With this weekend comes Memorial Day, and that means three-day weekend! So take advantage of the last long weekend of the school year and gather a group of friends and go camping. Before you take off, though, let me give you some advice. It’s easy to think of the essential list when it comes to camping: tents, flashlights and sleeping bags … but what about food? Unless you’re a super organized and prepared camper, it’s easy to forget what kind of food you need to take on your outdoor adventure. Here are some easy snacks and foods that will save you some space and make a successful camping trip.
#1 Hot Dogs
Hot dogs are one of the traditional, and my favorite, things to roast over a campfire. Sure, you can make it over a stove, but the minute you put it on a stick and place it over the fire, you start to see it turn dark and crispy. The hot dogs have that lingering wood flavor from the fire that makes you want to eat more and more. The best thing about hot dogs, though, is that they’re inexpensive and come in at least a pack of eight so you can share with everyone.
#2 Protein/Granola bars
It isn’t a fully successful camping trip unless you go on a hike or two. On the downside, you’ll be away from your campsite and any real meal you’ve prepared. Because it’s never fun to carry more than you want, protein/granola bars are good on-the-go snacks. They’re lightweight and will fill you up when you find yourself away from your site. The best part is that there are streams of different flavors and a variety to choose from so you won’t be stuck with the same bland flavor.
#3 Meat and/or Vegetables
Unlike hot dogs, meat can be rather expensive, but it can also last you your entire trip. When my family goes camping, we take a variety of meat, chicken and vegetables to cook. It feels like it never runs out, and if you aren’t feeling like having a certain type, there is always something different. Marinating beforehand is a good way to save time as you’ll just have to place the meat on the grill whenever you’re ready. It’s good to freeze your meat before the actual trip so that by the time you’ve arrived to your destination, it’s thawed. To save space you can put your marinated meat in large Ziploc bags and place it in your cooler.
Fresh or dried fruit are excellent snacks to take on a camping trip. It’s better to take fresh, non-perishable fruits rather than those that don’t last longer than a day or two. Fruit with protective shells — pineapples, watermelons, oranges — are more likely to last longer than those without. Dried fruit also doesn’t spoil and is really hard to crush. Like granola bars, dried fruit come in a large variety and are easy to carry.
A can of beans is an easy, cheap meal in itself. With different varieties, you aren’t going to get tired of beans as fast as you’d think. Filled with protein, beans will fill you up and you’ll be ready to go off on another adventure. All you need is a pan and a fire to make these cold beans a delicious meal, or if you really want to be adventurous, open the can, place it over the fire and wait for them to heat up. Be sure to wait until the beans cool down before eating them.
#6 Drink Mixes
Gallons of drinks take up a lot of space in the car and are quite heavy. Taking a variety of drink mixes eases up the load. You won’t taste the difference and it’ll be cheaper than buying soda or juices people won’t drink. Assuming you’re already taking a sufficient amount of water, all you need to do is grab a packet of mix — or a spoon if you get the containers — add it to your water and drink away. A good thing about these dry mixes is that whatever isn’t used during the trip can be saved and used later.
#7 Powdered or Evaporated Milk
There’s not much to this other than conventional milk spoils easily. These are tasty, sweet substitutes that you can put in your coffee, cereal, oatmeal and the like.
#8 Trail Mix
Filled with nuts, raisins, chocolate and coconut shavings, trail mix has something everyone will love. You can either buy the prepackaged ones at the store or you can make your own, which means you can control what you put in it. If you’re not a fan of a regular trail mix ingredients you can leave it out or substitute it for something you enjoy.
Salsa and guacamole will take any ordinary sit-down and turn it upside down. These are both easy to make and are a yummy snack or delicious side to your meal. All you have to do is prepare beforehand, keep it in a container, and place it in a cooler so all you have to do is crack open the container when you get to your site.
Is it really a camping trip without marshmallows? Whether you’re eating them on their own or with graham crackers and chocolate, marshmallows roasting over an open campfire is the tradition of all traditions.