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favorite things to eat during long (4-6hr) car ride?

I do a lot of car camping and would like ideas on food to eat on long car rides/picnic food. I don't bring a cooler so food that can be kept unrefrigerated for 1-2 days.

My standard:
cherry tomatoes


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  1. Sunflower seeds. Not only are they salty & tasty, but the process of opening them in your mouth with your teeth occupies time and keeps you from getting too sleepy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Frosty Melon

      Pringles are your best friend when driving!


    2. We did the L.A. to S.F. road trip this past week, so it wasn't exactly camping.... I hate getting crumbs and such on my clothes, so we mostly snacked on Fruit and made sure we had PLENTY of water.

      For the rest, we put our chow radar on... we made out pretty good... Old Port Lobster Shack, La Super Rica and Friendly Fred's Hot dogs...


      2 Replies
      1. re: Dommy

        Dommy, I hope you post reviews of Old Port Lobster Shack on the San Francisco Board and La Super Rica on the California Board.

        I haven't heard about Fred's Hot Dogs though.

        1. re: Norm Man

          I have that HIGH on my to-do list! :)


      2. salmon, ahi tuna, turkey, and beef jerky.

        1. I take crackers and laughing cow cheese, dried cherries or other dried fruit. We also take a small cooler you can carry on your arm filled w/ frozen btls of water. Keeps sandwiches, soda or juice cold and, as they unfreeze, you get the bonus of icy cold water too.

          1. Beef jerky

            Animal crackers

            Pop tarts

            Cereal (usu. Cheerios)


            1. Blueberries. I once finished a half gallon tub on a drive from SF to LA.

              Salt and vinegar chips come in a close second, but are messier.

              And the cooler in the back seat usually has some kind of meat and cheese sandwich. Last road trip it was prosciutto and buffalo mozerella with a little dijon.

              1. Good cheeses, dry cured sausage like soppresatta, bresaola, prosciutto, Italian and French bread, crackers, jerky, small tomatoes, fruit.

                1. Trader Joe's sells a rice cracker mix. I combine a bag of that with the following other items from TJs:

                  a bag of their Sweet, Savory & Tart Trek Mix (lightly salted whole almonds, cashews, dried cranberries and chopped apricots, and white chocolate chips)

                  a bag of dried edamame (from TJ's)
                  1/4 to 1/3 bag of lightly salted whole almonds
                  1/3 bag of lightly salted whole cashews

                  Shake the whole thing together in a large ziplock bag or container with a snap-tight lid, and you're good to go.

                  1. I've done a considerable amount of 5+ hour driving and I'm always on the lookout for new snacks that keep my fingers and lap relatively clean; can last a long, sometimes hot car ride; and are, of course, tasty. To add to the lists of previous posters:

                    chili bits (crackers from Asian markets)
                    toasted seaweed strips
                    banana crisps (from Trader Joe's, if they're in stock)
                    dehydrated fruit
                    carrot sticks

                      1. The only time I will eat Funyuns is on a road trip.

                        I always grab a couple of Blow Pops for the road too. Candy + Gum = Good Times.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: mamamia

                          Oh my ...me too!The thought of funyuns usually grosses me out but it is the 1st time I grab on the road!I also like "hot" peanuts and deep fried peanuts if I am headed South!

                          1. baby carrots
                            TJ's freeze-dried fruit
                            crispy roasted chickpeas
                            soy chips (I like Glenny's - but keep in mind they don't taste like regular chips)
                            Chinese veggie baked buns (if I can stock up in time0

                            1. Garlic sesame sticks
                              Pringles (only time we eat these)

                              1. Beef jerky
                                red vines
                                TJ's sesame chips

                                1. Yep, gotta have the jerky!

                                  Blow Pops
                                  Starburst candies
                                  Pudding cups -- for passengers, not the driver
                                  Pringles -- gross, I know, but they won't get smushed in the can.
                                  Trail mix

                                  It fun to stick the raisins to your teeth and smile at the cars going by.

                                  Wow, I'm reverting to my childhood car trips.

                                  Drive safely!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: geg5150

                                    There is absolutely nothing wrong with Pringles. They fit your mouth perfectly, and you can make duck bills when you're bored.

                                    It's all about passing the time.


                                  2. Two words: Fig Newtons!

                                    1. There's the standard trail mix, dried fruit, nuts, bars, chocolate, etc., but the stuff I really get excited about when I'm camping are the things I would never buy to eat at home - stuff I might consider "junk food," but I think of camping as being on vacation after all - so what better time to indulge in a few treats?

                                      *Annies bunny grahams (chocolate, cinnamon, or honey)
                                      *sesame sticks or wild rice sticks
                                      *Almond Pocky (or Original in a pinch)
                                      *rice biscuits (they are sort of slightly sweet/salty)
                                      *baby bel cheese-those ones that come wrapped in plastic and red wax-cooler not required
                                      *wasabi peas
                                      *Le Petit Ecolier cookies
                                      *yogurt covered cherries
                                      *freeze dried fruit and vegetables
                                      *individual chocolate soy milk (in a juice-box type thing)
                                      *cheetos - the crunchy is my favorite, but I've converted to the natural as it ameliorates my conscience slightly

                                      My SO likes (in addition to my snacks):

                                      *lychee gummies, gummy bears, or swedish fish
                                      *beef jerky
                                      *sour cream and onion pringles (I see that he's not alone in liking pringles for camping)
                                      *shrimp crackers
                                      *individual whole milk (also in juice-box type thing)

                                      I realize this thread has mostly been about snacks (and I LOVE snacks!) but hhc, I'm not sure if you also wanted meals for camping too. If so, here are a few meals we've made while car camping and you don't need a cooler for anything listed below (but you do need a campstove):

                                      *rice and Tasty Bite (various Indian dishes, e.g. palak paneer, jaipur vegetables, etc. come in foil pouches)
                                      *instant miso soup with buckwheat noodles, Silken tofu and vegetables
                                      *Hoecakes and chili
                                      *Tuna with pasta and chili-"cream" sauce (you can use the milk from the snack list above)
                                      *hummus and falafel pita sandwiches with cucumbers, tomatoes, and lemon
                                      *fruit cobbler (if you have a campfire with coals and a dutch oven)

                                      I love camping! I love backpacking even more, but that's a different list of food altogether - obviously no one is hauling a cast iron dutch oven up the mountain.

                                      Enjoy your camping adventures!

                                      1. Baby carrots -- they're sweet, crunchy, filling, and even healthy.

                                        1. I go with the low mess factor:

                                          Beef Jerky
                                          Almond M&Ms
                                          Bottled water (ever spill a soda in a car?)

                                          1. A large cooler filled with ice and:

                                            Bottles of spring water and unsweetend iced tea
                                            Bottles of natural juices, and fresh orange juice
                                            Bottles of organic milk
                                            several Fresh farm cheeses
                                            Fresh fruits, washed and ready to eat
                                            small containers of natural applesauce

                                            longer trips might include some grilled chicken breasts and grilled veggies, a container of salad greens, and a small container of home-made or natural salad dressing, and also a small container of breakfast cereal.

                                            I usually try (and always forget) to bring trash bags, extra aluminum foil or saran to re-wrap cheeses, etc

                                            also a small "dry" package with a loaf of fresh bread, plastic utensils, plates and cups, lots of napkins, bananas, ripe tomatos, a box of raisins, a bag of nuts, and perhaps a piece of chocolate.

                                            This stockpile can provide a road-warrior with enough food for a LONG road trip, keeping the cooler filled with fresh ice is easy, replenishing basics along the way is easy.

                                            This is my version of things, based on healthy eating (the longer i drive and the more fast-food signs we pass, the more I want to eat only natural healthy foods).

                                            1. Fuji apples.
                                              Diced aged Cheddar cheese in a ziploc bag.
                                              Hard-boiled eggs, with salt & pepper packets stolen from a fast food restaurant.

                                              Japanese wasabi peas.
                                              Pocky chocolate cookie sticks.

                                              Frozen water bottles.
                                              Frozen juice boxes.

                                              Chewing gum.

                                              And....A set of nice cloth napkins for saving your pants + the car. Wave them like a flag outside the car window to shake out the crumbs.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: vicki_vale

                                                I find a towel works best; more coverage and it's good for mopping up spills.


                                              2. A big Thermos of Menudo....

                                                1. Crystallized ginger to help with motion sickness (to anyone tempted to say it doesn't work LALALA I'M NOT LISTENING!)

                                                  Babybels last a surprisingly long time with no refigeration. A friend and I drove around Costa Rica for a week snacking on babybels with no problem. Babybels and lowfat Triscuits...mmmm!

                                                  1. I am not a big fan of eating in the car. I'd rather stop for some intersting road food. However, when I need to take snacks with me for travelling, invariably I have water, raw almonds, pumpkin seeds, and dried fruit.

                                                    1. Grapes. Seedless. Chilled grapes are refreshingly juicy, and can't spill like drinks, so the driver can partake.

                                                      Celery sticks with salted popcorn, actually really good in combination, but the popcorn can get messy.