Mealtime at camp can be hard work, but it doesn’t need to be. It all depends on how well you plan ahead. Here are some tips for making food preparation, serving and storage easy while tent camping.
One of the most important things you need to do while camping is to keep your food cold. I accomplish this by making a gallon of homemade lemonade or kool-aide a few days before we go camping. I put the jug in the freezer. This big block of ice will last all weekend in the food cooler. As it starts to thaw, the kids have a nice cold drink. Otherwise, keep food and drinks in separate coolers. That way you don’t have to dig through sodas to find the hamburger. It keeps the food fresher too.
Bring large zip top bags. Store like items together in these bags inside your cooler. For example, I keep sliced sandwich meats and cheese in one to make lunchtime easy. It is handy to chop onions and peppers at home and put them together in a bag in the cooler. Simply add a handful to scrambled eggs, chili, burritos or whatever you are planning on cooking. When camping, keep all meats in sealed bags so they don’t leak all over your cooler. Gallon sized zip top bags are perfect for storing food instead of bulky plastic tupperware type containers. I put opened cookies and chips into the bags as well. It keeps them fresh and critter free.
Of course you will need pans and utensils. Just bring the necessities when camping. I bring a skillet, small sauce pan, and a large stock pot. Large utensils include a spatula, wooden spoon, serving spoon, a couple of knives and tongs. Don’t forget a can opener, bottle opener and sturdy pot holders. Along with these everyday items, I like to have a large bucket. This I fill with soapy water for soaking dishes. Makes clean up a breeze. Make sure you have a sponge and a few dish towels.
I buy paper plates, large plastic cups, plastic forks and spoons from the dollar store. I don’t want to spend all day washing dishes while camping. I used the large cups as bowls for the kids cereal and mixing eggs, so I don’t need to pack bowls.
Large trash bags are a must. Hang one from a tree a little bit away from your cooking and eating area. This helps keep flies and animals away. A second trash bag should be used for recyclables. Even if you don’t want to save your cans, someone else will. Before leaving the camp ground, set the recycling bag next to the dumpster.
Tent camping is a wonderful family activity. Who wants to spend all day cooking and cleaning? Plan ahead, make a list and pack accordingly. Then go have some fun!