Van Life

By: Kim Tellez

When I’m in Rifle, all I want to do is climb. From the moment I wake up, I’m ready to take off and jump on the warm-up routes. I sleep with the guide book next to my pillow. On a sheet of scratch paper sticking out of the book is the list of routes I carefully chose the night before. I’m still a bit impatient, like a kid at Disneyland, but I’m working on it.  As the sun creeps over my van, I get out and walk around and pace around my climbing partner’s car, who is usually still fast asleep. I might even bump into his car a few times to get the ball rolling.

Sometimes though, it’s still pretty cold outside, which means the rock is also probably still cold and not quite ready to climb. So how should I best use this time to prepare for the ensuing Rifle training day? I know that once we start climbing and exchanging belays, there won’t be time to eat a whole meal.

Van Life: Simple, Healthy Eats For Climbers

That’s why I decided to spend the morning moments planning ahead, consuming extra calories and preparing a snack bag for my crag pack to fuel my body for a high-performance climbing day. Here are a few of my favorite, quick, nutritious meals you can easily prepare in your van or at the campground.


My first step is to heat up water with JetBoil and make coffee! Lots of coffee. Drink coffee now and pour more coffee into travel mugs for sipping throughout the day. While preparing my oatmeal, I usually grab an apple to eat eating during preparation.

Get bowl and fill with oatmeal and hot water. I like to throw all kinds of stuff into a big bowl of hot oatmeal. Here are a few of my favorite combinations.


  • oatmeal
  • hot water

Optional ingredients:

  • Banana
  • Cinnamon
  • Raisins
  • Dry fruit, especially berries
  • Handful of trail mix
  • Handful of favorite granola mix
  • Honey
  • Scoop of almond butter
  • Protein powders
  • Cacao
  • Oreos
  • Fig Newton’s
  • Pop Tarts


Van Life: Simple, Healthy Eats For Climbers


  • Tuna or salmon packet (there is a larger variety of single serving packaged fish on the market now)
  • Fresh tortillas
  • Scoop in a fresh avocado

On top of a fresh tortilla, add the tuna or salmon and avocado. Roll the tortilla and enjoy!


My crag snack foods need to check a few requirements: must provide immediate energy, be easy to digest, must stay fresh, needs to be resistant to extreme temperatures and will not get crushed in my backpack. So here’s what you’ll find in my crag snack bag:

  • GU’s – chocolate with caffeine
  • Apples
  • Bobo’s bar
  • Energy tablets (caffeine and electrolyte mix) to drop into the water bottle.
  • Bag of trail mix



  • Broth packet or sodium free bullion
  • Water
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Dried shiitake mushrooms
  • Dried kale
  • Add other dehydrated veggies of your choice

Optional Toppings:

  • Crushed Oreos (if you have a sweet tooth)
  • Crushed chips, like Doritos (if you prefer a savory soup)

Saute garlic and ginger in pot for one minute. Pour in water and mix broth packet or sodium free bullion in water. Combine dried shiitake mushrooms, dried kale and other dehydrated veggies. Boil until veggies are soft. Serve with optional crushed oreos or chips.

Secret Ingredient:

  • Practice Mindfulness. ; ) Relaaax. Breeeathe. There is nothing to do. There is only this moment. Thank God I’m in Rifle!


Contributed by Kim Tellez, Earth Treks Personal Trainer, Instructor and van life master. Photos courtesy of Ross Landino, Earth Treks Instructor.