Food for a Road Trip/Camping Trip

I’m going to interrupt my normal talk about beans and my menu planning to share something else I’m excited about.

Granted, vacation is still several months away but I’m already in full planning mode. I have to admit that I enjoy the planning part of things (does that surprise anyone that I’m a planner?) and sometimes get a little carried away in the details. I have to force myself not to over plan too much and leave a few things to chance.
One thing that I do not want to leave too much to chance is our food while on vacation. Our ‘dietary systems’ are pretty used to the way we eat. We try to eat real food at home. Real food to us is food that starts in as natural a state as possible (unprocessed), it should be nutrient dense, provide ‘good’ things our bodies need like probiotics, and taste good. I figure that if 80% of the food we eat meets our standards then the other 20% I don’t worry too much about. But when we are away from home it would be easy just to let those standards go. However, I ate to think how physically miserable we would feel. We’ve done that before, it was not good. Not good at all.
Wardeh did a post a couple of days ago on Nutrient-Dense Food for the Road. Wardeh’s husband had to go out of town for a few days and she sent along some supplemental food items to help round out his other meal choices. I love this article and wanted to share my own thoughts with the planning that I have been doing.
Taking food along on a trip is not a new concept for me. In the past it had been strictly a cost effective choice but now the nutrition aspect (maybe a better term would be ‘avoid a tummy ache’ aspect) is added in. Obviously the choices of foods has changed over the years. I did a post back in 2009 when we were preparing for a very quick road trip in which I discussed some of the things we were taking along. That actually went very well. But that was only for a 4 day trip (to Oregon and back in four days is not something I would recommend. Especially when one of those days is spent loading up a moving truck) with no real activities involved.
The vacation that we are planning for will be 10 days. My oldest daughter is graduating from college. GRADUATING FROM COLLEGE! It is very exciting.
We’ll drive through the night to get there (18+ hours) and then stay a couple of nights with family and then we’ll be camping for 5 nights for sure and the last two nights are still undecided but looking like a motel room.
Here are a few things I’m planning food-wise so far:
We like snacks for the car especially when we will be in it for an insane amount of time (like 18 hours) so I’ll take along snacks that are not too messy. I’m thinking of sourdough crackers, crispy nuts/trail mix style thing, sliced cheese, dried fruit, and homemade cookies. We also plan to stop for a picnic supper that night and a picnic breakfast the next morning. Oh and that first lunch will be a picnic also. A cooler full of picnic meals will be needed.

I’m leaning toward make ahead wraps for the main dish for supper and lunch (using one of my home grown chickens as the meat) and having the side be . For breakfast I’ll make muffins or sweet bread, boiled eggs and I might snag Wardeh’s Baked Oatmeal idea too. We love baked oatmeal, I just hadn’t thought of it as portable before. A quart or two of real milk will also be going along and either water kefir or kombucha (maybe both depending on space). I’m toying with taking along my dairy kefir grains. We won’t have access to real (raw) milk but kefiring store milk at least puts a few good things back into it.

I was inspired by a video from the GNOWFGLINS eCourse- Sourdough Camping (September 2010)– where Erin shared her camping road trip. She took along her sourdough starter and made pancakes a few times. I loved the tips she offered. I think I’ll copy her and take along some of my starter too. And a waffle iron since we will have electricity at some of our campsites. Plus one place we will be staying in Joe’s grandma’s and I would love to treat her to scrumptious sourdough waffles for breakfast.

Here is where I could use a little help from all of you.

What kinds of things would you make if you were going to be camping?

I’ll be able to go to the grocery store to restock but probably just a regular store not a health food or specialty store. I am okay with buying ground buffalo or organic ground beef and beef steaks/roast and lamb at the grocery store (but not chicken) and we love fish (but not shell fish). I have a few ideas but to be honest, my list looks very boring. I should add we will be eating S’Mores at least one night. I’m thinking that if we make the effort that we should still come close to our 80/20 motto and the S’Mores fall into the 20 (that is my story and I am sticking with it).

And for a few more ideas…

What if you were going to spend a night or two in a motel? What would you do about your food options?

I’ll have my waffle iron that I already mentioned but do you think I should plan for anything else or just bite the bullet and count on dining out? I did read an article called How to Cook Food in a Hotel Room but in my opinion those ideas are a bit disturbing so I won’t be using the coffee maker to cook eggs as suggested. Blech. I’m leaning more toward cooking a few extra things on our last camping night that can be eaten cold. Ideas?

I look forward to reading your suggestions!

Millie Copper
Millie Copper is a Wyoming wife and mama. After reading Nourishing Traditions in early 2009, her family began transforming their diet to whole, unprocessed, nutrient dense foods—a little at a time while stretching their food dollars. Millie is passionate to share how, with a little creativity, anyone can transition to a real foods diet without overwhelming their food budget. Millie began blogging in late 2009 and has amassed a collection of frugal recipes and methods. Her specialties include cooking with wild game and creating “Stretchy Beans”. Discovering a love of writing, she has penned four books focusing on healthy eating on a budget and is trying her hand at fiction writing. Learn more at


  1. Carla

    >How exciting! I am trying to figure out camping for summer too.

    We'll be going away for a few days over March break (not sure how long yet) and we will be staying at a motel with a kitchenette. Its only a few dollars extra and I figure it will save a bundle over eating out. I plan to bring my crockpot and waffle iron. Where we are going is like the motherlode of real, natural, organically grown food compared to the town we live in so I am already planning a shopping trip when we get there :D. I can put a meal in the crockpot while we are out for the day. I am going to bring premixed packages that I will just need to add the wet ingredients to. I am looking so forward to pastured natural bacon for breakfast!! I will also bring other things that I know I can't get (or don't want to bother buying special). We're not as fully immersed into eating well yet since my family is just getting turned on to it but we are trying to be gluten free, which I have a feeling will be very tricky with travelling!

  2. Sara

    >When we went camping last summer, I took along yogurt/granola/dried fruit for an easy breakfast. I homemade granola and dried fruit, but just used Stoneyfield Farms Organic Cream-Top yogurt since I wasn't making my own yogurt at that point.

    I also made homemade granola bars (with soaked/dehydrated oats).

    Making scrambled eggs is pretty easy over a campfire when camping, too, and could be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I just take my cast iron skillet along.

    We love making hobo dinners while camping, as well. Although, they're wrapped in foil, which I'm really not crazy about, but haven't figured out another way to do them yet and have them turn out as delicious.

  3. Sara

    >I hit publish too soon, oops!

    Hummus with veggies (carrots, cukes, and peppers) is another camping staple for us.

    Fruit rolls are another great snack to take along. And very easy to make, too!

  4. Millie

    Be sure to let me know how your plans go. I could use more ideas.

    I am very excited. And feeling a bit old that I have a daughter graduating from college. COLLEGE. The crock pot is a good idea. I'm a little nervous to take mine for fear of breakage. Maybe I need to find a cheap one that I'd be okay with that happening. I am thinking about the rice cooker going…

    I'd love to have your granola bar recipe. The one's I make are very soft outside the fridge and I cannot see them holding up to a camping trip (even in the cooler). I'd forgot about hummus! Thanks for the reminder. Do you make your fruit rolls in your dehydrator? I'm not sure how to do that with mine. It has little holes.

  5. Anonymous

    >Our family went on a long camping trip last summer and this is what I brought for our meals….


    -Premade breakfast burritos (these warmed up on the campfire nicely)
    -Bacon & eggs
    -Blueberry sourdough pancakes

    -Peanut butter/honey/banana sandwiches

    -Fresh fruit
    -Homemade trail mix
    -Lacto-fermented okra

    -Pan fried fish we caught. (I brought homemade fish fry & lard for this)
    -Pan fried steak
    -Grilled pork chops
    -Buffalo hot dogs with lacto-fermented sauerkraut
    -Hamburgers (I made patties and froze them before hand.)

    Side dishes:
    -I made a pot of beans and froze them in quart size ziplock bags.
    -Frozen green beans
    -Fresh corn on the cob

    – I bottled a bunch of ginger kombucha in my old GT bottles.
    – Beet kvass
    – Campfire coffee

    For the frying I brought our cast iron pan.

    I think next time I will make some dutch oven cobbler for a dessert.

    Since our destination was a two day drive, I froze everything I could.
    It worked out nicely and kept us from buying loads of bagged ice.

    For our hotel stays we had kefir, fruit, & homemade granola for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. We ate out for dinner.

  6. Millie

    Thank you for sharing your trip. It sounds very similar to what we are going to be doing. You have given me some great ideas. And I'm now wondering where I can find buffalo hot dogs! I was thinking of taking my dutch oven along too with ideas of some sort of cobbler. The kind I have, the lid doubles as a shallow pan which is helpful.

  7. Sara

    >Millie, here is a link to the crunchy granola bars that I make quite often: I also have a chewy granola bar recipe, but they don't hold up too well at room temp… they get too soft.

    I do make my fruit rolls in my dehydrator. I bought some sheets that fit mine to use for things like fruit rolls. You could put parchment paper down and it'd serve the same purpose, though. You can do them in your oven, as well. Here's how I do mine:

  8. Anonymous


    I cannot remember the brand name of the buffalo hot dogs. They are always on sale during the summer at Natural Grocers. I am not a fan of hot dogs, but these are very good. The kids like roasting them on a stick, easy dinner for me.
    Hope you have a wonderful trip. 🙂

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