Tips For Packing Your Food For A Car Camping Trip

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Car camping can be one of the most enjoyable experiences you can have. This is especially true if you go camping with friends or family. It can allow you to have bonding opportunities that you simply wouldn’t be able to have otherwise. Along with this, it can help you connect with nature and live in the moment. However, car camping can come with a few challenges. For one, you have to bring all of your food and equipment along with you. Therefore, you need to know how to effectively pack everything to ensure you have a successful trip. Below, you will find some of the best ways to pack for your next car camping trip.

Prep For Your Trip:

1. How Long Are You Going To Be Camping?

This is one of the most important questions to answer prior to beginning prepping for your car camping trip. After all, it will dictate how much food you will need and how much equipment you need to bring along with you. You don’t want to leave with too little food nor do you want to leave with too much food. If you take too little food, you will find yourself and others in your group quickly having a bad time. Whereas, if you bring too much food, you can find yourself throwing away food because it spoils or because you brought excess amounts. It can even get in the way when you are looking for other food items and it can limit the space you have to work with for other items and even yourself. By planning accordingly, you shouldn’t run into this problem.

2. Create a Meal Plan

You should be creating a meal plan for everything that you are planning on bringing along with you. By creating a meal plan ahead of time, you will be able to figure out exactly what ingredients you need and how much you need to buy. This will not only do wonders in helping you avoid bringing too much food, but it can help to ensure that you have the requisite information that you need to effectively and efficiently go about packing the food for your car camping trip. You definitely want to include a lot of quick and easy to prepare meals when you are camping.

3. Figure Out The Equipment You Need

When it comes to heading out camping, you will need to bring along some essential equipment in order to prepare and consume meals. Rather than bringing a piece of equipment for everything, you should try to find ways to cut down on the total amount of space your equipment will take up. By choosing to bring along versatile cookware, you can do exactly that. For your trip, you should be taking essential cooking equipment including a skillet, cooking pan, skewers, and a coffee maker for those who are coffee drinkers. You will need to bring propane if you are going to be using a gas stove. For eating, and drinking you will need plates, bowls, and utensils. You also need to bring along dish soap in order to wash your dishes and cookware after using it.

A cartoon illustration of car camping trip.

Packing Your Food:

1. Start With Food That Is Perishable

While you could potentially go on your camping trip without any perishable foods, that wouldn’t be advisable. Not only would it detract from your experience, but it’s not healthy. Therefore, you will want to bring along a good amount of fresh and perishable foods. It’s become a lot easier to bring perishable foods on a car camping trip. Depending on the total duration of your trip, you should look to use either two or three coolers. One cooler should be specifically dedicated to storing all of the pre-marinated meat and other meat that you are bringing along with you. The other cooler should be filled with everything else that you are bringing that needs to be refrigerated. To ensure that everything stays fresh, you should be packing in enough ice and refilling it on an as-needed basis.

2. Box Full Of Food That Isn’t Perishable

This is where you should be looking to store all of the food and items that aren’t going to go bad if they are out of the cold. In this box or boxes, you should be looking to store everything from canned beans to ghee, olive oil, or other cooking oils, and anything else that you are bringing along that is a dry good.

3. Easy To Access Foods

You should be bringing along a bunch of foods that will provide you with quick and easy meals. By storing all of the convenient meals in a single box, you should be able to make it much easier to find a quick and easy to put together meal which can save you time. This box can include everything from instant rice to pancake and waffle mix, and more. Having a separate box for all of the items that you would want to access quickly and easily can make your life a lot easier. You may even want to include spices and seasoning that you prepared ahead of time for any meals that you are planning on making during your trip.

4. Snack Box

You will want to bring a snack box along with you. This box should be full of all of the different snacks that everything enjoys. The snack box can be a quick and easy way to reach in to grab something and get refueled for your hike. You should be storing all kinds of different snacks that can satisfy hunger and cravings including protein bars, trail bars, trail mixes, chocolate, and more.

5. Water

You should be bringing along a lot of water. In fact, this is one area you should be overestimating. You can never have enough water when you are going on a camping trip.

Key Tips To Use:

A cartoon illustration of campfire cooking on a car camping trip.

1. Label Everything

Within the individual boxes that you are putting together, you want to break them down even further to make it easier to find what you are looking for. To do so, you can place everything in individual zipper bags and label each one. By doing this, you will be able to reach into the box that you are looking for and grab whatever you want without having to open to smell it or even look at it. If you want to take it a step further with even better organization, you can color code the bags with the labels and create an entire inventory of what you are bringing along with you. This will let you sort through the inventory list to identify which box it is in and what color corresponds with it.

2. Portion Things Out

This is a big one if you want to save space. A lot of what you will be bringing is likely going to be only a portion of the total product. For instance, if you are taking hot cocoa along with you, the last thing you want to do is bring a can that has 50 servings. After all, you won’t be drinking 50 servings of hot cocoa during your camping trip. Because of this, you should be portioning out how much you do intend on consuming during your trip in order to break it down into smaller and more manageable portions. This alone can save you a lot of space because you won’t have to sacrifice packing or storage space for things that you will never use. In this case, you could simply portion out however much you intend on using into a zipper bag which will allow you to cut down on the total space it takes up. Do this for every item you are bringing along with you and you will be able to maximize your available storage space.

3. Prep Meals Before The Trip

This tip can go a long way towards saving you a lot of time during your camping trip. Along with this, it will help you turn much more intricate and involved meals into convenient and easy to make meals with limited cooking equipment. You can prepare a lot of meals beforehand as long as you are bringing a cooler along for the trip. You can do this by cutting up vegetables prior to leaving. Having meals that are ready to take out of the cooler and cook can really cut down on a lot of the time that you would otherwise spend prepping food at the campsite. This can be especially helpful if you are able to take out an already prepared meal your first night when you aren’t necessarily in the mood to prepare an entire meal.

Going on a car camping trip should be fun and exciting. By utilizing the various tips above, you won’t have to stress out about what you will be eating during your time camping. While you will be dealing with limited equipment, you should be able to maintain your normal diet by prepping ahead of time. You want to try to be as organized as possible when going on your trip because it can cut down on the amount of time you waste looking for ingredients or preparing meals. By splitting everything into separate boxes and by further separating ingredients and mixes into individual zipper bags, you should be able to create a system that allows you to correctly identify where specific foods or ingredients are with minimal hassle.