How to rough it, without really roughing it
We all know there’s camping…
And then there’s camping…
Sure option “A” looks a lot warmer and cozier but option “B” may not be as unpleasant as you think if you know how to prepare and what to bring. Here are a few tips on what to bring and more importantly, what to eat, while camping to make roughing it, not so rough.
First off, there can be a big difference between tent camping (when you are hiking into your campsite with all your gear on your back) and when you can park a car at your campsite. If you can park a car near where you are camping do not hesitate to bring lots of pillows and blankets to make sleeping in your tent as warm and cozy as you can. If you are over the age of say, ten, sleeping on the ground is not fun, so bring some sort of padding or blankets to get you off the ground, it will not only be more comfortable but it will be more insulation to keep you warm (or cool).
Next, bring a headlamp. These are so helpful while camping in order to see your way around, get things done and see others you are camping with all while keeping your hands free.
Something to cook with and heat water in. A Jetboil or PowerPot can be a life saver when it comes to eating and drinking comfortably while camping. On a cool night or morning at the campsite a hot cup of soup or coffee can make all the difference. With just one gadget you can be cooking burgers, chicken, bacon, eggs, oatmeal, pancakes, pasta, soup, veggies and just about anything else you can think of. As long as you can keep certain items cold until you are ready to cook them you can enjoy all the foods you eat at home. And that brings me to…
Bring a cooler. Even if you have certain items that you know you will need to eat the first night, packing a cooler with fresh foods means one less night of trail mix and freeze dried foods. But packing dry ice in your cooler or freezing foods, like chicken, means you can prolong eating and cooking items that need to be kept cool for up to a few days. For me, after spending ten hours of hiking and eating nothing but apples and trail mix to keep me going, coming back to the campsite to have chicken, pasta and fresh cooked vegetables was like sitting down to a 5 star meal.
A few other campsite luxuries:
Bug spray Towel Lighter
Chapstick plate, bowl/mug Tin foil
Tissues fork, spoon, knife garbage bags
Pocket knife paper towels plenty of Fresh Water
Camp chair sponge
And now for some food suggestions:
Make your own Trail Mix!
I definitely recommend making your own trail mix from the bulk food section of your grocery store rather then buying prepackaged trail mix. Prepackaged mix is often loaded with peanuts and milk chocolate, the two least nutritious parts of the mix and the two items least likely to give you sustained energy. Almonds and dried fruits are two common ingredients which you want to be sure to include. The fruit gets you sugar (and therefore energy) quickly, while nuts like almonds give you protein (long lasting energy) and fiber (to fill you up!). Stock your mix with lots of these, plus other unsalted nuts. Then you can add a few other treats like dark chocolate, yogurt covered peanuts, sweetened banana chips or other sweet or salty snacks, but sparingly. After all if you are sending all day hiking and swimming you are burning calories and sweating out your bodies excess water and salt so replenishing some of that is fine you just don’t want to be putting so much salt back into your body that you are further dehydrating yourself.
Cinnamon Buns in Orange peels.
I’ve seen these floating around the internet and they sound super easy and fun. Basically you just buy the pop-fresh cinnamon rolls like the ones made by Pillsbury and you put them in hollowed out orange peels. Once the dough is in the peels cover them in tin foil, either on a cooking sheet or use the other half of the orange peel as a lid then wrap them each in foil, and place them on your cooking source (grill or campfire). Once the dough is cooked, ice those bad boys up and eat! Check out Ben’s site for the original recipe or Kayla’s for her own version (also photo credit goes to Kayla)
Yes Pizza! There are a few different ways you can make pizza while camping. Of course if you have some sort of grill that will be the easiest. A large cast iron pan is also a helpful tool. You can bring pre-made dough or even dough that is already cooked. After that all you have to do is assemble and melt the cheese!
Of course you have to have s’mores while camping. No explanation or ingredients needed here I’m sure. But if you want a little something different don’t forget about my S’more Bites Recipe! These are a great item that you can make in advance so they are all ready to serve and eat around the campfire!
Other Great Camp Foods:
You can put almost anything in tin foil and cook it over hot coals. Try Hobo Stew by adding ground beef, onions, carrots, potatoes and other fresh veggies mixed with fresh herbs and spices, to tin foil. Wrap the ingredients in individual pouches, place them right on the hot coals of your campfire or on the grill, wait long enough for the meat to cook and the veggies to soften and enjoy!
A similar method for dessert is individual Apple Crisps made in tin foil pouches. Follow the directions for my apple crisp recipe found here but instead of putting them in a pan in the oven, divide the recipe into individual portions and wrap each in foil to be placed over the fire or grill. This can also be made in a cast iron skillet or dutch oven.