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30 June 2010


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Christy P.

Wow -- we have totally different strategies on this one!

If we are car camping then the cooler stays in the car, so who cares how heavy it is? I don't like sweaty cheese. My husband likes cold beer. We eat cold cereal in the morning and prefer cold cow milk to go with it. I also tend to cook some items at home, say chicken, and then bring them along in the cooler for later eating.

We don't have fires.

Food is cooked on a stove or we bring along a little gas hibachi.

One trick that we like is to bring plenty of appetizers such as chips and salsa and probably guacamole, hummus etc for that time period of "finished hiking but dinner isn't ready yet". Helps with the crankies.

Possibly more thoughts later...


Erin, This is timely, we leave on our first trip of the season tomorrow. It's a 4th of July tradition and involves 13 adults and 2 children (down from previous years). Your blog prompted a few thoughts.
I agree with number 2, my personal splurge for camping is a bunch of cherries. The pits aren't too offensive.

I admire your stance on 3, but unless I'm in the boundary waters, the cooler makes the trip.

4 - Spot on. We've resorted to fast food near the campground if we get a late start out of the cities and are racing daylight.

4.5 - Another consideration nowadays is the cost of wood and the requirement to use local wood at state parks. A long cooking fire can burn through a lot of $$$.

Number 5 is a point of much discussion in my group. We have tried it both ways - (1)splitting up meals by families or (2)each family contributing to each meal. In general, I'm the planner and organizer for either method. Everyone else seems to prefer the second option, but as the planner it is a ton of work and method 1 is much easier. This year we went with everyone contributing to each dinner and breakfasts/lunch on our own. It just confirmed how much I hate this method!

Every year I pack lunch food and every year it comes back home. We tend to have coffee/banana bread or the like between 6 - 7, eggs of some sort between 9 - 10 and then take off for the activity of the day and eat a big dinner upon our return. This year I'm not packing lunch food.

One thing that has helped with meal planning is my camping spreadsheet. I have data going back 8 years and every trip has its own tab. The spreadsheet includes equipment and food. I've also started including which campsite we have and notes of any sites that look like good ones. My mom kept a camping notebook of this sort and it is a treasured piece of family memorabilia.

Now, the real challenge is making sure the trip is about camping and not about the food and trying to keep up with the diet changes that I've made. I'm nervous to be without sparkpeople and my scale. I think most of my habits are pretty well established, but this will be a test. Wish me luck!


Christy, I knew you would differ from me on this, partly because I knew you didn't do fires. I could probably do without fires but for just about everybody else I camp with, the campfire is a requirement for a good time camping.

Re: the need for cold beer, Minnesota state parks forbid alcohol. Re: sweaty cheese, wax-enrobed cheeses don't sweat. Neither does spray cheese, which has found its way onto our camp menu before!


I forgot to add that even though we are car camping technically, we usually camp at group tent sites, which entails lugging your stuff a short distance. It's not long enough that you need to call it "backpacking" or "hike-in," but it's usually at least a few hundred yards away from the cars. So we do like to limit the heavy stuff. Not completely, obviously (Dutch ovens, bags of charcoal). Coolers are also annoying because the kids are always opening them...

Christy P.

I saw another family using a wagon to lug stuff to a 'remote' site. Seemed like a good choice for already impacted areas. Bad choice for where they were doing it across cryptobiotic soil in the southern Utah wilderness.


I know I'm nearly a year late in reading this... but you've got some really helpful ideas in here. Thanks for writing this.


You're welcome; it's always interesting to see who comes by to read the older posts. :-)

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