What Kind of Food Should I Bring for Camping?

What Kind of Food Should I Bring for Camping?When considering what kind of food you should bring for camping, it is essential to separate car camping from backpacking and camping. If you have the luxury of pulling up to the campsite and pitching your tent with the car just a few yards away, you have different options than if you plan on hiking to your campsite. The latter requires more careful planning for all the members of the party, since you usually cannot bring along a cooler and a lot of fresh ingredients.

Fresh Food Choices for Car Camping

Car campers should bring fresh food choices whenever possible. A well-packed cooler with fresh fruits, already peeled and cubed, and fresh veggies, already peeled, sliced or diced, make for great meal starters and quick snacks or desserts. Keep your meat or fish and fruits or veggies packed in separate coolers to avoid any potential for food-borne illness due to cross contamination. Even if you are planning on doing some fishing, bring along some prepackaged meat or hot dogs, just in case the fish are not biting that night. Make sure all components of the food pyramid are present, and combine them for each meal.

Freeze-Dried, Prepackaged Meals for Backpacking

Eating healthy, nutritious meals can be a challenge if you are camping in conditions that do not lend themselves to extensive meal preparation, or if you will be backpacking. While fresh fruits and vegetables are always the best choices, they---and any cooler you may need to store them in-- are also too heavy to pack in. A good compromise is energy-rich AlpineAire Foods' Wild Tyme Turkey. A double serving of this freeze-dried food only weighs 12 oz. and contains a mix of dehydrated vegetables, freeze-dried turkey and powdered dairy products. Nutritional facts available from the manufacturer show that after reconstituting the meal, it actually yields four servings, all of which have 370 calories and offer 21 g of protein, 7 g of fiber and 47 g of carbohydrates. This mix of nutritional building blocks is healthy, keeps your metabolism going strong and also provides you with the energy needed to continue on your hike. Best of all, since the food is freeze dried and the pouches are flat, it requires no special handling, and easily fits in with the rest of your gear. One pouch retails for $6, which makes it a very cost-effective way to feed two campers.

Quick Energy Boosters

These types of food are not sit-down meals, but instead you might enjoy them while on the trail to fight off some fatigue or even in between meals. They provide quick energy boosts that will sustain you until it is time to set up camp or take a longer break. Great examples of these energy boosters are trail mixes, energy bars and also Honey Stinger energy gel packs. Honey Stinger energy gel packs are made from honey and infused with B complex vitamins. The manufacturer shows that one pack provides 29 g of carbohydrates, 85 mg of potassium and 25 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B. These energy packs come in boxes of 24 and retail for $20 per box.

Healthy Kids Snacks

When children accompany you on the trail, keeping them eating healthy is hard. They are quick to reach for chips, cookies or candy bars, but after the initial sugar high, the crash is inevitable and they will become sluggish, tired and no longer enjoy the outing. While bringing along fruits and cheese sticks is a great solution, they do require some refrigeration and storage considerations. If you are merely taking a short hike or are car camping, you can get away with bringing grapes or apple slices that are not refrigerated. For backcountry camping, however, you are not so fortunate. This is where healthy nut mixes, hard fruit chips as well as candy such as fruit chews come in handy. Clif Bar Clif Kid Twisted Fruit has 70 calories per serving and contains 16 g of energy-providing carbohydrates. Of those, only 9 g are derived from sugar, and 240 mg of potassium help to keep the child's bodily electrolytes in balance. Ingredients are organic fruit and vegetable products. Clif Bar Clif Kid Twisted Fruit comes in a box of 18 individually wrapped fruit snacks and retails for $15 per box.

Article Written By Sylvia Cochran

Based in the Los Angeles area, Sylvia Cochran is a seasoned freelance writer focusing on home and garden, travel and parenting articles. Her work has appeared in "Families Online Magazine" and assorted print and Internet publications.

Keep Me Informed

Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from Trails.com to your inbox.

Sign me up!

We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.