Does anyone know what the average number of calories burned while paddling is?

I’m not talking about paddling at an exercise pace. I’m talking touring.

I’m interested in what it takes to move a loaded kayak at an average speed of 3 kts. for hours on end. No need to for too much detail just an average number.

Trying to do some meal planning for a month long trip.

Around . . .
. . . 400 calories/hour, about like brisk walking.


If this helps…

I laid out a 1000 mile trip with a 7 to 10 week window. During my conditioning work up for it, I noted that I would need on average 4500 to 5000 calories per day. However, while underway I noticed that I couldn’t eat as much as I need to in theory. For more than 3 weeks I weathered rough water where I couldn’t even take my hands off my paddle, thus I wasn’t able to eat while in the water. Also for whatever reason I had days were I just felt like eating my cereal bars that I had rationed for breakfast. Nutrition under extreme touring conditions has been my biggest challenge.

You probably ain’t . . .
. . . gonna need that many calories. While heavy exercise burns more calories it doesn’t increase the caloriec intake above what is needed to maintain basic body functions as much as you might think. I would guess an average size guy would need abuot 3,500 calories per day paddling all day at a moderate cruising pace.

I had never figured…
…my body fat into my food supply but read this:

at 5’10" 180 lbs. I lost 23 lbs. after 63 days of paddling.

Body Fat
Had you figured your body fat into the planning?

More than you wanted to know


– Last Updated: Apr-15-09 3:50 PM EST –

400cal is a good estimation at low speed; take into account that if you encounter heavy headwinds or rough waters most of the way you could be burning at least twice as much.

It is all about good planning. There is quite a bit of good information in the .net to create a Excel Spreadsheet to help you with that.

A few tips:

1) keep it simple!
2) Use a liquid diet as much as possible (quite a bit of products for this purpose)
3) Replenish mostly carbs & proteins and a bit of fats
4) Carry most of the fat needed with you! As you get littler, you will be expending less...

Note: remember that the body tends to have trouble replenishing more than 200 cal per hour while exercising and that liquids are digested faster than solids -way faster!

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I’m planning . . .
. . . for a long trip, also, two months paddling ten hours a day. I’m going in 5’9 165 lbs, BMI about 25, which puts me at about 20% fat. I am zero fat at about 135. So I can probably afford to lose 15 lbs (I hope to stay about even).

I am planning for around 3,000 calories a day which includes around 60 grams of protein. Lotsa carbs, lotsa sugar, lotsa peanutbutter and jelly.

Shopping list:


Grape jelly

Macronni and Chesse in a box (cheap stuff, $0.38)


Wholeweat bread


Powdered whole milk

Canned chicken

Rammen noodles

Canned mixed vegetables

Sugar (10 lbs)


Oat bran

Red wine (about 4 gallons)

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Great link…
…Thanks. Very helpful.

Good place to start

Talks about how much food to plan on per person per day… and some recipes as well.