Foods to Bring Camping

Foods to Bring CampingWhen you plan an outdoors-oriented trip, food is important. You may exercise strenuously, upping your metabolism's need for calories. A camping trip is no time to begin a reducing diet. If you don't get enough to eat, you may suffer from headaches, weakness or that bane of vacations--grumpiness. It doesn't matter whether you're camping in a tent, packing it on your back or cooking in your RV, the secret to fun eating on a camping trip is advance planning. Experienced campers often measure meals ahead of time and organize them by meal--breakfast, lunch, supper, snack-time--in resealable plastic bags. Don't forget treats and snacks, either. It's satisfying to sip a cup of cocoa while counting stars.


Eggs are possible but fragile. Orange juice is heavy. Fresh milk and meat require refrigeration. Oatmeal, farina, cooked cornmeal and multigrain cereals are sturdy and stick with you. If you like cereals with milk, add dried milk powder (ditto sugar) to the sandwich baggie in which you put each morning's portion. Granola is another good choice because it tastes great with and without milk. Make your own granola, and no two batches are the same. Cereal add-ins include sunflower seeds, nuts of all kinds, dried fruits and spices. Powdered eggs please some eaters. Some fresh fruits also travel well.


Foods to Bring Camping

Chances are you'll want a snack between meals. Fresh fruits in their own "cases" such as oranges, apples, under-ripe apricots and cherries give quick energy. Dried fruits and fruit leather taste great. Dates are high in sugar--they satisfy your sweet tooth and your need for energy. Plain and salted nuts, especially almonds, give a long-lasting boost. Trail mix--without chocolate during the heat of summer--is traditional and effective. It's easy to mix your own if you visit the bulk foods section of a good grocery store.


Hard sausage can be delicious and safe to eat for a day or two. After that, unless you refrigerate it, skip meat. Cheese actually tastes better warm and a little melted. Very hard cheeses hold up, as do semi-soft cheeses packed in individual wax balls. After that, nut butters are nutritious. If you gather a few jelly or honey packets from a restaurant, you can make a PB&J sandwich. Spoon the peanut butter into a waterproof pill vial and you'll never have a messy spill. Take a plastic knife for spreading. Water crackers do well if packed in an empty quart-sized milk carton. A crusty baguette, if protected from dampness, will not turn inedible and stale for two or three days. After that, pull out the dense Russian rye bread from the supermarket's deli section. Don't ignore tortillas, good for up to a week, depending upon daytime temperatures. To keep them whole, pack tortillas in shallow plastic storage containers.

Supper or Dinner

Foods to Bring Camping

Meat lovers should stock up on dried meat or meat in small cans. If you clean and crush empty cans and carry them in a zipped trash bag, they won't smell too badly. Partial vegetarians make out well at the evening meal. Consider the starches available: potatoes (dried or fresh), rice (parboiled for quick preparation), millet, couscous, quinoa and orzo. Add a packet of dehydrated soup mix and you have a main dish. With a little water, it's stew; add more water and it's soup. Cook-it-yourself fans dehydrate vegetables, measure in herbs and bouillon and get creative. Add crackers, fruit or leftover lunch bread if you wish.


Foods to Bring Camping

Water is the most important liquid on a camping trip. Drink plenty of it. There also is no need to forego comfort drinks like tea and coffee. Just pack out used tea bags and coffee grounds. Many want or need electrolyte solutions for proper hydration. These come in one-serving packets or small plastic jars: add water. Buy hot cocoa in one-serving envelopes or mix your own from cocoa powder, sugar and dry milk. It's almost a dessert.


Different from snacks, treats are just for fun. Chewing gum and hard candies travel beautifully. They're a great pick-me-up when energy fades.


Makeshift containers can help organize and protect your food. Prescription vials often are watertight, keeping rain out while they keep food in. Metal baking powder cans are sturdy and light. Loose tea canisters come in handy shapes. The strong plastic jars with screw-on lids that originally carry hummingbird powder, electrolyte salts and food supplements work well and come in a variety of sizes and shapes.


Article Written By Lani Johnson

Lani Johnson is a hiking, writing musician. Recent published work includes journalism, poetry and research. See her online writing at or at

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