You might like the idea of a cozy campfire with juicy bacon and eggs sizzling in a pan, followed by hot coffee, but is that being realistic? Deciding what foods to take camping requires some careful planning.
To avoid unwanted bulk and weight, the usual options would be dehydrated foods or frozen meals. These are often heavily processed and laced with chemical preservatives and flavors – not my idea of healthy food.
But there are options which do not contain such nasties and are better for your health and your taste buds. So forget the instant noodles!
Here are some great ideas for car camping meals:
Deciding what food to take on a camping trip
When out on a camping trip, you require a lot of energy to tramp trails and traverse trees and rocks. It goes without saying that any stuff you carry will need to have a reasonably light, or at least tolerable, weight. After all, you’ll also be packing your tent, clothing, sleeping bag, water purifier and cooking equipment. You’ll need to choose your backpack with all this in mind.
The cooking arrangement most often used on camping trips involves a stove designed for “micro cooking”. It contains a burner meant primarily for boiling water. This is understandable, as most of what a camper would consume would typically be dehydrated food.
A cereal such as Cheerios would be a good option. All you need to add is hot water to enjoy a warm meal. Oatmeal and creamy wheat are other packaged cereals that you can consider. Instead of taking a whole package of cereal with you, rather get some Ziploc storage bags and portion out the quantities you will be using.
Dried fruits such as cranberries, blueberries, raisins and dates are some healthy fruit options.
For drinking, you have no shortage of choices. There are several different powdered fruit juices that you can choose from. I’m talking about real fruit juice in powdered form, not flavored water. Instant coffee, of course, is just as easy to fit into your backpack.
No-cook Camping Food – Go Crackers!
Seeing that bread is bulky and squashable, crackers would be a practical alternative. They last much longer than bread, anyway, and can be quite filling. Wasa is an excellent whole-grain crispbread, and they are non-GMO. If you like to have cheese with your crackers, choose those that don’t require refrigeration. For something perhaps a little tastier, slices of salami or nitrate-free pepperoni can be easily packaged in a Ziploc bag.
And who doesn’t like chocolate? It is just as easily packed and enjoyed. It is also an emotionally-comforting treat, especially during a difficult climb.
However, if you can’t do without a touch of luxury on your camping trip and don’t mind carrying some heavier stuff, pack in some ham, chicken chunks, liver paté or tuna.
If you find it difficult to sacrifice your usual delicacies, remember that your camping trip will not last forever. Before long you will be back in the “real” world where there is a refrigerator, stove-top and convection oven. Oh, and a coffee machine.
Food to Take Camping – Well prepared is half done!
Before starting your camping preparations, make sure that you know the exact number of days that you’ll be away. This will make it much easier for you to prepare the meals that you’ll be needing on your trip. How many nourishing meals and snacks can you consume without feeling uncomfortably heavy after eating? Nutrient-rich foods that do not contain much moisture would be a good choice.
To avoid the monotony of the same meals while you’re camping, try to schedule different types of food at each meal. Oatmeal for breakfast and dried fruit and crackers for lunch would be good choices. A handful of trail mix between meals would not be bad either.
This should give you a good idea of what food to take on a camping trip at any time of the year. All told, camping food is much like regular food but without the usual conveniences. It could taste (almost) as good and be healthy, too, if you plan and prepare correctly.