When it comes to camping and food there are without a doubt two quite different camps, if you’ll pardon the pun, on what you should be packing. For anyone who is backpacking the amount of food that you will want, or be able, to take along will probably be quite limited. However, those people going camping with a car will have the luxury of more space and quite possibly a cool box, which offers a while new dimension for the types of food that can be packed.
Backpacking food essentials
If you are backpacking and camping, then you do not really want to carry lots of heavy food with you. In general, it is more likely that you will purchase most of the food that you need on a day to day basis depending on your movements. However, there are still some essentials that you may want to take with you.
- Salt and pepper – essential for adding flavour to your food, if you can get hold of some little sachets then don’t forget to pack them in a Ziplock bag to prevent exposure to damp
- Dried herbs / spices – again great for adding flavour to foods, decant into small containers for transportation.
- Dehydrated potato – lightweight to carry, easy to cook and filling
- Dehydrated meals – you might have seen these in your local camping store, they are nice and compact and lightweight and are great in case of emergencies
- Instant coffee sachets, tea bags or even hot chocolate sachets – great for making a warming drink
- Noodles – instant ramen style noodle can make a filling lunch or even act as the base for a supper dish
- Small tins of baked beans – a couple of tins won’t take up too much room and can be a very handy meal addition
- Rice pouches – most people think these are only suitable for the microwave, but they can also be heated up in a pan making them a very handy filling basis for several meals
These are the foods that you will probably want to take with you, however other essentials that you may want to purchase once you reach your campsite might include but not be limited to, sausages, eggs, bacon and bread.
Food essentials for campers with cars
For those people who are camping with a car, then there is more scope when it comes to packing the essentials. In addition to all the above foods you may want to consider the following:
- Eggs – they form the basis of quite a few meals, and travel well when transferred to a plastic egg storage box
- Tinned soups – great for warming up for a filling lunch
- Porridge oats – the flavoured sachets are particularly handy as they are already portioned out
- Tinned foods – including tinned meals, tined fish such as tuna, tined meat like corned beef and even tinned veg
- UHT milk – this will keep better in your cool box than fresh
- Sausages and bacon
- A block of cheese – remove it from the plastic wrap and store in your cool box in greaseproof paper
Obviously, this list isn’t exhaustive, the key to those food essentials that you might want to take on a camping trip is simple. You want foods that are easy to store, easy to cook and don’t need to be kept in the fridge. Anything that should be kept in a fridge is better purchased during your camping trip.
Methods of camping cooking
Whether you have one burner or two available to you the foods that you produce during your camping trip are likely to be created in either a pan or a frying pan. – and NEVER inside your tent. Cooking on a camping stove can be tricky, especially if it is windy so you want meals that are easy to throw together and will be nice and filling when you eat them. Camping cooking isn’t about fine dining it is about keeping yourself fuelled up and ready for the next adventure.
A traditional fry up, with a thick slice of bread rather than toast, is a great camping meal that is perfect for any time of the day. Corned beef hash is also another great camping staple and easily made using tinned potatoes, which involve no preparation. If you have two burners, then a pasta dish with a hearty sauce is easily achieved, and if you don’t have two burners you can always cook your pasta and add it back to the sauce to heat up.
Any meal that uses the one pot method and cooks in a relatively short space of time is a great recipe to use when camping.