Camping Chat: February 2011

This article appeared in the February 2011 issue of ‘Caravan & Outdoor Life’ magazine:

New campers often wonder how to plan meals when camping, especially in remote areas. It helps to  think in terms of  ‘meals’: how many breakfasts, lunches and suppers you’ll need. This will help you decide what to buy and pack. 

For breakfasts, I like to pack rusks and filter coffee. This is usually enough, but eggs and bacon are also good.  Nothing smells as delicious as bacon frying in a pan on the fire early in the morning when you are in the bush!

For lunches, try home-made bread or rolls, baked on the fire.  This, with cheese, pickles, and cold meat, washed down with a beer, eaten outside under the trees, is wonderful!  Or pack some crackers instead, and remember the jam and honey. 

Dinners are where camping comes into its own: as the sun sets, and twilight deepens, it’s time to light your fire, sit back with a sundowner and watch the flames for a while, before you start cooking.  The cooking and eating should be part of the evening’s entertainment.

Suppers, cooked on the fire, have endless possibilities.  Just about anything can be cooked on a fire, including pudding! Try a stew cooked in a Dutch Oven, served with rice, bread or potatoes, or a juicy steak, marinaded in olive oil and lemon juice.  Or pork chops, sausages, sosaties, chicken pieces, curry, chicken a la king, soup, coq au vin, ‘mushy veggies’ – all delicious!  Experiment with cooking in tinfoil packs. Planning each meal before you go will mean you have all the ingredients needed.

You’ll be out in the fresh air, and more active, which will make you hungry, so pack some snacks – crisps, nuts, biltong, fruitcake and biscuits go down well. 

Food storage depends on whether your campsite has power for a fridge, as this will affect what and how you pack. If not, portable gas fridge/freezers work well, but  you can get by with a cooler box (or three:  one for frozen items, like meat, seldom opened; one for fresh items like butter and cheese, packed in sealable containers, so they don’t get soaked, and one cooler box for the booze). Most camp-site offices sell ice for cooler boxes. Pack each day’s meat in two packets, and, with a waterproof marker, write on it the day you plan to eat it – this will help when digging around at the bottom of a cooler box or gas freezer. Make sure all foodstuff is sealed and critter-proof.

Camp food should not be about survival only – it should be part of the experience.  Cooking food in an outdoor kitchen is fun!

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12 responses to “Camping Chat: February 2011

  1. Have just got back from our holiday and drove 3500km – spent most of the time when we were driving discussing camping! It´s something we´re seriously considering doing and your articles inspire me to going for the whole experience.

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  2. great advice! Have a super day xxx

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  3. One day we will try the camping thing again… until then – we love selfcatering – and believe me, the same planning goes into those meals!! Have a fab day Zabs!

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    • Hello, Shaz!! No, camping with a tiny baby is only for the die-hard campers, preferebly with big caravans 🙂

      Yes, the meal planning works for any self-catering holiday – just the packing is different!! (I find packing for self-catering places worse than packing for camping, go figure).

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  4. Glad I found you here. I must say that even to me, you do make camping and cooking outside, sound like fun, 😉

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  5. Excellent advice townie!

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