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Keep Your Camping Food Cool

Summer's slowly coming to a close, but there's still time to pack up the car, pack up the cooler and go on a weekend camping getaway. That's why we're declaring this week camping week here at YumSugar. All week long we'll bring you great camping tips and ideas. Whether you're going on a quick jaunt to the woods, or planning a seaside escape, you won't want to miss out.

For starters, here are a bunch of must-read camping food tips.

  • Plan your menus ahead of time. Think about how long you'll be camping and whether or not you're going to bring perishables. Are you hiking in? Will you be able to carry everything you plan? If your meal calls for a cup of rice, only bring a cup not the entire bag.
  • Be sure your coolers are sturdy and hold plenty of ice.
  • Consider taking two coolers, one for raw foods and one for fresh. This will help avoid cross contamination.
  • Store coolers in the shade, and open as infrequently as possible. If you can, cover with light-colored blankets.
  • Pack your coolers in the reverse meal eating order. The current meal should be on top. This will prevent you from having to dig through the coolers.
  • Consider bringing soups or stews. You can make them in advance and freeze them. This way they'll also act as ice packs.

For more camping food tips,

  • Make sure that everything is cold before it goes into the cooler.
  • Avoid loose ice if possible. Go with cold ice packs, or ziploc bags of ice if you don't have cold packs. Or better yet, freeze bottles of water - this way you'll also have extra cold water.
  • Make sure you bring plenty of snacks, but don't overpack.
  • Be aware of bears and other wild animals, keep food sealed tightly and use a bear box if possible.
  • Dice vegetables like onions, garlic, bell peppers in advance.
  • If bringing a camp stove, make sure you bring enough gas along with you.
  • If you're going to bring eggs, consider breaking them into a sealable container ahead of time, or choose an egg alternative.

Do you have any secret camping food tricks? Share them with us below!

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Join The Conversation
Mello-Jello Mello-Jello 10 years
If you're backpacking, invest in a dehydrator. You can make almost anything and dehydrate it. Then later you just mix in boiling water and it is as good as new. Dehydrated foods are much lighter to carry. There are a few awesome cookbooks available for backpacking meal recipes. When packing a cooler, put the ice and ice packs on top. This will keep your cooler at a lower temperature than if the ice were all at the bottom. This works because cold air falls and warm air rises, so there is constant air circulation in the cooler much like in your refrigerator at home.
laurafox laurafox 10 years
All good ideas!
smartypantssugar smartypantssugar 10 years
When I was little, my dad would make chicken caccitore on the campfire (we trailer camped, so it was easier to do fancy stuff). Being a kid, I was totally mortified that we couldn't do hot dogs like everyone else in the campground. We did make lots of friends that way, since everyone came over to see what smelled so good!
staceyleeroberts staceyleeroberts 10 years
Store items in waterproof, ziplock bag and if you are by a creek that comes from the mountains, anchor them under the water to keep cool. Many creeks & streams are very cold because they are coming from the snow of mountains. Also
ALSW ALSW 10 years
I don'tn really camp, but these are some good tips!
auddie auddie 10 years
Put your meats into plastic freezer bags instead of their original packaging. Most the flimsy plastic wrappers tend to tear easily and get filled with water, which destroys your food. The freezer bags stand up much better, and they are resealable to it's easier to save items for later.
chancleta chancleta 10 years
rices meals are great and easy. like instant packs of jumbalya (i can never spell that word). rice in package requires seasoning (dry and easy to transport), water (which you'll have on you anyway, and meat (sausage works and is small and easy to transport as well).
chancleta chancleta 10 years
So my tip would be cast iron. Though it's heavy it can be put directly on the fire. You don't have to worry about scratching the surface. It gives food a lovely taste. And it doesn't require too much oil. In most cases the natural oil from meat is enough.
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 10 years
this reminds me of when we went camping when i was a kid. eggs and pancakes on the griddle in the mornings! yum!
chancleta chancleta 10 years
Nice tips! It's amazing what kind of yummy food you can make on a camp fire. My husband brings his cast iron dutch oven and makes the most AMAZING camp food ever. Stew style, cooked on a fire, in cast iron gives food the most amazing taste!
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