Meal Planning Is Key to “Camp Readiness”
One of the biggest steps to preparing for a longer trip is figuring out what you are going to eat along the way and making sure that you always have at least a few options handy. Because sure, you may have planned for that lovely “cooked over the fire” meal to happen on Tuesday, but then it rains and you have to make something fast under a rain shelter. Or you may have thought that the peppers were going to be great in that meal tonight, but it turns out they went soft and mushy too fast and you now don’t have the right ingredients for what you planned. This is one of those things where backup plans need backup plans.
When we’re on the road, we plan for at least one meal a day to be eaten out and usually that is lunch, so we plan for a lot more breakfasts and dinners that we can prepare at camp than we prepare ideas for lunches. And a good healthy breakfast is key to having enough energy to make it through a physically grueling day of hiking/biking/kayaking/exploring.
There are a few tips that have saved us along the way:
- Set yourself up with a list of everything you want to make (we like to put these in Nozbe on our phones)
- Plan your meals with items that won’t keep well for early in your trip
- Freeze any meats that you aren’t planning to use in the first couple of days, they’ll keep longer in the cooler and help keep it cool
- Have some cans of things like chili or boxes of things like mac n’cheese handy for a quick meal
- Take “backup” milk (we like to keep a Parmalat milk with us)
- Each day take stock of what you still have left in the cooler and anything you might need to pick up because it has gone bad or was forgotten
- Have an idea of where you might find groceries on your travels (you are always going to need to restock something if you are gone for an extended period)
- Keep it pretty simple- you don’t have to go too fancy to enjoy a good meal while camping
Over the years, we’ve picked up lots of “camping cookbooks”. And though I can say that I always find interesting things in them, I often find things that I think “are you serious? I’m not dragging all those spices with me. Or I’m not doing all that prep that will require cleanup.”
For us, the simpler meals are easier on the digestion, are faster to prepare and also make cleanup a breeze.
As you get more experienced with camping, you’ll find that there are some camp favorites that you like to make and that are easy and delicious. One of our favorite breakfasts is Banana Coconut Pancakes with Bacon and a go-to dinner on our trips is Sausage, Potato & Pepper mix.