Eating On The Road, River or Trail

Once the snow melts and we start venturing out to do our favorite outdoor activities one of our biggest obstacles is eating on the road. We are not big restaurant goers and let’s face it, after hours of hiking or paddling we probably should not be in a restaurant anyhow. I will let your imagination go where it wishes with that statement.That leaves me to figure out what to pack on our outings.

First of all, we are not always hot, sweaty, wet or stinking like wet suit funk after a long day. Sometimes we are just on the road and don’t want to have to make a stop for food. Or maybe we know we will be traveling for too long and instead of stopping for two meals on the road I will pack one of them. Recently, this was the case. We knew we would eat out on the way home, so I packed the meal we would need while at our destination for lunch. I threw together a quick orzo salad, sliced up some strawberries and kiwi’s packed some water and lunch was served.


So easy, filling, healthier that restaurant food and at this time of year, easy to keep cold with a few ice packs in a cooler. I packaged the salad in three different containers so no plates were needed.

Now, when we kayak it’s a whole different story. We always tell everyone to eat before arriving and eat enough to last a few hours. We do carry one dry bag for just snacks that usually consist of nuts, Clif bars and applesauce pouches. Everyone is also told to have their own water bottle. We normally have this snack about half way down the river. Our meal upon completing our paddle is left in the vehicle at the takeout point.

After all the kayaks are taken out, emptied and gear laid out to drip dry some, we normally lay out our towels and feast. We are usually all hungry and tired.


These “after paddling”  meals could consist of cut up watermelon, pineapple, boned chicken, shredded cheese, tortillas, crackers, nuts, turkey jerky, hot sauce, veggies and dip, string cheese, and gummy candies(a favorite river treat of everyone).

Some of our favorite places we have shared meals with friends have been on tailgates, atop kayaks and sometimes we even get lucky and there may be an actual picnic table nearby.




Either way, the most important part of eating on the road in the middle of summer would be ICE! ALOT OF ICE. Pack more than you think you would need to be on the safe side. No one wants to share a picnic with friends after a great day of paddling only to be sick a few hours later. And truthfully, if there is too much ice, its always good for the bumps and bruises you may have after a great day on the river:)

Then we have our hiking trips. Sadly, it is almost always just the three of us. For some reason everyone says they could never hike as far as we do or they don’t want to hold us back. Only twice have we had people join us, once was my brother and his family and they did just fine. The second time was a friend of my son’s and she did pretty good also. With my brother we had coolers packed in the cars and grilled out food after our hike. The second time we climbed to the top of a beautiful cliff and shared lunch up there. My husband carried a pack with some ice and food.


When it’s just us, we get a little braver and bring our ultra light stove and freeze dried meals. No ice needed, light weight and easy to prepare. We also pack snacks for along the trail like gorp, granola bars, dried fruit and veggies etc. Again, don’t forget the water.

So, no matter what you are doing either in the outdoors or just on the road traveling there are options for eating healthy.

What are some of your favorite things to eat while on the road?

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