Bars of any kind are very suitable for keeping the blood sugar level constant. Cereal bars, energy bars, power bars and, of course, a chocolate bar. If they are stowed in a side compartment of the backpack, they can be reached quickly and they offer a tasty snack in between. A variety is offered by a variety of varieties and the bars do not hang out to your ears on the third day. However, they are not the only suitable snack. Cookies and chocolate also provide quickly accessible carbohydrates, and nuts and dried fruit can be eaten during the day. It is important that we do not overwhelm our stomach. Several small snacks are better. This keeps the blood sugar level constant, we do not fall to a low level and we have not filled the stomach so that we can no longer move. In the evening, when it is time to go to bed, we take more time to prepare our meals. To replenish your memory, dinner can be high in carbohydrates. Pasta, rice, couscous and mashed potatoes are the foundation of a good dinner. Some oil or other fat can also be added here. The body has time to digest overnight and the fat is no longer heavy in the stomach the next morning. A warm meal in the evening also helps to warm the body from the inside so that we don’t get cold into the sleeping bag later. The meal can be rounded off with a dessert, such as dried fruit or chocolate. Then don’t forget to brush your teeth.

Don’t forget vitamins!

Important nutrients

To ensure that we are provided with all the nutrients, it is also important on tour to eat more than just one food. Vitamins and minerals are necessary for the various functions in the body. 3 of these are magnesium, vitamin C and iron.
If you are prone to cramps, you should definitely have magnesium with you. This not only relieves cramps, but also helps to relieve fatigue. It also plays a part in energy metabolism.
The second thing you should bring along is vitamin C. This has a positive influence on the function of the immune system and has an effect on metabolic processes. Like magnesium, it can counteract tiredness and fatigue and supports the absorption of iron. This in turn is necessary because it is involved in energy metabolism. It is also important for the transport of oxygen in the blood. A deficiency can promote tiredness and fatigue and cause concentration and general weakness.

As you realize, it is not only important that you eat, but also what you eat.

In addition to the solid components, sufficient liquid should also be supplied. Water is best suited for this purpose and can be stored in a hydration bladder in a backpack, for example, even in larger quantities. Teas and diluted juices are also a good way to quench thirst, warm up or take in minerals. A thermos flask is suitable for this. If you like, you can add some sugar to the drink. That gives you an extra boost of energy.


In order to make the meals varied, one can, for example, resort to trekking food. The dehydrated food is vacuum-packed, very light and has a long shelf life. Besides these advantages, trekking food offers a wide variety: from expedition breakfast, mousse au chocolate to canned burgers, there is probably something for everyone. In contrast to homemade muesli, this variety is more price-intensive to buy, but it can be worth it.
The other way to refine your food is with spices. Filled in small containers they are easy to transport and take up little space. Salt and pepper are probably part of the basic equipment of many. If you go on tour in winter, spices can do much more than make food tastier. Chili, curry, pepper, turmeric, ginger and cinnamon heat up the body and have metabolically stimulating properties. As relevant as the spices in winter, salt and minerals are in summer. We have an increased loss of fluid due to sweating. We lose not only water, but also micronutrients. This can be compensated for with mineral water or by using a little more salt in the preparation of food.


Nutrition is an essential factor on tour. The body should be well provided for throughout the day without overfilling the stomach. The above mentioned data should be seen as guidelines. Everyone has an individually different need. Above all, the calorie figures are strongly dependent on how your own metabolism works and how much muscle mass you consist of. The more muscles there are, the more energy can be burned. Plan in advance what you want to eat and avoid excess ballast. Drinking is indispensable in summer and winter: in summer we sweat more, but in winter the general feeling of thirst decreases. We need water for the body’s own processes and in addition to humidifying the cold and dry air we breathe. A regulated fluid intake is very important at any time of year! Before you start your next adventure, take time to plan your meals. You are in control of the performance of your body.

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