How to Prepare Food for Camping

Preparing and Packing Food for Camping

That fish you just caught will taste amazing grilled over an open fire.
That fish you just caught will taste amazing grilled over an open fire.

Many beginners tend to overpack food when camping. The best way to avoid this trap is to make a list of what you will need for each meal. For example, for a weekend trip, you need a meal for Friday night arrival, Saturday breakfast, lunch and dinner and Sunday breakfast if you are leaving in the morning. Be as specific as possible and get everyone in on the planning process. Count how many eggs your entire entourage will need for scrambled eggs for two breakfasts.

Freeze-dried chicken, beef or fish are great for lunches and dinners. And freeze-dried veggies go just fine with stew cooking in a pot over an open fire or on your portable fuel-burning stove.If you build a fire, dig a fire pit at least 8-10 inches (20 to 25 centimeters) deep and 2.5 feet (76 centimeters) square. A small grill can sit right over the coals [source: Westbrook].

Many foods can be pre-mixed or pre-cooked to make life on the trail a lot easier. For example, a dinner of pre-cooked boiled potatoes goes great with the fish caught earlier that day. Just put the potatoes in freezer bags and take them out when you are ready to eat. If you won't have access to ice and a cooler, don't bring items like real butter, cooked meats and eggs. Also know that bacteria on raw meat and chicken can spread to other foods so make sure that these items are transported in plastic bags and everyone washes their hands with soap and water or uses disposal wipes [source: USDA].

Self-sealing plastic bags are the best packaging for camping and fresh produce should be stored in a breathable mesh bag. Store beverages, sugar, milk and coffee in polyethylene plastic bottles. And don't forget to label food and include cooking instructions in the bag. Camping's not the time to go on memory.

Being a good camper means responsible clean-up, which includes putting all trash away or burning it and making sure the campfire is put out. It also means packing the right food for the trip. But above all, don't forget to pack the graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows for s'mores. You don't want a riot on your hands.

Related Articles


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