You might go camping for different purposes: hunting, hiking, mountain climbing, biking, stargazing, relaxing, etc. No matter what your purpose is, you’re more likely to enjoy it more if you are prepared. Are you camping in a trailer, tent, cabin or right under the stars?
Preparations differ depending on where you camp and how you want to camp. But here are some basics we can teach you about cooking, cleaning, and campfire safety.
One of the important things to prepare for camping is food. In fact, food is one of my favorite things about camping. There's something about the old fashion way of cooking that makes the experience memorable, not to mention, tasty! However, it does require more time, patience, and preparation.
Know What Supplies You Need
These are cooking staples you should always remember to bring on a camp trip:
- A box of matches/a lighter and some lighter fluid always come in handy especially if you plan to cook over an open fire. A camp stove is ideal, to lessen the impact on the environment, but if you must cook over a fire, use an existing fire pit.
- For cookware, a lightweight pot and pan are the basic necessities. With these, you can cook just about anything: pasta, rice, fried food, soups, etc.
- Spatula to mix your food and tongs to pull the food out of the fire.
- A basic kitchen knife to slice ingredients and even to open canned goods.
- Aluminum foil can be used alone for cooking. Simply wrap the food in the foil, and put it directly on the hot coal. This method of cooking requires frequent cooking, but it works great for food that needs high heat.
Other Kitchen Supplies You Can Consider:
- You can bring a cutting board if you want everything fresh. Otherwise, you can pre-chop your ingredients, and pack them in sealable bags or Tupperware.
- A kettle to boil your hot water for coffee or hot chocolate.
- A portable gas stove for your source of heat. Be careful with your gas canisters, and check for leakage.
- A grate or a griddle
The more you go camping, the more you will learn to personalize what to bring. For instance, you might prefer a griddle over a skillet or pan. Frying food and griddles work better together if you're cooking for larger groups. It’s easier to flip food on a griddle because of its shape. You can also fit more pancakes, bacon, and other food compared to a skillet.
Prepare Your Menu
Hunting camp meals might be a little more special because you can use your wild game. But if you're not a hunter, it's okay. The ingredients for your camp meals don’t always have to come from cans. As long as you plan ahead, you can have tasty and nutritious food outdoors.
To ensure you have all you need, prepare a menu and a grocery list. You can chip in, and have someone buy the ingredients, or you can assign each person to bring certain items.
- Freeze meat before your trip, and store in an icebox with ice.
- Fill up milk gallons or soda bottles with water, and freeze. Place it in your ice box to keep things cold.
- Bring enough water! You can also bring a water filter or purification tablets so you can use what nature provides.
- If you want quick meals, instant and canned is one way to go. Another way is by measuring and packing needed ingredients ahead of time. Pack it in sealable bags or Tupperware, and label accordingly. That way, preparation won’t take so long when you’re in a camp. You can also cook food ahead of time, and just reheat at the camp. It’s up to you.
Minimizing your prints on the environment is vital when camping. I know this part is far from fun compared to cooking, but cleaning-up after ourselves is one of the least things we can do. Responsible camping involves taking care of nature, trying to leave it better than you found it, not just for future campers, but for nature itself.
- Always pack in what you pack out when you go camping. The goal is not to leave a trace. If you see trash left by others, pick them up.
- Chemicals harm water life, so use soap, detergent, shampoo, and other products at least 200 feet away from bodies of water. Scatter used water on the soil for filtering.
Keep your campfire contained to prevent wildfires. You should also use an existing fire pit to avoid further impact on the land. Clear the area of dry grass, leaves, twigs, and firewood to prevent the fire from enlarging. Of course, always extinguish your fire when you’re done. Pour water, and drown all the embers.
Other Camping Tips
- Get necessary permits for camping. Hunting requires some licenses, and weapons need to be registered.
- To protect your pots and pans from smoke and fire damage, try rubbing liquid soap on the outside, before putting it over the fire.
- Keep food stored away in sealed containers or hang above the ground to avoid unwanted visits from animals or bugs.
- Bring a light source such as a flashlight or headlamp.
- Wear and bring weather appropriate clothing.
- Be prepared for bugs and insects in the campsite.
- Camouflage attire helps when you’re hunting. But you also might need a bright color like orange to help other hunters identify you.
- Bring extra layers because temperature might become unpredictable. A rain jacket might also come in handy.
- Bring some sort of entertainment such as a book or an mp3 player for down times.
- Be considerate of other campers. Keep your noise to a minimum, especially early in the morning and late at night.
A lot of people I know, especially city folks, only associate camping with tents, sleeping bags and camp fires. With regards to food, they think camping involves eating unglamourous meals and s'mores. While those are very valid ideas of camping, there’s more to camping than these.
When you go camping, you are responsible for a lot of things: nature, yourselves, and others. Observe all guidelines and fire restrictions, and leave it better than you came in. As for food, you ultimately get to decide what to bring and what to eat.
These tips will help you get started, but count on experience to be your best teacher. Take note of what you consumed, whether it was more than enough or lacking. You can carry on what you’ve learned into your next camp. Happy camping!