For me a camping lunch is all about transportation – making sure you have something that you can carry with you for whatever fun adventures you have planned in the day. More often than not, this tends to lend itself to some form of sandwich or wrap. I’m not going to sit here and tell anyone how to make a sandwich. I just thought I would share some of the lunches that we’ve had the pleasure of eating on our camping adventures and a few helpful things that we have found along the way.
As I mentioned in the previous post about breakfast, in Europe you just can’t beat the bread. Any baguette that we would had left over from breakfast in Spain or France we would use that morning to make into a sandwich to take down to the beach or for a climb up a mountain. Cheese is nearly always involved, often with some fresh tomato, raw onion and avocado. We don’t use butter so often just drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the top and some cracked black pepper. In Spain, there is always the addition of some yummy chorizo or jamón serrano. Basically anything that we find fresh we stuff into the bread. In Croatia the bread is a little more like ciabatta bread and comes in huge loaves. We would often just rip off a hunk and stuff it with some cheese and salad goodies, wrap it in some tinfoil and stick on the back of the bikes for the journey.
The best bit about these lunches is where you eat them. On the top of a mountain, beside a lake or at the beach with a gorgeous view – no matter how soggy or hot the sandwich, it always tastes good when enjoyed in nature.
The other camping lunches we have perfected are those for long journies. Some of these are those where you have ample space and time to whip something up on the go and others are a continuous supply of nutritional goodness that can be grabbed while the other hand is on the wheel:
On the deck
On an overnight ferry from Italy to Greece we made sure we boiled up a few eggs at breakfast that morning and packed those, some fresh bread, eggs, mustard and onion and made sandwiches on the deck. We also took heaps of food with us when traveling on overnight and long day ferries in Alaska so that we had ample meal and snack supplies. There is less of a need to make lunch in the morning when you have hours to while away at sea. One thing we did get into trouble for was when we pulled out the gas stove and started boiling up some water for a coffee on the deck of the Greek ship. We were aware of the implications but considered the risk minimal. Needless to say we were told off by a rather cross guard, thankfully Andy managed to prolong this conversation until the water had boiled and we managed a delicious little coffee anyway.
On the tracks
Recently we had the pleasure of riding the California Zephyr from Chicago to Colorado. Wanting to save a bit of cash and having all of our camping gear on board, we used our Stanley Flasks to store some chilli from the night before. This we whipped out in the viewing deck, alongside a fresh avocado which we sliced up and added to the jars and washed it all down with a couple of vinos. We also used these flasks to store lunch for our skiing days when we got there, just putting in some of our dinner from the night before and voila!
On the road
On a 20+ hour bus journey it is a little more difficult to prepare meals from your seat. Often we have just taken a packed lunch with the all important addition of numerous snacks. In Argentina we would grab a bag of empenadas to tide us over. This was also the case throughout our road trip in Africa, where we were desperate to cover as much ground as possible so often just ate on the drive. So that Andy didn’t fall asleep at the wheel, he endeavored to maintain his sugar levels by eating little and often. We took things like bags of biltong, cottage cheese and pitta bread/rice crackers as well as wraps made fresh that morning, which could be grabbed on the go.
On other occasions, such as when we were in Alaska and British Columbia and were covering even more ground in a day; taking a fresh air break was vital. We used this as the perfect opportunity for a lunch and coffee stop and would take the gas/solo stove out and get a good lunch on the go. Often we would pull into campsites that we spotted from the roadside and make the most out of their picnic areas or just borrow a pitch for lunchtime – a bit naughty but it gave us access to fresh water refills and provided us a bench to work from without having to get the table and chairs out.
On long trips you don’t need to stack up on sweets and crisps to satisfy hunger pangs. There are loads of great healthy snacks out there that are way better for you. Here are some of our favourites we never travel without for snacking on the go:
- rice crackers
- smoked fish (some smoked trout or sockeye salmon from BC/Alaska cannot be beaten)
- mixed nuts (no added salt/sugar)
- dried fruit
- biltong/salmon jerky (this isn’t a staple on all trips but whenever and wherever we can get hold of local goodies like this we do)
Must haves for camping packed lunches:
- tinfoil or clingfilm (tinfoil is way better because you can re-use it)
- elastic bands (great for keeping salami style sausages)
- Swiss Army knife (the can opener also comes in really handy if you are making something more ambitious
- cracked black pepper
- small bottle of olive oil
- flask/water bottle
- solo stove and coffee maker (activity and weight dependent)