Eating Cheaply on the Road


Not eating sandwiches, also — backpacking, not roadtripping
Olympus E-620 with 12-60 lens
48mm, F8, 1/1600 of a second

Sandwiches. This post could be that single word. But I’ll elaborate.

I go on road trips regularly, and I don’t have a lot of money. So I’ve had a lot of time to perfect this.

When I’m on a road trip I don’t want to spend lots of time eating — there’s much to see and places to go. Energy bars are quick, but they’re dry and not exactly a meal. Jerky tastes good every once in a while. Yogurt, fruit and fruit cups are great, but they’re not meals either. Lipton packs or other quick pasta packs are a hearty meal and taste good, but they require finding an appropriate place to set up a stove and a fair bit of time. Backpacker’s pantry and other add-water type meals are alright, but they’re outrageously expensive, and they still require that you get out a stove to boil water. At least you don’t need to wash dishes afterwards. And fast food, while convenient and occasionally yummy, is unhealthy, expensive, and requires you to be in a decent sized town when you’re hungry.

Sandwiches, however, are perfect. Every small town has a grocery store where you can pick up bread, cheese, mayo or miracle whip, and veggies (I like tomatoes and cucumbers). Generally, you can pick up enough for quite a few meals for not much money.

You can make sandwiches with very little preparation. A knife (and maybe a plate) is all that’s required. They only take a couple minutes to assemble, and they’re much healthier than fast-food. Clean-up afterward only requires wiping off the knife.

One little caveat. Sandwiches are great for road trips where you have a cooler — in summer it keeps everything cool, and in winter it keeps things from freezing. For backpacking, I’d worry about the mayo or miracle whip going bad. If anyone has suggestions for how to avoid this, that would be amazing. I’d leave out the spread, but then the sandwiches would be quite dry, and I can’t stand that. But when I’m backpacking I usually don’t mind taking longer to make a meal, and the Lipton packs are great for that.

One thought on “Eating Cheaply on the Road”

  1. Packets? They are cheap to buy in bulk and last a freakishly long time. You’d have to add the weight to your pack, though.

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