You've planned ahead, bought your gear, and now you need to find a way to feed your family AND keep your food from getting spoiled. Unfortunately, there is no refrigerator in nature! Unless, of course, you plan on camping in freezing temperatures. Don't fret, I have plenty of tips for preparing inexpensive, delicious options for your family!
First things first
Are you planning on camping in the front country (meaning a well-established park or campground) or in the backcountry (remote wilderness)? Before buying, prepping and packing your food, check your location's regulations. Camping in areas with heavy bear activity will limit your options (i.e. all food must be stored in a bear bag or canister, no coolers or storing food in your car or tent, etc.) This is for your safety. Please adhere to any regulations
to keep the wildlife and your family safe.
Front Country Meal Prep
If you are camping in an established campground that allows you to use coolers to store your food, then by all means, utilize it! How many coolers (and the size) you need depends on the length of stay and the size of your family. Using coolers is fantastic if you want to pack fresh meats and dairy items. *Insider Tip: Use dry ice instead of cubed ice to prevent your items from getting soaking wet while sitting in the cooler. Always store your cooler in the shade to keep it cooler, longer. If your campground has limited or no regulations against open flames, here are a few ideas on tools to cook your food:
Easy Front Country Meal Ideas
Dutch Oven (briquets): If you are unfamiliar with dutch-oven cooking, do some research and try a recipe in your back yard before heading out on your adventure!
Gas Camp Stove: This is the most popular option for new campers. It's like using a portable barbecue! Using a camp stove has many benefits including easy set up, take down and clean up! You will need:
- 1-2 pans
- 1-2 pots
- Cooking utensils
Camp Fire Grill: Who doesn't love that smoky camp flavor? If you can start a fire (and are allowed to have one) using the camp fire for cooking is really convenient! It may take longer in some cases, but it's still a great way to cook!
- Breakfast burritos
- Tortillas, eggs, sausage, cheese, bell peppers
- Pancakes or French toast
- Bisquik, water (you will need a griddle on your camp stove)
- Bread, eggs, milk and cinnamon
- Bagels and cream cheese
- Mixed fruit (pre-chopped)
- PB&J Sandwiches
- Peanut butter, jelly and bread
- Hotdogs or brats, buns (or use sandwich bread)
- Ketchup, mustard and mayo
- Mixed nuts, pretzels or trail mix
- Hamburger Patties
- Toppings (ketchup, mustard, mayo, veggies)
- Canned or pre-made chili and cornbread
If you are looking for something with less prep involved, try freeze-dried meals (MRE-Made, Ready To Eat) that only require boiling water! Many of these meals can actually be really tasty! In fact, you can even make your own!
Even if your campsite has front country luxuries, it is always smart to prep as much as you can before you leave (chop veggies and fruit, fill baggies with correct portion sizes, measure spices and pre-package, etc). Always be aware of your waste and dispose of it properly. Respect the wildlife and never feed them your scraps. Most of all, have a fantastic time!
PC: Camping Tourist Written by Lindsay Helm