We’d like to call ourselves a camping family, but I’m not quite there yet.
Greg has a history of camping since he was a kid. (He’s slept on pyramids in the jungle in Guatemala, so a Coleman tent is a bit Four Seasons to him.) I, on the other hand, only have a few trips under my belt so I’m still working on my camping legs. We’re really enjoying ourselves though, in spite of the uncomfortable sleeping, cold weather, dirty everything, yadda yadda yadda… cuz… it’s NATURE! Feels so good.
Check out our sleeping quarters in the picture below. Air mattresses supposedly make it more comfy. Our 8-person instant tent is not really instant… or for eight people. I’d like to see that happen. Wait, no I wouldn’t.
Yes, camping is an adventure. I watch in awe as my child plays with sticks and rocks.
I repeat: Sticks and rocks.
And drinks coffee. :) (just a little).
Camping also presents plenty of opportunity to move a lot – we all know how important it is to move more than just going to the gym once a day, eh?
(Read this –> popular post on why we got rid of our couch to move more at home.)
Oh! See that handy outdoor carpet in front of the tent pictured below? It’s game-changing for camping. This carpet gives plenty of extra space to sit, lie down, practice yoga, play, jump around, do backflips, etc. I’m kidding, we don’t
lie down do backflips.
I also like to think I’m a runner from time to time, so in those cases, I don my Vibrams. (I’m really not a runner. Sssshhhhh don’t tell me!)
I will say that they made me feel like I was running through the tall trees much like Edward and his friends from the Twilight Saga. Just saying’. (If vampires can sparkle, they can also wear Vibrams.) And, the Ponderosa Campground looked almost exactly like the forest in the movie. It’s all coming together now.
Their forest in Twilight:
My forest in Arizona. Oh yeah.
Looks like they’re wearing Vibrams to me.
And, drumroll… here are mine.
I’ve written this post to show the foods I’m packing as a beginning camper. It’s mostly nutritious and healthy but has some treats, of course. I also included a bulleted list at the bottom of the post of everything I pack, in case anyone wants some inspiration.
As you all know, I’m a bit picky about the food my family eats so when it came to packing food for camping I was a bit like, “Sheeeeet, what am I going to pack???” I’m scared about raw meats, cooking appliances, coolers and keeping things temperature appropriate. I should also admit that I just want to enjoy a bit of laziness too. Pantry items are lazy.
My gluten-free (mostly paleo) food strategy for camping.
I went to the pantry and selected pantry foods (sardines out of the can and smoked wild-caught salmon are perfect!) that would satisfy my need of healthy foods, as well as enough “treat” foods to make camping extra fun. I keep it gluten-free and mostly paleo (you’ll see grass-fed butter and some organic grains which aren’t paleo).
Therefore, although you’ll see things like corn chips in my stash, we do not eat corn or grains very often. But, I saw these organic corn chips that are made with coconut oil (finally!), and I was stoked. Most chips are made with crap canola oil (or sunflower/safflower oil), but the tide is turning. We’re seeing chips made with stable oils like coconut oil. If I see any ever made with grass-fed ghee, I just might flip my shit.
Basically what this is all means is that when going camping we like some treats and flexibility. It’s camping after all.
Here are the gluten-free pantry items for camping:
- Those are the corn chips I mentioned on the left. The organic salsa is buried in there, too.
- You also don’t see the organic raw kale chips (without nutritional yeast) hiding in the back.
- Fresh apples are a solid choice for camping.
- Smoked wild-caught salmon is pretty delicious and comes in an easy foil pack. Bears like it, too.
- Sardines are super-foods, and I feel like a bad-ass tearing open a can. If you’re not eating sardines yet, you really need to try these. I wrote a great blog post on how to introduce them to your life here. (<– Check it out for tips on adding sardines effortlessly to your life.)
- Lentil soup because it’s comforting and EASY. I like to amp up the soup’s nutrition with Four Sigma Foods mushroom packets (wrote all about that —>> here).
- Graham crackers (gluten-free) because those are about the treat-i-est we get.
- Apple chips are like popcorn for us – crunchy and yummy.
- Lots of bars – totally delicious and healthy (we stay regularly stocked with Upgraded Collagen Bars and Epic grass-fed bison). Those are a great low-carb and paleo snack (or addition to a meal). I like the collagen bar with coffee in the morning and I like to eat one for dessert.
- Granola… because it seems I guess I don’t have enough sugar packed. (Granola and I have a weird relationship – I’ll have to tell you about it later.)
- Greg’s chocolate covered banana bites in the back – a new treat he likes since finding them in Kauai. Navitas Naturals blueberry hemp squares.
- Rice bowls – I’m new to these and not stoked about them being in plastic, and, as I mentioned, we don’t routinely eat grains. Disclaimers aside, I take them out of the packaging (they’re already cooked) and warm them up in a pot with plenty of grass-fed butter to help blunt the carb rush and add fat-soluble vitamins. I just had an idea. I could cook white rice (which I prefer for nutrition reasons) with homemade bone broth and freeze it. Then, take it camping!
- Rice cakes dipped in dark chocolate. I like to slather on soft grass-fed butter or a nut butter to add some fat. Sprinkle on some sea salt and it’s a bit heavenly.
Here are the (mostly) gluten-free cooler items for camping:
- Green smoothie (make a few ahead or a large portion)
- Grass-fed butter
- Raw grass-fed cheese and whole fat grass-fed yogurts
- Baileys (did you know Bailey’s uses pasture-raised dairy?)
- Veggies and lettuce
- Grass-fed hotdogs
- Dr. Christopher’s tissue n bone ointment because putting up tents and sleeping on the ground can make you feel parts of your body you didn’t know you had. That balm is magical.
- Some other things I can’t see in the picture… maybe chocolate, and mineral water?
- Oh, and beer (chock full o’ gluten). Not mine. Kona Longboard and Sam Adams Oktoberfest.
I expect that as I gain more confidence in camping I’ll branch out to include more homemade meals and fewer pantry items.
Or, I won’t and just keep it lazy. I think a lazy camper is a happy camper.
We bought one of those stoves (pictured above) for heating up foods and making coffee. It’s awesome and easy to use. I prefer a stove over using a campfire so I can control the heat and not ruin my nice pots and pans.
Here is a bulleted list of camping things that I use:
- 2 pots (one for cooking and one for heating water). I haven’t needed a skillet yet.
- Salad tossing bowl
- Books. Games. Art. Dolls. Bean bags. Balls.
- Stomp rocket. Whistles for kids, in case they get lost.
- Phones. candles.
- Walkie talkies (real Cobras, not toys).
- Kamea’s bike and helmet
- Seasonal clothes (take extra).
- Hats (sun or winter).
- Coats. Gloves. Long socks. Bug balm.
- Trail shoes/Boots. Vibrams. Toms/Crocs (easy on/off camp shoes).
- Natural bug spray with citronella oil and/or citronella candles.
- First-aid kit.
- Spray bottle w peppermint eo, bronners, h20. (cleaning, deterring bugs, etc)
- LED candles for nice lighting in tent. Lanterns for outside tent at night.
- Chairs. Outdoor carpet.
- Tent. (duh)
- Backpack or hip sack for hikes
- Back goop. Sunblock. Vit C.
- Valerian tincture to help sleeping in uncomfortable situations.
- Headlamps. 100 ft paracord
- Kitchen Towels. Paper towels.
- Spring water for drinking.
- Water for dishes, cleaning, etc
- Toilet paper. Dish Soap. Toilet Wipes.
- Pump hand soap.
- Silicone potholder mat.
- Toiletries. Pillows. Wash cloths with ziplocs
- Chip clips.
- Potty. Baking soda. Sharpie.
- Trash bags. Bowls/plates/mugs/utensils
- Plastic bags. Thick Foil. Pokers. Fire extinguisher.
- Wood (or get it at campground) and gardening gloves for gathering wood.
- Weapons as deemed necessary.
Cooler food ideas (gluten-free mostly-paleo):
- Grass-fed hotdogs (frozen)
- Peanut or nut/seed butter
- Frozen stews
- Ziplocs of veggies: salad lettuce, peppers, cucumbers, celery, carrots.
- Green smoothies.
- Bailys in small bottle
- Grass-fed Butter. Whole fat Yogurt. Raw cheese.
- Chia pudding.
- Quality granola
- Slippery elm bark powder
- Trail mix-like stuff.
- Lemons. Raw honey. Sea Salt.
- Boxed soups. Cooked rice bowls
- Tea bags. Instant coffees.
- Frother and Matcha green tea (read more on why I love matcha here)
- Water bottle shaker. Whey. Collagen. (<- for protein shakes)
- Organic coconut oil corn chips. Organic salsa.
- Organic baked apple chips.
- Grass-fed Bison bars and Upgraded Collagen bars.
- Apples. Bananas. Avocados. Oranges.
- Smoked Wild Caught Salmon or Quality canned tuna.
- Tess dressings (pantry stable for 60 days once opened).
- Pre-cooked rice bowls
Splinter removal Pro-tip: Forget the alcohol, needle, and tweezers. Instead: A tiny bottle of Elmers glue. Just dab it on, let it dry, and scrap it off. Works wonders. (We still bring the needle and tweezers, but haven’t needed them since learning this trick.)
Baking soda: dish washer, pot scrubber, hand cleanser, deodorant, toothpaste, fire extinguisher.
For tick prevention: Tuck pants in socks. Long sleeves. Hat. Light colored clothes. Germanium Bug spray.
Cooler Packing Tips: Freeze bottles of water and place the frozen bottles on the bottom of the cooler. This will serve to keep the cooler cold and also give you something to drink as it thaws. I’m not one to drink from plastic bottles, but I make this exception. I also pack ice in ziplocs to put on top of the food.
Memory of Camping Idea: Every time you go camping (or travel anywhere), find a rock and write a memory from that trip with a sharpie on it. Collect them in a jar and display on your table.