No cooler, camping with vegetables

Chia Pet
just kidding but people have taken along bean sprouts in little planter things that you can buy at grocery stores - just tear some of the sprouts off and more growns, I think. Should last a few days.

green pepper
I just got back from the Ozarks and had green peppers that were unrefrigerated the entire time, approximately 1 week. Temperatures were similar to what you mentioned, maybe the highs were low-to-mid 70’s. I used the last pepper last night at home. For home use, I usually refrigerate peppers until I’m ready to use them, and always refrigerate them after I cut them, but when camping, I just take them in my camp box.


Veggie life
I think life expectancy of produce would depend on freshness (duh). Meaning, you don’t know how long it has sat in the grocery store before you eventually bought it. I would think that a life of 2 days unrefrigerated would be reasonable though. Fresh picked would last the longest.


veggies and fruit
For a trip less than 5 days - you can bring loads of stuff. As someone else mentioned, it is best to get the freshest produce so that it lasts the longest. For longer trips, have to add in some dehydrated and dried fruits/veggies.

Store most things in some sort of light colored bag in your open boat. Definitely wetting the exterior of the bag will keep things cooler than a dry. The soft side insulated bags work well and you would pack them collapsed and fill at the grocery store upon your arrival.

Many times I will even bring broccoli for day 1 and 2, even though that will start to yellow quickly when warm although still edible.

Bring zip locks to store your veggies in within the soft side insulated bag. Before putting the veggies in the bag, place a dry paper towel - this will keep the veggies dry and they are less likely to get slimey that way.

Veggies I like to bring:

onions, garlic, leeks, celery

potatoes, sweet potatoes

cabbage, broccoli, green beans and hard squash

carrots, jicama, grape tomatoes

red and green peppers, hot peppers if they look good

pickling cucumbers not european in plastic



avocados, apples, grapes for day 1/2, cantaloupe, baby watermelon,oranges, mangoes, pineapple

Grow your own sprouts
It’s true - I’ve seen where people grow sprouts in a Nalgene on their trips. Cool idea.

as an added benefit
you could lose some weight

We have a lot of the same interests in kayaking and camping. You owe it to yourself to get Linda Daniel’s Kayak Cookery ( She has a chapter on just which foods will last 1 day, 2 days, 3 days, etc.; a chapter on how to shop (with great tips/things I had never thought of); how to keep a running supply of sour dough, how to grow sprouts, etc. It’s a classic and still the best IMHO. Check it out!

Veges and fruits
Onions, cabbage, avocados, carrots, apples, from longest lasting to shorter. Anything else needs to be eaten first day. Compared to produce that is in bad shape, non-fresh food that does keep looks better and better to me as my trips wear on. Going without produce sure beats getting sick from stuff that has gone bad.

Source makes a big difference.

– Last Updated: May-07-09 10:28 PM EST –

WHERE you buy your vege makes a HUGE difference. People who say green pepper only last 2 days got the experience from green pepper they bought from supermarket. They've been on the truck for days being driven to the supermarket and then sat on shelf for another couple days before you buy them. Fresh green peper last a week easy!

So, if possible, probably the best is to buy them from a farm stand that's next to a farm (not a city "farmer market" who bought their produce from a whole saler!).

If you have to buy from a city supermarket, they're not created equal either. Whole food has fresher produce than King Kollen (a east coat chain that's known for really poor quality).

Contrary to intuition, don't get the vege from the refrigerated section. Once they've been refigerated, they go bad quite quickly back in room temperature.

If you know how to pick fresh vegetables, pick the fresh ones from the pile. It makes a huge difference too. I grew up buying vege in open air markets. So I've learn to identify fresh vege automatically. Not everybody knows how to do that these days.

Keep your vege covered from direct sunlight but well ventilated. Minimum handling but turn them once every 2-3 days or so. Most non-leave vegetables easily last a week, with root vegetables lasting 2-3 weeks easily.

Wrap your veggies tightly in aluminum…
…foil and don’t cut them at all until eating them. The freshness difference between putting cabbage in saran wrap or a plastic bag vs. wrapping it tightly in Al foil was pronounced. Might try it. Cheddar cheese also stays just fine for quite a while without refrigeration. Have fun!