Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables provide just as many vitamins and nutrients at the campground as they do at home. For backcountry campers, dried fruits and vegetables are the rule, thanks to their lighter weight and denser calorie count. Allcampgrounds.com recommends dried fruits and vegetables, such as raisins, sun-dried tomatoes and apricots, as light, preserved, nutritious camping foods. Heavier, fresh fruits and vegetables are good in small quantities as well. Backpacker magazine praises apples, oranges, onions, cucumbers, baby carrots and other fruits and vegetables for their shelf life.
Car campers have no weight restrictions and may rely entirely on fresh fruits and vegetables if they wish. For the car camper, the best fruits and vegetables are those that do not spoil easily.
Cereal for campers often takes the form of granola and meal bars rather than boxes of corn flakes. Writing for Outside magazine, survival expert Tony Nester recommended meal bars from Myoplex and MET-Rx, describing them as "packed with calories, high in protein (30-50 grams), and having lots of vitamins and minerals." Of the two, Nester said Myoplex's bars also tasted better.
Cookies and Treats
Cookies and sugary snacks go well with both car camping and backpacking. Cookies and chocolate top the list of backpacking foods thanks to their whopping count of 130 and 140 calories per ounce, respectively. Backpacker magazine likes Pepperidge Farm's cookies best for their flavor, but found Nabisco's Fig Newtons more practical. M&Ms also score high with the magazine, but only after repackaging them in a Ziploc bag.
Dehydrated Food Packs
A bewildering variety of dehydrated food pack labels are on the market, but there have been surprisingly few taste tests between them. The British magazine Trail conducted such a test, however, involving 10 tasters and supervised by a Leeds University nutritionist. The best was the Thai vegetables with rice from Be Well Pack and Go, combining a cheap price with ease of preparation and good taste. A close second was pasta lasagna from Mountain House, which won the high praise of tasting like "real food" instead of something that came from a packet.