It can be very challenging selecting a range of food that will see the distance when we talk about camping in remote locations in Australia for several weeks at a time. We have organised camping and fishing trips to isolated parts of the Northern Territory and Cape York. We choose locations that have no facilities anywhere remotely close. This is the key to avoid overcrowding. Who doesn’t love escaping the full on lifestyles that we all can be accustomed too and just kicking back enjoying the tranquil surroundings. As long as you have food and water we can all survive. Hope Appetite 4 The Wild can make choosing your food to go on this style of trip a lot easier.
During our preparation we carefully review items of food that are practical, light weight and don’t require refrigeration where possible. Every year we manage to find new products that suit our needs to support our style of camping.
Those of you that have already experienced a remote getaway and have based yourself in isolated areas for several weeks at a time will know the importance of packing the maximum amount of food to take up minimal space which will make room for all the other essentials. For those who haven’t I hope some of our tips may help you get started when it comes to organising your grocery list. The basic principal for preparing yourself for a trip to this extent comes down to two things. Food you must have and food you would like to have. The choice is yours.
Fresh milk, cheeses, fruit and salads are nice to have. Pack fresh salad carefully in the fridge and they will last for around the first 10 days. If these items get bruised on your travels it will reduce their life quickly. I am suggesting you buy what will see you the distance such as half green tomatoes, small cucumbers apples and oranges. Choose your vegetables wisely. Think about the size of each and individual piece and this applies to salad ingredients as well. Try and pick piece of fruit or a vegetable that once you cut it you use it for that meal to save on fridge space and to get optimal usage from each piece.
Brushed potatoes, orange sweet potatoes, onions and garlic last extremely well. Choose small Jap or butternut pumpkins and will get full use of them before they start to rot. Store these vegetables in a cool and shaded area. We take extra potato bags. They are breathable and are great to store the vegetables in at camp. Frozen pre packed vegetables are nice to have we take as many as we can. The amount depends upon the available space in the freezer.
We eat plenty of fresh fish which reduces our meat requirements. Our meat department consists of a mixture of steak, bacon, sausages and mince which are vac sealed in meal size portions packed in the freezer. We like taking roasts or pickled meats and when we choose these cuts they are ones without a bone. There is no sense carrying a piece of bone that you can’t consume. Cuts such as silverside, boneless pickled pork, rolled chicken, beef roasts or butterflied lamb. This is a way to maximise the amount of space taken up in the freezer.
Dehydrated foods take up minimal space and weigh less, things such as shitake mushrooms, surprise peas. Mango, banana and apple I dehydrate myself at home before a trip away. We also purchase frozen corn kernels and dry these which are a nice addition to fritters and mince dishes. We always make a large batch of jerky. Spices, mixed herbs sultanas and a selection of nuts are good.
Tin food offers you such variety. Capsicum, pineapple, beetroot, asparagus, spam, spaghetti, baked beans and the list goes on. Keep in mind the weight of tinned food can add up, this is why we always choose dried food over a tinned product where possible. Dried coconut milk powder or Kara UHT coconut milk is our preferred option over tinned coconut milk for all our Thai style seafood dishes.
Wherever possible choose plastic containers over glass and if you can transfer products to plastic containers, they come in handy around camp for storage. It is difficult to find every food item that you like to have without taking a few jars away if this is the case secure all bottled goods in bubble wrap.
We buy The Healthy Baker self raising and plain flour because they come pre packed in their own plastic containers. I also use these containers to store bulk sugar, rice and other food items in.
Mission wraps make an easy lunch if you haven’t had a chance to make bread and last the distance without refrigeration. We like to use lighthouse bread mix which is well packaged and the yeast is provided. Check the used by date. You need to buy the most current to make sure the yeast reacts and your bread rises fully. Always take some pizza base mixes. Nothing beats camp oven pizzas and we pack extra cheese in the freezer for this reason. We take Masterfood, Maggie and Lobo sachets which are bases to meals where all ingredients are contained in one packet, just add meat or fish and a few vegetables. Rice, pasta, cous cous, egg noodles and quinoa expand and double there quantity when cooked up in a dish. What about packing the eggs! Simple. Double paper towel over and close the lid of the carton. You don’t want them broken. If the eggs rattle add more paper towel until the eggs are firm in carton. No Egg is a powdered product that substitutes fresh egg when you run out. One 150g container is equivalent to one dozen eggs. Devondale cream and milk in cardboard long life packaging travel well. Powdered milk is preferred and also cuts the weight down compared to UHT milk in cartons. We have learnt to drink coffee and tea black to reduce our milk requirement.
Rice oil is a popular choice when it comes to cooking oils. You can reuse the oil several times because the oil doesn’t burn at high temperatures and you do want crispy chips to go with your fresh fish. Salt is a curing agent. If you are thinking about smoking fish you will need it also for making a brine.
Putting some thought into food selection and going the extra mile when packing for a trip will certainly be rewarding when you make it to your destination and the food you will live on for the following weeks is in one piece. As a result we travelled thousands of kilometres on corrugated dirt roads without damage to our food items. We hope these general guidelines can get you packing. Everyone has different taste buds so you will have to customise the food groups to suit your own desired flavours.
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