It’s not all about the cuisine, but it sure helps.
Whether you prefer classic camp cooking or serving multiple-course meals under the stars, there are certain things you just should and should not bring with you to serve while camping. Planning ahead and making the best of your kitchen resources will enable you to enjoy every minute of your camping cuisine experience.
Camping is so much fun! Whether you like the kind of camping that you do with a camper and an electrical outlet, or you prefer pitching a tent and cooking over an open fire, there is nothing better than being close to the great outdoors. One of the best things about camping for many people is the food. Things that you might not really enjoy at home, such as hotdogs, trail mix or slightly burned scrambled eggs, have a completely different taste when you are “on the trail.” However, you must make sure that you bring the right types of food if you want to enjoy your camping trip to the greatest extent possible. If you bring the wrong kinds of food, then you may spend more time frustrated and hungry than you will enjoying the outdoors and the fellowship of your friends and family members who accompanied you on this great adventure.
While you will probably want to do some cooking on your camping trip, you may not want to be compelled to prepare every item of food that you consume. Keeping this in mind, pack some things that are easy to eat and individually wrapped. This way, if you are just a little hungry and want a snack but your friends are not really in the mood for a full meal, you have options that are fast and easy, and that do not attract bugs or larger animals to your camp. For example, if you want to bring chips, snack bags or reclosable containers are the best way to transport these delicious side or snack items. Also, if you want a handful of chips but only are able to get that handful from a large bag, even once you fold the top of the bag over and clip it, you still run the risk of attracting ants and bugs. With an individual bag, while you will have a little more trash, you will not have the bug issue. The best way to resolve this issue in order to waste as little as possible is to put anything like chips or snack cookies into a large, Tupperware container that can be sealed up repeatedly to keep the smell from getting out but also allows you to open and close it for a quick snack. Other good, individually packaged snack foods are cracker packs, which come in cheese and peanut butter, toaster pastries that are good eaten cold and granola bars. Of course, any trash that you do accumulate must be carefully contained and removed from the camp site when you leave.
Pack snack cookies and potato chips in resealable containers instead of their bags.
Now that you have your snack items taken care of, it is time to plan what other foods you will bring with you on your camping trip. You need to take several things into consideration while you are planning your meals and packing up your tasty treats. First of all, what type of camping will you be doing? If you are camping in an RV, for example, then you will be able to bring a lot more food, and a lot of different kinds of food, than if you are tent camping or wilderness camping. If you are packing for an RV camping trip, then you can bring pretty much whatever you want. You will have plenty of cupboard space, a small refrigerator and, in most cases, a small kitchenette in which to prepare food. You can bring just about anything that you would eat at home, although of course you will need to make sure that there is room in the refrigerator for any perishable items that are left over. If you are tent camping, then you may plan to cook over a fire or you might be anticipating using a small, portable stove or even some type of toaster oven hooked to a generator. If you will be using the oven or the stove, then your options are limited only by what is perishable and how far you will have to carry your food and equipment. However, if you are going to cook over an open flame, then your food options start to get a little more confined. Cooking over a fire is fun, but it is an imprecise science. You will need to bring things that are easy to prepare, like hot dogs, sausages or potatoes. All of these things can be wrapped in tin foil and placed in the fire to cook (make sure to poke them with a fork, though, or they will explode) or you can impale them on a stick and cook them over the coals. If you will be cooking only on the fire, you might want to bring a collapsible grate that will hold a pot or pan over the fire in order to broaden your options a little bit. With these, you can brown meat or make spaghetti or stew.
A grate dramatically increases your options for camp food.
Another factor in the type of foods you bring camping is the location and the other types of activities you will be engaged in. If your main goal for the trip is rest and relaxation, then feel free to bring recreational foods that may be a little more on the junk food side than you would usually bring. Always bring lots of water, but if you are just hanging out with some good friends then you might also want to bring a case of beer. However, if your camping trip is going to be more strenuous – for example, if you are hiking part of the Appalachian trail or spending 10 days in the wilderness to help refine your instincts and toughen your mind and body – then you need to pack more carefully than you would for a fun weekend with “the guys.” You need to pack foods that are full of energy, such as trail mix made of nuts and dried fruits or granola bars or energy bars that are high in carbohydrates and will give you a lot of energy without filling up your stomach and slowing you down with lethargy.
Finally, consider the location at which you will be camping. If it is a highly trafficked stated park, for example, then you probably do not need to worry too much about whether what you are cooking will attract animals like coyotes or bears. However, if you are really in the wild, then you will need to be more careful with your food preparation and make sure that anything you make – particularly meat based meals – are easy to clean up in their entirety so that you do not end up with unexpected visitors during or after the meal.