12 Foods That Keep Well For Camping. Essential Food List
Using my years of experience as a chef and an avid camper/hiker I have compiled a list and ideas for food items that will keep well for camping. These items will give you a better understanding of what food to bring when you are out in the wild and the best way to prepare and cook them.
Packing Food for Camping
If you’re like most people, the thought of packing for a camping trip conjures up images of hauling around a heavy, cumbersome backpack full of food. But it doesn’t have to be that way! There are plenty of foods that can be easily packed and that will keep well without refrigeration.
Some of these foods range from ready-prepared, dried meals to ingredients that you can pack yourself to cook your own meals to your taste. In this article I will give you advice on the various foods that keep well when camping and also ways to store and carry them.
What are some of the best foods to bring camping that don’t require refrigeration
There are a variety of foods that can be brought camping that don’t require refrigeration. Some of these include pre-packaged, dried meals, ingredients that can be cooked on a campfire or stove, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Pre-packaged, dried meals are a great option for camping because they are lightweight and easy to store. They usually come in a variety of flavours and can be easily reconstituted with water. Another advantage to using pre-packaged meals is that they typically don’t require any cooking; you can just add water and eat them as is.
Another great option for camping is to pack ingredients that can be cooked on a campfire or stove. This way, you can cook your food to your own taste and preference. Some ingredients that work well for this are grains, such as rice or quinoa, as well as proteins like beef or chicken jerky. You can also pack spices and seasonings to add flavour to your food.
Finally, another great option for camping is fresh fruits and vegetables. These can provide you with the necessary nutrients and energy, and they don’t need to be refrigerated. Some good options include carrots, apples, oranges, and celery.
Best Carb Source for Camping
When camping, one of the most important things to have is energy. And what better way to get that energy than from carbohydrates? Carbs are the best source of energy for camping because they are easily digested and provide a sustained release of energy.
Some good carb sources for camping include whole grain bread, pasta, and cereals. These foods are packed with fibre, which will help keep you full throughout the day. They also contain essential vitamins and minerals which will help keep you healthy while camping.
Another great carb source for camping is trail mix. Trail mix is a mix of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits, and it is a great source of energy and nutrients. It is also lightweight and easy to pack, so it is perfect for camping trips.
Best Protein Source for Camping
Protein is another important nutrient when camping, and it is essential to have a good source of protein while hiking or biking. Some good protein sources for camping include beef or chicken jerky, nuts, and seeds.
Beef or chicken jerky is a great source of protein because they are lightweight and easy to pack. They also don’t need to be refrigerated, so they are perfect for camping trips. Nuts and seeds are also great sources of protein, and they are packed with essential vitamins and minerals. They are also a good source of fibre, which is important when camping.
Healthy Fats to Carry for Camping
When camping, it is important to have a good source of healthy fats. Healthy fats are essential for maintaining energy levels and preventing fatigue. They are also important for fuelling the brain and keeping the body healthy.
Some good sources of healthy fats to carry while camping include nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil. Nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy fats as well as essential vitamins and minerals. Avocados are a good source of healthy fats, as well as antioxidants and fibre. And olive oil is a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids, which are known for their health benefits.
Considerations When Packing Food for Camping
When packing food for a camping trip, there are a few things to keep in mind. It would be great to carry all the foods we love to eat in our pack when camping. Unfortunately doing so would probably end up weighing our pack down or food might expire before we can eat it. The following is a list of considerations to take into account when packing food for camping.
- Food Weight: Firstly, it is important to pack foods that are lightweight and easy to store. This will help reduce the amount of weight you have to carry on your trip.
- Nutrition: Its important to pack a variety of foods to ensure that you get the necessary nutrients and energy while camping. This includes packing both carbohydrates and protein as well as healthy fats.
- Storage: When packing food for camping, it is important to consider how long the food will last without refrigeration. This includes packing foods that won’t spoil easily as well as those that can be stored without refrigeration
- Cooking: When packing food for camping, it is important to consider how the food will be cooked. This includes packed foods that can be eaten raw as well as those that require cooking.
- Fuel: Lastly, it is important to consider what fuel will be available while camping. This includes packing foods that can be cooked over a campfire as well as those that require a stove.
To read my review on my Trangia stove read my article Trangia Stove Review
12 Camping Food Essentials
1. Bread: Bread is a great food to take camping as it is lightweight. Bread can be used for toast, to make croutons for soups or you can make an amazing camp fire grilled cheese sandwich. Tips: make sandwiches ahead of time so you can eat them while hiking or grill on a camping stove once you set up camp.
2. Pasta: Pasta is another great food to take camping as it is easy to cook and can be stored without refrigeration. pasta can be used to make a variety of dishes including pasta salad, macaroni and cheese or even a simple pasta with sauce. Tips: If you are making pasta ahead of time, consider cooking it al dente to save your camping fuel. On average it takes 8 to 12 min to cook pasta. Save your fuel and cook pasta before you set out camping then add it to a dish for a quick meal.
3. Rice: Rice is another great food to take camping as it is easy to cook and can be stored without refrigeration. Rice can be used to make a variety of dishes including rice pilaf, stir fry or even a simple rice and beans dish. Tips: Precook your pasta before going camping. This again will help you save your fuel and whipping up a quick special fried rice in a camping stove takes minutes.
4. Cereal: Cereal is a great food to take camping as it is lightweight and easy to store. Cereal can be eaten as a snack or for breakfast with milk. I love having a warm bowl of porridge in the morning to warm me from the inside out. Tips: If you are packing cereal for breakfast, consider packing powdered milk as well. This will save you from having to pack fresh milk which will spoil quickly.
5. Legumes: Legumes are a great source of protein and can be stored without refrigeration. Legumes can be used to make a variety of dishes including chili, lentil soup or even a simple salad. Tips: When picking legumes try pick ones that don’t need to be soaked over night before cooking. Red and Green lentils are perfect for this.
6. Bullion Cubes: Bullion cubes are a great way to add flavor to dishes while camping. They are easy to store and don’t take up much space. Bullion cubes can be used to make a variety of dishes including ramen, curry or even a simple stew. Tips: when using bullion cubes, be sure to add extra water as they will make your dish very salty.
7. Jerky: Jerky is a great source of protein and can be stored without refrigeration. Jerky can be eaten as a snack or added to dishes for extra flavor. Tips: When packing jerky, be sure to pack enough for your entire trip as often I find myself snacking on it as I walk. I love Jerky!
8. Cured Meats: Cured meats are another great source of protein and can be stored without refrigeration. Cured meats can be eaten as a snack or added to dishes for extra flavor. Tips: When packing cured meats, consider packing them in vacuum sealed bags to prolong their shelf life.
9. Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein and can be stored without refrigeration for up to 2 weeks. Eggs can be used to make a variety of dishes including omelets, quiche or even French toast. Tips: When packing eggs, consider packing in resealable bags or small containers. If the egg yolk breaks don’t worry. I will normally put 2 or 3 eggs cracked into a resealable container and they never break.
10. Bacon: Ready cooked Bacon is a great source of protein and just tastes amazing. Bacon can be used to make a variety of dishes including BLT’s, bacon wrapped chicken or even a simple bacon and egg meal. (for information out to pack bacon for camping read my article on How To Take Bacon with you when Camping). Tips: I always cook my bacon prior to camping. I can then reheat or crumble it into dishes.
11. Stir in Sauces: These are a great way to add flavor and variety to dishes while camping. They are easy to store and don’t take up much space. Stir in sauces can be used to make a variety of dishes including pasta, rice or even a simple stir fry. Tips: When packing stir in sauces, consider packing them in smaller containers or resealable bags.
12. Spices and Seasonings: Spices and seasonings are a great way to add flavor to dishes while camping. They are easy to store and don’t take up much space. Spices and seasonings can be used to make a variety of dishes more flavorful. Tips: Bring only what you need for what you want to cook while camping.
Dried Camping Meals
There are a variety of dried camping meals on the market that can be used to make a variety of dishes while camping.
I typically like to bring a few different types of meals with me so that I can mix it up. Some of my favorite dried camping meals include chili, mac and cheese, and chicken curry or pasta carbonarra.
Sometimes I will often bring some ingredients from my 12 camping food essentials list to add to dried meals as the dried meals often need a little extra love. For example if I have a carbonarra I might bring some bacon to break up and add into it or some chicken jerky for extra meat.
Use your imagination and develop meals that you will love and enjoy.
Chocolate. Just bring plenty of chocolate. It’s great to boost your mood, provides quick energy, and it just tastes a plain great tasting treat to have.
Cooking outdoors while camping doesn’t have to be a chore but it doesn’t have to be plain either. With the food items from my 12 camping food essentials list and maybe a couple of dried meals you can play about and create a camping menu that suits your needs.
Remember you will burn a lot of calories while camping so don’t worry too much about your diet. Get food down your neck that is nutritious but also tastes damn good!
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