A thru-hiker travels a long-distance trail from one end to another within one hiking season.  Such a long journey is filled with nature’s challenges which can be heavily demanding on the body, and this necessitates that one is fully prepared to counter them in order to survive. When I hiked the Appalachian Trail with my mates, I came face to face with some of America’s most demanding terrain. The arduous topography of the land sucked the motivation out of two of my friends, Ryan and Joshua, who decided to turn back. I was planning to follow in their footsteps, until we stumbled upon a town and had our first full meal. The food that we ate changed everything. Our taste buds were rejuvenated, our stomachs filled up and the chocolate cake that we had in the end released endorphins that fueled our brain with new motivation to continue our hike. Feeling the strong effects that this food had had on myself and my friends, I made sure to stock up on new food supplies from the town before we left, knowing that these would prove vital for the rest of the trip. This was proven true when we completed our hike with flying colours, so unless you want to turn-back halfway like my friends, follow these tips and complete your thru-hike.

1. Choose the Right Time To Eat

The time that you get after completing a session of hiking is the perfect time to eat a meal, so make sure you eat during every pit stop. Pit stops at regular intervals will keep you motivated to continue your hike.

2. Eat Consistently During a Hike

Apart from full meals, you should also keep an energy bar or some type of solid food handy that you can munch on while walking. Do not go overboard and eat too much. Drink some water to fill up your stomach to a certain level, and then have a bite. This way you won’t feel the need to gorge on the supplies kept for later.

3. Add Some Variety in Your Food Supply

Though eating a healthy diet is essential for supplying your body with a much needed dose of energy, it is not a great idea to stock up on large quantities of the same food items. Add some delicacies and treats to your hiking bag, so that you get something sumptuous to eat while travelling.

4. Eat Some Food Before Sleeping

Hiking is taxing on the body. Eating before going to bed provides your body with a chance to recover the worn out muscles and tissues. Food also keeps you warm while sleeping, so if you are hiking in winter, eat a decent amount of food to beat the cold.

5. Stock Up on Calorie Rich Food

You should not go armed with a whole lot of light snacks that are low on calories. Not only do they take extra space in your bag,  but they don’t even supply you with enough energy. Pack nuts, protein shakes and cereals, so that your body gets an ample supply of calories.

6. Do Not Skip Breakfast

Don't forget breakfast, the best meal of the day. It becomes even more significant when you are hiking. Keep your breakfast simple and effective. Stock up on pop-tarts with nut butter and cold cereal with rehydrated, full-fat milk; and provide your body a much needed kick start in the morning.

7. Make the Most of Towns

Whenever you pass through a town, stock up on supplies and eat as much as you want. A luxury meal eaten at a restaurant will provide you with a lot of energy, as well as lifting your spirits.

8. Do not Eat Wild Fruits without Full Knowledge

Don't get too adventurous on your hikes. Avoid eating fruits dangling on trees, as a lot of them are poisonous and may cause health hazards like diarrhoea.