Topic: Travel

So you've seen where we stayed... and where we hiked... but...


One of the reasons we rented an RV was so I could cook our own food.

Most of the "easy" camping options (like canned beans, Clif Bars, PB&Js, and oatmeal) aren't an option for us due to allergies, and I loathe wasting money on food I could have made easily myself too...

(btw: for a full list of vegan and plant-based items that can used for camping and travel, please see the long list included in Travel chapter in the Happy Herbivore Guide to Plant-Based Living. There's a camping section too!)

Creating our RV menu was a pleasant reminder of how many HH recipes use mainly pantry staples!

When sitting down with my cookbooks and past meal plans, I had way more options than I realized -- I started having trouble narrowing down what to select because there were so many good options and favorites!!!

My strategy: Select recipes and meals with similar ingredients so I could bring the least amount of spices AND to avoid ingredient waste.

I also relied heavily on recipes involving rice, potatoes, squash, and vegetables that do well without refrigeration (like zucchini and cherry tomatoes) since the fridge and freezer were so tiny.

I even planned our meals so we ate the freshest ingredients first, then moved on to recipes involving frozen and dry goods!

Just like at home, I was a batch cooking bad@$$ in the RV!

I found I preferred cooking in my pressure cooker (I use the "saute" and "simmer" features as a make-shift stove) more so than the camping burner, but both worked. The microwave got a workout with my potatoes!

(Pictured is Indian Spiced Potatoes (from Meal Mentor), brown rice, and a bunch of veggies seasoned with a Mrs. Dash)

Batch cooking ensured we would always have good food after a long hike.

There was no waiting an hour for a table at some crappy restaurant, OR me having to put in effort when I was already exhausted. Just reheat and eat!

Batch cooking is AMAZING guys, do it!! Seriously, use the meal plans or create your own system. This trip was a testament that if you don't plan, you plan to fail!

PLUS when I realized just how hot and stuffy it got in the RV when I cooked anything, I was SO GLAD I wasn't going to be doing that nightly or daily!

(Pictured is Aloo Gobi (from HHA), Quick Queso, Red-Red Stew (EHH), Mushroom Gravy (EHH), Vegetable Tagine (MM), and Sweet Potato Curry (also from MM) which was hiding under the kale.)

I also made a few really simple meals here and there like pepper fajitas:

Heat up a bag of frozen mixed bell peppers with sliced onion in a fajita seasoning and place in tortillas with hot sauce!

And Scott loved my pineapple rice so much he started taking it on hikes!

Rice, canned pineapple, soy sauce or teriyaki or hoison--glad I started saving all those take-out packets! plus cilantro and green onion if you have it.

AND because this was a vacation, we also had some really simple meals like potatoes and green beans (I discovered I like salsa on green beans!)

or kabocha squash (which I love and is ridiculously cheap at Trader Joe's right now!) with an apple and carrots.

I also made this "end of the road stew" (it's basically a misfit version of the Minestrone from EHH) which used the last of everything:

And discovered this amazing new breakfast courtesy of my PC!

Sliced apples and pears with cinnamon and as much water as your PC requires. High 1 minute, natural release. I put it over rice and Scott said it was the best substitute for oatmeal he's ever had :-P

Finally, here's an example of what we packed for long hikes when we knew we had to carry a full meal and would be gone too long in the sun to carry our rice and potatoes and other cooked fare:

I love a good banana or tomato sandwich! Yes I had my mustard packets!

So that's what we ate :)

I hope this post has given you some inspiration for YOUR camping adventures!

DO check out the list of portable foods in the Guide for more ideas! (and you can see even more pictures of what we were eating on Instagram!)

P.S. Meal Mentor members: There's a new ebook with my exact menu, plus all recipes, and a shopping list!! in our exclusive member library, along with the travel plan that's already there (plus don't miss the camping information in the forums).

RV Traveling {Review} Pros and Cons


1) You can settle in and stay settled. There's no constant packing and unpacking. No carrying everything to and from the car every few days. No long process of setup or breakdown, or trying to fit everything in the car (again). No living out of a duffle bag and dealing with the... "is this dirty?" and "where the heck is?" You save a lot of time being able to roll in, roll out and be organized!

2) You can bring more. There's a lot of storage space in an RV, so you can bring more clothing (and avoid laundry), more dry foods (and avoid shopping), more gear or whatever (and be ultra prepared!) than you ever could in a car.

You also won't have to live on top of all your stuff. No crazy clown car!

3) You can cook. This was the biggest upside for us and I made great use of our little fridge, stove and microwave. Being able to cook make the entire trip so much more enjoyable (less stressful) and easy. Eating well also helped us recover faster and feel ultra energized!

4) POTTY! If you're a member of the Small Bladder Club, you get me.

5) Electricity. I was thankful to have tons of outlets and plenty of light.

6) Comfort. An RV takes you from camping to "Glamping" with a real mattress bed, AC, even a TV! No camping chairs and air mattresses!

7) Weather. Piggybacking on #6, it's about a million times better to be in an RV when it's raining, snowing, freezing cold, or really hot. Even though we had stayed in the same general geographic area, we experienced it all: below freezing temps, hail, down-pouring rain, crazy high winds, mud (and more mud), and scorching heat well over 100. I was really glad to be inside an RV and not in a tent or rustic cabin with the more extreme weather AND going back to #2, we also had the space to pack more blankets, winter-y clothes, rain boots, which would have been sacrificed if we were driving a car instead.

8) Pets! It's a lot easier to travel with pets if you have an RV, especially if you plan to hike or spend time walking around. Dogs aren't allowed in most parks or on the trails, and you can't leave them in your car, cabin, or in a motel room unattended, but you can leave them in an RV if you run the generator!


1) Expensive. In addition to renting the RV, you also have to pay to camp each night (about $60 per night average) and you'll use a lot more gas.

2) SLOW. You can't drive an RV very fast (both for safety and lack of horsepower). If the distance is a 3-hour drive in the car, it's at least 4 hours in the RV without stops. There's also a lot of roads you can't take RVs on because of height or weight restrictions, so you often have to go around your elbow to get to your bottom, making the journey even longer.

3) You can't stay IN the park. Most campsites inside our National Parks are for tent camping only. RV campsites are typically outside the parks, usually 1-3 miles away, though sometimes longer. Most campsites do not offer shuttle service to the park, or even have bike rentals, and there's no public transportation or uber, so getting TO the park becomes a challenge. We had to hitchhike a few times, especially when we wanted to stay for sunsets.

4) You can't "drive." Most of the parks aren't just car-friendly, they are car mandatory. You need a car to be able to drive around the park to get to ...

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Scott, the pugs & I are just back from a 15-day RV trip through Utah and Arizona.

It was our first time RVing and I'll include our thoughts on the RV experience and the pros and cons in a future post.

Places visited:
Zion National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Moab, Utah
Arches National Park
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
The Grand Canyon
Sedona, Arizona

By the numbers:

1,782 road miles driven.

76.33 miles by foot.

227,171 steps later...

FYI, This post is just a bare snapshot of our adventure. I posted the trip in real time on Instagram so check that out for more pictures of our travels and the parks, as well as seeing all of the foods I made in our camper!

Consider this post more 4-1-1 informative for trip planning than picturesque.

FOOD: Since we were on a strict budget, I cooked in the camper (details and recipes in a future post--make sure to subscribe to the newsletter so you don't miss it!) but we did take care to look at menus at local restaurants and campground lodges whenever we could to see what options would be available for vegans and plant-based campers.

Zion National Park

We hiked the Narrows, which is THE trail to experience in Zion.

We slogged through the Virgin River all the way from the Temple of Sinawava to the Waterfalls (which is worth the added distance after Wall Street imho), and then detoured to Orderville Canyon on our way out.

It took us about 6 hours total, but that included a very long stop for lunch, and walking an extra mile because the shuttle wasn't in service. To be certain, it's an all-day event and exhausting even for a fit body, but an amazing experience.

If you're planning to hike the Narrows, spend the money to rent the special shoes, aqua socks, and walking stick. Also get up as early as possible and on the very first shuttle. Not only will you have the trail mostly to yourself, it's 1000x more stunning in the soft, early morning light. YES it is wet and cold.

If you're a casual hiker, there are a few gentler and paved trails in Zion, but most of the famous trails are moderate to strenuous (and long!) and several hikes are technical (canyoneering, climbing and/or rappelling experience required).

Eats: Unlike a lot of other Parks, Zion sits next to a fairly populated town, so there are dozens of shops, cafes, and restaurants all within a short walking distance.

I was pleasantly surprised to see nearly every restaurant and cafe had "vegan" and "vegetarian" options clearly marked on their menus. You could even find non-oatmeal breakfast options like tofu scramble at Cafe Soleil, and most coffee shops offered almond and soy milks.

If we'd had money to spend on dinner out, I would have ordered the spaghetti squash enchiladas (vegan-adaptable) at Whiptail Grill. That sounds so cool!

BTW, there's also a small, independent grocery and health food store, Sol Foods, with many "fast food" options for vegans like microwave burritos, plus specialty items like vegan "jerky". They also have many special "gluten-free" items!

Bryce Canyon National Park

The Hoodoos remind me of all the drip sand castles I made at the beach as a kid! They're really cool to see and BEST viewed in the soft light of dawn or dusk.

We did the Rim Trail from Sunrise Point to Bryce Point (I would recommend going in the OPPOSITE direction--Bryce to Sunset--which would be predominately downhill).

We also descended down in the canyon via the Queens Garden Loop ...

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Scott and I visited Houston, Texas last week for Scott's birthday :)

Scott is a baseball fanatic, with the goal of visiting every Major League ballpark (Houston was #17), so his birthday present this year was using all our miles to go to Houston :) AND while our team lost, it was a no hitter game!

Onward to the vegan eats...

We stayed in downtown near the stadium, and I was pleasantly surprised how many options were within walking distance of ...

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Last week Happy Herbivore HQ went to San Francisco for a corporate retreat. (BIG thanks to all the Herbies who suggested POIs!)

Funny thing, when we arrived, I'd planned for us to eat at our hotel. (Having browsed their menu online, I was seduced by a "vegan ratatouille")

Love is indeed blind because I missed the part where it said "LUNCH menu" and that they were not open for dinner.

Fortunately, a quick search on Yelp led us to ...

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