River Trip Lunches

If you go on a guided raft trip you will undoubtedly have a full, big deal lunch every day. You’re group will pull over at a likely spot with shade, sand and good swimming, then as you frolic, the crew will put together an extravagant lunch.

If they really get into it they may even start a fire, or pull out a stove and cook hot food.

Easily accessible lunch
Easily accessible lunch

That’s all great and quite a treat, but when you’re on a non-commercial river trip with your family and buddies this extravagance is overkill and only makes the river trip harder than it should be.

Over our many years of trial and error the KISS method always works better…Keep It Simple Stupid!

When were planning river trip meals we always divvy up the dinners and breakfasts evenly. Each family or group of river runners is responsible for the same amount of dinners and breakfasts as everyone else.

Our river trips are usually 3 or 4 days, 2 or 3 nights, so it’s easy to figure out. For longer trips extra planning and flexibility is required, but it isn’t hard.

What About Lunch?

You notice I only mentioned dinners and breakfasts? What about lunches? We leave lunch up to each family or group. That’s the secret, don’t put lunch into the equation, it causes too much extra work.


Who wants a big extravagant (read heavy), lunch when you’re on a river trip? If I eat a heavy lunch it won’t be long until I’m ready for a nap.

I’ve got nothing against napping, but on a river trip you need to make some time after lunch to get the campsite you want. You need to make some miles so the next day isn’t quite so long.

Leaving the river lunches up to small family groups works out great. Each family unit can bring whatever suits their fancy, and since the groups are small, you don’t need a lot of cooler space.

Loading a full lunch for your whole group takes up a lot of room, and can be hard to access in the middle of the day. Having your lunch small and accessible means you don’t have to unload half the boat to get to the food.

What’s for Lunch?

So what’s a great river lunch? We keep it real simple. So, here it is:

  • Small whole wheat bagels,
  • Pre-sliced assorted cheeses. Pre-sliced makes it a lot easier. I know it’s more expensive and the paper between each slice isn’t PC, but cutting cheese (not the cheese) on a raft is hazardous.
  • Mustard, Mayo
  • pre-sliced deli meat
  • couple of apples and tomatoes, maybe an avocado or 2. These will need to be sliced so you’ll also need…
  • Small Cutting board
  • Small, sharp, foldable Knife

Depending on how many people and how many lunches you have, this shouldn’t take up too much room, and is quick, easy, yummy and satisfying.

Like I said our river trip lunches are simple, so simple in fact that sometimes we don’t even pull over to put it together. We’ll pick a mellow section of river and keep drifting while were making and eating lunch. That just can’t be beat, drifting, eating, maybe sucking back a beer.

That’s a river lunch that can’t be beat by even the most extravagant guided river trip lunch.

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