Camping has always been an important part of my life. With my new food allergies, however, I thought that part of my life was over. It took a year for me to figure out simple sandwiches… but I started researching my own shelf-stable food, and it led me back to camping! I’ve been most inspired by reading books from my library like Cooking the One-Burner Way by Buck Tilton, and running across websites like www.wellpreserved.ca and https://www.thesodacanstove.com/alcohol-stove/how-to-build.html.
– Stoves: If you want to save money and weight, you might look at making a simple pop can alcohol stove. I am a huge fan of my Coleman emergency stove, as it uses a solid fuel, and is thus much safer to store it long-term in my car (where my emergency supplies live unless I’m camping!).
– Buddy Burner: We used to use these all the time in Guides! http://blog.utahscouts.org/camping/buddy-burner-scouts-first-stove
– Milk Carton Stove: These are basically mini portable barbeques. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tlkv6n7x47s
– Baking while camping is possible, either within the coals of your campfire, in a dutch oven (if you want to carry it…), or bringing a solar oven with you.
– Pancakes and Crepes: Have you found a basic pancake recipe you can use with your allergies? If not, try the crepes at the bottom of this post- http://foodallergycanada.ca/2016/12/holiday-guide-tips-resources/ Pancakes while camping are a lot of fun. PRO TIP: To prevent sticking, be sure to grease your pan well (butter/marg/oil/whatever!), and wait until your pan is up to temperature before you start cooking. Never, ever, use old non-stick pans over a fire… Teflon pancakes are gross. Don’t ask me how I know that.
– Overnight Oatmeal: If you have a thermos, put oatmeal, hot water, and any number of toppings into it the night before. Seal the thermos very well before putting it into your sleeping bag. Breakfast in bed! Or… if you’re concerned about wildlife joining in your breakfast, you can just stash the thermos inside your bear-proofed pack. Warm breakfast without needing to make a fire in the AM for the win!
– Granola: Making your own granola in the oven ahead of time is actually pretty straightforward, and then you can bring powdered milk. PRO TIP: If you’re used to 2%, don’t expect to like instant skim powdered milk. Go for whole milk instead. You can get whole powdered milk from Bulk Barn (but remember to watch out for cross-contamination and ask a manager if you can have some non-opened product from the supply shelf), or from Medallion Milk, and should rehydrate it the night before if possible for the most normal consistency.
– Fried Granola: Over a stove/fire, carefully fry some butter & brown sugar. Then add your oatmeal, and whatever toppings you like. You could try coconut, dried fruit, candied fruit, seeds… the options are limited only by your allergies and your imagination.
– French Bread: If you can have eggs, you can apparently dehydrate your own to make powdered eggs… If, like me, you can’t… use fruit instead! I haven’t tried it yet with rehydrated fruit, but so far both banana and kiwi have worked fabulously to make something very close to French bread. And because they’re not perishable, the only advantage to powdering them would be the reduction in weight.
– Sandwiches! If you can have seeds, beans, or nuts, each can be blended in order to make a great sandwich filling. You can also use meat jerky, or bring some waxed cheese. You could even grill them! I’ve been known to add sprouts to my sandwiches, and since you can eat sprout seeds while you’re on the move, they might be a great way to bring greens into the backcountry. Check out www.sprouting.com for some ideas.
– Pemmican: One of the oldest camping foods in existence, pemmican might take some extra thought and effort to make, but it’s worthwhile. JAS Townsend & Sons has a recipe, and since most 18th century cooking is done over a fire, it’s a useful channel in general for camping recipe ideas. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxr2d4As312LulcajAkKJYw
– Hard Tack: This is what sailors used to make and bring on long journeys. It’s essentially a hard biscuit or cracker made from flour, water, and salt.
– Tin foil packets- These are best on the first day if they involve meat, but cooking inside a tin foil packet over hot coals is pretty amazing.
– Freeze Dried: Freeze dried meals are pretty awesome if you can find some pre-made without your allergens, but they aren’t cheap! There are some DIY methods out there, but I haven’t been brave enough to try them yet.
– Dehydrated Meals: There are a lot of resources out there about drying food and making dehydrated meals. PRO TIPS: Measure your food before you dehydrate, as the difference is how much water you’ll need to re-hydrate it. Use an insulated bag while rehydrating, when in doubt add extra water, and start rehydrating your meal long before you’re ready to eat.
– Canned Foods: Whether you buy canned food, can your own, or get mylar bags for a lighter option, there are tons of options for being able to use canned food when refrigeration isn’t possible. The National Centre for Home Food Preservation is a great American resource for how to do this safely: http://nchfp.uga.edu/
– You already know how to make a s’more… but have you tried roasted fruit? Golden kiwi is my personal favourite. Keep the skin on, and roast like you would a marshmallow. It’s a cool experience, as the juices in the kiwi start to boil, making the roasting stick vibrate! Eat carefully. Or you can try it as a banana boat- cut a lengthwise slit in an unpeeled banana, fill with marshmallows and chocolate, then wrap it all in tin foil.
– Citrus Muffins: If you eat out the inside of a citrus fruit, leaving only the hollowed out peel (with a lid), you can fill it with your pancake batter and bake it! Keep in mind you’ll need much less liquid for a muffin than you would a pancake.
– Pie Filling Surprise: My Girl Guide unit loved making these when I was a kid. Take two oatmeal cookies, put pie filling or jam between, wrap in tin foil, and throw into the coals for 10~15 mins. They’re pretty epic, and you can really use any cookies or jams.
– Cookies, Crackers- If you vacuum seal these into smaller packets they’ll last longer.
– Popcorn: Check out http://thecookful.com/campfire-cooking-pop-corn-open-fire/ for some ideas.
– Make your own trail mix! Enjoy life has some pre-made with dried fruit and seeds, but I prefer to make my own with cereal, seeds, dried fruit, candied fruit, and occasionally chocolate chips (though that can get messy!)