wilderness camping foods

I am planning a trip with two of my kids (7 and 5) on the Turtle Flambeau Flowage in Wisconsin for July. We will be out something like 5 days and nights, maybe 6. We’ve camped before, but this is the first wilderness trip. We will be taking a large kayak (a CLC Mill Creek 16.5) so we’ll have space, but of course, there will be no cooler. That will be the main thing that is different for me. So, my main question is, what do you pack for food when refrigeration is out of the question?

Tuna /chicken/ hamburger
You can now buy them all in a small pack. Then get helper packs to compliment them.

Alot of good stuff…
MRE’s, Ramen noodles, sandwiches, tunafish, mushrooms, spam, mac-n-cheese, soups, etc…

Just think about all the stuff you don’t refrigerate at home & improvise your “meal making”. It’s not that hard, everyone (at one time or another) makes it an issue in the beginning. You probably have a whole pantry of “un-refrigerated” food? Go through it, you said space is not a problem…

Paddle easy,


These are good ideas and nowadays the tuna, chicken, salmon, etc. can be bought in vacuum packed pouches which are easier to pack in and pack out than the traditional tin cans.

have a way to cook it too
Check out


I’ve tried their stuff and it’s pretty tastey. Decent prices.

They have a light-weight cooker called the Bake-Packer and all their items meant to be cooked are geared toward using the Bake-Packer.

There’s plenty of other camping food sources out there too. Buying or making your own trail mix would be a good idea.

I agree with whomever said go to the supermarket and see what you can find. Especially look at the things the kids already eat. Don’t try to change their diet too drastically while camping. I took my 12-year-old last year and we had Spaghetti-Os. I figure it’s his trip, we’ll get what he wants, not what I want.

Be sure to practice loading your entire outfit before you go. I know the kayak will handle you and your kids, but make sure all your gear and food fit in as well. It may seem like a lot a space until you start putting gear in.

Have a great time!

Turtle Flambeau Flowage
Have fun up there. I hope you find an open campsite on an island up there. It is pretty busy. Big water too. As far as the food goes, breakfast is easy. Favorite cereal in a ziplock sandwich bag with 1/3 cup of powdered milk added. Add 1 cup of water and shake. Tang will do for the vitamin C. There are several rice bases meals that can be tried. Don’t pass up the Dinty Moore beef or turkey stew for less hastle. I tend to take soda crackers in the kayak instead of bread because they stay crisp and bread gets mushed after a couple of days. Take a water purifier too to reduce weight. Have fun. Be safe.

“Man cannot live on bread
alone,he must have PEANUT BUTTER”

suggestions if i may
summer sausage is a goodsource of protein. use tortillas instead of bread. p b and j actually taste good. if you can find pitas they work even better. all the bagged pastas are good. and lipotn/uncle ben and the rest will provide a vast selection. spagetti is simple. take a can of tomatoe sauce in a can. add garlic, basil, salt, pepper, parsley and poof spagetti sauce. sub oregano for basil and poof! pizza sauce great dipping for the pita bread. toast the tortillas add a stick of pepperoni and some string cheese layed on top and poof! pizza. in shell peanuts are a great campfire snack and are better packed than potato chips.

velveeta is a great substitute for cheese. etc… the list goes on! have fun!

p.s. brin some oil and fish breading or butter and a lemon if you plan on catching a meal.

“Be sure to practice loading your entire outfit before you go. I know the kayak will handle you and your kids, but make sure all your gear and food fit in as well. It may seem like a lot a space until you start putting gear in.”

That sounds like a very good idea.

p b and J
I guess jelly is safe to eat for a while, even kept unrefrigerated? This is a staple food for my kids!

zip loc breakfast
The cereal and powdered milk in a bag sounds like an especially good idea.

As to finding a campsite, we are hoping to hit the water on a Sunday around noon, in hopes of finding many people breaking camp and leaving.

yeah, you’re all correct
I can think of quite a few foods that we oridinarily eat which don’t require refrigeration. I’ll just have to go through the pantry and grocery store having a look. I’ll keep my eyes open for the collapsable packs as opposed to cans.

Yes, jelly is safe. Remember all the little plastic containers you get on the counter at diners? My problem is that you have to pack out the little containers at the end of the trip. But If you put the jelly in a squeeze tube (like toothpaste or cake icing tube) you are good for several days.

Have a great trip.


Milk powder…
I find the Non-fat milk powder disgusting so I get Nido whole milk powder…


kids recipes:





is a fun resource…

I find Natural High to have the best dehydrated omlette mixes…bring some Velvetta…it last forever…

I took the long arms off a non-stick sandwich maker:


and added long screws…kids love cooking with them…and, you can cook pancakes in them!..

I use long tongs to manuever it in and out of heat

and use the same tongs to play with wood in my fires…


Speaking of pancakes…put Krusteze complete batter mix in zip-locks…at campsite add water to bag, mix by kneading bag, squeeze onto frying pan…don’t forget the syrup!

Peanut oil is the best quality oil to bring with you…

Make ghee out of a good quality butter…like Land o Lakes…this is clarified butter…all the fat is removed so it lasts a very long time without refrigeration, doesn’t burn like butter and still has that yummy butter taste…

2 sticks unsalted butter

Put the butter in a small saucepan. Melt over low heat. When melted, remove from heat and let the milk solids go to the bottom of the saucepan. Skim the foam, if any, from the surface, then slowly pour the butter into a container, leaving the solids.

When cooled, put it in one of those plastic thermal jars that Walmart carries…

Have fun!

Camp menu
Breakfast Pancakes or Oatmeal; raisins

Coffee or Tea

Milk - powdered, soy or non refrigerated carton

Juice (Tang)

Butterbuds; crisco; salt; pepper

Lunch Tuna; mayo in small packages;


Jerky; powerbar; gorp


Dinner MRE Chicken, Beef or Ham with Rice, Pasta or Potatoes or freeze dried beans

Apple Sauce or Fruit cocktail

Cake (Jiffy Mix)

Coffee or Tea

sounds pretty good!
I’m gonna try drawing up a menu in advance and see what fun I can have…

Welch’s Jelly
I just buy a plastic, squeeze bottle of Welch’s jelly. I have seen it in grape and strawberry. I take it to the BWCA for a week without refrigeration and it is fine.

milk boxes
I don’t like powdered milk so I was happy to find small boxes of milk in the juice box section of our grocery store. Great in my coffee or cereal. We like juice boxes in our lunch and for breakfast. They take more room, but we were car camping on this trip.

We make pizza from non-refrigerated pizza crusts. Pepperoni comes in sealed pouches. Pizza sauce comes in small cans. Shredded cheese can be put in zip lock bag,frozen then stored in small collapsible cooler with ice pack. Wrap the cheese and ice pack in paper. Keeps for about 2-3 days. Nice if you feel the need for a pizza fix.

Cheese or sausage sticks are handy and don’t need refrig. Bagels last several days.

Remember to cut the instructions off the box when you repakage stuff. :slight_smile:

Kids eat a lot, but we tend to take too much. Make sure you take things they will eat. They need the fuel.

Lots of good suggestions!

Thanks to all of you for keeping the great ideas coming… I’m taking notes!