Whether it be in the backcountry or in a campsite near a road, most campers do have one consideration in common--food preservation. RVs come with small refrigerators, but tailgate campers must resort to an inconvenient iced cooler chest for any perishable foods, and backcountry campers need to have everything preserved or non-perishable. For this reason, tailgate campers and backcountry campers need to maximize things that won't spoil--dried fruits, dried vegetables, nuts, pasta, noodles, rice, dry beans, dried meat (like beef jerky), canned goods and dried food packs.
Backcountry Camping Food
Where the backcountry campers depart from all other campers is the critical importance they place on the calorie-to-weight ratio of their food. When hikers must carry all their food and equipment on their backs, getting the most energy from the least amount of food becomes critical. This is why trail mix has its name: by weight, most nuts pack an incredible 50 percent more calories than table sugar. When combined with dried fruits, it is a calorie and vitamin source that is hard to beat. The weight issue will cause backcountry campers to abandon or minimize canned goods in favor or dried food packs. They must also minimize rice and beans in favor of pasta and noodles, because pasta and noodles have much higher calorie-to-weight ratios.
Because tailgate or RV campers at a campground can afford to bring food with substantially less regard to the backcountry campers' calorie-to-weight ratio, they have more options. This means they can bring canned goods as they wish, for example. However, they still need to pay close attention to spoilage. Even RV campers have limited space in the RV's refrigerator, and tailgate campers with an iced cooler have limited space and limited time (unless they want to keep going back to town for more ice). However, there are a lot of foods that are fresh and don't spoil easily. Fresh ears of corn are great, because they will last for several days if kept out of the sun, and can be roasted around the sides of a campfire in the husk. Fruits like apples, pears and oranges, and vegetables like potatoes and onions also need little refrigeration if kept in a cool, dark place.