I’m going to be attending a Pathfinder Basic Survival Class soon so I’ve been searching far and wide to find food optimal for the task. While there are no restrictions on food items you can bring, I’ve learned there are some criteria to follow for the best possible experience.

UPDATE: After gleaning some valuable feedback I’ve decided to up my caloric intake per day. I’m not totally sure what I’m doing food wise, but I wanted to get this update posted and I don’t have time for a full post update at the moment.

Class Established Criteria

  • Bring any and all food, snacks, etc. that you need. No meals are provided.
  • Electrolyte drink mixes are recommended.
  • Ample clean drinking water will be available onsite.
  • There won’t be time to cook anything. I’ve heard you might be able to boil some water in the AM for coffee and perhaps in the PM for a Mountain House style meal, but DON’T COUNT ON IT. “On-the-go Food” is highly recommended. (Granola Bars, Protein Bars, Etc.)

Personal Criteria

  • Calorie dense – there must be a favorable calorie to weight ratio. You’re going to be rucking your food around for the duration of the survival experience.
  • Snack packaged – individually wrapped for quick and convenient consumption. There’s a high probability eating will take place on the move.
  • Generally high in protein – protein-rich foods are great for hunger busting and long-lasting energy.

Meal Planning

  • I’ll be packaging each day’s foodstuffs into an individual ziplock bag.
  • I can place all of my wrappers back into the bag to keep my pack clean and scent-free.
  • With daily food bags, I can be sure to keep a days worth of food easily accessible even if I put the remainder of food in another location within my pack.
  • The bags will allow me to gauge the calories I have left for the day.
  • If I have anything left over at the end of the day I’ll add it to a snack cache for the following days.

The Food

My daily food allotment will consist of one of each of the items below. Pathfinder Basic is a 3-day class, so I’m planning on having 3 meal packs assembled. Everything I’m taking could be considered a snack though some items are better suited for “meals” being it the 300-400 calorie range. There’s a high probability that I’ll be snacking throughout the day whenever there’s time to do so.

MET-Rx Bar Apple Crisp make a great Breakfast. I take these backpacking, camping, and hiking all the time. [400 calories, 32g protein]

Probar Wholeberry Blast

PROBAR Meal On-the-go Wholeberry Blast This is one of the tastiest bars I’ve had. It has tangy fruit mixed in and it’s pretty satisfying. [370 calories, 8g protein]

Probar Peanut Butter

PROBAR Meal On-the-go Peanut Butter After my exceptional experience with the Wholeberry Blast PROBAR I was hoping for a similar performance with the peanut butter. Unfortunately, I’m a bit disappointed with the overall lack of flavor in this one. This bar still fills my stomach, but I won’t be buying it again. [390 calories, 12g protein]

RX Nut Butter Chocolate Peanut Butter are tasty fuel packed with energy [180 calories, 9g protein] and RX Nut Butter Maple Almond Butter also a tasty trail treat [190 calories, 9g protein]

CLIF BAR White Chocolate Macadamia Nut is an old favorite of mine. Clif bars, in general, aren’t the best fuel for your body but I might eat 1-2 per day on a trip like this [260 calories, 9g protein]. A better option might be the RXBAR Protein Bars Peanut Butter these aren’t as tasty, but they are pretty good and somewhat more compact [210 calories, 12g protein].

Knoppers Milk Hazelnut Wafer a sweet snack like this can be a great morale booster at the end of a long day.

Food I’ve Eliminated

EPIC Bars Bison Bacon Cranberry I wanted to like these, but I find them to be just okay. I probably won’t be packing these. I’ve tried other flavors/meats but they aren’t to my liking either.

Nuun Electrolyte Tablets These are gross. I’m looking for something palatable for my electrolyte replenishment.


Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee Packets while I’m not a huge fan of Starbucks I find their VIA instant to be quite excellent.

Gatorade Powder Packets electrolyte replenishment is important, especially during high levels of physical activity.

Extra Snacks

In addition to the daily food packs I’m going to bring a few extras including beefy jerky, some nuts, and a few pieces of fruit.

In Conclusion

This class isn’t about stressing your body by food deprivation, it’s a learning experience that teaches the foundational skills for survival. So I’ll be taking a supply of food that I’m comfortable with.

That said, even with everything listed above, I’m going be down roughly 1000 calories below my daily calorie intake. At the end of a long day of training it’s likely I’ll burn around 2000 additional calories. Putting me in a deficit greater than my average typical daily intake. So I’ll be in “survival mode lite” but I want to have my mind working sharply so I can learn and perform the skills to get the most from the class.

If you have any recommendations or comments please leave them down below, I’m always seeking knowledge for self betterment.