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Always a tricky subject to write about as different people will put up with very different standards, and you might find some of my choices controvercial! However I thought that this time around I’d tackle writing about it. In planning food for a trip the first thing to decide is how many days food you are going to carry – here’s my reasoning:

When planning the TDP I reckoned on 6 days to do the full circuit but I knew that Gav would probably want to take longer, and the guidebook shakes it out as 10 or 11 days. Another thing to bear in mind is that there is food available from refuges on the way round, although until you actually get there its hard to know if you can rely on this.

We wanted to do the trek largely under our own steam, so carrying the food we need rather than getting meals along the way. Taking all this into consideration we decided that we should pack 6 days food plus a few extra breakfasts. The scenarios we were covering were: if we did it in 6 days then we wouldn’t need any supplementary food; if it took longer we could supplement our own food with meals from refuges; if it took longer than 6 days but there was very little food available en-route we should just eke our 6 days out for longer – not ideal but we wouldn’t die!

In the event supplementary food was readily available and we bought an evening meal on Day 5 and Day 7. We had plenty to eat.

Weight allowance

When planning you can assume 900grams per day food weight, providing you are carrying dried items, nuts, cereal bars etc. If you carry heavy food then its going to be more than 900g. I plan on 750grams per day for myself because I have massive fat reserves which I want to get rid of – and I know that this works for me.


Freeze dried meals are always the starting point for me – I use them to keep the overall weight down and give me a good start – I packed 4 main meals, 6 porridge and 2 desserts bought in the UK.

The supermarket in Punta Arenas was like a good corner shop in the UK, I know there are better options but we didn’t have much time and this one was close to our hotel. So we bought the rest of the food we needed there.

I normally buy Muesli and dried milk which I mix together in a drybag for breakfasts (and sometimes lunch). I have found that 50g muesli and 30g of dried milk makes a good serving.

I eat mixed fruit and nuts during the day, 50g per day seems enough. At least two cereal bars per day. 2-3 squares of chocolate per day. About 6 boiled sweets per day.

Main meal example

  • Cup a soup or noodles to start
  • Freeze dried meal or other main course
  • Dessert eg dried fruit and custard
  • Coffee and chocolate for finish

Recipe Ideas

  • Filled Pasta (tortellini filled with meat, spinach or cheese) – with a tomato cup-a-soup for sauce
  • Mashed potato with small tin of meat, beef & veg cup a soup as gravy
  • Tin sardines in sauce with cous cous

Hope you found this useful!