Romping through the backcountry with a load on your back consumes a ton of energy. Way more than you may be used to and so careful menu planning is essential to ensure you have a great backountry experience. Packing too little food will not only leave you hungry, but without the energy you need to get through the day. And packing too much food really means carrying excess weight and burning more energy than is necessary.

I am assuming for now that you know what to pack, and how to make good choices for backcountry food. This post is simply to share with you a tool that may be helpful in your planning.

Menuplanneroverview

Menuplanneroverview

I think it is pretty straight forward, laid out by the Days. This tool is intended to be a starting point for you, feel free to customize it as you like.  You’ll notice, for example, that I’ve only laid out 5 days worth of Daily Menus. If you need more than that, it should be pretty straight forward to just copy and paste one of the existing Daily Menu ections.

To get started, enter your Starting Date in cell C2. All of the dates and days of week will automatically update in the individual Daily Menu sections.

By Default, it is setup to display the weights of your menu items in Ounces. If you prefer grams, clear the “x” in cell F2.

This is all drive, though, on the data you enter for your meals in the “Food Lookup” tab.

Foodlookup

Foodlookup

Here, just enter your items on new rows, add the number of calories, and the weights, in both Ounces and Grams if you want to be able to switch between the options. I have not set it up to auto-calculate, so you will need to do your own conversions. To make this easier for you, I have provided the necessary factors on the same tab in columns K and L:

Conversion

Conversion

Let’s say for example, that you have new item to add and you know the weight is 97 grams. To add ounces, first enter the value “97” under the “Weight (gr)” column. Then, under the “Weight (Oz)” column, you would enter the formula “=E15*L6).  In this example, E15 is where you entered “97” and “L6” is the location of the conversion factor for “Grams to Ounces”.

Conversionentry

Conversionentry

As you add or update entries in the Food Lookup table, your Menu Planner will automatically update.  Go ahead and fill out your Daily Menus now.  You will notice as you click on a space under any of the “Item” columns, you will get a drop down indicator that lets you pick from the list of entries in your Food Lookup table.  Picking an item from the list will automatically pull over the carlories and the weight of that time, but it will calculate as “0” until you enter the quantity.

If you find this useful, or if you have suggestions for how this might be improved, provide feedback below!

Menu Planner Excel Spreadsheet

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