12 Best Food And Snacks To Bring Sailing

Best Food And Snacks To Bring Sailing | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

September 29, 2020


When sailing, finding the right food, snacks, and drinks to bring with you can be quite a challenge. At first, that might sound a little silly. But when given your full consideration you can start to see where troubles could arise.

You likely have very little storage, very little refrigerated storage, minimal prep room, and limited ways of finally cooking food. So, what makes food good to bring with you when sailing and what are some examples of those foods? This article has the answer to all of that and more.


Table of contents for this article

What makes food good for bringing sailing?

When you are sailing, you are going to want to bring food that keeps well. Traditionally, vegetables and grains were brought on the ship. The meat was brought less so unless it was salt-cured. Eventually, people began getting scurvy. Teeth fall out, sickness and cramping overtook them, people were even dying. Eventually, it was discovered that fruits prevented scurvy. We now know that this was Vitamin C. Luckily, we no longer have the troubles of our ancestors when packing food for sailing. Cured, canned, jarred, and refrigerated foods have increased the shelf life of our foods tremendously. But, we still need to be careful.

If you are going to be sailing for 2 weeks, without seeing land, then you must anticipate at least a week of living off canned goods. If you are only sailing for 2 days, then regular groceries are usually fine. You still must consider how you are going to turn the food you buy into an edible product. If you buy a steak, will you be able to cook it on your sailboat? No. Even if you could, would you want to risk the grease fire? No. There is very little room to prepare, counter space is limited and cooking utensils are sparse. Attempting to bake bread would be a mistake. Freezing a loaf of bread and toasting it as you go would be far more efficient.

What are some good meals to bring?

1) Pot Noodles

Pot Noodles are instant dry noodles that come with a powdered broth. They store tremendously well and are very cheap. You could buy a week’s worth of instant noodles for just a couple of bucks. Simply pour boiling water from your kettle into the pot and within minutes you’re ready to go. It also cuts down on cleaning time as the pots get thrown away once you make land. You can spice your noodles up by adding extra seasoning, soy sauce, or chopped vegetables. Vegetables store very well, without refrigeration, so this can be your go-to meal for weeks if needs be.

2) Boil in a bag rice

Boil in a bag, otherwise known as instant rice should be a sailor’s best friend. No water is needed, despite the name implying you must boil the rice, you can cook it in a microwave. Which most sailboats will have. It takes 2 minutes, and you’re good to go. Just like with instant noodles you can spice it up with long-life products that you bring with you. Besides, this rice will last years in your cupboard. Even if you become stranded at sea for months you would have a supply of food.

3) Pasta dishes

Pasta is one of the best long-life products to bring with you, it is full of carbs to give you energy and is truly quite compact. You could bring 25 pounds of spaghetti with you in a backpack and it would last you for weeks. Simply boil the pasta in the water. Plus, pasta is supposed to be boiled in saltwater anyway. Cutting out your need to use freshwater. Of course, it is healthier to use freshwater, but using seawater could be done if things get dire.

4) Dried oatmeal

Dried oatmeal is cheap to buy, easy to store, and easy to prepare. It can be made by boiling water, fresh milk, long-life milk, or water with powder milk in and is a highly nutritious breakfast. It can be eaten at any time, of course, and is very easy to bring flavor too. Honey or jams that have been preserved will last for months on end. Honey lasts forever. So no need to worry about wasting food.

5) Fish

If you have any kind of grill or small oven, then catching fish and cooking them is a great way to feed yourself. It truly connects you to nature and is fun, as a plus. If you are sailing long distances you will probably have a fishing rod with you for safety reasons anyway. So long as you know how to safely clean and cook a fish, you can feed yourself almost indefinitely. Plus, your scraps from the fish can be used as bait for the next one.

What are some good snacks?

6) Granola bars

Granola bars are great to bring with you. They are easy to store, they last a long time, and they are very filling. They have packed full of calories to keep you going all day long. You can buy granola and make the bars yourself, or, you can buy them wholesale from places like Costco. They can be broken up and eaten with things like oatmeal to make your meal more interesting.

7) Trailmix

Trailmix has a pretty decent shelf life, it’s designed for life on the trail. Where you will be eating a huge amount of calories to replace the ones you burnt doing strenuous exercise. Sailing is not always strenuous, but it can be. Bringing a high-calorie food like trail mix can keep you going even when exhaustion starts to set in. If you are just lounging around, it also makes a pretty tasty snack.

8) Apples, Oranges and other fruits

Most fruits do not need to be refrigerated. They are perfectly fine when kept out in the open, like in a fruit bowl. You may not be at risk of getting scurvy, but it is still a good idea to bring some odd bits of fruit with you on your journey. Apples last a very long time, from the time they are picked to making it to your home they may be months old. You will get fresher apples at a farmers market. Those that aren’t quite ripe will ripen slightly, but not a lot.

9) Packaged cookies

Most of these packest will last a few months so long as they aren’t open. Once you do open them, you will have to eat them over the next two days. Which should be a problem. It’s a good idea to bring a treat for yourself, life at sea can be hard and stressful. Its good to be able to keep the spirits up. Again, packaged cookies can be crumbled up and sprinkled over oatmeal to make it less bland. If you felt so inclined.

10) Candy bars

Just like with cookies, candy bars are a great thing to bring with you for a treat. Plus, they are so calorie-dense they can keep you going for a while if you start to feel tired. Sugar is a short term solution to tiredness, but sometimes that’s all you need. Candy bars can be stored in the cupboard or the refrigerator. Whichever you prefer.

What are some good drinks to bring?

11) Gatorade

Gatorade is one of, if not the, best sports drinks on the market. They are full of electrolytes and other nutrients to keep you well hydrated. They are great for keeping you going through the day, especially in hot countries, and are not overly expensive. They also serve a secondary purpose of being a reliable safety net if you run out of water. Gatorade will force your body to keep going for a long, long, time.

12) Fruit juice

Fruit juice makes a nice alternative to water. It can be pretty easy to store too if you buy long-life juices. Just like Gatorade, they can be used in a pinch to keep you hydrated for longer. Once opened, many of them must be stored in the refrigerator. But a mini-fridge should be plenty big enough. The vitamins from the juice are also good for keeping your body and mind healthy while sailing. Vitamins help you think clearly, see better, and are just all-around great for you.


Hopefully, this article has given you some good ideas for meals, snacks, and drinks that you might want to bring when sailing. What wasn’t on the list, but shouldn’t be forgotten, is bottled water. Bringing freshwater as a reserve and a water purifier is a necessity for even the shortest voyages. When choosing foods to bring, ease of storage is just as important as ease of preparation. Longevity and nutritional value must also be considered. If there is a particular snack you love, don’t be afraid to bring a huge supply of them. Boats may be short on space, but you can always make room for the important things.

12 Best Food And Snacks To Bring Sailing

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