Updated: Mar 29
Food Preparation While Camping: Should you Cook your Own Food or Eat Pre-packaged meals?
If you thought camping food consists only of peanut butter sandwiches and smores, think again. You don’t need to live off of dry crackers and trail mix during your outdoor overnight adventure. There are many creative and affordable ways to make sure you and your camping partners stay nourished and full with delicious and nutritious food.
The next question you might be asking yourself is: “where do I begin?”, or “should I cook my own food or bring ready, packaged food”. While there is no right or wrong, and outdoor food prep varies depending on each person’s needs, therefore, we recommend variety. This means having food on deck to cook in addition to having packaged meals for a backup plan or supplementary sustenance.
We’ve given you the run-down on why we feel this way, and some ideas and tips to keep your bellies satisfied on your next camping trip.
Cooking your own food:
Cooking your own food requires a little bit of extra effort during the shopping and food storage process, but the benefits of having a freshly prepared meal might outweigh the costs. There are many food items that have long shelf-lives and can be stored in most conditions that are nice additions to a homecooked meal made on a campfire. Examples of food items worth having are potatoes, sweet potatoes, dried lentils, rice, pasta, and corn. If you are planning to make your own meals and want to add fresh vegetables or meat, make sure you have a sturdy cooler on hand that is constantly replenished with ice so that the food doesn’t spoil. For easy and delicious camping recipes check out: Easy camping meals using 5 ingredients or less
Eating packaged or pre-prepared food:
Having freeze-dried or pre-packaged food on deck is not such a bad idea. There may be days when you’re too tired to cook and would prefer to take the easy route, and there is little to no clean-up involved. These meals tend to come in air-tight bags or cans and take up very minimal space, so packing is easy. If you are planning to be more mobile during your trip and are carrying your provisions on your back, these meals are great to have as a way to fuel up. The downside of these types of meals is that you may miss out on that good old-fashioned bonding that comes with preparing a meal in the outdoors with your travel buddies, but hey, they do the trick.
Keeping your hygiene in the outdoors:
With any meal you prepare, you want to makes sure you prioritize food hygiene. Have an eco-friendly dish soap handy so that you can wash your camping utensils safely without harming the environment and make sure to wash your hands well before any sort of food preparation. For easy clean-up we recommend using Combat Wipes, a biodegradable wet wipe that dissolves back into the earth after use. They are perfect for freshening up after a long day on the trail and after a good, hearty meal.