One of the greatest experiences of being human is to be out in nature. There is just something about being in the fresh open air of the wilderness that makes a person feel more alive, more grounded. The stresses and responsibilities of life lessen in the great outdoors and it is less complicated.
After a long day hiking or on the river even if exhaustion is felt, it is refreshing and invigorating. Along with the hard work comes a hearty appetite and a good meal is welcomed by everyone. Even food tastes better when enjoyed in nature and it is received with enthusiastic appreciation.
The supper that is tasty is all the more satisfying. A cook can really get rave reviews at a camp. If some thought and a little preparation are made a great meal can be enjoyed and increase the quality of the outdoor experience.
Here are some suggestions. The first thing to note is that all three meals are not created equal. Breakfast and dinner are the meals that more time is put in. The first meal should be filling, one that will stay with you all day. Whole grains probably fit this requirement the best. Even if you are not normally a cook, camping is a good place to be willing to put in some effort and time.
With all the energy burned you will truly appreciate a meal that will fill you up and keep you going. Oatmeal is the first option. For those who want something hot, with little effort, oatmeal fits the bill. It will "stick to your ribs" and keep you full longer, but this breakfast seems to be a popular one on trips and because of that it gets a little old. If that is all the further you want to go in your culinary efforts you can still spruce it up a little.
Add dried fruit into the mix. Raisins seem to be the old stand by, but there is a plethora of other choices. Any fruit is an option. Try mangos, apples, strawberries etc.
and a little dry milk mixed in. Your regular old oatmeal just turned into fruit and cream, much more satisfying. If you are a little more adventurous pull out the pan for your camp stove. Whole wheat pancakes with freeze dried fruit are amazing.
Even syrup is not necessary for these delicious creations. They will be the hit of the camp so be sure to bring plenty. When planning pancakes bring oil in a spill proof container and pour a little into the pan before each cake (about 1 tsp). A non-stick pan is also recommended for pancakes. These cakes are filling and delicious.
Freeze dried fruit is recommended over dried for pancakes because they hydrate as they cook and return to a fresh-like berries rather then staying chewy in your pancakes like dried ones would. Prepackaged meals are fine camping, but you can make your own. Not only will it be cheaper, but it will last for many trips (and even at home). Large cans (#10 size) can be purchased of the berry you prefer. Mix up the pancake's dry ingredients at home (including dry milk and dry eggs) then all you have to add is water when you cook them at camp. During the day when you are on the river you probably do not want to pull off and unpack all the gear for lunch.
This is a good time to have trial mix, granola bars and jerky. Dinner is another time that it is worth putting in the effort. Meals in the can are not recommended frequently while camping because of the trash it creates.
What gets brought in, gets brought out. Instead try a box of pasta with dry packs of sauce and then add a can of tuna or chicken. Dried vegetables added to this meal would be delicious. Just rehydrate them in a little water for 10 minutes or so before cooking and you have an entire dinner in one dish.
A few last notes to make. Do not pack you fuel in the dry bags with your food. If the fuel leaks, the food will not be good. If you are going to make something new on your trip, try it at home first.
Better to learn when you have more food to try again. Instead of bringing trash bags bring plastic grocery bags with you. They are smaller and even if you use a couple, because of their size, they can be stuff in corners easily. Another suggestions about these plastic bags is that it is easy to double up on them for your trash to prevents leaks and such.
Do not sacrifice food on your trip, make it delicious and you will enjoy the outdoors even more.
Emma Snow is a gourmet and freelance writer. Writing for Gourmet Living http://www.gourmet-living.com and BBQ Shop http://www.bbq-shop.net .