Family-friendly, make-ahead recipes for family bike camping

When I’m packing two kids and myself on a cargo bike for our Mother’s Day Off bike camping trips, I often target the stove and tableware as equipment I can leave at home for a single overnight trip. The equipment can still fit with us on the Yuba Mundo, but simple is nice.

Here are some make-ahead, family-friendly recipes to save time and gear for camping trips.

These recipes and lots more tips and stories for family bike camping will be in my upcoming book Let’s Go Family Bike Camping. You can sign up to be notified when it’s released on the site.

Oatmeal Banana Bites

This recipes contains the primary ingredients I like to have for breakfast anyway– oatmeal and bananas– but in a more portable format. Although they are quite healthy, they look like cookies. So my daughter thinks they are a treat when she doesn’t otherwise like to have oatmeal. These took me about 15 minutes to put together and were ready in about 30 minutes from start to finish. I even managed to fit in making them after arriving home from work and before heading out for a quick overnight bike camping trip. The recipe comes from Dreena Burton’s Cookbook Plant-Powered Families, one the cookbooks we are using to find meals are kids enjoy that without eggs or dairy. The recipe is vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free and oil-free!


  • 1 cup rolled oats (use gluten-free certified oats for gluten-free option)
  • 1 cup oat flour (use gluten-free certified oat flour for gluten-free option)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛ – ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup pureed overripe banana (roughly 2 large bananas; see note)
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract or ½ –¾ teaspoon vanilla bean powder
  • 3 tablespoons nondairy chocolate chips (optional, can substitute dried fruit; see note)

We don’t stock oat flour– I just whiz some rolled oats in our blender for a few seconds to create some.


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, oat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, sea salt, and nutmeg. Stir through until well combined.
  • Add the banana, vanilla extract, and chocolate chips to the dry mixture, and stir through until combined. Using a cookie scoop, place 2-tablespoon mounds of the batter onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 13–14 minutes, until just firm to the touch and a light golden on top. Remove from oven and let cool on pan for a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack.
  • Banana Note: Use an immersion blender and a deep cup to puree your bananas (this is easiest, but a blender or small food processor will also work). It produces a very liquefied mixture, not like what you can get through mashing. Idea: Try adding raisins, chopped dates, or chopped dried banana in place of the chips

Recipe yields enough for snacks and breakfast for a parent and one or two cycling children. For context, a normal adult oatmeal portion
would be about 1/2 cup of oats, and this recipe includes 4 times that.

Even Keel Trail Bars

These calorie-dense no-bake trail bars were designed for backpacking– packing the most amount of calories into the the least weight. They are also recipe my whole family enjoys. Consider these as a Clif-Bar replacement for mid-day snacks or even a meal replacement. Credit for this recipe goes to the hiker named “Bigfoot” who got the recipe from hiker “Even Keel” whose mother mailed him these bars on the trail. Thanks, mom. Search for “No-bake trail bars” to find more variations.

In my test the recipe made about 20 small bars, enough for our family our four to have each have two or three small bars for a breakfast, with eight bars left over for other snacks. For a two person single-overnight, consider cutting the recipe in half.

Our kids loved helping to make these. This increased their investment in trip and their excitement about adding the sweet, chocolately creations they helped make.

Beware the bars are a little sticky– probably not the best choice to eat straight out of a handlebar bag while riding!


  • 1 cup Peanut Butter
  • 1 cup Honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup finely chopped nuts (we tried pecans)
  • ¼ cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 4½ cups oatmeal
  • Almonds for topping (optional)


  • Mix together peanut butter, honey and vanilla extract in a large bowl
  • Add remaining ingredients and mix them in.
  • Lightly spray a pan with vegetable oil.
  • Press mixed bars into pan
  • Cut into bars
  • Press almonds into the top of the bars- close enough to get an almond in each bike