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FOOD planning for self-supported travelling

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FOOD planning for self-supported travelling

Hi folks,

I looked for a similar topic, but didn't find any.

I am new at bike touring. I'll go on my first long trip this may 15th on the US East-Coast for 3-4weeks. I'm a poor college student that wants to travel cheaply without dying of hunger or thirst :P
How do you manage your food? What do you cook on camping? WHat food do you buy? Fresh vegetables and fruits? Pasta? cans? Dry food?

I suppose that the roads on the East Coasts are not that isolated and that I'll be able to cross by a village or town every 1 or 2 days. So I'll have to carry food for 2 days max. Is it too much?

I am very excited for my first trip!


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May sound crazy but besides lots of energy and breakfast bars I always carry a ton of pop tarts and beef jerky

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Food on the road


Buy yourself a small gas camping stove that has the screw on butane cans, they are simple to use and the fuel is not too hard to find, we carry a spare can. Get a small cook kit with two pots and maybe a pan. For dinners we pretty much get by on pasta with a jar of sauce and add some vegies or canned fish. The other thing that is simple and cheap is a stir fry of veggies with brown rice, add a can of beans for protein.

You should be able to buy what you need every day so you don't carry too much. Maybe keep one meal for an emergency, you will likely never use it. Shop by early afternoon for that night in case you camp early or there is no shop near you camping location.

For breakfasts you can't do better than oatmeal and some fruit, cheap and easy. Lunch of fresh bread or crackers cheese and fruit is easy and quick. Carry some tea bags, instant coffee, cooking oil in a plastic bottle and you are all set. We get by on this routine months at a time both in the US and abroad.

Let us know if we can be of any more help

Clive and Louise

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Thanks! I am about to buy a small stove. I'm hesitating between something as simple as the Crux LPG stove ( or something more complex. Also, do I really need more than a pot?

How about water?

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I'm about to head out on my

I'm about to head out on my first tour and am figuring this stuff out as well.

If you're on a budget like me, I made my own stove with a penny and two recycled soda cans as detailed here: Reviews say it works just as well/better than commercial stoves and you don't need any special fuel.

It works really well and I bought a $2 bottle of Heet as fuel - one bottle is probably good for a dozen meals - I made quinoa the other night with it :)

Otherwise I'm planning on buying fruit and veggies as I go, and carry some quinoa, oatmeal, tea, coffee, salt/pepper, and maybe a can of soup now and then.

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We had the Crux as our first cannister stove and used it for about 5 years. It was OK but it is a bit unstable, and gets worse with wear due to the hinged design. I switched to a MSR Windpro as the stove does not sit on top of the cannister, hence is very stable, plus you can use a wind sheild which is supplied. It costs more but still packs inside a pot and is quite light. We also have an MSR Superfly as this will fit European (GAZ) non threaded cannisters as well as the threaded type readily available in the US. We often use both as we cook with 2 pots quite a bit. The Superfly is a much more sturdy design than the Crux and may suit your needs. The MSR Pocket Rocket is their base model but suffers from a small flame spread so is not very good for stir frying or simmering.

As to water, we just get it as we go from faucets or in convenience stores, we usually carry 2 or 3 bottles and get cooking water at campgrounds. If you are not getting it from lakes or streams there is no need to filter or buy bottled in our experience.

As to the pots , the kits with 2 nesting pots and a lid are nice as you can have seperate pots for the odd meal that requires this or at least have seperate pots for tea water and cooking rather than having to wash up to have a drink.

Hope this helps


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Adding to other people's

Adding to other people's comments, you should study a little bit of nutrition or at least understand what your body consumes during aerobic exercises.

Keep in mind the intervals of eating. In general, it is a "meal" per hour. If you forget to eat, you will crash sooner eventually. For those intervals, I carry Clif energy bars when I can find a good deal on them -- 5 Clif bars for $5 ($1 each). I compliment the meal with a fruit and water.

As for what I eat, I carry a bag of dates and raw honey as my main energy source and peanut butter or any kind of nuts serve as my alternatives. I also eat 2 or 3 bananas a day for the potassium which helps maintain your muscles. I also eat apples, peaches, and pears. I also happily gnaw on raw vegetables. Nothing beats carrots, celery, tomatoes, and all that. I also buy canned beans and such to give me some protein and fiber. I don't really buy meat.

I may be different from others but oil is an essential part of meals that help fill you up so I actually carry a small bottle of extra virgin olive oil with me. I use it with fresh bread baked from shops. Yes, it may weigh a decent chunk but it's worth it. It has multiple uses including moisturizing your skin.

I do not cook. Ever. If I want warm food, I go buy a meal at a restaurant as a reward. I do cook at home though. ;)

And finally, please, bring salt with you. You need salt because of sweat. There will be times when you're wondering why it is so hard to push and why you feel so exhausted and you're completely oblivious as to why it's happening to you -- it's because of hyponatremia -- lack of sodium in your blood. I almost "died" in Morocco because there was simply no salt to be bought. It was so bad that I had to take the bus and I felt nauseous the whole ride.

Read further on hyponatremia:

And no, don't buy for "two days." Buy for the next 6 hours. The east coast is vastly populated.

I hope this helps.

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Hey there I'd recommend you

Hey there
I'd recommend you to opt for canned food. It is compact, nutritious and won't split in your backpack
Have a safe trip :)

Angelita, audio editor

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Hi folks! I thank you for

Hi folks!

I thank you for all your tips about the food. I did my East Coast bike touring. From Montreal to Portland (ME), then I followed the coast, crossing Cape Cod and Long Island. Because of a lack of time, I stopped at Atlantic City even though I really wanted to reach Ocean City (Maryland).

My friend and I didn't have any problem with food. I always cooked 3 or 4 portions. At the end of the trip, we weighted more than at the beginning :P We bought food every 6 hours, since the East Coast is full of grocery stores and other natural food stores. We had home made energy bars, or cliffs. Also, we always had our bag of nuts and dried fruits and our pot of peanut butter!
In general, Warmshower hosts fed us for the supper or at least for breakfast. Sometimes they even gave us food. Some other times, we cooked for our hosts :)

In conclusion, I LOVE Bike touring and I can't wait for my next trip! I would like to tour in Europe and go down Spain to cross the Gibraltar to Morocco and visit my family there.

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traders Joes

get a list of traders Joes on the east coast
small bottle water $0.29 very large $0.79 Lots of ready to go meals at low prices
plus just of a lot of neat items to eat
morning meal be sure and eat some protien two boiled eggs + cold ceral + toast works for me to keep up my energy till noon
always carry energy bars Like at least 8 in case your run out of food and no place nearby

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