Camping food and/or Quick food for the road (climb with kids)

I was running through my repertoire of easy meal options for climbing, hiking, traveling with kid etc.,  and thought I’d share my short list in hopes of getting some feedback (and an expanded selection) for quick and easy food options.  Please read my list and add your favorites in the comments.

Caveat: Refrigeration can be a challenge (adds to the amount we carry) so I try to think of things that won’t spoil quickly.  Some of the options on my short list, however, probably require refrigeration.  We use these for short day trips and/or the climbing gym.

1.  Gogurt.  I know, I know. . . you pay for the packaging.  Brand doesn’t matter, and there are some organic options out there.  If you freeze it, gogurt is easy to travel with and is a healthy fun snack for the kids.  No knife needed to open.

2. Frozen peas.  My kids love to eat frozen (or still cold) peas.  Not sure of the appeal (I don’t usually even cook them at home, to be honest).  Peas are healthy finger food for little hands.

3. Breaded chicken legs.  This is the “should be refrigerated” food item that requires some prep, but I must say it is worth it.  We love to eat cold breaded chicken legs out at the crag.  Wipes are a must with this one (a bit of grease/oil left on your hands doesn’t help with climbing).  Again, finger food that doesn’t require additional effort while outside or away from microwaves and camp stoves. Carry this one in a baggie (baggie is perfect for the bones when you are done and any other waste you are carrying out).

Chicken for the road. Serve cold :)

4. Applesauce in single serve containers.  You can use your own reuseable containers for this one or just buy the prepackaged ones.  Spoon recommended (if you use the prepackaged applesauce, the foil top serves as a handy spoon in a pinch).

5.  Dried fruit.  Again, you can do this one on your own or just buy it packages (expect some extra sugar with your fruit).  Raisins are a hit in this house as are dried mangoes and pineapples.  Oh, and the kids like them, too.

6.  Bagels.  Filling and finger food.  Cream cheese optional (depending on your time away from a cooler)

7.  Flavored tuna fish.  In the packets. . .low mess, no mixing required.  Crackers/bagels for serving.

8. Apples.  Not cut.  Ryan and I eat the skin off (since the kids are still a bit too young to chew the skin properly) and hand the rest to the kids. . . You can use your handy pocket knife on this one if you have it (optional).  Oranges are a good second option yielding more mess. Grapes work too.

Other options. . . Tried and true: PB&J.  Messy.  Not a hit at our house.  Granola/trail mix.  OK but tend to include chocolate. . .my kids will just pick out the good stuff so I avoid the mix and the candy.  Bananas make a mess if not carried properly.

What are your favorite day hiking/climbing/bike riding/travel foods?  In particular, I’d love to hear options for bringing something with protein to the crag. No refrigeration or on-site cooking required (pre-cooking I’ll do).

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About Laura Boniello Miller

Laura Miller is a internet marketing professional and a mother of two. Her interests include sport climbing, bouldering, reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She believes that playing outdoors is integral to health and well being, and that if your kids aren't dirty, they haven't had enough fun.


  1. I just drove from UT to WI and back with just myself and a 2 yr old & 5 yr old, so I know all about travel friendly foods! I regularly pack the same stuff on our hiking/climbing/camping trips too :)Stonyfield Yogurt TubesApple & Eve Fruitables juice boxesGogo Sqeez Applesauce packetsKids Clif Z barsAnnies bunny crackers and cookies and fruit snacks for treatsand Trail Mix of courseI always premake pb&j's or turkey sandwiches so I can just hand them out when they get hungry. That's pretty much the extent of the protein I bring in for them. Although, they usually steal some of my Clif Builder Bars so they get some protein from that, lol.I think that's about it for a day out at the crag :) If I think of anything else I'll add it.

  2. Michelle says:

    Lara Bars are a must for our family (really for me). My kids love pb sandwiches but I don't. Lara Bars come in many flavors, but Cashew Cookie is my favorite. It contains cashews and dates. That's it! A great filler and with some good protein, it hits the spot.Dried mango (TJs "Just Mango" with no sugar), trail mix, and cookies usually find their way into our bag.Cuties (small, easy peel orange/tangerine) are the easiest fruit to throw in. The kids can peel their own and they are just the right size. Not too messy either!I haven't tried hard boiled eggs on the road/trail. I would think they would transport easily and leave only a minor mess. The trouble is that I need salt with them. It would be a good protein source so I'll probably try it again.

  3. Great post – I've actually been compiling a list of my own to make a similar post in my Cragbaby series :) My favorite thing for C is those little squeeze containers of fruit/veggie combos – there are a ton of different brands, we're still experimenting with which kind is the tastiest/most cost efficient. You can get them conventional or organic, and they contain only fruit/veggies, no added anything! Oh and for protein we love nut butters :)

  4. Melissa says:

    We always carry:String cheeseWhole applesDried fruitKids Clif Z Bars and their Twist FruitPB & JLara BarsTurkey pepperoni, crackers and sliced cheeseGreat post!