Good Food and Plenty of It!

At Overland, we make sure that each trip, all over the world, has good food and plenty of it! We like to say that there are six daily meals on a trip: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and dessert. Meals are a trip highlight for many students, as it’s a time for the whole group to come together, laugh, and reflect on the day’s adventures. 

At every meal, we wait until everyone in the group is ready before eating; then we say “cheers” and dive in! Breakfast on an Overland trip will typically consist of cereal, milk, juice, and fruit to kick off the day! During the day, there’s always plenty of time on the trail for snacks, which may include granola bars, trail mix, and apples. Most lunches are sandwiches or wraps with a variety of customizable toppings and fillings, chips, and fruit. There’s something for everyone! 

Alpine Challenge students enjoy lunch on the trail.

Throughout each trip, students will rotate through the “Cook Crew,” and will help one of their leaders to prepare dinner. They’ll brainstorm with their trip mates about a meal that everyone is excited about, and will go to the grocery store to purchase the necessary ingredients. The combination of fun and excitement alongside routine and responsibility on an Overland trip instills in our students a clear sense of teamwork, independence, and self reliance. 

Students on Iceland Explorer prepare dinner on Cook Crew with their leader.

Lilly Bianchi on our Leader Hiring team went on six Overland trips as a student, and went on to lead trips for five summers! She said that “meals have always been central during my time at Overland, both as a leader and as a student. As a kid who was pretty shy, being on Cook Crew was a great opportunity for leadership amongst my peers and trailside lunches were when I first fell in love with hummus. As a leader, meals were always a fun time for creativity.” As for her go-to meal, Lilly shared that “Quesadillas were one of my favorite dinners to make with groups— we’d have Cook Crew take orders and everyone got a personalized quesadilla, wrapped in tinfoil, and labeled with their name and a drawing. It was so fun! Not just the food but the experience bound up in it was so important to bringing our group together.” 

Student ownership is at the heart of meals at Overland.

For Hayden Gillooly on the Admissions team, one meal in particular stands out from when she led Rocky Mountain Explorer in 2021. She said that, “the Cook Crew had prepared a beautiful spread of burrito bowl toppings including fresh vegetables, chicken, and different sauces; we dined while overlooking a stunning lake at sunset. During the whole meal, we were all laughing hysterically (I don’t even remember what about!), and it was a special reminder of how over the course of just two weeks, this group of twelve strangers had become a family. At that moment, I was so acutely aware of how lucky I was to be spending my summer with such wonderful students.” 

At the end of the day of every Overland trip, the group has Dessert Circle, which is one of our favorite Overland traditions. At Dessert Circle, each student shares their high of the day, their low of the day, and a cheers— a shoutout and expression of gratitude for one of their trip mates, leaders, or someone who they met on the trail. Dessert Circle helps to build students’ confidence as they have a moment with the spotlight on them. We love thinking about how every day of the summer, students all over the world— from the Sierras, to the Alps, are reflecting on their adventures and sharing stories at Dessert Circle. 

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Alex Dunn on our Trip Planning team led Iceland Explorer in 2022, and now plans the trip! She reflected on Dessert Circles the group enjoyed in the Land of Fire and Ice, and shared that she and her co-leader “would occasionally incorporate a dessert that was familiar and a reminder of home. However, more frequently, we encouraged our groups to try Icelandic desserts! Both Góu Hraunbitar (chocolate “lava bites”) and Æðibitar (chocolate and coconut biscuit) were a hit on my Iceland Explorer trip. 

Yellowstone Teton Explorer students reflect on their high, low, and cheers of the day during Dessert Circle.

At Overland, meals are a group experience, an important way to foster connection with and consideration for other group members. For students who have food allergies and/or dietary restrictions, we’re eager to partner with families to make a plan so that our Admissions team and your child’s leaders can best support them. If you have any questions about this process, or want to chat more about meals at Overland, don’t hesitate to reach out to us (413-458-9672 or [email protected]). We’re always happy to chat! 

And if you’re an Overland alum, we’d love to hear about your favorite meal moment! Feel free to send your story to [email protected]

Meals at Overland are customizable and delicious.


    Chelsea Colby

    As a teacher and a leader, I love to experience the intense and wonderful power of immersive outdoor experiences and the ways they invite us to grow as individuals and bring us together in community.

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