Cooking on Camping Trips
The ideal meals on camping trips are lightweight, nutritious, tasty, non-perishable, foolproof to prepare,
and easy to clean up. It is the rare menu which satisfies all of these criteria, but the experienced camper
will find that he can eat very well while carrying no more than two pounds of food per day.
The active hiker needs lots of carbohydrates, which are usually supplied by cereals or pancakes for
breakfast, crackers and breads for lunch, granola bars and fruit for snacks, and large dinners built around
rice or pastas. Protein and fat come from cheese, peanut butter, stick pepperoni, and small cans of
chicken, turkey, tuna fish, and processed meat. The key on light weight camping is to take large
quantities of dried food, and add water when cooking, and limit the amount of canned or fresh food.
Cooking over an open fire can be tricky. Not only is heat difficult to regulate, but cooking gear for camping
is lightweight, and doesn't spread the heat very well. Food can quickly stick to bottoms of pots and burn.
The easiest cooking is based on a large pot of boiling water. The most difficult cooking involves frying
The Boy Scout mess kit (and a host of similar mess kits made by Camp Trails, Palco, and others) is not a
good cooking kit. The mess kit really provides personal utensils out of which to eat food prepared with a
cook kit. (Actually, my personal eating gear usually consists of only a wide mouth Sierra cup and a
spoon!) The "frying pan" and the "pot" in the mess kit are really too small, too thin, and too tippy for
effective cooking, even for one or two boys. A much better arrangement is to buy a coffee pot (used for
heating and pouring water rather than making coffee) and a 2 quart kettle (used for cooking pastas and
rice meals). These can be purchased as separate items, or as part of a 4 person or 6 person cook kit,
leaving at home the bigger pots and frying pans unless the trip menu needs those utensils.
Breakfast starts the d