Camping is a fun activity if you’re looking for a short break from the city’s honks and drills. However, packing for camp might turn out to be an arduous duty- especially regarding the food. While it’s obvious that you require packing ingredients to make food during the camp, the method in which you should pack is confusing.
Not only do you need to make sure all the food remains edible till the end of the camping trip, but you need to ensure the food takes up as little space as possible. Even though it might seem like a tough job, it’s not impossible. To read about the food packing ways for camp, continue scrolling!
15 Tips to Pack Food for Camping
While there isn’t anyone’s method of packing food for camping, some ways can take up less space than others. Moreover, carrying a huge amount of food or ingredients will only result in wastage.
1. Plan Ahead
This is a MUST for any camping trip, especially if you’re in charge of the food. You must jot down the number of people joining the camp, estimate how much each one eats, and other essential information like allergies and preferences.
These points shall give you a vague idea about how much food you should carry, or which ingredients you need. Furthermore, this step is crucial if children are involved in the camping trip. As we all know, children are picky about food most of the time, which means you might have to pack with extra care.
2. Don’t Bring The Whole Container
Peanut butter? Jam? Strawberry Jell-o? Everyone’s favorite nacho dip? Nothing is worth carrying a whole container for. The whole container shall take up a copious amount of space, unnecessarily. It’s highly unlikely for a family to devour a whole container of nacho dip, keeping aside the fact that it’s very unhealthy as well.
Thus, it is always a smarter option to carry a little amount of each- butter, jam, dips, etc. Moreover, you can use containers with a partition to store the dips and jams- this way, they will not get mixed up and you won’t have to carry the whole container either.
When I pack for a camping trip, I use a container like this. You can get one from Amazon.
3. Use a Rotomolded Cooler
A cooler is the closest substitute to a refrigerator you can find for a camping trip. It shall keep all your ingredients cool, of course for a limited time. For people who like cooking during a camping trip, a cooler is a must-have. Not only shall it help the meat or other ingredients stay fresh, but it helps maintain a compact storage. Most coolers come in small sizes with spacious storage inside, to assist you in carrying more ingredients in a small space. Hence, if you don’t have a cooler- it’s high time to get one!
I highly recommend the YETI Tundra, not only that it is great with insulation, it’s crazy durable too. The only downside is, they’re expensive. You can check the price on Amazon.
4. Freeze Everything
Readymade or marinated food is a staple when it comes to camping. What better way to make tasty food in less time than food prepared ahead of time?
Even though readymade food might seem like a lifesaver at times, they are risky to carry. Hence, it is essential that you properly freeze all the food that can be frozen, to prevent any spoilage.
Freezing the food shall also mean they can be stored in the cooler, ensuring they’re edible even at the end of the trip. However, remember to separate the food that can be frozen from the ones that don’t need to be frozen. For instance, fresh vegetables and fruits do not require freezing- so, they can be kept outside the cooler.
5. Put Layers in Your Cooler
A cooler comes with a specific amount of storage. Often, these storage spaces aren’t enough for big families as they have to carry a lot of essentials. In scenarios like this, learn to layer the food in your cooler properly. It is wise to start with the ingredients that are most likely to be used less, for example- meat, fish, crabs, etc. Following that, place the ingredients to be frequently used, for instance- sausage, mozzarella, frozen dips, etc.
This tactic shall ensure that you’re not rummaging in your cooler to look for frequently used ingredients that have been placed in the rock bottom of the cooler. In addition to that, it’ll help the cooler remain cool for a longer period due to being less opened for rummaging.
Pro packing tip: To organize your cooler well, use a tray like this one.
6. Use Straw to Pack Your Spices
It might seem bizarre, but the ideal way of storing your spices when you camp is by using straws. Simply tape one end of the straw, insert your chosen spice, then tape up the open end.
Not only does this help you save A LOT of space, but this makes sure you are not wasting any of the ingredients. For keeping the straws organized, you can use different colored tapes or even write the spices’ names on the straw. This will assist you to carry only the amount of spice that is needed, instead of the whole jar- which might spill while camping.
7. Wash, Cut, Marinate
Food during camping needs to be readymade or something that can be cooked in a matter of minutes. As a result, most people opt for readymade or dried food, which needs no cooking.
However, if you are not willing to compromise, you may opt for the wash, cut, and marinate technique. In other words, you may wash the meat and other ingredients that you need, cut them and marinate them if needed- all before the camping trip commences. This way, you will be saving up space and energy while you’re on the trip.
8. Egg Storage
Eggs can be a tough bunch to carry, with the risk of them breaking and spoiling all your luggage. To save time, space, and the constant worry of them breaking, you can store the eggs in a bottle by whisking them beforehand. Whisking all the eggs shall save you plenty of time during camping, while the bottle shall assist you in maintaining correct proportions and compact storage. Even though the idea might seem weird, it has been fruitful for all!
9. Use Insulated Bags for Hot Food
What could be better than taking a sip of hot soup or devouring warm food on a campsite?
To keep them hot for longer, use an insulated bag for your hot food. It will keep the food warm longer so you can enjoy eating better.
10. Bring portable burner
A portable burner is a lifesaver during camping. You can use it to reheat food or cook a new one at camp.
I highly recommend this portable burner (link). It’s light and small enough to fit in your bag without any problems. Plus, it’s butane operated.
11. Use a Separate Container for Dry Goods
While perishable food can be stored in a cooler, where do the non-perishable ones go? They go in a goodies box. The goodies box has several compartments that enable all your dry food to remain separate, but accessible.
You can get one on Amazon.
12. Treats Box
Planning a camping trip with children? A treat box shall be your best friend. This is your go-to way of packing a bunch of treats in a box, and making your children happy.
The treats box ensures the sugary components don’t spill on the other food items and remain accessible to the children. It’s a bonus if your treats box and dry goodies box are stackable- less storage!
13. Wine Bag
A wine bag helps separate the liquids- oils, juices, etc. If you’re traveling with multiple types of liquids, carrying all the bottles can be strenuous. Hence, a wine bag shall help you maintain the distinction of these liquids while ensuring compact storage. Moreover, there are no risks of the bottles breaking or wastage of any liquids if you use a wine bag.
14. Cases for Drinks
How do you carry drinks- a question most campers ask as the drinks can take up most of the space. In scenarios like this, it’s wise to carry a case for the drinks. This ensures all your cans are in one place, easy for you to pick one and gulp. Moreover, the case makes sure you don’t roll around- it can be risky and cause spillage.
15. Bring Tea and Coffee
Camping with tea or coffee lovers can be troublesome, especially if they don’t function without these drinks. In situations like this, carry bagged tea or coffee- to save space.
Now that you’ve read all the tips for packing food during camping, what are you waiting for? Plan a getaway with your friends or family, and have the time of your lives. Also, don’t forget to use the tips to ensure the compact packing of the food!