Cutting it Close
On our four day trip to Desolatio Wilderness, I was determined to get by with our smaller Bearvault 450. And so I had to squeeze two dinners, three breakfasts, and at least two lunches into that tiny space. And that's for two people. (Lunch and dinner on the first day could be carried in the pack, and didn't need to go into the bear can. And lunch on the final day was going to be a cafe somewhere near the trailhead.)
For breakfasts, that meant nine packages of instant oatmeal, six packages of cocoa, three little envelopes of instant coffee, (only one of us partakes) some dried fruit, and some walnuts to add into the oatmeal. The good news is that all of that compresses and packs down nicely.
Lunches were crackers (which do not compress or pack down nicely, so they went on the very top) some hard parmesan cheese, some lovely Spanish chorizo sausage, more dried fruit, a granola bar, And some peanut M&Ms.
Dinners, were standard freeze-dried fare. The two of us share a two-person dinner, and six miso soup packets for our first course. more dried fruit, more M&Ms, and just for fun, a tiny airline bottle of hootch that we share over three nights, a sip at a time.
And for snacks I included a few more granola/energy bars for when we began to feel a little worn down on the trail. We also had to get toothpaste et al. into the can at night. That can was full to bursting on the first night.
How close did I cut it? We arrived at the trailhead with one slice of chorizo left (don't ask me why we didn't eat it) a tiny hunk of the cheese, and one last granola bar. Not a single dried cherry or apricot, not a single M&M, not even a single walnut was left.
It's just as well we hiked out when we did.