I got the camping bug when I was little. I gotten bitten bad. I think it was somewhere along the old Oregon Trail, or perhaps near northern waters where the French fur trappers once traveled…or maybe under a southwestern sunset in the Guadalupe mountains.
My parents used to take my five siblings and I on some hardcore homeschool field trips. We camped across the nation, taking in the sights and soaking up the history. Our trips took us far from our home in the coastal South, and I fell in love with the wide-open spaces of the Great Plains and the surreal landscapes of Yellowstone and the Painted Desert.
I believe what made camping “work” for our family of eight was my parents’ organizational skills. My dad planned the itinerary months in advance, while mom coordinated the packing lists and meals.
Recently, Eric and I got to test our skills at organizing our own epic camping trip. Beginning August 1st, we drove from Michigan to California, camping in state and national parks along the way. After a week-long stay with Eric’s family we drove back across the country, camping again. Altogether, we were gone for three weeks!
It was a dream come true to show each other the dramatic landscapes we’d witnessed as children. He got to show me Arches National Monument and the Redwood forests, while I played tour guide for the north and central western states.
Since this was no mere weekend camping trip, some careful planning was absolutely necessary, particularly withregards to meals. After you’ve been on the road or hiking all day, you want some serious grub to fill your belly.
I tried to plan meals that were satisfying but easy to make. We also had to eat our food supply in a logical order, consuming the more perishable items first. Before we left for our trip, I froze as many foods as I could. This helped to keep the ice chest cool, and we ate the foods as they thawed. We ate the “dry” foods that required no refrigeration towards the end of each leg of the journey.
Here’s what we ate during our camping adventure:
- Fried eggs and bacon
- Breakfast burritos (eggs, sausage, salsa, cheese)
- Bagels with cream cheese
- Boiled eggs (an excellent breakfast when you need an early start! On our long days, we boiled and peeled them the night before so we wouldn’t need to bother with the camp stove in the morning.)
- Grits and sardines (requires no refrigeration, so this is great for later in the trip)
Sandwiches, made that morning at our campsite (or the night before)
- Salmon gravy (we ate this with tortillas, but you could make biscuits ahead of time if you’re motivated)
- Cheeseburger tortilla skillet
- Spaghetti (a good meal for later in the trip)
- Tomato soup (made and frozen before we left; eaten when thawed)
- Chicken salad (made in California before our return journey. I used the recipe from my new cookbook.)
- Sausages and baked beans
- Chicken fajitas
- Granola bars (made before the trip)
- Trailmix (made before the trip)
- Carrot sticks
Are you an adventurous soul? What are your go-to camping provisions?
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