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Camping Food Storage

Before you pack your food, give some thought to your camping food storage system.


camping food on table


There are a few important things to keep in mind about camping food storage.


A good camping food storage system will:


Keep your food fresh.

No one wants to eat stale cookies - even when camping!


Protect your food from insects.

Ants. Need I say more?


Avoid attracting wildlife.

Bears. Ditto.


Keep your food supplies neat.

An organized camp kitchen is an efficient camp kitchen!


Avoid waste.

Taking just the amount you need means that you won't be throwing anything away. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has found pine needles in the large jar of peanut butter when I got home!


Simplify your life.

There's no point schlepping the entire contents of your home kitchen to the campground with you, only to haul it home again at the end of your trip.


tent with food tubs


And you definitely don't want to spend your vacation cleaning up spilled maple syrup from the bottom of the food box!

A good camping food storage system will meet all of these needs.




Carrying and Storing Food


Non-perishables

I use a plastic storage tub for packing my non-perishables.

A medium sized tub (about 10 gallons) works well for camping food storage. It holds lots, but won't get too heavy to lift and carry.


Perishables


Fridge

If you have an RV with a fridge, you're all set! Be sure to start the fridge at least a few hours in advance so that it's cold when you fill it.

If you are tenting, you might want to consider buying a real portable fridge. We have one, and we love it! We don't have to buy ice or deal with melted ice, and our food is always cold and fresh.



Cooler

If you don't have a fridge, you'll need a cooler with lots of ice.

Cooler Tip

Instead of buying ice, freeze tetrapacks of juice and use those instead. Frozen juice boxes have lots of advantages over ice:

  • They are the perfect shape for packing in a cooler.
  • When they melt, they don't make puddles in your cooler.
  • When they thaw, you have nice cold juice to drink!

A few frozen juice boxes should keep your cooler cool for a weekend trip. If you are camping for a longer time, you'll need to buy ice once all the juice boxes have thawed.




Packing Liquids

A camping trip isn't complete without a batch of pancakes - and pancakes demand maple syrup.

But how to transport the syrup without getting it all over everything else?
Here's the answer:

Nalgene wide mouth storage bottles

These are food-grade plastic bottles that seal tightly.

  • They are sturdy and washable.
  • The lids screw on and off easily.
  • The bottle openings are just the right size to allow for tidy pouring.

These are not guaranteed to be leak-proof, but I have never had one leak.

If I were to put one of these in a backpack, I'd be sure to keep it upright. I might put it in a plastic bag for extra protection. (Better safe than sorry!)

I've used these for syrup, milk, oil, vinegar, tamari and salad dressing.




Packing Peanut Butter and Jam


Plastic tubes

I've always been intrigued by the empty plastic tubes that are sold in outdoor stores.

You are supposed to be able to fill them with your favorite condiment, seal up the end, and squeeze as needed. I almost bought a set because it seems like such a great idea.

Fortunately, I read some online reviews before I made my purchase. Most reviews were positive, but the tubes have definite drawbacks.

  • They are hard to clean - especially if you've used them for something sticky.
  • They wear out and crack after a while. Some reviewers actually used them one time only and then threw them out!
  • I think I would always be a bit uneasy, wondering if that tube of honey was really leakproof.


Nalgene jars

Instead, I bought some Nalgene jars.

These are perfect for camping food storage!

  • They are easy to wash.
  • They are sturdy.
  • They don't leak.
  • They even come in a variety of colors!


Medium

I've used the medium size jars for peanut butter, jam, honey, and butter.

They would be perfect for hummus and other lunch spreads too.


Large

I use those for oatmeal, stews, and cookies. I also use them for homemade baby wipes and laundry soap - carefully labelled, of course!


Advantages of Nalgene jars and bottles

Economy

I used to be tempted to buy travel-sized bottles of condiments - but they are expensive! I like to buy in bulk wherever possible, but I don't want to carry the large economy-sized tub with me! Buying the large size and then transferring a smaller amount to a plastic container is the answer.
You won't waste a drop or a morsel, either!


Food safety

These bottles and jars are all made of food-grade polypropylene, a safe, non-leaching plastic.


Durability

They are easy to wash, and are virtually unbreakable. I've had mine for  several years now, and they haven't even gotten scratched or discolored.


Convenience

Non-perishable foods in these camping food storage containers can stay in the camping tub all summer! Just grab the tub and your food packing is half done!




Transporting Eggs


Powdered eggs

I know some campers who take powdered eggs when they go camping because they are afraid of breaking real eggs - but who wants to eat powdered eggs?


Eggs in a carton

You could take eggs in a regular egg carton and try to remember to be careful with them.

But all it takes is one person leaning heavily on the contents of the cooler while searching for a beverage - and tomorrow morning's French toast is history.


Eggs in a plastic egg carrier

Why not invest in an inexpensive unbreakable container?

It will pay for itself if saves just one batch of eggs!

Don't need a full dozen eggs? You can get an egg carrier for just half a dozen - or even for just 2 eggs!



The bottom line

Investing in a few well-chosen camping food storage supplies will make your life easier - and save you money in the long run!


Now that you know about my camping food storage system, why not check out my camping food ideas?


If you're a new camper - or even if you're not! - be sure to visit The Camping Family home page. I'll teach you everything I know about planning a camping trip.





               

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