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Backpacking Food Basics

No, the Hiker Hobble is not a New Dance Craze

Optimize your diet and nutrition and you'll feel fresh, hike strong—and leave the Hiker Hobble behind for good.

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Backpackers know the feeling of crawling out of their tent in the morning, back stiff and legs achy, and lurching over the to bear bag. We call it Hiker Hobble, and by and large, we accept it as part of our camping lives.

Well, it turns out the lumbering and halting are only partly due to overtaxing muscles that aren’t used to it or sleeping on a surface that’s harder than a bed. The other part? Nutrition. The foods you choose to eat (and, importantly, not eat) at each meal set the foundation for muscle recovery, which translates directly to a smoother gait when you stride out of your tent in the morning, prepared to meet a new, excellent day of hiking. Eat this way and kiss the Hiker Hobble goodbye forever. (If you’re wanting a hiker dance craze, try the Hypothermia Dance.)

Aaron Owens-Mayhew, the registered dietician behind Backcountry Foodie, explains how you can optimize your diet to feel fresh and energized each morning and forget all about the Hiker Hobble.

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Find more ultralight, affordable, and delicious recipes from the Backcountry Foodie cookbook here.