Camping. It’s a chance to experience nature in all it's glory, but not exactly known for revelatory cuisine. We'll just say it outright: camping food can suck. We know all about the delicacies encountered during camping... “Just add water” dehydrated beef. Canned chili, eaten cold out of the tin. Bitter instant coffee and stale trail mix. With the finds in this Camping Foods Survival Guide, you and your fellow campers will actually enjoy fueling up for the outdoors.
Much Better Than Cowboy Bean Juice: DIY Cold Brew Coffee
Picture a couple of cowboys gathered around the campfire, pouring cups of tar-black coffee brewed directly on the flames. Fast forward to today’s instant coffee crystals... shake with water and ignore the taste. We all know it’s not the most pleasant part of waking up. But Grady’s Cold Brew will not only give you a jolt, it’ll actually taste good, with rich notes of chicory and cocoa. Before tuckering out for the night, just toss a pre-ground coffee concentrate bag with cold water in a jar. Once you let it sit out in the cold overnight (no refrigerator needed!) and strain, you can get your necessary caffeine fix. Bonus: it comes packaged in a can... durable and reminiscent of those ol' cowboys.
Much Better Than Cardboard: Energy Bars & Granola
We’ve all had one too many energy bars that only taste of cardboard or trail mixes that are too heavy on stale raisins. Luckily, we’ve scouted out bars and granolas that taste good and pack a punch...
- Hudson Henry Baking Co.’s Maple, Pecan & Coconut Granola — The perfect nonperishable to jumpstart the day. Salty sweet, yet earthy and mellow, it’s a hiking game-changer.
- Yes Bars — A line of handheld snack bars that are so tasty they can be mistaken for cookies. Coffee ‘n’ chocolate or strawberry coconut? Pack one of each.
- Raise the Bars Box — If you’re planning the long-haul trek through the Appalachians or a pilgrimage through Yosemite, John Muir-style, this kit of the best small-batch energy bars will keep you going for multiple breakfasts.
A Much Better Source of Protein: Nuts
Protein is not meant to come from a can. If you’re a camping enthusiast, a far more natural source is nuts. Your taste buds will appreciate it... especially compared to those canned goods...
- The Nut Fix Box — Spiced, glazed, candied, or seasoned with everything bagel spices. Peanuts, cashews, pistachios, pecans, almonds. A boxful of nuts, perfect to grab and go on the trail.
- Big Spoon Trio — Big Spoon Roasters founder Mike Overbay fell in love with nut butters while he was on the trail with the Peace Corps. This trio (cocoa, chai and almond ginger) will provide delicious protein-packed goodness for weeks. Just make sure to pack the spoons!
A Much Better Way to do the Jerk: Jerkies
Gas station jerky is always beef, is too chewy and salty, and loaded with ingredients you can’t recognize. Throw it to the bears… we’ve discovered craft jerkies that defy the norm...
- The Big Jerk Jerky Box — Bourbon-spiked brisket jerky? Filet mignon jerky? Peppery turkey? The makers use the best cuts, all perfectly seasoned and perfectly dehydrated so they’re not too chewy.
- Watermelon Road Fruit Jerkies — Further defying stereotype, Watermelon Road gives you dried fruit jerkies in juicy watermelon, pineapple mojito and mango margarita. In a way, it’s our all-natural fruity cocktail.
A Better Way to S’More: Malvi Marshmallow Sandwiches
Ooey, gooey and sticky-sweet, s’mores are irresistible whether lightly toasted or burnt to a char. Our friends at Malvi came up with an easy-to-pack shortcut: marshmallow sandwiches that are ready to be eaten… now. In flavors like raspberry hibiscus and double chocolate, they’re definitely a step up from the same ol’ white puffs and stale grahams. (Not to mention, they’re safer in high fire-risk parks. Your ranger will thank you.)
Whether you’re off to Yellowstone, the great redwoods or the Everglades, make sure you and your fellow campers are ready to survive the elements in style. You'll be camping like a champ.