One of the hardest parts about bike touring—or bikepacking—is you can only carry so much food by bike, and yet food will be all you can think about. You’ll wake up in your tent to a growling stomach. You’ll fixate on specific cravings for hours. Some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery will rotate through your peripheral vision, but you’ll be too busy hallucinating your riding buddy as a series of interlocking cartoon donuts to even notice, or care.
The best way to handle constant hunger is to have a few satisfying recipes on hand that don’t require tons of effort, cooking tools, or ingredients. Sure, for a longer trip you might turn to simple bags of pasta or even backpacking meal kits. But for a few days out on the road, I’ve found I operate best when I have a meal worth anticipating planned for that night’s camping
Here’s a sample day of recipes from a bikepacking trip I took recently, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert (snacks were also involved).
BREAKFAST: HOMEMADE INSTANT OATMEAL
¾ cup instant/quick oats
pinch of cinnamon
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon dried cranberries*
1 Tablespoon dried apples*
1 ½ cups water
2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts*
*Feel free to substitute your favorite nuts and dried fruit
How to prep at home:
In a plastic bag or Tupperware bowl, combine oats, cinnamon, brown sugar, cranberries, and dried apples.
Heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Add walnuts and toast for 1 to 2 minutes, shaking frequently to prevent burning and to cook nuts evenly.
When golden brown, dump walnuts onto a plate or bowl to prevent carryover cooking and subsequent burning.
Pack in a small plastic bag or container once cooled.
How to prep at camp:
(Equipment needed: cook stove for boiling water; bowl for eating; spoon.)
Pour oat mixture into bowl you plan to eat out of
Add boiling water to bowl, stir, cover (with a plate, plastic bag, etc.), let sit for 4 minutes.
Top with walnuts
LUNCH: ALMOND BUTTER, BANANA, AND HONEY SANDWICHES
This one is quick and easy; you don’t have to unpack all your gear to make lunch in the middle of your ride.
2 slices whole grain bread (pack this in something hard-sided so it won’t get smushed)
1 packet Justin’s Almond Butter (flavor of your choosing)
1 ripe banana
1 packet honey or a tablespoon of honey in a zip-lock bag
(Equipment needed: spoon or knife for spreading.)
Spread almond butter on both slices of bread
Using the same spoon or knife, slice banana onto one side of bread
Drizzle banana with honey, place the other piece of bread on top
DINNER: BLACK BEAN AND GUACAMOLE WRAPS WITH CHERRY TOMATOES
15 oz can of black beans with pull-tab lid
1 ripe avocado
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon chili powder
2 packets of hot sauce of your choosing, or bring along your favorite bottle
16 cherry tomatoes
2 burrito-sized flour tortillas
To prep at home:
Place cumin and chili powder in a plastic bag or container
Pack some salt—bring a little more than you think you need just in case
In another plastic bag, pack garlic powder
Pack lime, avocado, and tomatoes so they don’t get squashed
To prep at camp:
(Equipment needed: bowl; fork; knife sharp enough to cut vegetables; paper plate or other cutting surface.)
Open the can of beans and drain. Stir in cumin/chili powder and salt to taste.
Cut avocado open and slice up in shell before scooping out into bowl. Cut lime open and add juice from ½ lime (more if you prefer a more tart guacamole), add garlic powder, mash with a fork, and salt to taste.
Cut cherry tomatoes in half, sprinkle with a touch of salt
Assemble wraps by spreading half the guacamole on each tortilla, top with half of the beans and tomatoes, drizzle with hot sauce.
Wrap up by folding edge closest to you across ingredients, fold in both perpendicular sides, and roll whole burrito toward far edge, making sure to keep the sides tucked in.
Dessert can be tough to prepare on the road, but I generally feel like I deserve a batch of cookies any time I ride more than about two miles. Make these amazing Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Cookies before you go and pack them in your gear for snacking at the campsite.